Internal Link Analysis for SEO and Best Conversions
Internal link analysis is crucial in the site design if you need your website indexed by search engines; Google said this some time ago, and it still holds. Your link architecture allows crawlers to find your web pages and helps users to navigate your site.
What Are Internal Links?
An internal link is a link that points to a different page on the same site. An SEO or webmaster has total control over implementing internal links (unlike with external links, which connect your site to an outside source).
Because the underlined text used in the sentence preceding links to another webpage on this site, it’s an internal link!
Types of Internal Links
Internal links have different subtypes, and understanding how they work will help you gain authority and get acknowledged for your expertise through the appropriate treatment of your links and how they relate to each other.
The first and most obvious type of internal link to make a note of is a navigation link or universal link. Navigation links can be found on each website in the header or footer section of a home page and provide global context to your visitors on what is essential on your site. For the most part, each item in a homepage navigation bar or menu has a link to every section of the website, navigating the user from the home page to the rest.
The second type of internal link is named a category link. These look in the left navigation and often show refinements when searching for a product or subtopic. These links are also included to as dynamic navigation or dynamic filters. Optimizing your site structure and paying careful attention to category links can significantly impact your site’s organic traffic.
When we drill down from navigation and category links, we also have content links. Surprisingly, not many companies use this internal link, but those who do see significant results. A content link provides the user with context around the copy that arrives on your site.
For example, if you operate a travel website, there is a big difference between Rome, Italy, and Rome, Indiana. A content link is highly efficient at telling your users which Rome you’re referencing in your text. Though often overlooked by some companies, the key bits of text in these links work very well to give a more in-depth context to your site visitors.
Product and service links are also internal links, and they show up on product and other service pages. They are the cross-sell and up-sell opportunities at the bottom of a web page and similar products listed on the same page. They support crawlers and visitors find related products. It’s important to use detailed and unique product descriptions that go beyond keywords and showcase an understanding of how your website’s products are related.
Internal Link Modules
Internal link modules are another type of link that only the most innovative companies are using. When search engines can navigate your site with the least amount of hits, it dramatically optimizes the position of your site in search engine results and increases traffic. Most websites use a hierarchical taxonomy. This structure resembles branches on a tree, and because it involves drilling down into many layers of information, it’s not always easy to find information quickly.
Deep linking avoids the standard tree-like hierarchy to hasten the discoverability of suitable topics. Internal link modules utilize the shortcuts offered through deep linking to reference other parts of a website much faster.
Why Focus on Internal Link Analysis?
But there’s more to internal links than what page you land on when you hit on them. Their value to SEO is immense yet often overlooked.
Internal links help Google and site users know the structure of your site and how different pages relate to each other.
The search engine utilizes your internal linking structure to crawl and access all your content, while your site visitors use those links to navigate to other related blog posts or other product and services pages.
The search engine also uses the anchor text of an internal link (the hyperlinked text that users hit on to navigate to another URL) to understand the topic of the page better it’s linking to.
Finally, internal links help establish the hierarchy on the site and pass link juice from the essential pages to those with less authority.
The Principles of a Solid Internal Linking Strategy
First, let’s cover what you should never forget when building an internal link approach– there are some fundamental principles. These are the inquiries to ask yourself when interlinking:
Am I linking to the most important pages?
A common mistake I notice sites make is to include any internal links they can think of, just for the sake of ticking that on-page optimization box. Instead, it would help if you were always mindful of the number of links and only links to the most helpful pages.
Are they accessible within the fewest clicks?
The deeper the page is in the hierarchy, the higher it will take for users and crawlers to reach it. Make sure that you always link to the page directly, building the shortest possible path to it.
Am I accurate and compatible with the anchor text I use in those links?
Google reads the text to see the topic of the linked page. So, be conscious about what anchor you use to define the destination page. Ideally, avoid ambiguous or general phrases like Click Here or Read More as much as possible.
Am I tending to any pages that are broken, canonicalized, or redirected?
Broken links reduce the user experience and stop Google crawlers in their tracks, too. Always test your links to bypass sending users and bots to a 404 page. You also need to avoid unclear or incorrect directions that point to a dead-end.
Am I sending visitors to different versions of the same page?
This problem often occurs when you link to pages with probably dynamically created content. If possible, always utilize the version of the page that’s the same for everyone. It might mean not adding variables in the internal link URL, but it’s worth it for the user.