Internal Linking SEO 2016 – What, Why and How?

S EO basics I n the world of SEO, they often say "content is king". That means if you want people to find your website on G...

SEO basics

In the world of SEO, they often say "content is king". That means if you want people to find your website on Google, you need to have lots of words on your website, and those words should be the keywords you think people would be looking for on Google.

What is internal link building?

Internal linking is the technique of Search Engine Optimization to link one post to another in such a manner that increase blog or website’s usability to the readers and provide them more relevant content to read.
In plain words,
Internal link building or internal linking is the process of connecting one page/post of a website to another page/post with relevant information by means of a hyperlink. Here both the source domain and the target domain are the same.
Why should we do effective internal linking?
Effective link building comes with many benefits that would ultimately help you in proper rankings. Here are some of the benefits of internal linking.

Proper navigation:

Internal links on a post and a page help you to access other pages of the website through them. This will help a visitor in navigating through your blog posts.

Providing relevant data to readers and search engine bots:

With internal linking you tell the audience that there are other posts/information on the site that is related to the text they are reading or has some additional information. This also tells the bots the same thing and increases the credibility of the site.

For ex: In my post on Genesis child themes I gave a link to the post that contained my review of Genesis framework. This will help bots, as well as readers to know that I have another article that is relevant to the context.

Moz has an interesting image to illustrate this:

link spider lost

Help decrease the bounce rates:

Yes, when a reader reads an article on your blog and finds a link that relates to a similar post or a post that takes the discussion further you can expect him to stay longer on your site. This will in turn lower your site’s bounce rates.

Pass the link juice to other pages:

When one page of your site is ranking and has a higher page rank or authority you can place a link (in the high ranking page) to a relevant post on your blog that is low in rankings. This will pass the link juice to the linked page and that page will start performing better.

How to do internal link building?

Internal link building is a form of art; the “art of SEO”. This is in a way like building backlinks to your blog on your own blog. It does everything that a backlink does from passing link juice to bringing more traffic and enhancing search engine rankings. In order to do effective internal linking you have to take a look at the following points.

Have lots of content:

In order to link and index more you need more content. You cannot simply go with seven posts and start link building. In this way you will end up making very few internal links. What’s worse is you won’t have relevant links unless all those seven posts of yours are on different topic.

So, for this you need to write content. Write huge number of articles on your niche topics and then internal link them to other relevant posts you have written.

Link pages and posts and vice versa:

WordPress pages and posts are similar in appearance but are two different things. For example your about page is a page and the regular blog posts are your posts. In order to pass the rankings to your pages too you need to show them the light of the Google sun. Yes, you should link your pages equally on your posts.

For example: I have linked my about page at a relevant and convenient place on this point. You can link your services/ tools and resources and any other pages in your posts as far as they are not totally different in context.

Do follow your internal links:

When you link to some of your posts within that same domain you would want the bots to actually crawl them. It is also a common believed fact, as stated by Danny Sullivan that  no follow links will help you get recognition by showing you don’t sell influence. But in this case, internal links should be allowed to pass freely.

In 2005, when no follow attribute “rel= nofollow” was brought into SEO scene it was not taken much seriously but nowadays it is used and recommended to no follow links that pass link juice to any external site that has less ranks than yours. Passing link juice to your own site is always a good practice so follow all your internal links.

Practices to Avoid Black hat SEO techniques

Black hat SEO techniques focus on satisfying ranking requirements rather than user experience. It results in low-quality content that is often useless to the visitor. Using any of the following black hat techniques can result in heavy penalties:
  • Keyword stuffing involves saturating text with keywords and phrases. It’s used to trick search engines into indexing a web page higher based on keyword density. Write for the user and not for search engines.
  • Meta tag and description stuffing involves saturating meta tags and meta descriptions with keywords and phrases. It’s used to gain higher indexing based on keyword density. If you do manage to get a little bump in rankings, it will be short-lived, and your site could end up in a poorer position afterwards.
  • Cloaking is a coding technique that creates two versions of a single website. One version for users, and another for search engine crawlers. The site viewed by users is filled with user-friendly content while the site viewed by crawlers is keyword and meta tag stuffed.
  • Hidden text is similar to cloaking. It uses unreadable or invisible text to increase keyword density or redistribute internal link structures. Hidden text is registered as spam by crawlers.
  • Article spinning is the duplication of written content. Bots are often used to do this, resulting in badly written and repetitive content with low value to the user. Article spinning is used for keyword stuffing and backlinking purposes.
  • Doorway pages are low-quality pages optimised for specific keywords. Doorway pages use call to actions and links to redirect visitors through multiple pages to a single landing page. They are often used to redirect traffic to a specific website without the user’s knowledge.
  • While not necessarily a black hat technique in itself, link farming can have a negative effect on your SEO. It’s important to ensure that any links you purchase are high in quality and content and are relevant to your website.
  • Content spamming is a common technique among more blatant black hat practitioners. It involves posting comments on blogs and websites featuring backlinks to your website. Google, Bing and Yahoo use a nofollow feature to bypass such links when indexing websites.

Practices to Use White hat SEO techniques

White hat SEO techniques focus on user experience to increase search engine rankings. These practices are in line with search engine rules and policies, and it’s advisable to include as many of the following as possible into your SEO plan for 2015.
  • High-quality content is a central element of SEO in 2015. Search engine algorithms now focus on content quality and keyword relevancy rather than keyword density. High-quality content features appropriate keywords, so focus on the content and the rest will follow.
  • Visual-based content such as images, graphics and videos are high performing assets. Content featuring both text and visual elements performs better than text-based content. It is also easier to consume and share.
  • Mobile device optimization is a big SEO focus this year as mobile Internet usage has finally surpassed desktop usage. Ensuring your website is optimized for mobile devices guarantees proper indexing by crawlers.
  • Search engines now use keyword context as opposed to just keyword matching when indexing websites. The focus is on long-tail keyword phrases, so engage users in conversations to ensure that the right phrases are on your website.
  • Proper link building in 2015 focuses on brand mentions, content relevance and social popularity.
  • Search engine algorithms incorporate the social signals of content when evaluating ranking importance. The more shares a piece of content receives, the more valuable it’s deemed by crawlers. Create online profiles on all major social media platforms and link your profiles to one another through shared content.

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