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Leveraging Internal Links to Make Your Website Even More Powerful

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Most everything we do when designing a powerful, effective website benefits two main audiences: a site’s users and Google. Internal and external hyperlinks within well-written website copy benefit both audiences, ultimately helping you serve your customers better and improve their experience while engaging with your website. 

What are internal and external links?

The Moz blog, an industry blog that helps its followers level up their SEO and online marketing skills, defines internal and external links this way: “Internal links are links that go from one page on a domain to a different page on the same domain. They may be used in the main navigation menu or on the page’s content. 

Alternatively, external links point to another domain. This includes links from a page on your site to another site, and links pointing from other sites to your site, also called backlinks.”

The main reasons to use hyperlinks in your website copy are 1) to help search engine crawlers find fresh content on your site and 2) to make navigation simpler for your visitors if they want more resources from you. Let’s break it down into internal and external links and their use on your website.

Why are internal links important? 

For users, the wise use of internal links:

  • Keeps them on your website longer, allowing them to explore more of your content.
  • Helps them become more informed about your offerings, brand, and company. 
  • Improves overall user navigation and experience.

For Google, the strategic use of internal links: 

  • Helps Google better understand your content so it can rank your website in searches appropriately.

According to the GreenMellen blog Link Building Strategies to Try, the best internal links are placed within your content and spread out throughout the page, not all cramped at the bottom of a post. 

Any time a service is mentioned in your body copy, link it to that service page or a related blog. Links will not only improve the user experience but potentially decrease your site’s bounce rate, too. 

What is anchor text, and how do I leverage it? 

To enhance Google’s understanding of your content, it’s important to use good anchor text. What is anchor text? According to the Moz blog post Best Practices for Optimizing Anchor Text, anchor text is “the visible characters and words that hyperlinks display when linking to another document or location on the web. 

Anchor text can provide both search engines and users relevant contextual information about the content of the link’s destination.” For example, instead of linking to a web page using the words “Click here,” use the title of a blog post – like “5 Benefits of a Business Podcast” – in the link label. 

This approach encourages Google to view those words as important and search-worthy and to better understand your site’s structure and how pages are related to one another. SEMrush, an online visibility management and content marketing platform, noted the features of SEO-friendly anchor text in its blog post, Internal Links: Ultimate Guide + Strategies.

According to Semrush, SEO-friendly anchor text is:

  • Brief: Keep anchor text brief so that it’s clear to users and search engines what the page’s topic is about. Semrush recommends keeping anchor text to five words or less.
  • Relevant: Avoid vague, clickbait anchor text like “click here” or “this weird life hack will help you lose 10 pounds a week.” Neither option tells Google what the linked page is actually about.
  • Optimized: It’s not likely that you’ll be penalized for using exact-match anchor text for internal links as long as the anchor text is relevant to the linked page. And you aren’t trying to over-optimize by keyword stuffing.

Why are external links important?

Adding internal links to other pages and posts within your website is a common link building strategy and best practice people use to optimize their content, but many of them forget the power of external links that point to an external domain. 

External links are used to help search engines relate your page’s topic with other websites, and studies show that content with external links has a higher ranking than pages that don’t. 

The Moz blog says this may occur because “external links pass link equity (ranking power) differently than internal links because the search engines consider them as third-party votes.” Make sure to include at least one in your text.

Can I see how people use internal and external links to engage with my site?

With analytics tools, you can track user behavior and clearly see the paths people use when clicking through your content. 

Click pathways can then be adjusted to optimize how users travel through the site so they get the messages you want them to see early in their visit. Internal and external links can guide your users through your content in the most helpful and efficient way possible!  

Contact GreenMellen today if we can help you on your digital marketing journey! 

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About the Author

Mickey Mellen

Co-Founder and Technical Director

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