WEB & TECH / DEC. 02, 2014
version 3, draft 3

5 SEO Practices for Internal Link Structure

Internal links are an essential SEO practice for any site that cares about getting noticed. Internal links use keywords within text copy to hyperlink. These links, known as hyperlinks, will take you to another page on a website or to another website entirely when clicked on. They help Google better categorise a website because it makes it clearer what it’s all about.

It also links the site with authority sources, which makes it more trustworthy. In this article, we’re going to focus on five SEO practices for better internal link structures.

#1 Relevant and Appealing Anchor Text

The anchor text is the clickable part of a hyperlink. It allows you to move to another webpage. Essentially, the anchor text is the title of the link. You should always make sure the title of the link is relevant to the actual content found through the link.

Google will slaughter you if you’re writing anchor links to meet keyword quotas. Always make them relevant and natural. An easy way of making them relevant is to use the title of the page you’re linking to as an anchor link.

#2 A Clear Information Route

A general rule of thumb when it comes to website design is to not make someone have to go through more than three webpages to find the information they’re looking for. The fact of the matter is, by this point most people will have left your website and gone back to Google. Internal links help with easy navigation by providing direct links within generalised copy to niche pages.

#3 Breadcrumb Navigation

Breadcrumb navigation consists of those arrows and the name of each webpage you’ve visited so far on the top of each page. It basically shows you the path you’ve taken to get here. This is another method of internal linking because anyone can click on these breadcrumbs to get back to a page they’ve visited already. It also ensures nobody gets lost on a big website.

There are lots of free plugins available for people who want to implement breadcrumb navigation on their website.

 #4 Sidebars, Widgets, and Navigational Links

Another way to improve the structure of your internal links is to display sidebars, widgets, and navigational links on your website. There’s a reason why many sites have a menu going across the top of the page and the same menu running vertically down a sidebar. It gives users more options to find their way around your website.

Make sure the headings for each link are easy to understand. And make sure they don’t become too obtrusive. There’s such a thing as having too many internal links.

 #5 In-Text Positioning

Understand that just because a reader starts to read an article doesn’t mean they’re going to finish it. They can stop reading your article whenever they like. The problem with internal links is that they can actually pull a reader away from the content. This is why you should never place too many internal links at the top of a piece of content. Put them further down so that if someone does click away, they have already read most of the article.

This should also coincide with the idea that the most important points in the article should appear towards the top. If anyone does leave, they have already extracted the maximum amount of value.

Follow these tips and you should get more out of your internal links. You’ll reap the benefits of SEO whilst also improving the user experience. The latter is more important than ever before. With so much choice and the fact Google is concentrating on it, you can’t afford to compromise on it any longer.

Image source: iStock

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