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Building a comprehensive portfolio of high quality backlinks is a key element of every SEO strategy, but the importance of also establishing a strong internal linking structure should not be overlooked. As an essential component of every thoroughly optimised website, internal linking helps demonstrate the authority of a website in its field, and also assists with the successful delivery of a solid user experience.
Well written and researched content that aims to deliver real value will continue to be a driving force for solid SEO strategies across many different industries and sectors. As well as a comprehensive content strategy however, every business also needs a solid internal linking strategy that allows for the successful distribution of link authority to every corner of their website.
Internal links and user experience
Alongside improving website navigation, allowing audiences to immediately locate key pieces of relevant and valuable information, a well-constructed internal linking structure will also provide multiple ways for audiences to continue engaging with further content in ways that feel intuitive. This may mean piquing interests by introducing slightly different but related topics, or establishing pathways to newly developed on-site areas.
Further functions of internal links
• Assisting in the organisation of web pages through keywords and categorisation
• Establishing routes for search engine spiders to crawl otherwise difficult to reach content
• Sharing link authority between key web pages
• Contributing to the organisation of website architecture
• Communicating with search engines, emphasising a website’s most important web pages
The importance of sharing link authority
As new pieces of content contain very little authority, introducing deep links from homepages or other powerful web pages immediately shares the authority a website has previously earned. This is important because it results in new content being indexed much more efficiently, as well as securing a higher ranking position than it would have otherwise achieved.
Internal links within content
Ensuring every content-based internal link is highly relevant is essential to avoid disrupting user experience, which is likely to negatively impact overall bounce rates. Consistently aiming to provide audiences with more detailed and informative content should be a central aim for every linking strategy, which means efficiently locating and fixing broken links, and streamlining content and code to secure and maintain fast page loading times.
From a business perspective, it is also recommended to ensure every linked page always contains an achievable call-to-action, and is no more than a single click away from a valuable conversion page.
Internal link placement
While Google states link placement has very little impact on SEO, as it can influence user experience, it would perhaps be best to consider placement as having at least an indirect impact on optimisation. Incorporating relevant internal links at the end of each piece of content will often prompt users to continue interacting with and exploring a website, which Google will take into consideration when evaluating a website’s value during the ranking process.
Neglecting to implement considered internal linking practices can be more harmful to SEO efforts than may initially be apparent, perhaps even inadvertently affecting content crawlability, which will impede the success of key articles and prevent them from securing the organic ranking places they deserve to achieve.