The basics of search engine optimization (SEO) are relatively simple: Make sure you have high-quality content, your business listings are accurate, and your metadata is completely filled out. All of these tasks can be taken care of in just a few hours (or in some cases, a few days). However, these tactics only scratch the surface of perfecting your SEO strategy.
Properly linking your website can be incredibly beneficial for your small business. Sure, that means being featured on other sites with a backlink to your own website. However, linking goes much deeper than that. To fully optimize your online presence, you must ensure you have effective interlinking techniques in place.
Not having internal linking won’t kill your site. However, by having content that is linked to other pages on your own site, you can help that content live up to its full potential. Interlinking helps visitors navigate your site much more easily, and it boosts your organic search efforts — that is, where you rank in search engine results when someone searches for a particular keyword.
If you aren’t familiar with interlinking techniques, you aren’t alone. Read on to learn why it’s beneficial, and why you should implement these tactics as soon as possible.
Why Interlinking Matters
Imagine you’re in a hedge maze (or, if you prefer, a corn maze). You take a turn, and there’s nowhere else to go. So you go back, turn a different way, and find yourself at yet another dead end. After you repeat this process a few times, you realize: This maze doesn’t go anywhere! It’s simply an entrance that leads to so many dead ends. You storm out in frustration, vowing to never return.
Without proper interlinking techniques in place, this is how your website may feel to visitors and Google crawl “spiders” as well. When you start interlinking pages, more pathways open up for humans and robots alike to follow. This helps keep your visitors engaged, and also helps search engines fully understand the breadth of your website — meaning a greater chance of ranking higher in search engine results.
To better understand why interlinking matters, let’s break the benefits down into two categories: user experience and link authority.
User experience, or UX, is one of the most important factors in web design — period. If your website is difficult to navigate or use in general, visitors will flee, and search engines will rank you poorly on query results. Proper interlinking starts with functional drop-down menus in your navigation bar so users can quickly find whatever it is they’re looking for.
From there, you should have relevant links in your actual content, whether it’s a webpage or a blog. Both in content and in your navigation bar, these links should be clearly labeled so users don’t have to guess what they’re clicking. That way, visitors will be more likely to stay on your site longer as they easily find more pages relevant to what they’re looking for.
Strictly speaking, interlinks are not a ranking factor for Google. But, they can affect your rankings by proxy. As we mentioned earlier, backlinks are an important ranking factor. They tell Google your site has authority, since it’s featured on other sites. Interlinking can help build that authority on your own site. This is especially true with brand new content. If you write a new blog, and interlink it with a powerful page already on your site, that new blog will instantly gain authority in the eyes of Google.
Link authority isn’t the only way interlinking is beneficial for your rankings. With proper interlinking, especially on the navigation bar, you create a hierarchy on your site. This helps Google crawl it more effectively. Search engines can easily see your most important pages, which helps them rank your website properly.
Where Should You Focus on Interlinking Techniques?
While understanding the importance of interlinking is great, actually implementing it can be a daunting task. However, with some dedicated time and effort, you can bolster your efforts. Here are a few places you should focus your energy:
Your navigation bar and menus are two of the most crucial elements of your site. They should be fully supported by relevant, interlinked content. One great way to go about accomplishing this goal is the “skyscraper technique.” In short, you have your home page, which is supported by your landing pages (one for each product or service), which are in turn supported by blogs and other lesser content. All of it should be interlinked in some way or another.
Within the Content
As we mentioned, having interlinked content is vitally important. In some cases, this means linking to different pages and blog posts within the copy itself. However, there are other ways to interlink your content, especially your blogs. Consider having a section at the bottom of each page where “Related Posts” automatically populate — you can see an example at the bottom of the page you’re on.
In the Call-to-Action
The call to action is arguably the most important part of any page. Whether it’s a line at the end of the content or a big and bold button, it should be linked to a strong page. Avoid the urge to link to your “Contact Us” page. Rather, link to a related product or service, or a page with an offer on it. Wherever you put the link, make it prominent with a good link so visitors are ready to convert in just a click or two.
While an effective interlinking technique isn’t the most complex part of SEO, it can be a challenge. If you handle your site’s SEO on your own, be sure you follow these tips to get the most benefit possible from your content. And if you outsource your SEO, make sure whoever is doing it for you knows you expect strong interlinking tactics from them.
Not sure where to even start when it comes to optimizing your site? Don’t worry. The experts at Company.com have your back. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help take some of the day-to-day tasks off your plate, and to start a free trial of our premium software. That way, you can focus on what you do best: running your small business.