Structure And Anchors For Internal Linking: Types, Rules, Subtleties For SEO - Semalt
The internal linking is a way to navigate a site, in which the user goes to the desired page using a hyperlink.
Here are two ways of linking: a non-anchor way and an anchored one. If everything is more or less clear with the pages'non-anchor linking (these are just links in the form of a URL), then with the second method it is somewhat more complicated.
In this article, we will bring answers to the following questions: What is an internal link? How to create the internal links? And finally we will analyze the correct selection of the anchors for the benefits of SEO.
What is an internal link and how to create an internal link in Word Press?
An internal link points to another page on the same website. Every website uses it. For example, a menu bar consists for the most part of the internal links. Also, the text links on the pages and in the (blog) articles or the images left behind can direct you to another page on the same website.
If you apply properly the internal link building, you will gradually turn your website into a kind of spider web. The internal links are the wires that connect the pages together. This is pleasant for both visitors and search engines.
As an entrepreneur, you can plot a kind of route for the visitors through your website.
The search engines detect the structure of the web's spider and conclude: this is not just a number of random web pages put together, but a coherent whole. Google takes into account the good use of the internal links in the ranking of your website.
How important is an internal link?
The internal page linking affects:
- Authority of the pages. The authority of a URL depends on the number of links leading to it (both external and internal).
- Page's weight. A submitted link from an authority page adds value to the acceptor page.
- Relevance of the request. The anchored links increase the content's relevance for a specific key.
- Indexing. A resource crawling by the search engines begins with the important URLs: home, pages' section (second nesting), and the materials with high authority. A correct internal linking speeds up the indexing of the new materials and its appearance in the search engines results.
- Usability. On the large resources (Wikipedia is a good example), the site's structure is usually complex and confusing. A competent linking increases the usability of the resource.
- Informativeness. The users receive additional information, and that increase the time they spend on the resource. This has a positive effect on the search engines rankings.
- Bounce rate. This is especially important for Google, which considers the visit of one page of the site as a failure. If the user sees a hyperlink and it matches or expands his request, then there is a possibility of continuing the visit.
The internal linking helps to build external linking mass. Nowadays, many resources simply copy content via RSS feed. With this borrowing, all the hyperlinks remain linking to your site. It remains only to assess the quality of the referring resource and, if this is not satisfied, reject it through Disavow Links and earn more external links.
Foreign colleagues from Ninja Outreach have an excellent Internal linking case: they increased organic traffic by 40% only thanks to internal linking.
How did they structure their work?
The pages were divided into 3 categories: at the first level, the pages are ranked correctly across the entire pool of the required queries; coming to the second level there is a good traffic, but it is not ranked for all the necessary keywords; and at the third level, there are the useful articles, but without special positions on the keys.
From all the pages of the first level there are links to the second level, and from the second to the third.
Then you configured the display of the top materials on all the pages of the site (end-to-end linking).
On the bottom line: we got a 40% increase in the organic traffic due to a higher use of the resource, the weight distribution and the authority of the top materials.
Linking structure and schemes for SEO
Therefore, the structure of the site is the foundation of the internal linking, which is of a great importance for SEO.
A competent site structure enhances the importance of the pages, by directing the link's weight in the right direction with the linking's help.
As part of this article, let's highlight which structure's format is effective and which one is not.
Ineffective linking structure
Many online stores have this structure, but it does not provide the search engines optimization benefit that it could. Why? The experiment showed that Google only counts one link from one page to another. Googlebot ignores simply the anchors for the second and next pages. And since such a structure is displayed in the menu and is end-to-end, then all the additional materials written to the site (blog articles) with the hope of transferring weight are dummies, because the link is already in the menu.
This structure showed a much better result, since the link's power from the main page was distributed in only 4 parts, not 24. Why is this important? The home page receives the most inbound links and visits. This means that the most of the weight from the other resources is transferred to it. Why waste it just like that? If it is done, as in the first option, then the weight will "spread" throughout the resource. And for SEO, you need to strengthen the important pages (with high and medium frequency queries). Such a site structure is called SILO (literal translation - "bunker").
SILO means grouping the contents by topic and structuring it from general sections to subsections and individual product cards. The category pages are overviewed pages with a common theme, distribution point. From it, the weight to the subsidiaries is spread; not only to the subcategories, but also to the relevant articles that help to dive deeper into the topic, as well as the conversion pages.
