Maybe now is the time to understand the difference between earning links and building links. It seems that for the last year or so, the trend has shifted from having to build links – to having to earn them with outstanding content. The concept was already introduced a long time ago, but at the time nobody paid much attention to it. These days, good web design and quality of content are the main factors writers and journalists take into consideration when trying to fetch the links from across the web.
With that in mind, building links is still possible, both from external sources, but also from internal. The benefits of internal link building can be immense, but throwing links to your favorite content all over the place is not going to make much of an impression; not on search engines, neither on real people. It’s all about architecture of your links, right? Well, not always.
Internal link building, when done right, can help you to manage the actual traffic that comes to your site internally, meaning that you can create separate pages and drive traffic to them just with internal links, which can be very beneficial if you’re working within a tightly-sealed niche market. With that in mind, here are five tips to help you get started with building a better internal link profile.
1. Pages with the most links
Every website has a most linked-to page, probably quite a few of them if we begin to inspect them using a 3rd party app. Ahrefs, Majestic SEO and Open Site Explorer are just a few of the tools we can use to analyze our most linked-to pages. Once you’ve got an idea of the pages with most link juice flowing to them, it’s time to make some edits.
The best way to approach these posts is by including a few of your lesser-known website pages in these posts, do it in the form of a related post, a quote coming from the other post, or a blatant banner — explaining what you’re trying to promote. Why not get the most out of pages that are already performing well?
2. Quantity of internal pages
One thing to remember is that if you wish to build a solid internal linking strategy, you will need to have a good amount of internal pages to work with. Having 20 pages all inter-connected, linking back to each other, is only going to signal that you’re trying to promote the same stuff over and over; as it is right now, search engines are more clever than this. It has been long talked about as to why a business needs to invest in a content marketing strategy.
A content marketing strategy will allow you to diversify your content, organized by categories and sub-categories, within which we can begin to build our internal link profile that will connect our content in a natural way.
3. Relevant content, relevant links
To expand on the above, it’s of utmost importance to link your pages in a way that signals that they’re somehow related to each other. You don’t want to be creating internal links based on two different pages — where one of the pages talks about how to create vegetable juice, and the other talks about how to change a tire for your car. You get the point.
The more of your internal links signal of relevance, the easier it is to build yourself as an authority on the web. Search engines reward relevancy, highly. (I guess it makes it easier for them to differentiate between good quality sites, and poor quality sites.)
Relevant pages include: homepage links, navigation links, menu links, related links in the sidebar and footer, and within the content itself.
Yes, those tiny little navigation links below/above the title of the content, they’re actually great little tools for creating more relevancy in your pages, and allowing both search engines and users to see where each individual piece of content is coming from. Not only does it allow you to create a more flowing environment between your pages, using specific plugins/modifications will allow you to also add anchor text to your breadcrumbs, really strengthening that internal linking strategy.
5. It’s not just content
While everything on your website can be considered content, articles and blog posts will usually have more power behind influencing the ranking of other internal pages, based on factors such as social involvement and the size of the pages.
Keep Track of It All
All of the above tips are going to strengthen your internal linking strategy immensely, it will help search engine robots to truly understand your site and your content, and because this method is so often overlooked by amateurs and people who don’t care about search engine optimization, you’re going to get a slight advantage over other businesses and individuals who work within that niche. My last advice is to keep track of it all.
Meaning, it’s a good idea to keep a record of all the things you’re changing and adjusting — it could be as simple as a WordPress draft in which you keep track of all the internal links you make, or you could use something like Evernote to keep notes, even a personal journal written by a pen will do. So as long as you know what links to what yourself, otherwise the risk of making your site seem spammy can increase.
About the Author: Alex Ivanovs is an expert blogger on technology, business and web development; having been working within all three fields for over a decade. His writing and insights can be found over at CodeCondo — a quickly evolving platform for designers and developers.