Internal links should be a part of every content marketing strategy. Internal linking is an essential element in providing value to your website viewers, and for search engine optimization. When you know how to implement the use of internal links correctly, you can not only drive more traffic to your website but can also increase your rankings on search engines. Here’s how:
- Table of Contents:
What Are Internal Links?
Internal links are applied to websites or blogs that have more than one published entry, wherein text within one piece of content directly links to another published post.
For example, on a real estate website with a blog post about how to apply for a home mortgage loan, you might find the words: when buying a house. That text could be highlighted and linked to another article titled Tips for Home Buyers.
Any time you write a new blog post, keep your eye out for related topics that could connect through internal linking.
If you’re just starting out with your first piece of content on a new website, you can still apply internal links each time you add a new piece. Keeping internal links in mind may also help you map out your content publishing calendar. You can plan your articles or posts in layers, each piece delving further into and linking to topics mentioned in the previous article.
What is the Difference Between Internal Links and Backlinks?
- Internal links tie together multiple pages in your website, linking one article to another.
- Backlinks are off-site links that lead back to your website or blog.
An example of a backlink would be when you share the link for your post on Facebook. When users click the link from Facebook, they’re clicking a link that leads back to your website.
Backlinks should apply to your site’s internal pages moreover than the home page. Too many backlinks to the home page can damage SEO rankings. On the contrary, ample backlinks to individual pages within your website add to your search engine authority.
Each time you write a new blog post or article, you can create backlinks by sharing the URL for that post on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media networks.
Although backlinks are a noteworthy force in SEO, some experts could argue that internal links pack a more powerful punch regarding user experience. Search engines gauge a site’s authority mostly relating to user experience.
Why are Internal Links Valuable to Website Visitors?
First, and perhaps most important, by creating internal links you are adding more value to the user experience.
When a visitor to your website is reading about how to stage their house to sell, there’s a high probability they’d also benefit from reading another of your articles titled How to Prepare for an Appraisal.
When you provide a path for visitors to follow and they continue to explore your offerings, you’re nurturing a relationship with that viewer. You’re establishing yourself as an expert in your industry and building trust.
Also, when you build a relationship with a website viewer, you add to the probability that the same person will seek your site out the next time they have a related query. So will the search engines!
Why are Internal Links Significant for Search Engine Optimization
Search engines gauge the authority of a website based, in part, on the following:
- Time on site
- Average Actions
- Site Indexing
Time on site
Search engines determine how relevant your content is to a viewer by measuring the length of time that visitor spends on your website. When a user clicks in and then bounces right back out, search engines recognize that the user did not find what they were searching for. Therefore, your site loses authority. However, when a user spends a significant amount of time reading your content, search engines deem that content valuable to the user.
As a bonus, when that same user searches for similar topics on the web, search engines are more likely to display results for pages that the visitor has already found valuable. Repeat visits equal higher authority in search engines.
The search engines determine that if a user appreciated your content once, they’re more likely to find value in it again. For this reason, your page will be amongst the first search engine results from a query entered by a viewer who has already been to your website. The exception to this rule is if that person is using a different computer or is browsing from a private or incognito window.
An action is when a user clicks on an item on your pages such as a link, image, or video. The more times a user clicks, the more search engines recognize that the viewer is engaging with your content.
In essence, the search engines are measuring user experience. The higher-quality experience the user has, the more authority search engines assign to your content.
Search engines deploy robots to crawl the web. These bots are responsible for locating and indexing new content. When your site has well-placed internal links, search engines have a greater probability of finding your new content.
Moreover, search engines now include Latent Semantic Indexing or LSI. Search engines, through their evolution, have begun to recognize synonyms, related words, and commonly used words among websites featuring similar topics.
For example, if a search query includes the term real estate, search engines would also consider words such as houses, homes, listings, realtor and mortgage to be relevant terms. In other words, if a search engine finds the phrase real estate, it would also expect to find additional words that high ranking websites of the same topic have in common. For this reason, internal links to related articles are beneficial to your site’s rankings.
