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For starters, let us begin by understanding the term Internal Linking in the context of website designing in the simplest way possible. Internal linking is connecting one page to another page of the same domain. It could be as simple as adding a link to another article, as a resource, to the one you are writing. It could also be direct links from the main page to other web pages or on your website.
Before we know the top internal linking practices, here are a few reasons why they are important:
- They allow users to navigate a website quickly.
- It creates awareness about the essential pages of your website.
- Acts as a way to making visitors read more.
- It improves the search engine ranking of articles.
- Internal Links generates more traffic on your website.
Now, let us see the top 10 internal linking best practices for your website.
- Use keyword rich anchor texts to help in navigation.
You can use appropriate keywords in your article as anchor texts to connect it to other relevant pages in your website. It will help the users to visit the other pages of your website and make navigation bit easier. However, too much of everything is harmful. So, refrain from using too many keywords linking to the same page on your website. So, the baseline is - anchor texts should make sense to the page you are connecting. The keyword you use to link should be a cue to the readers to know what the link is about.
Note: Anchor texts are words/keywords that you add to links in your article.
- Place links as naturally as you can.
We suggest not putting links to other resources in an unplanned way. Add the anchor texts with the article to keep the flow of the article. Strategically placing the links on the content could give you brownie points (here, meaning more clicks by the visitors), while put otherwise, they could end up not helping you much.
Tip: The links don’t necessarily have to be placed at the top or the bottom. They can be placed anywhere as long as they fit in with the article and make sense.
- Put up important links on your homepage.
When people land on your website, they want to dig into and find all about you: the critical information, the relevance, history, background etc. So, make the homepage the place from where your visitors can get to the pages where they actually want to be.
Example - If your website is selling the products made by your company, make sure your Product link placed prominently and linked properly. If you have multiple products, your website, the home page may use a drop-down for Product menu with multiple submenus linking to each product offering pages.
- Drop the spotlight on related articles.
The section called ‘Related Article’ at the bottom of the page is quite helpful when it comes to internal linking. Here you can place all the articles which have similar subject or theme or may be useful in the context of the current page article. If a reader finds the current article useful, they may be more likely to check out the related posts.
- A Sitemap is a necessity.
A sitemap consists of the links to all of the pages of your website. Because it is a compilation of links leading to various resources, it helps human to navigate your website quickly and for search engine its golden page to follow all linked pages in your website and index them in the search database, so sitemap is a must for all the websites.
Sitemaps are categorized into two parts, and both serve their purposes differently:
- HTML Sitemap: It is like a list which gives out the navigation of the website to the visitors. These are bulleted and hence make the work easy for the user, for they can jump from link to link based on where they want to go.
- XML Sitemap: These are submitted to the search engines to get the websites indexed. These may not be available to the visitors.
- Add “Breadcrumb” links.
They are step-by-step navigation leading to the destination page. For example, simple breadcrumb navigation will look like this:
Homepage> Title 1> Sub-Title 1> Sub-Title 2.
This allows the visitor to go back to the previous pages easily should they need to. It is an excellent way for the users to know where they are on your website, and you as a website owner to get the benefits of internal linking.
- Sidebars can often be of use.
Don’t let the empty place on either side of your website sit there blankly. Make use of it by putting up either widgets or suggestions to the readers to other articles on your website. For example, every page could contain a sidebar consisting of a few suggestions which are related to the material your reader is viewing and link them to relevant pages on your website.
- Eliminate bad browsing experience by rechecking your links.
To ensure that the links you are adding on your pages are not broken, you can make use to link checkers which are available online. These link checkers will check your web pages to ensure that none of the links leads to a “Not Found” page, or are broken. This will eliminate the chances of any of your visitors going through a bad experience while on your website.
- Before you add links, think.
Think how useful it is going to be for the reader; whether the reader would click the link or not; whether the placement of the link is proper or not; and other things along the same line. This ensures that the likelihood of you making a mistake with internal linking is lesser. Also, refrain from placing too many links in the article. This takes away from the smooth reading experience of the reader.
- Every new article or content that you add should be of value to the old articles.
Although this is not a compulsion, it is suggested that when you add a new article to your website, it should be of some value to the old or previous articles that you have. This way, if your new article is linked to high-ranking old articles, the new article too gets ranked highly on search engine result pages.
So these were some essential internal linking best practices for your website, which can enhance your user's experience on your website, improve website ranking in search engines.
We hope that this blog was of help to you. Do share your comments with us; we would love to hear from you!