Now, we know just last week we released a blog about how link building may be less important to Google going forward, but that doesn’t mean that links aren’t important right now. So let’s go into why, specifically, internal links are so important.
First of all, what is an internal link? Internal links are hyperlinks from one of your web pages to another page that lives on the same domain. So they shouldn’t be confused with backlinks, also known as external links, that point from your site to another domain. But why do internal links matter?
Improve User Experience
The focus of Google has been to improve user experience more than anything, rather than focusing on what the platform sees as best. And that’s exactly why internal links are so important. They offer your audience the ability to dig deeper and inform themselves more about a specific topic of interest.
Think of this as a Wikipedia rabbit hole. Your internal links can keep users interested in the content on your domain and spend more time on site.
Drive Users to Conversions
For e-commerce brands, building an internal link structure in your site improves user navigation, ultimately driving your target audience toward a sale. A relevant connection, especially from your early-funnel content, can bring your audience deeper into the funnel and drive conversions.
Links on your homepage push toward your content marketing. Individual blog posts within that structure push towards gated content, a free trial, or product page. Just like that, your audience moves from initial awareness all the way to becoming leads and customers.
Improve Site Architecture
Your site architecture is more than how your site is organized within your menus and navigation pages. Through internal links, you can add another layer that creates a more intricate web of content.
Your site is likely organized by various topics and subtopics that make sense from a homepage perspective. But internal links can create a second layer of your website architecture by creating cross-links to improve your UX design, turning disconnected pages into a comprehensive online experience.
Improve Crawl Efficiency
Related to the topic of your site architecture is the idea of crawl depth and crawl efficiency. Search engine crawlers work in a simple pattern:
- Automated algorithms, called spiders, crawl the web on new and existing domains.
- When they find your website, they scour the code for SEO ranking factors on every individual page.
- What they find becomes part of your site’s record or index, which then determines whether and how it will appear in search results.
- On a regular schedule, the process happens all over again.
Here’s one thing that these crawlers do, though: they check out your internal and external links, looking to discover new and updated content. A strong network of internal links is the perfect aid your site can provide.
Search engines appreciate when things are simple, and the more easily they can crawl your site, the better for your search results.
Tell Search Engines Which Keywords You Want to Rank
Because you have full control over adding your internal links (no link building required here), you can send a clear message to Google about keyword and page associations via anchor text.
All internal links use anchor text (the blue text hyperlink that a user clicks on) to provide context to both users and the search engine.
Using contextually-relevant anchor text that properly describes the page that the link leads to gives you an added opportunity to clearly tell the search engine that page X should rank for keyword Y and boost relevance.
Each of the above points is unique, but they all add up to one thing: the ways in which internal links can improve and build your SEO. If you need help with your own SEO strategy, and more specifically, internal linking, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.