Understanding Anchor Text
Anchor text is the portion of content within one article or blog post that is linked directly to another related piece of content on your website. For example:
To ensure a high-quality user experience, make sure you’re providing valuable content.
The linked text, providing valuable content, is the anchor text. In this case, the anchor text is leading to a related article about creating killer content with blog-writing.
Natural Language in Internal Links
Notice in the above example that the anchor text was a natural part of the sentence. There are no forced keywords that could be deemed as keyword stuffing. Furthermore, I avoided the words: click here.
Additionally, the title of the page being linked to is Blog Writing | Create Killer Content. In the anchor text, I avoided using an exact match of that title.
The reader recognizes that the link provides added information while the search engines recognize related content uninfluenced by unnatural keywords or exact match anchor text.
In some cases, search engines will penalize sites for using exact match text in their posts. Why? Search engines are now catering to user experience and frown upon “spammy” content.
How to Add Anchor Links
You can add anchor links with HTML code in a text editor, or you can use the link tool in your website’s text settings, such as the link tool in WordPress.
Adding Anchor Links with WordPress
When you’re using WordPress for your real estate website, adding anchor links is easy.
- Decide which portion of text you’d like to link
- Highlight the text to be linked
- While the text is still highlighted, click the link icon in the WordPress toolbar as shown below.
- When you click the link icon, you’ll see a screen where you can enter a URL. However, if you click the settings icon as shown below, you’ll be able to search all of your blog content by keyword.
- When you enter a search term, WordPress displays all of your blog posts matching that phrase. You can customize the text to be displayed, and click a box to open the link in a new window.
When you’ve added the link to the anchor text in WordPress, your link will appear as determined in your site settings. Most commonly, the linked text is another color and may be underlined. Here’s an example:
Get more leads by creating custom single property pages on your real estate website.
In this site’s customized theme settings, links appear in salmon color and are not underlined. However, these settings may be changed to your liking if your website’s theme permits customization.
Creating Anchor Text Using HTML Code
Although using a WYSIWYG editor as demonstrated above is simple, using HTML code doesn’t need to be complicated.
Here’s what the example anchor text from above looks like when entered with HTML code:
Get more leads by <a href=”http://loriballen.com/listings-to-leads/” target=”_blank”>creating custom single property pages</a> on your real estate website.
- In the text editor, before the words you want to link, add <a href=
- Next, enter the URL of the page you are linking to, inside quotations “http://loriballen.com/listings-to-leads”
- To open that link in a new window, type: target=”_blank”>
- At the end of the text you’re linking, close the HTML code by adding: </a>
Another advantage to using anchor text is that when search engines crawl your web content, they don’t only scan what’s visible to viewers. They also crawl the code. When you have HTML code with related keywords within the URL of the page being linked to, this adds to your search engine ranking.
Practice Makes Perfect
- Each time you create a new piece of content, try to include at least five internal links. If you’re just getting started, you’re perfectly positioned to systematically create anchor links in additional pieces.
- Make a habit of revisiting old content and updating the internal links. This is also an excellent opportunity to refresh your old content. Spruce it up a bit, then change the publication date to the current day. Refreshing old content sends strong signals to search engines.
- Keep in mind that new content you publish can be added as an internal link to previously published articles when appropriate.
- Beware of deleting or unpublishing content you may have used for internal links. Instead of deleting or unpublishing, consider using redirects.
- When possible, use internal links to pages that are already ranking well on search engines. You can use a tool such as SEMrush to determine the rank of pages in your website.
Your content marketing strategy should include internal linking. Although there are additional benefits, a primary factor for linking content together is to keep that content in front of viewers. It can be upsetting to publish a stellar piece of long-form content only to have it slip quietly into the content graveyard.
Learning to implement internal links correctly throughout your real estate website is important. By using internal links, you’re creating additional value for your readers. Your internal links also provide a structure that makes it easier for search engine robots to detect and index new content. Additionally, search engines recognize user experience, so the longer a user spends on your site and the more actions they take, the higher your website climbs in the search engines.