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Internal linking – why does it matter?

Home page > Resources > SEO > Internal linking – why does it matter?

No matter which industry you operate in, internal linking is an important ranking factor. When working on SEO optimization, the most time-consuming process is internal linking, directing the “power of SEO” to those pages that we want to appear higher in the search engine results…

Automatic internal linking based on scripts (as in the case of WordPress) is not good, because with large pages we have no control over the actual state of what and how is linked. That’s why it’s better to have an appropriate system to manage this type of linking and if the pages are small – to do it manually and save it on Excel / Google Docs – for example.

Another goal (apart from SEO) of internal linking is to improve the User Experience (UX) of the site for the customer: everyone who reads a text, observes the product card, the list of categories – is willing to click on the internal link – if we are properly encouraged to do so.

Internal linking by placing links in content

So-called context links, which are woven into the text. One of the best places for an internal link is it to be surrounded by text that is almost spontaneously clicked by the user. It makes nearly 70% of the readers follow the link – this also improves the usability of the site. Unlike external links, we can use anchors here – however, it is worth realizing that packing keywords in internal links can also be harmful for the website.

Related entries

Worth implementing on blogs are online shops –  they also improve the usability and user engagement on the site. On a blog, there is a section under each entry that allows you to read other, thematically similar texts. On Internet shops, the potential customer is offered goods according to his interests, products he has watched earlier or items that were bought by other users buying the same product… We highly recommend implementing this solution for every shop

On small websites, which lack content, it is difficult to solve this type of problem. In this case better go back to point 1.

Categories

Another form of internal linking – outside the menu, of course is to place categories on the product list pages, with the list of offers. They somewhat organize individual sections of the website. We often encounter a situation where categories have the “nofollow” parameter implemented – of course, this can be used in cases where there is a lot of internal links on a given subpage (e.g. 500 or 600) – then, to divide the SEO power, nofollow is used in internal links to categories.

Breadcrumbs

The breadcrumbs menu (reminder: it has to be enclosed in the Schema: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/185417?hl=pl) is also a way of internal linking. In the case of every page, even the small ones, it is worth implementing. Thanks to that search engines can learn the scheme (tree) of your website faster. Well-made and visible to the user menu can support the usefulness of this section (and the service itself), be more often used by the visitor, and in effect – appear on heat maps.

Occasionally, this section is used to build an additional menu – it develops after hovering over an item in breadcrumbs. From our experience, we can say that it bothers more than helps.

Popular entries – always and everywhere

Like “related entries”, they support the usability of the site and help the user find the right content (in the case of blogs).

In the case of online shops, the user is presented with a block of, for example, the most frequently purchased products or products with the highest number of opinions. In addition to building interest, this also increases the sales conversion.

Previous, next, paging

Surprisingly, this is also a part of internal linking. Correct execution of paging and implementation of rel=”prev/next/canonical” allows us to build a very good and strong long tail positioning. In the case of blogs, the user can see the previews of the articles and very quickly assess whether it is worth looking at or not. In the case of online shops, this is applied in categories.

These days, we are moving away from paging to loading the page when the user goes with the mouse to the bottom of the screen.

Important note: some shops have “Next | Previous” buttons to view the next products – so that you don’t go into a category, but view another product. From a technical point of view, doing this using javascript:history.back() is inappropriate – when a user visits such a page directly from the search engine, pressing the “Previous” button will return him to the search engine and we will lose him, probably irrevocably.

Sitemap

Here the matter is complicated because creating a separate page with internal links as a list can be treated as spam (meaning a not very useful page). That’s why it works on blogs, but on an online shop with several thousand products, it wouldn’t arouse the interest of the user. Nevertheless, it should be remembered that this way of internal linking significantly speeds up the indexation on large websites.

Permalink – direct link

Here, the matter is clear – you have to make a given URL in such a way that the URL’s name contains, for example, the title of the page – this will be understood by the user and the site manager. Of course, such a subpage is better/easier to position because we can use anchors for internal linking.

Other things

Google guidelines state that search results should not be indexed. Large portals index such results – why? Because (we think Google sees it that way too) if these results are useful, then there will be no punishment for that … Of course, the matter is slippery because 100% of the owners will say that their search results are useful – so it’s better to stay away from indexing search results or ask someone else for their opinion.

Internal linking should be checked and planned as part of the SEO audit for the analyzed service.

 

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