Internal linking is an important SEO factor for getting your blog ranked highly by Google and other search engines. Google sees links – both external and internal – as a signal that your content is important or high-value. A link is like a “vote” in Google’s view.
Internal linking is something you control. With the right internal links, you can guide your site visitors and web bots to your most important pages.
What is an Internal Link?
An internal link is where you insert a link (also called a hyperlink) to another page on your website. Both users and search engines use links to find content on your website. Your users use links to find the content they are looking for as well as to navigate your site. They might have a difficult time finding relevant content if there aren’t any links directing them.
There are four types of internal links.
Homepage links make it easy for visitors to quickly and easily find important pages on your website. They are usually accompanied by or inserted into a graphic. An example might be if you have an important event coming up soon. You might want to publish an image depicting your event and link directly to your information page about the event.
Your website menu is a list of links usually displayed as the main navigation for your site. The menu location can vary depending on your theme. Also, your logo is usually a menu link back to your homepage.
Blog post thumbnail links
Most themes include thumbnail images that link to the most recent or highest-ranking blog posts on your site.
Links within your content are called contextual links. Contextual links point readers to related content they might find interesting. Search engines also find them helpful for determining what your website is about and the value of your content. The more links a page receives, the higher it will rank in search engines. This article will focus on contextual links.
Internal Vs. External Links
Every website should consist of internal and external links. Internal links connect webpages within your website and blog pages while external links connect your pages to other websites.
How Web Bots Work
A web bot is a software application that performs simple, repetitive tasks much faster than a human could. Web bots are referred to by many other names, such as internet bot, web robot, web crawler, web spider, or simply crawler, spider, or bot. More than half of all web traffic is generated by bots.
Web bots analyze and file information on sites; this process is called “indexing”. Bots analyze content according to certain quantifiers such as:
- Emotional context
- And much more
When bots analyze your content, they are trying to understand the relationship between your content. Usually, the homepage of a website is considered the highest value because it usually has the most backlinks. Therefore, your most recent blog posts or pages will gain more link value if you link to your homepage. This will also make your most recent pages easier for Google to find. More links to a page (or post) mean Google will see it as having more value, which means you have a better chance of gaining a high ranking for a page if it has more links.
Internal Linking Strategy
In order to improve your blog’s search engine optimization (SEO), you will need an internal linking strategy. When you use the right internal links, you are making sure Google understands:
- Your page relevance
- The relationship between your linked pages
- The value of your page.
Here are 4 steps for setting up your blog internal linking strategy.
Determine your blog’s ideal structure
Your blog should be structured like a tree. Your blog landing page is the trunk of your tree, your main categories (also called content pillars) are the branches and your topics (based on a focus keyword) are the leaves.
For example, let’s say your school is: Rainbow Unicorn Private School in La La Land
Your blog landing page (trunk of your tree) might be: The Rainbow Unicorn Private School Blog.
Your main categories (tree branches) might be:
- Meet the Team
- Parent Resources
- Student Tips
Your topics (tree leaves) might look something like:
Determine your most important content
Think about the most important articles (blog posts) you think parents will want to read. This content is called cornerstone content. Cornerstone content is the most relevant and complete content on your blog about your school. It’s the content you want people to find when they search for your school.
Once you’ve determined what your cornerstone content will be, you will want to add many links to it to signal to Google it’s your most essential content. Think about the four types of internal links (homepage links, menu links, thumbnail links, and contextual links) and determine which of these are appropriate to use to drive traffic to your cornerstone content.
Add contextual links
Link related blog posts together using internal links. You can link them within your copy or add links at the end of a paragraph or at the end of your post.
To make content a cornerstone post, you will need to make sure you link to it from all posts related to the topic.
Example: Let’s say you have a blog post called “The Power of Experiential Education” that you decide it is cornerstone content.
Let’s say you have a list of blog topics such as :
- Homemade Body Paint
- Sorting Activities for Kids
- Summer Bucket List: Fizzy Explosion Bags
- DIY LEGO Dreidels
- Science Experiment: Sparkly Explosions
- Things You Can Mail That are 13 Ounces or Less
In each one of these blog posts, you will want to reference your cornerstone content by creating an internal link back to the main article.
Link hierarchical pages
A hierarchical page is a page within a certain structure. You can have parent pages, child pages and sibling pages. A parent page would be a broad topic, like “Science Experiments for Kids”. A child page might be “How to Make a Volcano with Kids” and a sibling page to the volcano post might be “Bubble in a Bubble Science Experiment for Kids”.
You would want to make it a point to link all of these hierarchical posts to each other. Since all this content is related to Science Experiments for Kids, you would want to connect them all so people can find related posts.
For search engines, all these links show the connection between your blog posts. To a web bot, you are providing context and a sort of cluster. And, if you link to “The Power of Experiential Education” you will help build your cornerstone content while helping parents understand what experiential education is and how they can support it at home.
While internal linking may seem like a simple concept, it is in practice. But the theory, process, and best practices can become very complex. Internal linking is both simple and advanced. Regardless of how basic or complex it may seem, no one argues about how important and vital it is for your school blog.
Strategic internal linking is a powerful SEO technique, especially when it comes to blog content. Internal linking to build connections between cornerstone content and blog articles is something you should be doing on an ongoing basis.
The good news is that internal linking is not overwhelming, complicated, or difficult. By consistently practicing internal linking you will improve the overall SEO of your website and blog.