Internal links are the bridge connecting the content across a website, enabling users to naturally navigate to relevant pages that complement and build on what they are currently reading. More than simple navigation tools though, internal links also play a crucial role in search engine optimisation when implemented strategically.
By effectively linking related pages together based on shared topics and themes, a site editor reinforces search bots whose pages cover similar subject matters. These signals value around focal content areas. Internal linking best practices also elevate user experience by directing site visitors to supplementary content they may find useful based on what they have already shown interest in.
This creates an information journey where one piece of quality content interconnects with another across a website. Therefore, clever contextual internal linking helps unify a site’s pages around important topics in both a user-friendly and SEO-strategic manner. Below are the steps to help you do internal linking like a pro.
The foundation of any good internal linking strategy must begin with identifying those website pages which contain the information you deem most important, useful and relevant to link out to from other pages across your site. This crucial first step requires a thoughtful audit of all existing content published on your website. Analyse the value each page offers in terms of serving your overarching business goals, providing solutions to audience needs and questions or ranking as a popular destination in itself. Start by determining key landing and services pages to interlink, as these often attract visitors performing specific searches or initially entering your site. For example, high-value pages like ‘Contact Us’, pricing pages or the homepage itself would be sensible targets for internal links to drive visitors back for conversions. Next, examine your site’s content and highlight top blog posts and guides that tend to organically rank well and entice visitor clicks for their informative quality. Any posts that cover popular topics, rank on page one for valuable keywords or tend to go viral on social media make logical choices for internal linkage as well. The result of the first step should be a master editorial calendar with a list of priority pages and content that you intend to link out to from other related material. This becomes your roadmap dictating which parts of your site deserve amplification through contextual internal links due to their visitor popularity. It transforms guesswork into strategy. With these core pages and content pieces identified that provide value to both visitors and search bots, you can then insert contextual linkages from complementary materials to enhance flows.
In addition to auditing and evaluating individual pages and content for relevance when planning an internal linking strategy, it pays dividends to also closely examine your website’s underlying information architecture. Taking a step back to understand how your site is structured and how content relates opens your eyes to finding natural opportunities to enhance user flows through contextual internal linking between complementary materials. This requires mapping out cross-connections that may already exist between content but are not yet linked across your domain. For example, categorise blog posts by their tags and categories to identify clusters of content centring around shared themes like keyword groupings. Look for tag or category pages that feature highly in search rankings but surprisingly do not have many internal links pointing toward them from on-site content falling under those same tags. Here are easy opportunities to boost pages on a shared theme. Similarly, reviewing site navigation to see how visitors logically flow from page to page reveals areas where additional links would aid user journeys. If you notice visitors who land on certain pages subsequently visit certain other pages in recurring patterns, linking directly between such pages makes navigation more intuitive by mirroring where site architecture already channels people. Essentially from both a user experience and SEO standpoint, it is beneficial to foster as much interconnection as possible between related materials across a website tied by common categories, tags or themes. This structure sites logically like a network rather than isolated content silos. Understanding both information architecture and how visitors navigate content is key to identifying where adding contextual internal links would smooth site-wide journeys.
One of the most effective internal linking strategies focuses on interconnecting fresh, newly published website content with older, relevant legacy materials that already rank well and drive organic traffic. This bidirectional linking between complementary yet time-disparate content offers multiple search engine optimisation and user experience benefits simultaneously. When authoring something new like a blog post on a trending topic, actively look for site content you have covered tangential or directly related themes in over the past few years that visitors still regularly consume. Strategically link relevant phrases and keywords within your new content to these legacy materials to encourage visitors to further explore your back catalogue once finishing the latest piece. Equally insightful is mining these same past-related writings for places to embed contextual links pointing back to your shiny new offering. By introducing navigational links both backwards from new to old and vice versa from formerly published content linking ahead to something recently released around conjoined topics, you fulfil multiple aims. Firstly, from a subject matter and SEO perspective, dialling up connections between topical materials regardless of pub date signals to search engines heightened authority and depth on themes covered over long periods consistently. Secondly, exposing repeat visitors of evergreen legacy content to new publications allows your most loyal readers to stay up to date on emerging developments in familiar subject areas. Finally, sending relative newcomers from freshly written content into your site’s archives full of useful legacy information both boosts pages and educates readers further.
Looking at your site content and determining which pages and posts cover similar or complementary themes then enables you to insert relevant contextual links between such content as part of your internal linking efforts. This should come naturally by determining which pages cover the same topics and therefore would be useful for readers of the other page to discover. By including links to additional or extended content around the same theme, you enable continued user journeys that keep visitors engaged across related content rather than leaving them in silos. This also strengthens the structure and relationships between your content for SEO purposes.
When linking internally, anchor text selection requires some strategic thought using appropriate keywords. Anchor text is the hyperlinked phrase a user clicks, so making it accurately reflect the page it links to improves user experience. But search engines also analyse anchor text, so including relevant keyword-driven anchor text links pages together by topic. A natural anchor text phrase that makes sense contextually helps optimise internal links. Using over-optimised exact match anchor phrases should be avoided, however, as this looks like manipulation to search engines. The right balance results in anchor text that users would naturally click on and that also reflects the target page’s focus.
Rather than listing a set of links in the bio of a blog post or within a site’s sidebar for instance, links need to get woven contextually into the actual content itself to make sense for both conversions and SEO. When mentioning a concept, product or idea that you have covered in more detail elsewhere, inserting hyperlinks on keywords where relevant not only sends users directly to that dedicated content but also tells search engines you have deeply covered that topic. These contextually-placed links based on what surrounds them on the page should flow naturally within content rather than feeling forced.
Curating content formatted in lists like “The 10 Best SEO Companies” is a popular blogging tactic, so when publishing such posts these lists present prime opportunities for working in internal links. Just make sure when embedding contextual links that flow naturally within a numbered list, they do not disrupt the user’s reading flow and comprehension. You want the link to provide useful supplementary info rather than interrupt the list structure itself or seem tacked on. Insert links to detail pages around products/services or posts expanding on list items where genuinely beneficial for the reader.
In conclusion, organic internal linking rather than mass-produced links should serve the website user journey across an informative, interconnected content ecosystem. Following best practices around linking related pages based on relevance, themes and added value for audiences makes for a site architecture that caters to both users and search engines. The right contextual links provide pathways to delve deeper into content around topics readers show interest in. So take the time to not only create valuable website content but forge logical bonds between this content through internal links you would click on yourself.