If you've created great content, like an exciting blog post or ebook, you'll naturally want to work on making sure that you're driving as much traffic as possible to these resources. Because great content and attracting inbound links are major elements of your SEO strategy. If they aren't, they should be.
Creating great content and internal linking should always be part of your overall strategy. It's what will enable your new page to draw value from your other website pages. If you are working on any important campaign, it's absolutely critical to figure out which of your high-authority pages should be linking to your new page and what ongoing efforts can continue to build link authority for your site over time.
Internal links are important to your SEO strategy because, like inbound links, they help build up the authority of pages on your website that are important for you to rank for in the search engine results pages (SERPs) – except lucky for you, internal links are 100% within your control!
Why internal linking is important
It's easy to overlook internal linking in a space where most link-builders and SEO specialists focus on inbound links and developing links from other sites. You might have heard that inbound links are like votes for your content from other websites; they tell search engines what your content is about.
While it's obviously better to have more people than just yourself vote for your content, if you don't start by voting for yourself, the search engines will have a difficult time considering your page as one of the best on the web. Internal links are valuable not just because they are a direct signal that your content is important, but also because those links themselves pass on their own link authority.
The link authority of internal links makes the value of your blog and other pages more obvious to search engines. When other websites link to your pages, they bring in "votes of trust" and traffic into your domain. But you can draw even more SEO benefit from inbound links when you apply them to your internal linking strategy.
How to leverage internal linking
If there's a page on your website that you care a lot about, you should explain its importance to search engines. Start by considering how a search engine understands the value of an internal link: it's looking at how many pages on your website link to that page, and how they link to it.
If the only links to your blog are from your "About Us" section, and nothing from your homepage or your website's main navigation, you have already sent a strong signal to search engines – your blog is not very important. If your blog is in the main website navigation, however, Google and Bing will treat it like one of your top pages.
What your internal link should look like
Good internal links have a set of characteristics. When you work on your internal link-building strategy, make sure to follow the best practices described below:
Write relevant anchor text The anchor text should be strong and include relevant keywords that clearly indicate what the linked content is about.
Link to strong pages The page being linked to should provide an in-depth explanation of the linked keyword or phrase. To get the most out of internal linking, select one page (the best your have!) for which you're trying to rank in the SERPs, and always link to that page in your internal links.
Be consistent in your linking If you continually link to different pages, you're splitting any linking authority among two pages instead of one, making your link half as useful. So be consistent in your efforts to rank for a specific keyword or phrase by linking to the same page.
Place relevant content around the link The copy around the linked text should also be optimized. Crawlers read the anchor text and the words around it. So seeing a relevant keyword near the linked copy helps in search engine optimization.