9 Benefits of Internal Linking for SEO
- 1 What is Internal Linking?
- 2 The Importance of Internal Linking: 9 Benefits
- 2.1 1. Improves Crawlability
- 2.2 2. Enhances User Experience
- 2.3 3. Helps Establish a Site Hierarchy
- 2.4 4. Spreads Link Equity to Other Pages
- 2.5 5. Improves Site Engagement
- 2.6 6. Helps Google Find More Keywords
- 2.7 7. Helps to Build Page Authority
- 2.8 8. Decrease Bounce Rate
- 2.9 9. Display Topical Authority
- 3 Frequently Asked Questions About Internal Linking for SEO
- 4 Final Thoughts
Internal linking is something that seasoned SEOs do without thinking about, and new SEOs think they could do without.
The fact is, you need internal linking for SEO, site navigation, Google crawlers, and user experience. The right internal linking strategy will help you create a more authoritative site that spreads link juice throughout and supports each page.
By the end of this guide, you’ll understand the benefits of internal linking and have a handful of reasons you should take it seriously moving forward.
What is Internal Linking?
Internal linking in SEO is the practice of linking one page to another page on the same website. Don’t get this confused with external linking, which occurs when you link to a page off your website.
These links connect different pages on your site to help create an internal structure that both Google and users can use to navigate the website.
The Importance of Internal Linking: 9 Benefits
Now let’s take a look at the benefits of internal linking and why you need to make sure every page on your website has a couple of internal links:
1. Improves Crawlability
“Crawling” is the way Google bots navigate your site to learn what your content is about. When you have internal links, it makes it easier for search engines to discover pages on the website.
Think of Google crawling your website as a journey to find information. The journey may start on your homepage, but what happens if you don’t have any links to other site pages?
The journey might end right then and there.
But, if you have a bunch of internal links on that page, and on the next page, and the next page, and so on, it makes it easier for Google to continue the journey.
All the while, the journey is discovering new pages to index and rank, new keywords to rank you for, and various cues to indicate your topical authority.
The crawlability of a website is especially important when you’re regularly publishing new content. You want that content to be discovered, so adding internal links from relevant but seasoned content can help kickstart the indexing process.
By including internal links to new or updated pages from high-traffic or frequently crawled pages, you provide a clear pathway for crawlers to discover and index fresh content. This helps the new or updated pages get indexed faster and appear in search results more quickly.
2. Enhances User Experience
If we step away from the technical benefits of internal linking, there are also benefits for the user.
Internal links make your site easier to navigate because users can move from one page to another to find new information and complete their search.
By linking related or relevant content, you help users discover more information or resources on a specific topic without performing additional searches. This makes it easier for visitors to find the information they seek, improving their overall experience on your site.
Google loves this too. By increasing the amount of time on your site, you’re indicating to Google that you’re a reputable source of valuable information.
Internal links also increase contextual relevance, which is a fancy way of saying, “you know what you’re talking about.”
This is important for users as well as Google. If someone is reading a guide about fixing a toilet, you’re likely not able to provide every piece of information necessary in that specific guide.
As a result, you might want to link out to information on wax rings, flush valves, tools required, shutting off the water, and so on. By providing all of this info on your site through the use of internal links, you’re showing the user and Google that you are the one-stop shop for this information which is gold for your SEO.
3. Helps Establish a Site Hierarchy
One of the biggest benefits of internal linking is that it can help you organize content on your site. I’ve talked about this a few times now in various articles.
Take this garden website as an example.
You might have a main page that talks about growing vegetables, but that page links to other pages about green beans, corn, and peas.
By strategically linking these pages together, you establish a logical hierarchy that reflects the different sections, categories, or topics covered on your site. This hierarchy provides a clear roadmap for both users and search engines to navigate your website.
Internal linking helps you develop subcategory pages that serve as child pages to the overall parent page. In the example above, “vegetables” is the parent page, and each vegetable is the child page.
Setting up the website this way and internally linking between everything makes the site easier to navigate for Google and when it’s easy to navigate, it’s easy to index and rank various pages for different keywords.
4. Spreads Link Equity to Other Pages
Link equity is the amount of value one link can provide to another. A link from a high DR website to a low DR website will contain a lot of link equity, so it’s a more valuable link. This doesn’t only apply to external links.
You can pass link equity throughout your site with internal linking as well. It works by passing authority onto other pages.
So, if you have a page on your website that ranks really well and has a bunch of backlinks, you’ll want to use that page to link out to other lesser ranking pages that you’d like to give a little boost.