- On click
- Function with encoded data
- Dynamic parameters
- Anchor (#)
Previously, rel = "nofollow" was thought to not convey link power, but since September 2019 Google has considered this tag as a recommendation.
You can find many linking schemes on the Internet:
All have the right to live. But if the site does not have a clear structure, then normal linking cannot be done.
Let us understand once and for all. Linking is needed to increase the weight of the page that we need. To do this, we have to create a site structure using SILO, and then write the additional materials with links.
Internal link anchor: types, rules, distribution and examples
With the sorted out structure, SILO is in action... But what type of links to put? The anchor links are most effective and allow you to increase the relevance of the material to a specific request.
Types of anchors
The main difference between the anchors is the linking text. By the type of spelling, the following occurrences of the keywords can be distinguished:
- exact - query only
- morphological - exact with an altered case or number
- Diluted - in addition to the request, there is other text (tails selling items and more)
For example, a phone repair site wants to rank first for the query "phone repair in New York». A link that contains exactly this text is an exact match, and a link with "Samsung phone repair in New York» is diluted.
Also note that diluted can be thought as another "cluster" of the queries. Thus, you can try to promote one page across multiple clusters. But do this only if it is not possible to select several sections for each cluster on the site. The chances of hitting the top are slim, but with the anchor links there are clearly more chances.
Selection of anchors
You shouldn't think of the anchors out of your head. Our main goal is to increase the page's weight and the keywords' ranking. To compose a correct and high-quality anchor, pay attention to the statistics of the search queries. To do this, you can use, for example, Yandex Wordstat:
Selection of the anchors in Yandex Wordstat
After having entered the main key - "buy a TV in New York", we see excellent dilution options: by brand, size, technology, place of sale (online store or district), selling text elements ("cheap", "inexpensive"). This approach allows you to not use the "empty" keywords, but to be based on the real statistics. But it is worth noting that the result cannot be seen by the high-frequency keys. It is better to use the low-frequency keys.
In addition to the anchor itself, the link text is also important. Let's take the same example: we want to make a link with the anchor "buy a TV in New York". There are several options for composing near-reference text: in front of the key, behind and around. For example: "Our store sells household and digital appliances. With us you can buy a TV in New York in one click with delivery on the day of order." The near-link text should be readable and adequate.
Anchor writing rules
Do not hope that the anchors are a panacea for getting to the top. Such links are often considered like spam by the search engines. To prevent this from happening, follow the rules for compiling an anchor list:
- Readability and literacy. In any case do not write "crooked" words forms. Everything should be in accordance with the grammatical norms of your language.
- Subject. Place the anchor text on the pages with the similar topics. This rule applies to both internal and external linking: do not put a link to TVs in an article about vacuum cleaners, but place the external links on the sites about animals.
- Amount. The approximate ratio of the anchor and non-anchor links is ¼ exact and ¼ diluted. Do not put everywhere, the direct key "buy a TV", you can dilute it in "buy a 42-inch TV" or "buy an LCD TV" and others.
- Diversity. Don't write the same anchors it can stick together and the weight's transfer is cut back.
Follow these rules and the search engines' filters will bypass your resource.
Distribution of anchors across the site
Based on the structure of the site, we understand that those pages that are higher in structure are more authoritative. But how do you find the ones with the most inbound links?
To do this, you can use tools such as:
- Google Search Console
- Google Analytics
Consider free methods that are available to everyone:
Go to Google Search Console -> "Search Traffic" -> "Links to your site" -> "Your most frequently linked pages." We see a list of the URLs to which the most links from external resources go. Typically, these are the pages that have the most visibility, traffic, and weight.
Go to Google Analytics -> "Behavior" -> "Site Content" -> "All Pages". We sort the pages by the amount of traffic and see the most visited URLs.
With paid tools, the interaction logic is similar, only the mechanisms are different.
The impact of the internal linking is often underestimated; although through it you can significantly increase your traffic. Take into account the recommendations of this article, and you will be pleasantly surprised by the results.
The internal links are extremely important for a website. These are signals that point to the visitors where they can go and connect the pages of your website into a coherent and functional whole. If the internal link's structure is not in order, you have a chance of:
- the high bounce rates
- declining page authority
- and a bad user experience
So there is a lot at stake.
Interested in SEO? Check out our other articles on the Semalt blog.