Internal links not only make your website easier for visitors to navigate and search engines to crawl, but they also establish a clear hierarchal structure and spread link equity. Additionally, internal links can help you keep site visitors clicking through your pages, which can be a positive SEO signal and even lead to more conversions. If you want to improve your website’s user experience and search engine optimization, follow these internal linking best practices!
- Put Internal Links on Every Page
- Include Internal Links in the Right Place
- Make Sure Links Are Relevant
- Link Deep Within Your Website
- Write Rich Anchor Text
- Use Follow & Nofollow Tags
- Review Internal Links Regularly
Put Internal Links on Every Page
You should always have internal links on every page to prompt users to keep exploring your website—whether as navigational links that send visitors to webpages like your contact form or contextual links promoting related blog posts. By using internal links on every page, you ensure that pages are connected and accessible to both humans and search engine crawlers so that you never have orphan pages or a confusing hierarchical structure that hurts the user experience. While there’s not a set number of internal links that should be included on every page, Google suggests using a “reasonable number of links” under a few thousand.
Include Internal Links in the Right Place
To ensure link value is distributed correctly and users actually follow your internal links from page to page, you need to place them strategically throughout your site. Include internal links in your website’s main navigation menu, site footers, and as breadcrumbs to help visitors seamlessly find your pages. Depending on your audience and your website goals, you can either put internal links within your body copy “above the fold“—that is, before users have to scroll to keep reading—or 15% to 50% below the fold to see the highest click-through rate (CTR). Other placements you might consider for internal links are directly before and after bulleted lists or in call-to-action buttons.
Make Sure Links Are Relevant
When deciding which internal links to use, only apply ones that make sense to the context of your webpages. Your internal links should be topically related, not just intended as an SEO play. You wouldn’t want to link to a blog post about hair products in a page discussing cat toys since they have no logical connection. Google factors in link relevancy when evaluating your site, meaning that adding internal links on similar topics can help boost your page’s ranking performance.
Link Deep Within Your Website
While it’s essential to link to top-level pages (like your homepage) in website content to create pathways for both site visitors and search engine crawlers, you also need to be linking to and from content deeper within your website to improve SEO and overall user experience. Whether you choose to follow a silo, pyramid, or hub linking structure, linking deep can help you get new pages indexed faster, boost rank for topic clusters as a whole, and make it more likely that site visitors will continue clicking through your webpages to find more information.
Write Rich Anchor Text
Relevant, keyword-rich anchor text is necessary for both user experience and SEO. It sets clear expectations for humans and search engines alike. As Google bots crawl your links, they look to see if the linked pages are topically relevant based on the keywords used within anchor text. In a similar way, site visitors use anchor text to understand what they’ll get if they click through to a linked page. To write good anchor text, use relevant keywords that accurately describe the linked page and avoid using the same anchor text to link two different URLs.
Use Follow & Nofollow Tags
Applying follow and nofollow tags to internal links can be helpful if you want to avoid exceeding your crawl budget or if you have pages that could hurt your visibility in search engine results. If you want to pass link equity and help search engines crawl valuable webpages, use follow tags with internal links. If you have links that aren’t navigable by bots (such as a login page) or links to content that could negatively impact your search engine rank (such as duplicate content), use nofollow links. You can easily add “nofollow” tags in the HTML code of your site.
Review Internal Links Regularly
You can improve your link building strategy by conducting website audits on a regular basis. During these audits, you should review internal links so that you can fix broken links, update anchor text with valuable keywords, and add links to new content. You might find that there are opportunities to improve your website navigation and page hierarchy while auditing internal links.