Now more than ever, links are everywhere! Anything that’s dynamic, from web sites and social media to e-newsletters and PDFs, often contain live links. This is how we reference information and more importantly, how we drive traffic from one place to the next. Internal linking is an especially powerful tool because it keeps visitors browsing a web site longer and helps to strategically direct them to other content. This following guide of Dos and Don’ts will help to highlight the most effective ways to use internal linking in content.
DO use specific anchor text
The anchor text is what is highlighted with the link and made clickable. Most commonly this text tends to be a phrase such as “click here” or “read more here,” but this is considered to be non-specific. When search engines index your web site, they count the anchor text as a keyword. Instead, you should use a specific and strategic word or phrase as your linking anchor to further increase the search engine optimization of your web pages.
DO link to each page at least once
Every page within your web site should have at least one link that directs viewers to it from another page. It’s easy to remember to link to some of your biggest and most popular pages over and over, such as your homepage, about page or contact page. But don’t forget that you created each page on your web site for a reason and so they should be able to flow easily from one other. Additionally, you need to link all of your pages for best SEO results.
DON’T overwhelm your content with links
In an effort to link internally to each page at least once, you may begin to overwhelm your content with too many links. Choose the content carefully and strategically. Make sure it makes sense to visitors as to why you’re directing them to another page within your site. Linking should feel natural and helpful, not misplaced or forced.
DON’T forget to check and double your links
You’ve put the effort into carefully picking out the content and placement for your links; now don’t waste this on directing visitors to a dead or incorrect URL. Check and double check every one of your links to be sure they point in the direction in which they were designed. Capturing a visitor’s interest enough to get them to click on a link is a very valuable thing. If this takes them to an error page, you will likely lose their interest and possibly their business.
DO make your URLs into links
This may seem like an obvious “Do,” however, this error can still be found on many web sites big and small. Rather than turning anchor text into a live link, web sites will mistakenly list the URL of another page. By doing this, you miss out on the opportunity to index additional keywords, hurting your SEO. Also, this hurts the professionalism of your web site. Listing a “raw” URL makes the content look sloppy and unfinished. Instead, choose strategic anchor text and link this directly to where you wish visitors to go next.
This list of Dos and Don’ts has hopefully helped to provide you with a better understanding of the industry’s best practice of internal linking in content. Whether this is for your business web site or your personal blog, you can better harness the power of internal linking by recalling the information of this quick guide. ~Stephanie
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