SEO Internal Linking: 3 Internal Link Strategies For SEO Growth
Let’s face it, there has never been an SEO cure-all. For all the blogs claiming to offer the permanent solution to your SEO woes, providing the best-kept secrets of optimisation that are sure to guarantee you a domineering rise to the top of rankings your competitors can only dream of, there has only been one real prevailing truth that has maintained relevance since the dawn of the search engine. Namely, that search engine optimisation is complicated, and won’t stay the same for long. In this blog we explain you more about SEO Internal Linking by providing you 3 Internal Link Strategies For SEO Growth.
With that said, by following the news, staying up-to-date with the latest algorithm updates and listening to the proclaimed “thought leaders” of the industry, you may not always see exactly where SEO trends are. However, you can certainly see where they’re heading.
Take a look at 2011’s Panda update, which saw Google doubling down on their efforts to fight low-quality content. You can also see this in more recent updates, such as the introduction of passage ranking as a means of indexing individual passages separately from the rest of their page. Looking at the nature of these updates, there are a few things that are made obvious:
Google is still honing its efforts in terms of prioritising higher-quality content.
You can’t rely on any one part of your SEO strategy keeping you on the top spot.
Your on-page strategy and blogging have never been more important.
That last point is the one I’d like to really hone in on today, as it appears to be the one that is giving online businesses the most trouble. On-page SEO has been an essential ranking factor for well over a decade at this point. However, with algorithmic changes remaining an ever-present reality, we are still seeing confusion as to why an on-page strategy from 2015 is no longer providing the same benefits that it once did.
How Does Internal Linking Come Into All Of This?
To put things in massively oversimplified terms: The internet is links.
Links are what allow us to get from one page to the next. When used well, they provide us with a seamless web experience where one piece of content leads logically onto the next. Most importantly, however, links are one of the primary ways that search engines work out what your business is.
In traditional link building, a sportswear store that’s linked to as a resource by high-authority sports sites will be seen as an authority on their subject by search engines. So, assuming the sportswear site has quality content related to sports, and several authoritative sites are sharing said authority through links, that site should rank well. This is because Google, as well as other search engines, prioritise user experience, and want to offer users the most relevant results for their queries out of the millions of sites they are attempting to rank and categorise.
The same can be said for internal linking. As authority would be passed from one site to another, the same goes for pages. Search engines want to see that your site makes sense from an indexing perspective, and if you can make it as easy as possible to navigate your site seamlessly, you are likely to see the benefits of it almost immediately.
So, given that trends suggest this is the ranking methodology search engines will be continuing to hone for the foreseeable future, let’s take a look at how these ideas can be applied to your own site:
Internal Linking Strategy #1: Make Authority to Give Authority
As we mentioned in our example earlier, links from high authority sites can provide authority to a page/website they’re linking to. The same can be said for the individual pages on your site interlinking, but you’ll only really see that value from pages that have their own authority to speak of. This is where your PA (Page Authority), as opposed to your DA (Domain Authority) comes into play.
Additional: What is the Role of Page Authority in Internal Linking?
Whilst DA is the metric most often touted by those looking to improve their SEO, it’s certainly not the only one. For our purposes, DA is the strength of your domain as a whole, while PA is the strength of each individual page. So, if you’ve done a considerable amount of manual link building, but have only made these links to your homepage, your other important service pages may not see the same ranking potential, even as your DA increases over time.
Now, back to the matter at hand:
Assuming some of your pages have a higher PA than others, links from these pages will provide more authority to the deeper pages within your site that have had less authority build up. So, if you have a very strong homepage and are looking to lift up some of your struggling essential service pages, ensuring that you find a way to link to them from your homepage is an excellent place to start.
It’s also important to note that pages which are already ranking will benefit more from this than those that are either outside or barely scraping into the top 100 results. A strong foundation will lead to better results, so building external links to these pages and providing more high-quality content to them in tandem with your internal linking strategy will yield the best results. Remember, in SEO, low-hanging fruit is not a dirty term.
Internal Linking Strategy #2: Cementing the Conversion Funnel
It’s easy to get bogged down in the SEO of it all, but it’s important to remember why you’re doing all of this in the first place: To get more visitors on your site, and in most cases, ensure that the highest number of those visitors turn into customers. This is where your conversion funnel comes into play.
In the event that you have a very high-converting page that is sure to entice anyone that lands on it, that’s all well and good, but only if people can actually get there. If you have nothing connecting your high-ranking pages to your high-conversion pages, then people are more likely to get bored and leave than they are to wind through a labyrinthian site of dead-ends and confusing UI to get to your coveted sales pitch.
So, the natural course of action is to take your highest-ranking pages and provide a clear path to your highest-converting pages through strategic internal linking. Keep in mind however that this should not be done exclusively for SEO optimisation, as whilst SEO may get users onto your site, it’ll be your user experience and how you frame your services that make them stay and convert. So, take a critical look at your highest-ranking pages and see where changes can be made to add these links naturally, without it feeling forced or jarring to a potential reader.
Internal Linking Strategy #3: Nothing is Set in Stone
With this, we come to our final overarching point of the day, and it may be the most important one, especially for older websites that have a lot of built-up content. As the age of our websites steadily increase and we change directions with our brands, it’s easy to leave the content that we developed long ago to linger in relative obscurity, even when that content has built up a lot of authority over time.
If you have a blog post or resource page that is still proving to have a lot of ranking potential, rather than leaving it as a testament to times gone by, use it! Old blogs can be updated with links to newer pages and offerings that didn’t exist when they were first published, providing some of their growing authority to pages that haven’t had the same amount of time to mature.
Not sure where to start when looking for this sort of content to link from? Assuming your site’s blog doesn’t have an effective search function, Google can step in and help.
Start by simply typing site:yoursiteURL “the keyphrase you’re looking for”. From there, you can find any and all crawled content on your site that has the phrase you’re looking for. From there, you can add links, providing authority whilst also allowing those that stumble onto your old posts to easily connect to your current offerings. This simple, free process will immediately make your site feel more cohesive and authoritative, both in the eyes of search engines and your visitors.
The main point I hope to leave you with is simply that search engines aren’t making these algorithmic updates randomly. They strive for the same goal that you should be striving for, a better experience for your users. So, if you can provide your site visitors with a seamless, elegant way to explore your site, it’s a win-win for everyone involved. Good luck!
Samuel Shepherd is a writer, editor, marketer, SEO specialist, musician, producer, reviewer, and all of the other things that you can be from the comfort of a computer screen. Currently based in Australia, Sam is always ready and excited to talk about the strange quirks and oddities of an ever-present online world.