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Creating internal links on your website can help boost your SEO and improve user experience.

Internal links strategies for WordPress websites

Internal links enhance the user experience for visitors by sending a user to other pages deep within your website, often times to provide them with extended information on a specific subject or area of interest such as Search Engine Optimization or building WordPress websites.

Realistically, your homepage can’t (and shouldn’t) have links to every subject on your blog but with deep-linked internal links, your visitors can quickly get to the more complex information.

How internal links help your visitors

First and foremost, the purpose of deep linking is to help your visitors find content easier. This happens when a specific subject or phrase on a page is linked to another page on your website. For example, if I was writing a post about improving internal links on a WordPress website, I would choose to hyperlink the word WordPress to another post helping users understand what WordPress was.

How internal links help your search engine optimization

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is all about improving your organic listing in  Google and other popular search engines to ensure your listings appear at the top of the results.

Now that we’re clear that internal links have nothing to do with search engine optimization, and everything to do with helping your audience find the best content on your website, let’s look at exactly how (and why) internal links help your website’s SEO.

Internal links raise your authority

The first thing to understand about your website’s authority is that it’s dependent on all the pages on your website, not just the homepage.

So while it’s vital to have a great authority for the homepage, you also want to build the authority for as many of your internal pages as possible. To do that, you need to build backlinks from both your own pages and external pages or else these low authority pages will drag down the value of your high authority pages.

Improve search engine’s understanding of your website

Internal links, or deep links, help to improve your website’s overall presence on the web by improving how search engines see your website. It’s important to remember that while intelligent, search engine robots are still simply software applications and they rely on links to locate new content.

The goal of your internal links should always be to add value to your target audience, but a remarkable benefit of improving your user experience is that you also improve the performance of your website in search engine result pages.

Internal links will raise your visibility

It would be impossible for search engines to find most content on your website without the benefits of deep linking, either from your own website or from incoming external links.

The more links to a page, from both your own content and the external links, the higher that web page will appear in the Google search engine results.

Internal link strategies

Let’s look at a few strategies for building internal links on your own websites and marketing materials, and how these methods can help your business.

Vanity URL’s

If your business is looking to create a specific promotion for an upcoming event, product, or post, you can use the built-in WordPress permalink structure to improve your SEO, or you can create a vanity URL with WordPress to promote a specific page.

A vanity URL takes the form of a subdomain that is usually part of your domain name (seo.thisismyurl.com), a specific subdirectory (thisismyurl.com/SEO), or a unique URL for the event (seo.tdl).

Once you’ve created a vanity URL for your marketing efforts, setting it up with a 302 redirect will ensure search engines know the final destination is the page you’re intending on linking to.

Deep link your content

Internal links are links between websites
Deep linking with internal links will build your own site traffic, as well as help Google better understand the content on your website.

When building internal links, it’s vital to deep link your content from one post (or page) to another. My strategy for deep linking is to write my initial post, then during the editing phase, to regularly review a list of posts that I feel could be beneficial for my audience. I also make a habit of regularly revisiting old posts, to see if a new post can help improve the understanding of earlier content.

Create plenty of content

If you’re going to take the time to write a blog or build a website, you’ll want to set aside a schedule to write enough content to populate your blog, as well as a strategy for generating enough content to produce internal linking opportunities. If you’re looking for a great way to start planning your content strategy, I strongly recommend Brian Rothstein’s new book on content strategy ideas.

Use natural internal links

Let’s go back to my first point, these links are for readers. The side benefit of building SEO value is just that, a side benefit. To create truly powerful internal links, avoid linking words such as click here, or learn more. Internal links should be part of the everyday text or graphics.

Keep your internal links to an acceptable number

Internal links in WordPress
Internal links are the means for Google to find better content on your website faster and improve your SEO.

Google has an article for webmasters that encourages website owners to maintain a reasonable number of internal links per page, but it doesn’t clearly define what a reasonable number of links per page may be. As a result, the best I can recommend is a guess but generally speaking I suggest linking no more than once per paragraph, and only when the link justifies an internal link.

Internal link questions

When should you create an internal link? Here are the three questions I ask myself:

  1. will this link add value to the reader’s experience, or lead to a call to action;
  2. have I already linked to this resource, in this post or page;
  3. does it feel spammy, or self-serving;

Okay, that last one might seem completely arbitrary but in my experience, it’s a great indicator if a link is warranted in a situation.

Deep linking to buried content will improve website traffic

I think it’s always a great idea to include fresh content on your website, either by routinely updating the pages or by including a timely blog but there’s also something to be said about deep linking to evergreen content on your website.

What is deep linking?

Deep linking is a fancy way to describe linking to content beyond the homepage of your website, in particular, to blog posts and pages that may not receive a lot of traffic on your site but you want to push visitors towards.

In the case of evergreen articles (posts that are always fresh), it’s a great idea to link from your content to them in order to help add value to a post or explain a complex concept to your audience. For example, when I mention a site-specific plugin in a WordPress coding article, I always link to a tutorial article to help visitors who are new to the concept.

Remember, if you’re not willing to link to your own content … why should anybody else?

Ensure your links are optimized

When you’re adding links to your website content, be sure that you not only link phrases (instead of words) but that you’re also taking the time to include the proper title attributes and surround your links with relevant content to ensure you get the most positive search engine boost possible.

Search engine robots often view isolated text links as website navigation, or suspicious text so be sure to include strong link text within naturally flowing language.

Link using words and phrases

To help improve the quality of your website links and improve your search engine optimization, take a few moments to link phrases within your content, rather than single words. It’s equally important to avoid linking text such as “click here“.

Search engine robots read more than just the target of a link, they also read the content surrounding the link and the title attributes of the tag itself! If you want to make the most of your search engine optimization, take the time to link your content properly.

Search Engine Optimization tip – deep linking

Deep linking your way to profit and better usability.

When it comes to Search Engine Optimization for your business website there are a few things that you can always count on working and deep linking is at the top of the list. At it’s most basic level, deep linking is linking to content on your website other than your home page. In practice, it’s linking from one web page to another using hyperlink.

Common sense is the best way to apply Deep Linking to your web pages but since we all know that common sense isn’t all that common, let’s look at some practical applications of how and when to use Deep Linking to optimize your site.

  1. To promote similar articles or pages. If your web page or blog entry has a paragraph which highlights another entry on your site, link the text in your new posting to the old page. For example, this article is about Search Engine Optimization so I link to similar content on my site.
  2. To provide easy access to common pages. Whenever I ask people to contact me, I like to include a link to my contact page.
Deep Linking is different than simply linking to content outside of your website and it doesn’t affect the target content as much as external linking does but it does help your content build value in the eyes of Google and other search engines. More importantly, Deep Linking is about increasing both usabilities for your readers by providing hyperlinks to the valuable content on your website as well as defining yourself as an expert in your industry.
On a technical level, Deep Linking helps you establish credibility with search engines by doing two things:
  1. Helping Google find content on your website which could have been orphaned or unindexed otherwise.
  2. Improves the understanding of your content in search engines databases by associated content with similar content.
Remember, the first letter of HTML stands for Hyper. As in HyperText (HT), so if your web page is hyperlinking to other content, what good is it?

Conclusions about internal links

What I hope that you can take away from this post is that internal linking is designed to be of benefit to your visitors, and by improving their experience on your website, you’re also improving your own search engine optimization and site usability.

What do you think? Can you recommend any other times internal links can be of benefit?