When we work with clients to revamp their websites and make them more SEO friendly, we often suggest that clients use text hyperlinks to connect their pages when creating new content. This topic can lead to some confusion, so I put together this handy blog post to guide our client’s into creating optimized and internally linked text.
What does internal linking mean?
When a search engine spider crawls the web, it spiders from link to link trying to understand and categorize the information of each individual page it encounters. By providing keyword rich links to internal pages within your own site, you are suggesting to search engine spiders the topic of the page you are linking to and the relevant keywords that should be associated with it. Although your site may have a navigational menu bar, menu bar links are not nearly as powerful as hyperlinked text within the body of the page.
Wikipedia is the best example of an internally linked page with targeted anchor text:
Each link on the page uses anchor text that describes the page that is being linked to (i.e. the word “Hunting” links to the Hunting Dog Wikipedia entry, “Herding” links to the Herding Dog entry, “pulling loads” links to the Sled Dog entry etc.) Now to apply this practice to my company's website, when I mention Pay Per Click Advertising, Local Search Marketing or Search Engine Optimization in blog posts - I link to the designated pages about those topics on my own site. By creating these targeted internal hyperlinks I am essentially hinting to the search engines what keywords should be used to describe the content of my site. This use of "anchor text" is beneficial from an SEO perspective because it helps inform search engines about the content of your individual pages. This is the opposite of using hyperlinks with words like “click here” – which at times can be helpful to users, but offer no benefit for search engine optimization.
When should I internally link my text?
Every page on your website should have text content that can be used to link to other pages. When your text mentions another portion of your website - that is the perfect opportunity for a keyword rich internal link. However, there is one caveat - it can be valuable to provide keyword rich internal links, but don't overdo it - loading your page with too many links looks spammy. Keep it feeling natural and organic and you will be just fine.