Technical SEO is one of those aspects of optimization that isn't entirely up to content marketing professionals. It involves stakeholders in other specializations like user experience, design, and IT. One of the challenges that marketers face in technical optimization is building internal links. Here are things to keep in mind when creating internal links for a website.
Prioritize User Experience (UX)
Search engines regard positive user experience because it makes things easy for end customers. When someone lands on your site, don't bombard them with ads, give thin content, or create disruptive interstitial ads. These won't capture people's attention—instead, it will cause them to click away from your website.
Today, Google has amassed billions of data points on how users interact with search engine results pages or SERPs. They can tweak algorithms based on UX, an ability which they'll only improve on moving forward.
Prioritizing UX is even more important now that Google has launched mobile-first indexing and seems to be headed toward having more rich results in SERPs. More than adhering to what Google says is good practice, though, it's essential to create good UX because it helps your conversion goals.
When you have valuable content and a well-designed website, people will want to keep visiting your pages. You set yourself up for keeping your visitors and turning them into customers if you ensure a smooth user experience. When you can tell visitors what to do quickly and clearly, they'll consider you a more reliable source of information.
Mind the Flow of Link Value
Link value doesn't just flow from one website to another. It also moves between pages on the same site. However, the exact effects of linking internally are largely unknown. In the past, website administrators had a better picture of their site's PageRank. They could quickly determine how much value individual pages had and edit the linking structure to distribute value to certain areas.
Today, though, targeted PageRank sculpting isn't possible, and SEO professionals must rely on tools and metrics indicating domain quality. Still, it's important to know your site's link structure and ensure that you don't dilute your landing pages' value.
To prioritize link value, streamline your navigation structure. Don't put dozens of links everywhere—clean up your layout and only include the most important ones for each page.
Having only a handful of links lets you concentrate value on the most critical areas, whether by spreading it around among top-level pages or down a specific silo of content. The link-building strategy must align with the content's structure and where you want the link value to go.
Don't Disregard Hierarchy
Don't be afraid to have visitors scroll through your page or click on links. You don't have to hide the details in first- or second-level pages; organize your content in clusters of topics and find a way to feature a high-level view on your home page.
Today, unlike in the old days of SEO, it's alright to target multiple keywords on a page. Because Google relies on context and semantic keywords today, search optimization experts think in big-picture terms instead of keyword density. It is better nowadays to structure content from the top down, which lets websites develop topics-within-topics.
When you follow this method, you'll have a better chance of ranking for a broad range of keywords and hit everything from generic and popular keywords to particular long-tail ones. Your content hierarchy is also important—you ensure topical relevance when you keep your content organized and easily navigable.
For many business owners, the struggle arises when they try to put everything on the home page or the navigation bar. It's understandable that they'll think this way—after all, the business is their baby, and everything about it is important to them. The challenge for the SEO professional is to determine which links to focus on and how to build depth and context for this specific brand.
Use Contextual Links
Internal linking helps users quickly find the information they need. A good internal linking structure can increase your rankings because it provides good UX. When creating internal links, you have to ensure that the websites you are connecting are related.
For example, if you have a blog post talking about the merits of having a skincare routine, you can add two to five product page links to the post. However, don't link this particular article to other kinds of products or references that have nothing to do with skincare.
The primary purpose of having a linking structure is so you can create a better user experience. People researching skincare routines will find it jarring if you suddenly link to tips for mental health on your skincare article.
Create Unique Content
To build a strong brand on your website, you need two things—unique content and a smooth user experience. It means duplicate content is out; if your page says the same thing as others in your niche, it will be challenging to become an authority. This is especially true for websites looking to break into saturated niches.
Besides having the same content as other websites, you might also inadvertently introduce duplicate content within your website. What's more, there are legitimate reasons why a website might have duplicate content. For example, if you're an e-commerce retailer with products in multiple categories, you must put the same product description on different pages.
Customizing each description for all products on all pages will be time-consuming. You must acknowledge areas where duplicate content is necessary but revise where it isn't. Use tools like Copyscape to see how much of your content you need to change.
Following internal linking practices will help you make small but significant positive changes to your website's rankings. When you consistently ensure good UX through relevant links and unique content, you'll build a strong link profile, which means improved SEO throughout your website.
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