The Value of a Strong Internal Link Structure

30 August 2021
by Archie Williamson
5 mins
The Value of a Strong Internal Link Structure

A well-executed internal link structure will help Google to discover your content and pass link equity between web pages to increase visibility in search while improving the user experience for visitors to your site.

Internal links are defined as links that point from one page to another page on the same website. This differs from external links that point from a page to another, separate domain. When crafting articles and blogs in content marketing, it is common to include a mix of both internal and external links to increase their relevance for search engines.

This form of internal linking is known as ‘contextual’. Here, links will be added within the main body of content using a natural anchor text, such as a target keyword. These links improve the user experience as you are effectively guiding the reader, anticipating their thought processes and prompting them to take action by clicking through to another page.

The second type of internal linking is ‘navigational’. This is when you add links to the home page, header, footer and sidebar menus to make your site easier to navigate. These links and contextual links support the quest to create a robust site hierarchy and structure that aids both users and Google, which uses links to understand where everything is on your site.

Both forms of internal linking are crucial for SEO. The great news is that internal linking is a practice that you have complete control over. While generating backlinks from other sites to increase your domain authority can be frustrating, adding internal links is something you can get started on today.

Working with a digital marketing agency is recommended if you want to start building an excellent internal linking strategy by publishing high-quality content. Services such as linkbuilding and blog management can also help you to start nurturing backlinks to increase the link ‘juice’ that is passed by the internal links on your website.

Why is internal linking so important for SEO?

  • Establishes structure and hierarchy
  • Helps Google to find your pages
  • Supports better page and user experiences
  • Helps readers to find relevant content
  • Spreads ‘ranking power’ alongside backlinks
  • Strength of linking signals can improve search rankings

There are many reasons why internal linking is vital for success in search. It plays a major role in your content being seen by Google, and often speeds up the process of your pages being crawled, indexed and ranked. If you want to increase the visibility of your pages quickly, internal links are an incredibly useful tool for achieving that aim.

As Google notes: “Some pages are known because Google has already crawled them before. Other pages are discovered when Google follows a link from a known page to a new page.”

Unfortunately, many sites are set up in a way that does not prioritise main link navigation. This prevents Google’s spiders from finding the necessary pathways across a website to find important pages. If there are no direct, crawlable links that connect your pages, Google will not find them or face an arduous task in eventually reaching them.

So, links assist Google’s crawlers in navigating the complexities of the web, but there is more than just that – internal links also contribute to the authority of a page. When a piece of content is brimming with quality links, this acts as a signal to Google that it is relevant and valuable. It is then more likely to take up a higher position in search rankings.

How can I start building a strong internal link structure?

The optimal structure for internal links is a pyramid, with the home page sitting atop and flowing down into different sections, categories and subcategories. Within this, you can build around topic clusters and pillar pages. Here is where content crafted by an SEO expert plays a vital role again. You could create a blog about a core topic (pillar page) that defines your brand and then strategically link to other cluster pages that cover subtopics.

Internal linking is quite straightforward compared to other more confusing, technical SEO tactics. It doesn’t require advanced tools, algorithms or formulas to make sense of. You just link out to pages that are relevant – though it is useful to point to pages that have generated at least a few backlinks so you can start spreading equity.

Links are usually added contextually within the text of blogs and articles. Ideally, links for cluster pages will point to the pillar page, while the pillar page will link out to cluster pages. Building links around your ‘cornerstone’ content is a great place to start for an internal linking strategy.

You can then consider the wider structure of your site and begin linking hierarchical pages together. These will be pages, such as ‘Contact us’ and ‘About us’, outside of your blog. Using the pyramid structure, it should be easy enough to identify ‘parent’ and ‘child’ pages that are related and thus perfect for internal links.

It is also a good idea to add navigational links where possible. For your pillar pages, try to link them to your homepage and website footers. It is important to note that your homepage may initially have the most authority, so it’s an excellent base to link out from to spread value.

Finally, when adding links to sentences in your content, you need to use an anchor text that sounds natural. Google will be analysing the relevance of the paragraph where the anchor and internal link is located just as much as the actual keyword itself. This is why you need experienced copywriters to create engaging content that can incorporate keywords and links seamlessly to increase its authority and power.

If you need an SEO-centric content service that can support your efforts to build an effective linking structure for your site while increasing its visibility and traffic, contact us today. Our blog management includes a full management service that will give you a base from which to start adding relevant internal links.


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