SEO & internal links: Everything you need to know

Veröffentlicht: 10. March 2021

Internal links are often underestimated. The whole world is focused on backlinks in search engine optimization.

Although backlinks are extremely important for your off-page SEO, you can also achieve a lot with links within your site.

Today I’ll show you why internal links are important for SEO and how to use them optimally. Let’s go!

Only have a little time? Click here to go directly to the key takeaways.

What are “links”?

A link refers to the linking of two websites, or in other words: the reference to another website or file, which is triggered by an activation such as a mouse click.

Links play an important role in search engine optimization and have a decisive influence on your Google ranking.

Links can be divided into two categories: external and internal.

The difference between external and internal links

Both internal and external links are important methods for the work of search engine optimization. However, although one type can exist just as well without the other, only the interaction of both variants is profitable for a successful SEO strategy.

As the name suggests, external links refer from one domain to another, second domain. Such a link is also called a backlink.

linking
External links connect 2 different domains with each other

Backlinks are so important in search engine optimization because a link from another site to your site is always a positive signal for search engines. Such a link is comparable to a recommendation in the offline world.

However, this statement should be taken with a grain of salt. Not every backlink is “good”. If you want to find out more about the criteria you should pay attention to for backlinks, take a look here .

An internal link refers from one domain to another page or location within the same domain.

Even if little attention is often paid to internal linking, it is an enormously helpful tool for search engine optimization and important for a good Google ranking.

The page navigation or elements such as “similar articles on the same topic” are often used for internal linking. You can also refer directly to other pages or to another post or article at appropriate points in the text.

And I would definitely recommend the latter. Let’s take a closer look at why this is the case!

Summary

External & Internal Links

External links link two different domains. With internal links, you refer to another location within your page / domain.

Why are internal links important for SEO?

Internal linking can have several advantages for your SEO. This includes in particular the distribution of linkjuice, user-friendliness and you can also support search engines with crawling .

Linkjuice

Like external links, internal links pass on so-called linkjuice. This means that the value of the website, which was assigned by a search engine such as Google, is passed on via the reference to the linked page.

This makes internal linking an important SEO factor for your website.

For example, if you pass on the link juice from your homepage to individual subpages, these will receive more “juice” from the backlinks on your homepage and can rank better.

The following diagram illustrates the principle:

linkjuice / linkkraft distribution
Pass on linkjuice with internal links

This way you can achieve a similar effect as if this subpage had received an external link directly. A very useful concept!

User friendliness

In addition to the positive effect of link power on your SEO success, you also benefit from conscientious internal linking in terms of user-friendliness.

Through internal links in your texts or to subpages of your website, you guarantee the user a pleasant navigation on your website and help to link different topics and information directly.

The way in which further information is referred to is less oppressive with internal links and appears intuitive and useful to the user.

A nice side effect for you is that users stay on your site longer. These user signals will also have a positive effect on your Google ranking!

Support crawlers

The third major SEO benefit of internal linking is that search engine crawlers can find your content more easily.

If you don’t link to a subpage anywhere on your site, how is Google supposed to know that it even exists?

There is of course the way via the Sitemap.xml, but if you link your important subpages internally, you help the crawlers to find all your content.

Summary

Why are internal links important?

Your Google rankings and your users benefit from internal links, and you also make life easier for the crawlers.

Optimal use of internal linking

Now you already know why internal links are important for SEO. Surely you want to know how to place them optimally? You will find out now!

Preparation: your link structure

Before you go off and start placing internal links on your site like crazy, first think about your link structure.

By that I mean:

  • Do you already use “readable” URLs?
  • How will you structure or organize your content?

Readable URLs are, for example: yourpage.com/your-post, instead of yourpage.com/post123

This is not only easier to understand for the reader, but also for search engines.

You should pay attention to the structure and organization:

Let’s say you cover two different topics in your blog. Then the following link structure could be useful:

yourpage.com/topic1/contribution1

You put contributions to the second topic in

yourpage.com/topic2/contribution2

Again, you help both your website visitors and search engines to find their way around better.

Depending on how extensive your page is, a finer or coarser subdivision may be useful. However, you should bear one thing in mind:

Your most important subpages should not be “deeper” than 3 levels. In the example above, the contributions would be on the second level. This concept of levels is called crawl depth.

The most important pages should be accessible as quickly as possible for both users and crawlers. So remember: Keep the crawl depth smaller than 3 for important pages!

Enough preparation, let’s look at how to place your links effectively on your site.

The placement of internal links is also an important part of your path to SEO success. As with the structure, the primary aim was to ensure easy navigation for users so that helpful information can be found intuitively and effectively.

In principle, you can always insert an internal link if it helps the user at this point and provides added value.

References to further information or a similar article, if it makes sense at this point. Basically, it’s not rocket science.

You can also consider a few aspects to show Google which links should be classified as important.

Place links in the main area of a subpage and rather at the beginning of the text. Links in the footer or sidebar are considered less relevant.

But note the number of links. There’s nothing wrong with setting lots of internal links, but it should remain within certain limits and not restrict the usability of your site!

Summary

Always place internal links where it makes sense

Guide your users to further, helpful information. But don’t overdo it with the number. Your common sense will show you the middle way 🙂

The link text / anchor text

The link text, also known as anchor text, is crucial for the effectiveness of your internal links.

The content of the link text should be precise and equally descriptive so that it creates a helpful impression of the linked page.

Only if your anchor text provides relevant information can you fulfill the expectations of users. Your reader should therefore immediately know what to expect behind this link.

One example:

The link text “Link” tells you something about the page behind it? That’s right, very little.

The link text“Guide to OnPage Optimization” tells you directly what you can expect behind the link.

Nevertheless, the link text should contain the most important keywords that are relevant for the linked page. By using keywords, you make it easier for search engines such as Google to categorize pages thematically and ultimately improve your success in the rankings.

What is practically a no-go when building backlinks, namely always using keyword anchor texts, is absolutely advantageous for internal links.

So don’t be afraid to use keywords in the anchor text.

Conclusion

Now you’ve learned all about internal links & SEO. I hope this article was useful for you. Here is a brief summary of the most important information:

  • Avoid trivial link texts such as “read more” but use meaningful anchor texts with keywords
  • Pay attention to a flat hierarchy in the link structure of your site
  • Highlight links visually
  • Think about a logical link structure when planning the page
  • Always use internal links where they provide added value for the user
  • Link your subpages to each other, but don’t overdo it with the number of links!
Hannes Kaltofen

Hannes Kaltofen

Gründer & Geschäftsführer

Seit über 7 Jahren in den SERPs unterwegs. Dank SEO konnte Ich das Affiliate Marketing, Blogging und Agenturgeschäft kennelernen und helfe Unternehmen tagtäglich bei ihrer Sichtbarkeit.

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