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In this article, you get 9 pro tips to improve your site’s internal linking structure. The main purpose of this is not only to shed light on a complicated subject matter in SEO but to improve your content marketing.
We won't just discuss well-structured internal linking procedures – we also deal with smart internal linking structure.
As one of the main and the most attractive ingredients in attracting new clients and retention strategies for existing clients, internal linking should be done by pros and beginners.
Whether you follow basic internal linking mantra or adhere to more advanced internal linking commandments, this all boils down to one thing – internal linking spells SEO success.
Internal linking has been found to be the most overlooked and undervalued SEO tactic. Here are 9 rules to get you started, extract and channel more juice, and re-engineer your site's hierarchy:
Rule #1: Create lots of internal pages
The primary SEO mistake is bad content marketing. A killer internal linking strategy is nothing without a killer content marketing strategy. Why? Lots of content means lots of linkable content, that simple. Please, oh, please create pages of value that users would love to share with their friends.
Rule #2: Use anchor text and linked images properly
The use of anchor text is pretty simple. Just create or use natural statements in your content with your anchor text, usually ranging from 3 to 5 words, highlight the phrase, link it, and you're done.
The text in the link should match the target keywords in the referenced page – and most importantly, be relevant. When done properly, the use of anchor text increases relevancy and can help improve your content or site's position in search engine results.
If you want to use images especially for the purpose of sharing or re-distribution to social networking sites and content communities to attract or gain more attention, make sure the image is properly linked and alt-tagged.
Remember that these images, even if they are linked, should not be the main source of your links.
Rule #3: Deep linking is a must
The best links and the most natural links in a content marketing strategy are deep within the structure of a site which includes your homepage, categories, and individual pages. Now, we're talking about interlinking.
In the below example, “source of traffic to your site” links to another article http://contentmarketingup.com/blog-post-ideas-sources/
Follow this rule by remembering that you only need to link to relevant pages on your site. Do this more often than adding more categories or navigation or side menus to your site.
The process of passing this valuable juice can be pretty time consuming but is worth it to help SEO, drive up your site as a go-to resource in the industry, and increase pages viewed per visitor.
Rule #4: Drop links on the homepage and IA pages
Don't get us wrong here. We don't mean you should no longer link to your homepage. What we mean is that unless your homepage or company sends a strong trust and authority signal to search engines, make it a priority to boost the overall SEO of your site.
By strengthening internal pages first and then linking to your homepage for the sole purpose of tapping equity.
Pages that are high in information architecture (IA) are pages only a click away from the home page. So if you are to drop most of your links to your homepage you should also drop links to these related pages.
The more links you add going to your home page, the more juice flows to your IA pages. And the more links you add to your IA pages, the more juice that moves up the ladder to your home page.
Rule #5: Develop a user-focus approach
Add more value and information to your content to ensure user-retention.
Those who have mastered the art of internal linking prove that a properly structured internal linking strategy generally improves user engagement. In that case, make sure your dashboard or internal linking plan is user-focused. Make this your #1 objective this 2015.
Create pages to make sure your visitor sees an informative link in your site. Next, create a strong link to relevant pages so your visitor can continue reading and move on to the next relevant page. Improving user experience is the most vital conversion factor of every website or SEO campaign.
And the next step is to ensure your site visitor stays longer and becomes more involved in your website experience by sharing your content.
Rule #6: Relevance spells authority
A powerful internal linking strategy finds its greatest strength in the proper way of internal linking to relevant pages and use of relevant links. When you continually create relevant, useful and actionable content, you'll become an authority, just like Darren Rowse.
We've talked about relevant pages in our previous discussion. So to clarify, relevant pages can be found within your site's home page, categories or navigation, and specific pages.
Individual pages can be used for internal linking. Try adding additional navigation or sub-pages to your most linked-to pages to extract more juice. Or you may also enrich your navigation or categories or sidebar menus with relevant keywords.
The litmus question to ask is: am I adding value to my readers?
Rule #7: Keep your distance from "rel=nofollow"
This idea was popular way back until Danny Sullivan clarified the confusion over an internal nofollow link.
In order to avoid more confusion, let us simply avoid the nofollow link for internal pages and let link juice flow freely.
Rule #8: The magic number for internal links is…
There is no magic number. You don't need tonnes but you only need to use a reasonable number of internal links. Check and balance, for that matter.
Write an article with more than 1000 words and link it to a relevant internal page from your site today. The next day, do the same but link it to one of your products. Do the same for the following day but link it to a blog post..
Keeping a balance between inbound and outbound links is also important. You can add many but make sure that every link is user-focused, relevant, and will not block the link juice. As a rule of thumb, search-engines can get sketchy if a site has over 40 outbound links on a given page.
See an example of low-quality outbound links below. These are clearly not for the user because they outbound links cover unrelated topics. The large numbers of outbound links on the page (of more listings) are an SEO flag:
Rule #9: Link to unconventional places on your site
Sounds unconventional and does not seem like an all-time favorite for more clients but it works! How?
My last tip is to not load up the footer with keyword-rich links designed for search engines. It’s spam. Keep it user-friendly.
The rules above can become your lucky 9 tips towards successful content marketing SEO. Hopefully you’re now a little more confident in your content strategy.
What other internal linking rule do you think is important to know?
Joshua Uebergang is head of strategy at Digital Darts where he helps Shopify stores improve their SEO and marketing for more sales. Our social media links are in the footer of the site: https://www.digitaldarts.com.au/