If you are not already linking internally on your website or blog, then this is a fatal error that you should fix without delay! “Why?” I hear you ask. For those of you not already adopting an internal link building strategy, you are missing a major fundamental of on-page SEO: allowing your users to navigate with ease around your site. After back links have done their job of bringing new traffic to your website, if users cannot navigate to other pages containing relevant or useful information, or find out where they can contact you. Chances are you could have a rather high bounce rate, be experiencing low engagements from visitors or barely receiving any contact us form completions.
With that being said, today’s article is here to help you with the basic Do’s and Dont’s of internal linking…
DO put your most important pages first in your site navigation structure.
DON’T link to pages that do not exist.
This one sounds pretty obvious. But make sure that all of your navigation links are pointing to live pages and that there are no URL spelling or 404 errors.
DO use relevant keywords to describe content that navigation links point to.
For example, if you had a category that was dedicated to ‘Bridal Make-up’, you would of course want to use this keyword for the anchor text.
DON’T use too many characters for your navigation links.
For user readability and site experience, try to stick to 15 characters maximum (including spacea). Anything more that that will just make your menu bar look messy.
DO use descriptive anchor text for internal linking.
As the last ‘Do’ point above suggests for menu navigation links, you should also be using relevant anchor text when linking internally between pages or blog posts.
DON’T keyword stuff.
When creating internal links, try not to use this as an excuse to keyword stuff by using the same term each time or a term that isn’t relevant to the page it points to. Try to mix things up with keyword, long tail or junk anchor text.
DO link to deep pages.
Take advantage of your internal linking structure by linking to deep pages. You never know, that article from a year ago could be helpful to a new visitor reaching your site.
DON’T only use internal linking for your navigation menu.
Make sure that you are linking internally from blog posts and page content, rather than just via your menu. This will not only help navigation for users around your site, but it will also enable Google Bots to crawl more of your content too.