You can please your users with effortless navigation AND get rewarded by Google’s search results. Just follow this short list of tips for internal link building.
Before we get started, a few quick reminders:
– as opposed to Inbound Links / Backlinks (which come from other websites), Internal Links send users from one page of your website to another
– the following tips apply to a standard small business website (with some product or service pages), rather than an information-heavy website with a large blog
1. Help Your Users Get To The Most Important Pages
Websites are sort of like Choose Your Own Adventure books.
Some people need to read all about you and your family before they make a purchase decision. Other just want a phone number so they can call and ask questions over the phone.
So while you don’t force anyone’s hand, you can gently lead them through a sales funnel (starting from your Home page).
If you find that most of your customers want to know about a specific service before they act, it makes sense to quickly and easily send them to that page. That means giving them more than just the menu tab to get there.
I might be engaged while reading your text. If you put the link right there, as I read, I am more likely to click on it at that moment.
It’s only a millisecond to scroll up to the menu, and then another to hunt for the particular page. But don’t overlook the goodwill you will foster in your users for saving them that action. We already have tons of scroll and scan fatigue from our internet use.
2. Use Anchor Text To Add Alternative Keywords
Anchor text refers to the words that are underlined and clickable (to link to another page).
If you are just writing “Read more…”, you are missing an opportunity for extra keywords.
So let’s say you are linking to a service-based page that is already optimized. The title tags and the headline both say “Car Repairs”. But you know your customers also use the term “Auto Repairs” to describe the same service.
Now you can write that second term as your anchor text. Boom — extra keywords that are searchable and more context for Google to index your main keywords.
The way Google works now, it’s important to add context or like-phrases that support your main keywords. This ties into how Google rankings are affected by searcher intent.
3. Put At Least One Internal Link On Each Page Of Your Site
Thinking back to the first tip, always approach your linking as if you are a user who wants to solve a particular problem. This is the funnel.
You can use this angle to add to a page with no current internal links. Just ask yourself “if I were a customer, where is the next logical step?”.
Let’s say we are talking about a specific service page. Like all good salesmen know, there is no sale until all the objections have been overcome. So what objections are in your user’s mind at that moment?
If you know from direct experience that most people ask about your guarantee policy after they learn about your services, then you can link to a page that outlines the guarantee.
If we’re on the guarantee page now, and most of the objections have been addressed, you can link to the Contact page to get started.
One caveat here is to not over-link to the same page on your site.
Some folks get lazy and take this advice to mean “go put a link to the Contact page on every other page of the site”. The idea is that “I want my customers to contact me”.
Your Contact page is not Rome, and all roads should not lead there.
Follow my advice about what would be most beneficial for your user (potential customer) at that moment. That should keep you from spamming every internal link to one place.
Understand Why Internal Links Can Improve Your Web Results
Internal links do two main things:
They help users find important information on your website, especially when you have a larger site and/or generic menu options.
They also optimize your site for Google searches. See, Google gets a clearer path to crawl through and index your website.
The coolest thing about all this is the circular effect it has…
If your internal links are relevant to users, they will click to read more. That keeps them on the site longer (lower bounce rate and more time on page). Google looks at those signals and thinks “hey, people started spending more time on this site, it must be relevant”.
Then you show up higher in the search results for those pages. User relevance is a big deal for Google.
Since you are higher in the search results, more people see and read your pages.
And on and on.