Keep in mind that not all pages on your website have the same level of value. By strategically implementing internal links, you can signal to search engines which pages are more important or relevant.
Pages that receive more internal links tend to be considered more significant by search engines, which can improve their chances of ranking higher in search results.
5. Improves Site Engagement
You want users to spend as much time on your site as possible, and having a good internal linking practice can help with that. SEO interlinking can help provide users with a roadmap that allows them to more easily navigate the website. This increases the chances of them sticking around because they may be able to find pages that are interesting or helpful.
By providing easy access to more information, you’re increasing the average time users spend on your website. The average time spent on a webpage is 45 seconds, so if you can beat that, you’ll likely end up in Google’s favor.
6. Helps Google Find More Keywords
One of the most powerful benefits of internal linking is your ability to motivate Google to crawl your site more thoroughly.
You establish relationships between pages when you add internal links to your site. This tells Google that the two pages may be alike and that can coerce the crawlers into checking out the other page too.
If that page didn’t have any links which is called an “orphan page,” there’s a good chance that Google would’ve never crawled it, and it may never get discovered. As a result, it will never rank for any keywords.
Anchor text is also an important part of keyword discovery of internal links. The anchor text you use provides important contextual information to search engines.
In the example above, I link “orphaned pages” to an article explaining what that is.
By using relevant and descriptive anchor text, you can indicate the topic or keywords associated with the linked page. This helps search engines understand the content and relevance of the linked page, allowing them to associate specific keywords with that page.
Lastly, placing internal links within your content highlights important keywords and topics. When search engines see these links, they read the anchor text to learn a little about what the following page is going to say.
As the crawlers move through this funnel, you’re creating more topical relevance and authority on the subject. As a result, Google will begin to see you as an authority on the topics revolving around those keywords and may choose to rank you higher for them based on your comprehensive covering of the subject.
7. Helps to Build Page Authority
First things first, page authority and domain authority are two different things. Page authority is the authority of a singular page on your website. This point plays back to the link equity or “link juice” benefit.
Since you’re distributing equity from one page to another, you’re helping to increase the page authority of both of those pages. The high authority page has the potential to increase authority because it’s linking out to relevant information and provides a better user experience.
The page receiving the link can experience higher authority because a little bit of link juice is being passed down from the high authority page.
Internal links help consolidate the authority of your website by connecting different pages and spreading link equity. By interlinking relevant pages with each other, you create a network that allows authority to flow across your site. This can help boost the overall authority of your website and signal to search engines that your site provides valuable and authoritative content.
8. Decrease Bounce Rate
Bounce rate is a percentage based on the amount of users that leave your website after only viewing one page for a limited amount of time. If you’ve read the majority of this article, you can understand how internal linking decreases the chances of this.
First of all, you’re creating opportunities for users to visit another page. Unless you’ve covered every single solitary aspect of a subject, you’ll likely want to link out to something else on your website to help provide the user with more information.
For example, this article I’m writing is more of a high-level overview of the benefits of internal linking. But, within this article, I’m linking to more in-depth articles on how to find internal links, orphaned pages, and internal vs. external links.
By doing this, I’m increasing the chances of someone checking out another page on the website, which decreases the bounce rate of the site and makes it look better overall in the eyes of Google.
9. Display Topical Authority
Topical authority is something that I believe Google has been paying a lot of attention to. Gone are the days of being able to throw up a 2,500-word salad about a topic you know nothing about and expect it to rank within a few days.
You need to understand the topics you’re writing about, cover them thoroughly, and show that your site has niche expertise.
A great way to do this is by clustering content. Internal linking allows you to create clusters of related content within your website. By linking pages that cover similar or complementary topics, you signal to search engines that you have in-depth coverage of a particular subject.
When search engines crawl your site and encounter these internal links, they can identify the interconnectedness of your content and understand the breadth of your expertise in that specific topic.
Frequently Asked Questions About Internal Linking for SEO
Let’s take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions about the benefits of internal linking:
Google provides very basic guidelines on internal linking, so the “magic number” is unclear. In my experience, there’s no such thing as “too many” internal links as long as they all make sense and use proper anchor text. Do not try to jam links where they don’t belong.
Internal links point to other pages on your site, whereas external links point to pages off your site.
Now that we understand the benefits of internal linking, I want to provide you with an opportunity to make the process easier.
Link Whisper is a revolutionary internal linking tool that speeds up the process by automatically providing you with internal link suggestions and allows you to add links directly through the WordPress add-on.
The tool saves you a ton of time and takes much of the thought out of finding and choosing what pages to internal linking from.
Get serious about your internal linking strategy, and get Link Whisper today!