Imagine the Internet as a roadmap. Every website or destination is linked by an intricate weaving of links or roads. Links, whether they’re outside or inside your website, guide users and search engines alike. They allow major search engines, like Google and Bing, to crawl your site and index information for SERPs. Link building is an important pillar of any SEO strategy. However, where to start can be overwhelming. Growing your external links requires reaching out, waiting for responses, and potentially creating new content for someone else’s website just to get one link. Start at home base on your own website.
What Are Internal Links?
In case you forgot, internal links guide users to different pages within the same domain. Your website’s main navigation most likely uses internal links, or blog posts may link to another relevant post on your blog. Internal links give search engines an idea of your website’s layout and increase click-through and conversion rates for users. There’s a lot you can do with internal links to improve your SEO.
Decrease Click Depth
Click depth is the number of clicks it takes to reach a page from the homepage. Pages with a shallower click depth are considered more important than those that are farther from the homepage. You can decrease page depth by incorporating a featured news or a featured post section on your homepage. If you don’t want to mess with the layout of the homepage, look at pages that have multiple subpages, like your blog. Increase the number of items in the listing to decrease the number of subpages. Create categories so that listings stay organized and minimal; this will mean fewer items in each category. This also works outside of a blog if you have product pages or a news section.
Internal links start with anchor text. This is the text that you’ll add a hyperlink to so that users have an idea of where you’re leading them. For example, in the first paragraph of this post, I linked to another blog post about link building strategy and appropriately used “link building” as the anchor text.
Hyperlinks and anchor text should come naturally. Avoid the urge to add unnecessary keywords to your content to use as anchor texts. Search engines will get ya!
Audit Your Content
Given that internal links provide search engines with an idea of your site’s hierarchy, it’s important that you know how your content is laid out. All sites are unique but content is commonly organized into a pyramid scheme as shown below.
The homepage begins the pyramid. From there, internal links in the main navigation take users to secondary pages, and so on and so forth. Each page has an entrance so that search engines can crawl accordingly. Ensure that you don’t have any orphan pages, as pictured below. These are pages within your domain that don’t have an entrance, they’re just kind of…there. However, search engines don’t know that; in fact, to search engines, they don’t even exist.
While you’re in the process of auditing content, you should consider creating a sitemap if you haven’t already. A sitemap is a blueprint of your site’s hierarchy. Not only does this give you an idea of how your content is laid out, but it also speeds up the indexing process. Instead of visiting every page on your website, crawlers can go straight to your sitemap for a one-stop shop. Upload your sitemap to search engines’ consoles, if they have one.
Link building is often shrouded by a sense of complexity. While accumulating external links does require a bit of legwork, internal links are much more approachable. These four simple aspects will help you develop a solid link building. Start by focusing on internal links, and your SEO will improve in response.