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SEO 11 min read

Internal Linking Best Practices: How To Spread Link Equity?

Natalie Yelton photo

Written by Natalie Yelton

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed

Jigmit Gwari photo

Expert reviewed by Jigmit Gwari

SEO Product Director @ Galactic Fed

Published 28 Jan 2022

If your company has a website, it most likely has several internal links across various pages.

From your product home page, for example, you probably have an internal link somewhere near the top of the page that takes visitors directly to your store locator page, helping them find and buy your product quickly and easily:

Plenty Baby Kale vibrant landing page.

Source: Plenty

We want to let you in on a not-so-little secret. Where and how you place internal links across your website matters when it comes to your firm’s search engine optimization (SEO). 

Don’t just place your internal links anywhere. Share the equity of your more powerful pages by linking to lesser-known pages on your site. Google will thank you with a higher spot on your targeted search engine results page (SERP.)

This article from the growth marketing scientists at Galactic Fed is packed full of internal linking goodies, including a definition of what they are and best practices for spreading link equity throughout your company’s website. Let’s get started! 

What is an internal link?

Dog sports by Fitdog Sports overview.

Source: fitdog

An internal link is a hyperlink that guides the site visitor to another web page or another area of the web page they are currently on within the same domain. In other words, internal links point to another page or location on the same website.

Why you should care about internal links

We now all understand that internal links take us from one page on a domain to a different page on the same domain. 

So why should we care about them? 

Well, using and optimizing internal links can boost the performance of your company’s website in several ways, including: 

  • They allow your site visitors to navigate your website effortlessly.
  • They help create a hierarchy of information for your company’s website.
  • They help spread link equity - also known as ranking power - across your site.

These three types of internal links are most commonly used in the main navigation of your firm’s website.

For more on the benefits of link-building, check out Galactic Fed’s expander on how links drive growth:

How links drive growth by Galactic Fed.

Internal links versus external links

What is the difference between an internal link and an external link, you ask? 

Put simply; internal linking occurs when your website links to another URL on the same site. In contrast, external linking occurs when your website links to a URL on a completely separate website. In other words, internal links appear when you provide links to your own pages, while external links point readers to pages on other domains.

What is link equity? 

Link equity, or ‘link juice,’ is a search engine ranking factor based on the theory that particular links pass on authority and value to one page from another. 

A number of factors are at play when it comes to determining the value of a specific link’s equity, including: 

  • The linking page’s authority,
  • The topical relevance,
  • The HTTP status,
  • And more. 

Links that contribute equity to a website are one of the many signals used by Google and other search engines to decide a page’s rank on a targeted SERP. 

Link Equity and PageRank 

If you have been doing your own research into link equity, you most likely have come across PageRank. 

PageRank is the name of Google’s first algorithm calculation they used to determine how a particular website should rank, mainly based on the site’s existing backlink profile

Fast forward to 2022, and PageRank isn’t the only factor taken into account when Google is deciding where your site should end up on your targeted SERP. 

Think of link equity as how the flow of one of your web page’s ranking power passes from one link to another link. Suppose a high-authority page includes a followed link to an article on a site with less authority. In that case, a vote of confidence is given for that linked page, spreading a certain amount of authority from the site with the high authority to the smaller site via the followed link in the process. 

It’s important to understand that both internal and external links can spread along link equity. That’s why it’s vital to have a link-building strategy in place for your firm.

Four considerations for spreading link equity 

How exactly do you pass link equity from one page on your site to another? Here are four best practice considerations to keep in mind when spreading link equity throughout your site, including:

  • relevance, 
  • crawablity, 
  • location, and 
  • quantity of links on the same page.

Link relevance

Is your link relevant? If you are linking to a web page telling the story about how your business was founded from an article about the differences between your service offers, the link may not be the most relevant link to include. Google is not a fan of this type of internal linking. 

Simply put, irrelevant links don’t provide much authority or value when it comes to the SEO of your website.

Link crawability 

Is your link crawlable by search engine bots? If one of your web pages blocks crawlers via the robots.txt file, this tells Google’s crawlers to ignore your link and the link won’t be able to spread link equity.

Link location 

Consider where your link is located on the page. If your link is hidden away in a sidebar, it won’t be given as much weight as a link found in the body of one of your web pages’ main content. 

Your website’s architecture assists Google in determining what content is most valuable to site visitors so that a look at where a link is located from a user experience (UX) point of view. 

Fed Fix: Determining link location

Think about what your website visitor wants to achieve when landing on your web page and how do the internal links you provide on that page help them achieve their goal? 

Quantity of links

Consider how many links do you have on each web page. We wish we could divulge an optimal number of links to include per page. There’s isn’t a set rule to follow, unfortunately. 

As a guiding principle, though, your link shouldn’t get lost among many others. With more links on a page, the likelihood of a visitor finding and clicking on it lessens.  

What are the six types of internal links?

There are six main types of internal links your firm can and should utilize on your website, including:

1. Navigation links 

2. Contextual links

3. Anchor text links 

4. Image links 

5. Footer links, and 

6. Taxonomy and categorical links.

Navigation links

By far the most common internal link is the navigation link. This type of link helps you structure your website and guide the reader through your content. Most likely, every page of your website has at least one navigation link, if not many.

Contextual links

Contextual links appear within the content of your web pages and direct site visitors to other relevant pages on your website.

Anchor text links

Anchor text links are words or phrases within your content that include a hyperlink to another area of the webpage, a separate page on your site, or an entirely separate website. Anchor text usually appears in blue and may include an underline.

To supercharge your SEO strategy, think about optimizing your anchor text. We’ve produced a step-by-step guide to anchor text optimization to help you along the way. 

Image links

Images can and should be used as internal links when it makes sense to do so. Graphs, charts, and infographics are perfect examples of images that could benefit from also being an internal link. This type of link can help your site visitors seek out additional information about the image, boosting the user experience of your company’s website.

Footer links

Footer links, which appear at the bottom of each of your web pages, are used to improve the user experience of your website. A website’s footer often contains contact information, social media widgets, alongside intelligent search functionality that allows site visitors to find what they need on your company’s site fast. 

Taxonomy and categorical links

Taxonomy and categorical links connect relevant subjects, such as blog categories or related articles and posts, making it super easy for your site visitors to find all of the content your website has on offer. These types of links are crucial for content-heavy sites with larger than average resource sections, for example. 

Can you have too many internal links?

As we stated earlier in the article, there is no hard-and-fast rule about how many internal links on a page are too many. 

Previously Google stated they could crawl at least a hundred links per web page. They now indicate they can crawl many more links, though webmaster guidelines recommed fewer than three thousand:

A reasonable number of internal links to a few thousand at most.

Source: Google

To strike the right balance between a great user experience and SEO optimization, we recommend limiting the number of links per page to what’s reasonable for the page topic without going over 100 if possible. Focus on ensuring all of your links are helpful to site visitors, first and foremost.

Final thoughts: Are internal links good for SEO?

Deployed correctly, internal links are very beneficial to the SEO of your website. By following Galactic Fed’s best practices when it comes to spreading link equity throughout your site, your company can improve where it ends up on Google’s SERP. 

Focus on the relevance of your links, how crawlable they are, where they are located on the page, and how many links you have per page, and you can’t go wrong. 

If you like a helping hand spreading link equity across your site, contact us today, We’d love to help boost your company’s SEO with an internal linking strategy with impressive results.

Meta Description: 

Do you want to know how to spread link equity across your website? Check out Galactic Fed’s internal linking best practice tips and tricks to boost your SEO.

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Natalie Yelton photo

Natalie Yelton

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed