Do internal links help with SEO? Yes, and they also help keep visitors on your website. So if you don’t regularly add internal links to your site, take some time to do it. It’s easy to do and worth the ROI.
You should include links to your most important pages in both the header and footer of your site. This is necessary for Google and other search engines to crawl your site. Most sites have a top nav – a navigation bar at the top of their pages. Some websites also have a menu in the footer with links to the most important pages.
A sidebar is another popular place for links. Sidebars used to be very popular in the early 2000s with most sites having at least one and some having two. You may have heard the term three-column layout. This was a layout with sidebars on both the left and right side of a website with the main content in the middle. Sidebars were a great place to put links, search bars, and other widgets relevant to the site. Today, many sites only use them on certain pages (products, blogs, etc…) while some don’t use them at all.
If you have a sidebar, it’s another great place to put links. Not sure which links to put in your sidebar? Here are some suggestions:
- Links to most recent blog posts.
- Links to categories for blog posts.
- Links to important pages on your site.
- Links to your most popular products.
This not only helps the search engines find these pages, it helps your visitors as well.
Internal Text Links
Hyperlinks are one of the major factors that helped the world wide web take off in the 1990’s. Before that, we had to use books like encyclopedias to find information. If you were researching elephants and wanted to learn more about their habitat in Africa, you had to grab another volume (a thick book) and find the right page. Now, when you search on Wikipedia, everything is linked up and you can jump to additional information in a fraction of a second. So why don’t most site owners do this simple thing?
It takes effort to properly link things up. When you’re in a rush to publish something or you’re used to social media, linking to other content isn’t always the first thing on your mind. So as you plan out your next blog post or website page, think about the other pages and posts on your site with related content. Then link them up. Both ways.
In addition to text, you can also link up the images in your posts and pages. You’re probably already doing this if you’re using a banner image for your call to action. But there are times when you’ll want images to link to other parts of your site. Some examples include:
- The image is acting as a button. This is common when the design is too complex to use an HTML button.
- The image is acting as an advertisement or banner.
- The image is a thumbnail of another piece of media such as an audio, video, or document file.
- You’ve created an infographic and you want it to bring the visitor to a page that has more information.
- The image represents something related to user experience. For example, flags that represent different languages to view the site in.
- Icons or images that represent other content on the site.
Images can also be used for site navigation. This is common on e-commerce sites where images are used for links to product categories (and products themselves). Blogs also use these with the featured image being a clickable link to a post. Mobile responsive sites also use images as they are easier to click on than text links.
Automatically adding Internal Links
If you’re using WordPress for your website, there are plugins and coding tricks that help automate this process. They allow you to designate keywords for each page to generate internal links. So each time these keywords are used, your site will automatically create links to those pages. This can be a huge time saver and a game changer for your site if you haven’t created internal links for your existing content. If you’re using this method, just be sure that it’s not impacting your site’s load time. If you’re not sure whether this method is right for you, we can guide you through it in our complimentary consultation.