In this article, we explore the importance of internal linking to a website’s search engine optimization efforts and how to do it right.
A website is a tool in your content marketing arsenal. It is just a tool, and like any gardening tool, it is only useful when it is rightly taken care of.
Internal linking is one way you take care of your website.
Content marketing is in its entirety is about creating content for users first – Internal linking is how you direct visitors to the content that could tame their curiosity – here is why.
Internal linking points to first the value and relevance of a resource.
A website visitor is on your blog because they believe your content is valuable – it will help them solve problem X.
As they consume one piece of your thought process, you link them to another article – you are subtly saying – hey, check out this one too – suggesting there is more good stuff behind the link to help them learn about or solve their problem.
Second, to value is internal linking naturally plays into the code construct of Search engine bots that mimic human behavior; they will also follow these links assuming they are valuable, and relevance to the subject on the page.
How Do You Do Internal Linking in WordPress Properly and Efficiently?
1. Create a logical site structure.
One of the first deliverables at the initial stages of any custom website design project is the Information Architecture – that often includes wireframes, which among other things defines the navigation of the website.
A site is logically organized in consideration of the interaction a website visitor should have for maximum conversion rates.
Right from the home page, which often is the landing page to other critical pieces of content, each section is thought through defining how each page relates with the other pages. These relationships defined on paper is what is later used when building a website for internal linking.
2. Create much content.
Internal linking is about linking content. If you do not have that much content, then there will be nothing to link.
So start creating much content. This is how you would do it.
In a new blog post, you will create content meeting a particular pain point of your customer.
As you create your content, you will realize that it takes a lot more than one article to help a customer get a full picture of the scope and extent of meeting these pain points.
So, you create more articles – with each article you add, you link it to the main article which now acts as a pillar or anchor article for the particular pain point you are addressing.
You can not achieve that if you do not have a logical site structure.
Another way is to look at your existing content and think of the questions it raises, answer them in a new article and link that article to the old article.
3. Use contextual and relevant anchor text for your links.
You may fool a bot – by-the-way they are smarter than their younger versions of the early 2000s – but, you cannot fool a human being. A reader will know right away that your links are not coherent with your subject when you try to force anchor links to match the keywords you to an article.
A contextual link seems natural and doesn’t step out of the rhythm of the content – sometimes these may not even seem optimized to a particular keyword, but in their natural form, they relate to the context of what they are linking to.
A website that successfully implements this will often lead a visitor to places they never imagined as I have caught myself three-plus links away from where I initially landed.
5. Know where to use do-follow and do-not follow links.
6. Link to your taxonomies, tags, and categories.
Naturally, WordPress taxonomies and category pages are keyword-rich that a user or bot will love. So why not link to them.
If you are not organizing your content in categories or tagging them based on some relationship – start. If you are building a new website, your Informational Architectures should clearly define how content on your website is categorized.
As you create new content, drop a link or two in the relevant categories.
7. Use a reasonable number of internal links.
How many links are too many or too few? It depends on whom you ask. Google’s Matt Cutts, for instance, recommends anywhere up to 100 links.
Every other blogger will have their number since Google does give a definite number in her webmaster guidelines.
Some websites you visit have links in hundreds, yet they still rank high in search engine results.
The guide in how many internal links should be determined by the relevance and value they provide to the user. Does what you are mentioning require them to consult another article to fully understand or gain a different perspective of what they are reading?
You should also keep in mind that linking to another page will mean the user is taken away from the current article – what chances are there that by doing that they will help them complete the action you had for the article or website?
Again, all linking should be relevant to enable you to achieve the overall objectives of the site as a user realizes theirs.
Any content marketer you ask will give you his or her version of how to do internal linking in WordPress right – this is our version.
Ours is rooted in the belief that content is for real human beings. We then interest and guide these humans to other related and relevant content, whether it was written by or or by others as long as it helps them solve their problems.
We believe by doing this search engines will find relevance and value in our content and so rank us high in their search results.
That’s it! Hopefully you’ve found this read helpful. You may also want to learn how to create a content marketing strategy for your WordPress blog.