Your website’s foundation lies in its content, but what holds it all together are the internal links. Think of internal links as the secret pathways within your website. They connect different pages and create a seamless user experience. By strategically using internal links, you can boost your chances of securing that coveted number one ranking.
So let’s unravel this mystery together in this Embarque guide and discover how leveraging internal links can take your website to new heights!
What is Internal Linking?
Internal linking plays a crucial role in enhancing the user experience and SEO performance of a website.
By strategically linking pages within the same domain, startup founders can guide visitors to relevant and valuable content, improve website navigation, and boost search engine rankings.
At Embarque, we successfully demonstrated the power of linkbuilding techniques by achieving by increasing the search traffic of a SaaS client by 6000% over the course of a year. Due to the niche nature of the client's technical SaaS product, their website remains undisclosed.
Te case study showcases the effective strategies implemented by Embarque to leverage white hat linkbuilding techniques, enhance authority and credibility, and drive significant organic traffic growth.
Different Types of Internal Link
Menu/navigation links serve as a primary means of navigation for users. Positioned in the header or menu section of a website, these links provide a clear and organized structure that communicates the hierarchy of the website's content.
Typically, menu/navigation links are organized around product categories, primary services, or key topic areas, depending on the nature of the website. For example, an e-commerce website may have menu links that direct users to different product categories, such as "Electronics," "Clothing," or "Home Decor."
On the other hand, a service-based website may have menu links that highlight primary services like "Web Design," "Digital Marketing," or "Consulting."
A contextual link is an inbound link within content that directs the reader to a relevant URL for additional information or context. Unlike other types of links that may serve promotional or distracting purposes, contextual links are intended to enhance the reader's understanding and provide valuable resources.
When an article includes a contextual link, it means that the author has referenced a source or provided additional information that adds depth or credibility to the content. These links help readers gain a deeper understanding of the topic at hand and encourage further exploration.
Here’s an example from Forbes:
Footer links are located at the bottom of each page within the footer section. These links, also known as sitewide or boilerplate links, provide essential navigation and informational resources for users.
While the primary navigation menus often contain the most important links, the footer serves as a reliable secondary location for users to find additional information or navigate to specific pages. It is commonly understood that if something cannot be found in the main menus, it may be accessible through the footer links.
Here’s an example from one of our clients, MentorCruise:
This footer demonstrates several effective practices:
- Organized footer links: The links are thoughtfully categorized, making it easier for users to navigate and find what they are looking for. By grouping the links into relevant categories, such as shopping, learning, support, and account management, the footer provides a clear and organized structure.
- Quality over quantity: The footer includes important links without overwhelming the user. Instead of including excessive links just for the sake of it, the focus is on providing valuable and relevant information. This approach prevents clutter and ensures that the links in the footer add genuine value for the users.
- Informational links: The footer goes beyond standard navigation links and includes informational links that can educate and engage visitors. For example, the inclusion of a link inviting visitors to learn more about Le Creuset's materials serves to elevate the brand and provide additional value to potential customers. This strategy helps in reinforcing the brand's reputation and justifying their prices.
- Contact link: Recognizing the importance of easy contact, the footer includes a "contact us" link. Placing this link prominently in the footer ensures that customers can quickly find the means to get in touch with the business. It enhances customer satisfaction and facilitates communication, which is crucial for building trust and addressing inquiries or concerns.
Text links are commonly used to direct users to relevant information, external websites, additional resources, or specific sections within a webpage.
It's important to use descriptive and meaningful anchor text for text links, as it helps users understand where the link will lead them. Rather than using generic phrases like "click here" or "learn more," it's recommended to use specific and relevant text that accurately reflects the destination of the link. This improves the user experience and makes it easier for users to navigate and find the information they need.
An example of a text link is shown below:
Text links are highly valuable for SEO because they provide search engines with clear signals about the relevance and relationships between different pages on your site.
Internal Links vs. External Links
External links, also known as outbound links, direct users from your website to a different domain or website. They can be used to provide additional information, reference sources, or promote affiliate programs. Conversely, inbound links are links from other websites that point to your domain.
On the other hand, internal links point to content within the same domain or website. They are typically used for website navigation, directing users to different pages or sections within your website.
For example, the menu bar at the top of your site often contains internal links, allowing visitors to navigate to various sections or categories. Internal links can also be used within content to guide users to related articles or pages on your website.
