An internal link is a link that points to another page on the same website. Internal links are found in main navigation or in content linked to related content. When internal linking is executed correctly, SEO and lead generation effectiveness increase.
Best Practices for Internal Linking
- Anchor text — Use descriptive keywords for anchor text that conveys the content of the destination page. This is good for SEO and also for lead generation, in that links are intuitive and clear.
- Follow links — Use follow links in all cases. In Google’s eyes, follow links are natural, whereas Google could interpret selective use of no-follow links, which tell Google to ignore a destination page for ranking purposes, as PageRank sculpting. It’s not worth the risk.
- Link most often to the most important pages — For SEO, internal linking establishes a hierarchy of importance for website content. Thus, your strategically important SEO pages should be linked to more often than unimportant pages. But use moderation and balance SEO with lead generation needs. For example, the About Us page may not be important for SEO, but extremely important for prospects deciding whether a company is a credible business partner.
- Avoid big blocks of footer links — A trendy practice a few years back, displaying big blocks of footer links create too many internal links and confuse visitors, thus damaging SEO and lead generation. With fewer links on a page, more link juice is passed through to each destination page.
Common Internal Linking Errors
- Content and links discoverable only through search boxes — Search spiders will not “perform” searches, so any content or links accessible via a form are invisible to search engines. This type of content is also difficult for human users to find, and as such does little to promote lead generation.
- Content and links discoverable through forms — Search spiders will not “submit” forms, so again, content and links inside forms will be invisible to Google.
- Other inaccessible links — Links embedded inside Flash, Java applets and other plug-ins are usually inaccessible to search engines.