Optimized internal link structure is the key to website SEO. Many webmasters lack understanding of internal link structure and have no idea of optimizing all internal links in their WordPress sites. In the following, we would like to make it clear on why internal link optimization is the key to success and list the best practices that help you make a hit with ease.
What is Internal Link and Why It is Important to SEO?
Internal link enables an easy access to other web pages within the same domain. That allows visitors to browse multiple pages with a few clicks. It is an opposite to external link that redirects visitors to another page outside the same website. For example, a hyperlink added to the text “website SEO” in above paragraph is an internal link, which links to a post within our site.
Internal link has great search engine optimization value and makes a site more likely to be crawled by search engines. That makes a big difference on website SEO. The top advantages of optimizing internal link structure are shown as below.
- Good User Experience – Internal link enables good browsing experience for your audiences. Internal link redirects visitors to another page including relevant information, which helps them get more resources within the same website easily.
- Increase More Traffic – Internal link enables more traffic for each web page on your website. Visitors are willing to access to a web page that delivers something they are looking for. If the anchor words are attractive enough, the linked page is more likely to be visited by your audiences.
- Easy to Crawl a Web Page – Internal link helps crawlers find more web pages on your website. Once crawling a web page on your website, Google bots would proceed to crawl more pages via the internal links. In this way, those web pages stand a good chance of ranking higher on the search engines.
- Get Relevant Pages Together – Internal link makes it possible to connect relevant posts or pages together thereby delivering well-rounded information to visitors. That leaves a professional impression on readers.
Best Practice for Internal Link Optimization
Having known the importance of internal link, it’s time to take a good use of it. The best practices for internal link structure optimization are mentioned as below. Those help you utilize internal links in a proper way.
1. Display Important Internal Links on Your Homepage
Homepage, in most cases, is also a landing page of a website. That is the first stop of your site and gets more traffic than any other pages. When firstly accessing to your website, visitors wish to dig out more information that is valuable. To this end, you are required to display links that are linked to some important pages on the homepage. That makes your homepage of the greatest worth.
Here, we would like to take WhatsWP homepage as an example. The homepage includes multiple internal links to categories of pages within the same domain, which helps visitors target a web page at a glance. That makes it possible to search for the recent posts, advanced tutorials, popular posts and other web content within a few clicks.
2. Add Proper Anchor Text to an Internal Link
The anchor text added to an internal link makes it clear on what the link is redirected to. That would better express the main idea of what you are linking to. Also, the internal link should be added to a post naturally and related to the whole context. Below is a good example of anchor text.
Accordingly, all anchor words are included in the paragraph above right. If readers wish to get more details from the redirected post, they are willing to click the given internal links. In this case, they can ease into another page and get specific information.
3. Position Internal Links Correctly in a Post
Pay close attention to the distribution of all internal links. Avoid placing all internal links in the beginning or the end of an article. You need to have all internal links distributed equally in a post. That can make the most of all internal links.
Besides that, don’t abuse internal links but take strict control of the quantity of links. This is because that more internal links mean less link juice (link weight). A post with 500 to 800 words would better include 2 to 3 internal links. The longer post could include more internal links.
4. Display Related Posts under Each Post
The Related Posts section is where to showcase the posts that are related to the current one. Each related post title comes with an internal link to a specific post. Since readers are likely to be interested in the relevant information, it is necessary to display related posts for WordPress sites. Generally, the related posts list should be like the following example.
Some WordPress plugins are made to simplify matters, like WordPress Related Posts, Contextual Related Post, SEO Auto Links & Related Posts, etc. Those options help you add a Related Posts area to your website within a few steps.
5. Take a Good Use of Sitemap
Sitemap is a collection of all web pages on your website. Each item included in the sitemap comes with a specific link and that is linked to a certain web page. The sitemap further includes HTML sitemap and XML sitemap, which are created for different purposes.
- HTML sitemap allows visitors to search for a web page with ease and then access to the target by simply clicking it. That tells all audiences about the website structure and what they can get from your website.
- XML sitemap is made to tell search engines about how many web pages are accessible within your website. Submit an XML sitemap to search engines and let them know what content can be searched. Note that, the XML sitemap is not visible to visitors.
6. Use Breadcrumbs Navigation
Breadcrumbs navigation enables an easy manner for visitors to track their browsing. That is generally shown on the top of a web page and presented as “Main Page > Subpage 1 > Subpage 2 > Subpage 3”. For example, the breadcrumbs navigation like “Home > Tutorials > Optimize Internal Link” indicates that the visitor has browsed homepage, tutorials page and the page “Optimize Internal Link” in sequence.
If there is a need to go back to the previous page, visitors just need to click the page title that is included in the breadcrumb navigation. It is a great method to help visitors track their location as well as increase page views. Some premium plugins are made to add breadcrumb navigation in WordPress, like Breadcrumb NavXT, Breadcrumb Trail, Really Simple Breadcrumb, etc.
7. Use Sidebar and Widget to Display Internal Links
Sidebar and widget are great for displaying internal links that are linked to some important web pages on your website. Take the following page as an example. The sidebar “Best Hosting Choices” includes a list of recommended hosting companies. Each item is linked to a specific web page that delivers more information to visitors. You can add a sidebar or widget to each web page and display anything as you want
Matters Need Attention
Prevent any broken links. The broken link redirects users to a Not Found page instead of the target one. That brings visitors bad browsing experience. To avoid such embarrassing situation, you need to check broken links on your website regularly by using some premium link checkers, like W3C Link Checker, Online Broken Link Checker, Check My Links, etc.
Don’t include nofollow attribute in internal links. The purpose of using internal link is to tell search engines which pages can be crawled. However, a nofollow link shown as below tells search engines not to count this link. As thus, that is not a smart move to add nofollow attribute to an internal link.
<a href=”http://www.example.com/” rel=”nofollow”>Anchor Text</a>