- External links: Links that point to a separate domain or website, providing additional information or referring to external sources.
- Internal links: Links that point to content within the same domain or website, aiding navigation and connecting different pages or sections on your website.
Both external and internal links are important for website structure, user experience, and SEO. External links can improve the credibility and authority of your content by referencing reliable sources, while internal links enhance navigation and help search engines understand the relationships between your webpages.
Why is Internal Linking Important?
Internal links help add authority
A well-implemented internal linking strategy plays a significant role in distributing link juice, also known as link equity, throughout your website. Link juice refers to the value and authority passed from one page to another through hyperlinks. By strategically linking related pages within your website, you can help improve their search rankings.
The concept of link juice is closely tied to Google's PageRank algorithm, which assigns a numerical value (PageRank) to web pages based on their perceived popularity and significance. The more inbound links a page receives from other reputable websites and the more internal links it has from other pages within its own domain, the higher its PageRank is likely to be.
You can improve engagement metrics and the user experience
Do you want visitors to stay engaged on your website? Encouraging them to explore related pages is a great strategy to deepen their understanding of your brand and the value of your product or service. It's akin to the addictive content consumption experience seen on platforms like TikTok and YouTube.
By implementing a similar concept on your website, you not only enhance your site's performance but also provide visitors with a superior user experience. They can benefit from your valuable resources and expertise in the industry, which may turn them into devoted followers of your work.
As these followers continue to engage with your content, you have the opportunity to establish a meaningful connection with them. Building relationships with your audience is crucial for fostering long-term loyalty and trust—an exceptional user experience that can be achieved through effective internal linking.
Drive Users Toward Conversion
For startups, implementing a well-structured internal linking strategy on your website is crucial for enhancing user navigation and ultimately guiding your target audience towards making a purchase. By establishing relevant connections, especially from early-funnel content, you can effectively lead your audience further down the sales funnel and drive conversions.
The internal links placed on your homepage serve as pathways to your content marketing efforts. Each individual blog post within this structure can then lead users to gated content, a free trial, or a specific product page. This strategic linking approach allows your audience to progress seamlessly from initial awareness to becoming qualified leads and ultimately converting into customers.
To successfully build a comprehensive internal link network, it's important to analyze your website through the lens of the buyer's journey. Consider it as a content mapping exercise, where you align your content with the various stages of the customer's decision-making process.
Starting from creating the right content and optimizing it to target relevant search queries, the next step is to interlink it in a way that guides your audience forward based on their preferences and pace. This approach ensures that users can easily navigate through your website, accessing the information they need at each stage of their buying journey.
Internal linking decreases the bounce rate
Implementing internal linking on your website can help decrease the bounce rate, as it encourages visitors to stay engaged and explore more pages within your site. The longer visitors stay on your site, the lower the bounce rate tends to be.
It's important to note that the effectiveness of internal linking in reducing the bounce rate, increasing session time, and boosting the number of page views per session depends on the number of internal links present on each page. If a page has only a single internal link or very few links, the impact on these metrics may be minimal.
On the other hand, if your pages contain a substantial number of relevant and meaningful internal links, similar to the extensive linking structure seen on platforms like Wikipedia, the effect on the bounce rate, session time, and the number of page views per session can be significant.
How to Use Internal Linking for Startups
Here are some key steps to effectively use internal linking for startups:
Step 1: Create Lots of Relevant Content
Creating an extensive network of internal links within your site requires two key elements: generating a substantial amount of relevant quality content and creating internal pages.
By focusing on these aspects, you can create numerous internal linking opportunities throughout your website without necessarily relying on complex content structures or the silo technique.
Firstly, it's important to produce a significant volume of quality content that covers various topics related to your startup. This content can include blog posts, category pages, listicles, product/service pages, and any other relevant information that adds value to your audience. The more content you have, the more opportunities you'll have for internal linking.
Secondly, as you create new internal pages, ensure they are interconnected through internal links. When writing content, take advantage of relevant anchor text to link to other related pages within your website. This helps users navigate seamlessly between different pages, improves their overall experience, and establishes connections between different pieces of content.
It's worth noting that while creating many internal pages and writing quality content is important, you should also focus on the relevance and context of your internal links. Ensure that the linked pages provide additional value or more in-depth information on a particular topic to encourage users to explore further
Step 2: Link Strategically From Your Homepage
In many cases, the homepage of a website holds significant authority compared to other pages within the same domain. Homepage pages tend to have a higher number of internal links compared to other pages on the site. This higher number of internal links can contribute to the overall authority and importance of the homepage in the website's internal linking structure.
