Think Before You Internal Link
July 27, 2013
Over the last month or so, I think we’ve all been on Penguin alert. Any time a keyword has been performing less than ideally it’s been an easy default to scour over backlinks to find that one backlink that must be causing an issue. With something large like an algorithm change occurs, is easy to forget, that websites do not solely revolve around a cute black and white bird. Yes back links are still important, but how a site is structured also seems more important than ever.
If there’s one thing I’ve noticed lately that people know is important, but don’t really know why or how to use them its internal links. They are easy to include and they seem important so why not through some in right?! Please, hold that thought. Internal links are more than just highlighted words and they hold a lot more weight than most people seem to take into account. Like everything thing in the search engine optimization world, there should be some thought and even a strategy on how to use them.
The first thing to remember is that internal links call attention to two things: the word you are linking and the page you are linking to. Any time you link a word, your saying “this word is important” and any page you link says “this page is the most relevant for this word”. While most people seem to understand the importance of the word, confusion seems to fall on the importance of the page it’s pointing to especially when trying to rank for a particular keyword. When linking, priority is given to the word, not the page when in fact it should be the other way around. Let me demonstrate.
Say SEOhaus wants to rank for “internal linking blog”. You’re first reaction would be to link phrase seen in this paragraph. Its important right and we are talking about internal linking? Yes but where would you link it to? The homepage? The blog page? Are those the most relevant? Think about it. Isn’t it this one? Linking the keyword to a different page sends the signal that this page isn’t really that important and the other one is. Let the ranking confusion begin.
The correct way to do it is get the phrase linked throughout on other pages throughout the site to this page. The more relevant links that point back to this page, the more authority you are giving it. The question is now, are you really linking wisely. As part of your website maintenance, I would urge you to go through you internal links and make sure they are pointing to the correct pages. By cleaning these up, I think you will be surprised to see appropriate pages begin to rank, and rank higher.
Elisa Houghtelin is one of the Account Managers at SEOhaus. If you would like to stay up-to-date on all of the latest SEO industry news and tips, you can subscribe to our blog here. Thanks for reading the SEOhaus blog!