If you are a chocolate lover and I put some nice chocolates on the table in front of you, would you be tempted? I hope so.
This post is definitely not about chocolate, sadly, but about temptation in an innocent internal linking way that is not only great for SEO but gets your visitors from pillar to post..
What is an Internal Link?
An Internal link is a link that allows a visitor to travel to another page on the same domain.
We can think of internal links as:
- Links Within the Content: Hyperlinks that are directly pointing to a related post on the same site or blog.
- Navigational Links: These links can be menu links, category links, or even sidebar links that are used to navigate through a website.
Links that lead outside the domain are called external links.
What are navigational links?
When you create website categories using related keywords, the posts are filed away in an appropriate category. Choosing the right category for your post to reside is a major step when publishing a WordPress post. Therefore the basic navigation is being created for you in the background.
Now all you have to do is use it as a category list or as a WordPress menu item.
That is one side to navigation links and the other is the main pages you create, such as a contact page, an about page, and so on. These pages can also be part of a menu.
So we have categories and pages as navigational links, whereas published posts usually flow through without becoming part of the main navigation system. Nevertheless, these links are considered internal links as they link to other pages inside your domain.
It is not necessary to link to all pages or categories in your navigation system but all content must have a way to find it. Most top WordPress themes link to the category the post belongs to so all categories that contain posts already have a link to them. Pages might need to be in a main menu or linked to manually. Either way they should not be left with no path to visit them.
Internal links Are a Two Way Street
Lets move away from navigational links for now. When it comes to internal links there are two things you need to do when covering the “in-content” side of the story.
- Link to an already published post or page on your website from the new post content.
- Link into a newly published post or page from existing content that you published already.
For example, this article I am going to publish has internal links to other posts on my site. As soon as I publish the post I will go and edit some older posts to link to this new post. So the new post has joined my web (spider web). It is now part of the family. It has links coming in and going out to posts within my own domain.
I had to mention this as an important step in internal linking because many web-masters forget to link INTO the new post and welcome it to the family.
How Do I Create Internal Links?
In the old days you had to know how to create a html link manually. Today, if you are using WordPress there is no need to learn this.
How to create internal links in WordPress?
1. Select the text you want to make into a link by making it blue.
2. Then press on the Insert/edit link icon at the top of the post editor. See the screenshot below.
3. A dialogue box will appear.
4. Click on Or link to existing content to see a list of already published posts on your site. You can type a search query into the search box.
5. Click on the article title you want to link to.
6. Then press on the Add link button at the bottom.
Your text that you selected will now be a link to that post.
How Many Internal links should Each Post Have?
There is no exact rule for this but too much of anything is not good.
I like to make three links per 500 words with one being the minimum. So if a post has 1500 words, I build at least 9 links. As I said though, there is no exact rule for this. Just make sure your content is well balanced and does not look spammy.
What Anchor Text Should I Use?
For internal linking I use the anchor text that will give the user an idea of what they are clicking on. I do not mislead the clicker, I think the anchor text should explain what is on the other side of the click. As for using the same anchor text over and over, I do not see this as a problem on my own site, and neither does Matt Cutts in the video below.
What Are The Main Benefits to Internal Linking?
The first and most important benefit to internal links is that these links allow spiders to crawl your website from one page to the next to index your pages. It is not good when a spider hits a dead end page and had nowhere to go.
The next benefit to internal linking is all about your website visitor experience. You want your visitor to travel through your website and find lots of valuable information. You do not want them to visit a page and then leave because there is nothing more for the to see. This just increases your website bounce rate and in most cases this is not good for a website.
What if I Cannot Match Up Articles for Internal Linking?
You should not link for the hell of it. When creating internal links the anchor text you use to link needs to tell a story of what might be on the other side of the clickable link. If your content contains links that just simply do not belong then this can be deceiving to your visitors.
The best internal linking policy is an honest one. If you cannot find something to link to then you might need to adjust your content to make an internal link belong, or simple avoid linking in that post altogether. Link building is not just done for the sack of it. All links are more valuable if they actually belong. (this is my theory only)
How Do I Know Which Posts To Link To?
I cannot give you an exact answer for this as your information is unique to your website but I can tell you what I do.
I create a list of all my content from a site and then list at least 3 keywords that relate to that page. Then if I have trouble finding an article to link to, I simply look at the list to see if I can in fact fit something in. If I still cannot find another post to link to, I then start to wonder if the content I have really belongs in my niche?
How to Temp a Clicker?
A clicker is a human in this case. Internal links are useless if nobody clicks the link, therefore you want to temp your website visitor into becoming a clicker. Or another way of putting it is to say that you want to catch a fish and the link is the bait.
So how do you make a link tempting?
- Link to much needed, important information that will enhance the content already on the page.
- Be clear with your link and place it in a prominent place.
- Suggest the person needs to click on the link to see this information.
- Make sure the person understands what the link might lead to. You do not want people to click on links by mistake.
Do I Have to Do Internal Linking?
The short answer is yes. It is important for SEO, your website visitors and is part of the process to create a successful living and breathing website.
After all, a post on your website is not a a one man band, it is only part of the entire package which then forms your website. A website should be like a spider web that catches its prey. If your posts are not intertwined then the critters will be set free.