See example below:
Linking strategically from your homepage to pages that require a boost in visibility and authority is crucial. For instance, it is common practice to link from the homepage to the blog section of a website. By doing so, the homepage can transfer some of its authority and link equity to the blog pages.
By including an internal link from your homepage to your blog feed, you are effectively passing authority and link equity from the authoritative homepage to the blog section.
Ultimately, by incorporating internal links within your blog posts that connect to other pages on your website, you can effectively distribute the authority and link equity received from your homepage to all of your posts. These internal links create a network of interconnected pages, allowing the authority to flow through your blog posts and reach other important pages on your site.
This comprehensive internal linking strategy helps to strengthen the overall authority and visibility of your entire website, making it more likely for your posts and other pages to rank higher in search engine results and attract increased organic traffic.
While linking directly from your homepage to important posts may provide a more direct and focused approach, linking to your blog feed can still effectively distribute authority to your individual posts. It allows for a centralized location where visitors can explore and discover a range of blog content.
By linking from your blog posts to other important pages, such as product pages or conversion-focused landing pages, you can guide visitors through a well-defined pathway towards conversions. This approach maintains the focus of your homepage on conversions while still leveraging the authority of your blog and internal linking to benefit your overall website visibility and traffic. Ultimately, the chosen approach depends on your specific goals and priorities for your website.
Step 3: Analyze the topics you frequently write about and optimize internal linking accordingly.
When you consistently produce content on a specific topic, you need to create a dedicated page on your website that serves as a landing page with a relevant offer.
Each blog post or article related to that topic should link back to this authoritative landing page, which should be optimized for conversions. By strategically implementing internal links, you can effectively drive more leads through the call-to-action on the landing page.
Consider the placement of this dedicated page in your website's navigation. Determine if it warrants inclusion in the main navigation menu or the products page, depending on its significance to your business.
In some cases, you may find it beneficial to prominently link to a specific blog post or page from your website's main navigation. This approach is particularly useful when your company frequently needs to explain your business to new visitors, allowing for major promotion of that specific blog post or page across your site.
Step 4: Write relevant anchor text
When implementing internal linking, pay attention to the anchor text used for your links. Opt for anchor text that is appropriate and clear, providing a concise description of the linked page's content. By using descriptive anchor text, you can enhance the user experience and encourage visitors to click through and explore your website further.
Melanie Musson from TexasCarInsurance.com emphasizes the importance of appropriate anchor text, noting that it has helped drive more traffic to their site by keeping visitors engaged. Similarly, Andre Oentoro from Milkwhale highlights the strategy of inserting related pages into suitable anchor texts.
This approach encourages users to click on the anchor text to access additional relevant information, ultimately increasing the value of the page and driving more traffic to their site.
Step 5: Utilize tools to identify internal linking opportunities
To optimize your internal linking strategy, it can be helpful to leverage tools such as Ahrefs. These tools provide valuable insights and analysis to identify internal linking opportunities within your website.
Ahrefs, for example, allows you to analyze your website's link profile and internal link structure. You can identify pages that have a strong authority and can serve as valuable sources for internal links. Additionally, you can explore related content or topics to find relevant pages that can be interlinked to enhance user navigation and improve SEO.
To identify internal linking opportunities efficiently, Ahrefs simplifies the process by analyzing the top 10 keywords for each page on your website and searching for mentions of these terms across all crawled pages. This approach helps uncover potential internal link opportunities that can improve your website's SEO and user experience.
Step 6: Get Help From Expert
SEO is a complex and time-consuming process that requires ongoing research, optimization, and maintenance. Many businesses find it tempting to outsource their SEO efforts to an agency, as it allows them to benefit from the expertise and resources of a professional team while freeing up their own time to focus on other important business tasks.
When you hire an SEO agency, you gain access to a dedicated team of professionals who specialize in managing your search marketing campaign. They can handle various time-consuming tasks such as:
- keyword research
- optimizing your website's meta-data
- ensuring appropriate keyword density in your content
- optimizing internal linking strategies, implementing necessary changes to your site,
- and analyzing campaign data to make data-driven adjustments
Additionally, an SEO agency can monitor your website for indexing problems and performance issues, ensuring that your SEO efforts are on track and delivering desired results. They can provide regular reporting on campaign performance and offer insights based on data analysis.
