When it comes to driving organic traffic to a website, nothing beats SEO. Unlike other marketing tactics, for little more than time and effort, you can bring quality visitors to your website and turn them into paying customers with SEO strategy.
From meta titles and descriptions to technical SEO, most businesses use various types of SEO tactics. Link building is another popular way of boosting SEO, but it may not be enough in an increasingly competitive and saturated market.
You need to move beyond link building and the basics of SEO to get ahead, which includes internal linking as part of your link building strategy.
How Do External Links Help SEO?
The goal of a search engine is to provide an exceptional user experience, just like you. Search engines consider what searchers are querying, try to determine intent, and deliver the most relevant and valuable results.
Basically, a search engine bot will crawl a website to determine its value and relevance to the user. It can identify the site structure, the most important pages, and the related content, which tells the bot whether your site is relevant and trustworthy.
One of the ways a bot does this is by considering the backlinks, or links that direct to your site from other, authoritative sites. If you have a lot of backlinks, that tells the bot that reputable sites see you as reputable, boosting your ranking.
Naturally, this means a lot of backlinks from well-established, trustworthy, and authoritative sites is a huge factor in B2B SEO.
It’s far from perfect, however. Link building takes time and nurturing relationships, often with long-term content strategy and networking to earn links. For example, a site may publish a guide and promote it as a linking opportunity, then offer a link in return.
Backlinks are excellent, but in a lot of cases, they direct to the homepage. Most external sites aren’t going to promote your site with product page links.
How Do Internal Links Help SEO?
Internal links aren’t as valuable as external links for SEO, but they can add a lot to your existing and future backlinks. Your internal links are entirely in your control and direct users from one page of your site to another, helping the search engine bot to determine how your site is structured and its hierarchy.
If one page has more links pointing to it, this is interpreted as the most important page on the site. After that, other pages’ importance is determined by both external and internal links. One of these is fully in your control.
To give you an example of the importance of internal links let me use Cecilia Gorman as an example. When our team was strategizing for Cecilia Gormans manager training page, we noticed the lack of internal links was holding back the webpage. Our team decided to research and compiled a list of all the pages that mention any manager training and then link it directly to that manager training page.
As the image shown above, you will notice that rankings increased. Of course, this is a rare occasion as usually clients experience a steady rank increase overtime.
So what is the key takeaway from this example? The homepage is where you’ll get many of your external links, which is fine, because it likely is the most important page on your site. From there, you can use internal links to direct users to other areas of your site, boosting their importance and relevance within your site hierarchy.
If you want to direct traffic to a product page, subscription page, or other high-value page, all it takes is an internal link. This not only helps to guide users to your revenue pages but ensures that all the weight of your site isn’t on the homepage with search engine ranking.
Tips for Strategic Internal Linking
Consider Linking in Content Development
Internal links should be used to guide visitors of your site to pages that may appeal to them. For example, if a visitor searched a how-to guide and stumbled upon your how-to post, include internal links that offer more in-depth information about the topic.
The more you can guide the visitor to interesting information, the longer they’ll stay on your site. This is favored by search engines and shows that you’re offering value and relevance to the visitor.
Keep Internal Links Focused
There’s virtually no limit to internal linking, since you have control of your own site. Unfortunately, that can lead you to go hog-wild adding internal links anywhere and everywhere – which is just as bad as having no links at all.
Don’t just link because you can. Think about how your visitors will use your site and what information you can provide, then include internal links in a way that makes sense for their experience. Make sure links are relevant and answer related questions or include related content to ensure you don’t confuse or frustrate your visitor.
Prioritize Dofollow Links
Dofollow and nofollow links have HTML coding that identifies them as such. Dofollow links are important because they pass their authority on to the destination link, which impacts SEO, while nofollow links do not.
Make sure your coding is correct and you make all your valuable internal links dofollow. Nofollow links tell the search engine to ignore them, so leave those for spam comments or outdated and irrelevant links.
Enhance Your SEO Link Building Strategy with Internal Links
Link building is incredible for SEO, but it takes a lot of time and patience. Backlinks are hard to earn, but once you get them, they can work wonders for your ranking and organic traffic. While internal links don’t have quite that much power, they can enhance your existing link building efforts and ensure that you make the most of your hard work.