By hiring an SEO agency, you can benefit from their expertise and focus on your business's key performance indicators (KPIs), ensuring that your SEO efforts align with your overall business goals.
Embarque is a premium productized SEO content marketing agency that specializes in helping high-growth tech startups scale their businesses. We offer a range of services, including devising SEO content strategies to drive search traffic, creating effective email marketing funnels, and producing premium content that converts. If you're looking for comprehensive SEO and content marketing solutions, Embarque can be your one-stop shop.
Learn more about Embarque and how they can help your business thrive by visiting this site.
Internal Linking for Startups Best Practices
Siloing Your Links
Siloing your links is an important practice to ensure thematically appropriate linking on your website. It involves organizing your website's content in a hierarchical structure, similar to a pyramid. The most important and broad content categories are placed at the top of the pyramid, while more specific and less significant content is placed towards the bottom.
At the top of the pyramid is usually the homepage, which serves as the main entry point to your website. Under the homepage, you typically have other important sections such as "About Us," "Services," "Products," "Blog," and so on. These sections represent the main pillars of your website's content.
Implementing a silo structure for your content can indeed have several benefits for your website. It can help reduce the Google Sandbox time, which is the period during which a new website may experience lower visibility in search results. By organizing your pages into silos, you provide clear topical relevance and semantic signals to search engines like Google.
When you create content silos, you group related pages together based on specific topics or themes. This allows search engines to better understand the context and relevance of your content, which can contribute to higher rankings and improved visibility in search results.
Additionally, it's important to be mindful of the number of links in your navigation bar. Having too many links can overwhelm users and make navigation confusing. The primary purpose of the navigation bar is to assist users in finding their way around your website easily. Therefore, it's advisable to include only necessary links in the navigation bar to ensure a user-friendly experience
Fix or remove broken links
Linking to pages with non-200 status codes is undesirable as it leads to negative experiences for both users and search engines. To ensure a positive user experience and maintain good SEO practices, it is crucial to avoid linking to pages that return status codes other than 200, indicating successful page retrieval.
According to Google's SEO Guide, it is advised to prevent navigational pages from becoming outdated with broken links. This means regularly checking and updating your website's navigation to ensure all links are functional and lead to relevant and valuable content.
Strike a good balance
Maintaining a balanced number of internal links is crucial, especially since the Penguin algorithm update is now integrated into Google's core algorithm. While there isn't a specific number that guarantees optimal results, it's important to consider what would be most beneficial to your audience.
SEO plugins, such as Yoast SEO, take into account various factors like word count, keyword percentage, internal and external links, and more to help assess if you are maintaining a healthy balance. By using such tools, you can ensure that you are not overdoing any aspect, including the number of internal links, and optimize your website accordingly.
Have your website tested
To assess the quality of your internal linking, consider conducting a simple test where you ask someone unfamiliar with your website to search for specific information. Based on their experience, you can determine whether your website's internal linking is clear and sensible or if it requires further optimization. This method helps uncover potential weak points that may go unnoticed by you, as you already know your website thoroughly.
Hiring a trusted digital marketing expert like Embarque can be a decision that will help you boost your SEO ROI.
Embarque is a premium productized content marketing agency that specializes in helping high-growth tech startups, including VEED, Mailjet, and Levels FYI, achieve rapid scalability. They offer a comprehensive range of services, from devising effective SEO content strategies to driving fast growth in search traffic and creating impactful email marketing funnels. Embarque is your one-stop shop for premium content that delivers results.
Interlinking is a crucial strategy for startups to improve their website's user experience, boost search engine rankings, and drive conversions. By strategically linking related pages, startups can guide visitors through their website, provide valuable information, and encourage them to take desired actions.
Implementing internal linking techniques, such as linking from the homepage, creating dedicated landing pages, using relevant anchor text, and leveraging SEO tools, can greatly enhance a startup's online presence and success.
If you're a startup looking for expert assistance in interlinking and content marketing, Embarque is here to help. Embarque is a premium productized content marketing agency that has a proven track record of helping high-growth tech startups scale rapidly. From devising effective SEO content strategies to creating compelling email marketing funnels, Embarque offers a comprehensive range of services to drive your startup's growth. Take the next step towards success by contacting Embarque today.