At my startup, LSEO, we recently ran an internal link audit to help inform and refine our growth marketing strategy. With multiple freelancers and staff writers constantly contributing content, our site has more than tripled in size in the past two years.
Unfortunately, running a massive content marketing initiative with no central internal linking strategy in place had limited the spread of link authority throughout our website.
I highly recommend auditing your own internal linking structure to make sure you aren’t inhibiting a blog post from being crawled or receiving “link juice.” This is not only bad from an SEO perspective, but also from a business standpoint. Content that is not properly interlinked may not live up to its full organic ranking potential — or be found easily by users.
Let’s review some of the best practices of internal linking and show you why interlinking should still be a central concern of your SEO development.
A sophisticated internal linking structure provides SEO and user experience (UX) value for your website. Here are some highlights of internal link functionality:
Of course, there are instances of links that search engines can’t parse. It’s important to mention them so you don’t mistakenly use them:
Setting aside all of the SEO value of internal links, interlinking is valuable to your UX. A savvy interlinking structure should feature a functional drop-down menu and navigation bar with links to relevant topical content to satisfy user intent.
Providing clear labels for each link encourages further website interaction, which also has lots of SEO value. Not only does this increase user dwell time and session length, but the longer a user stays on your website, the more likely he/she is to complete a desired conversion.
Imagine landing on an awesome web page from a referral traffic source and a day later trying to find it. Unfortunately, without optimized anchor text in the URL or deep links to index the page properly, it may be impossible to find it through direct traffic methods, which is frustrating.
Unlike backlinks, internal links have no direct impact on Google’s algorithm. But they do increase the flow of backlink authority that circulates from one page to another.
New blog articles are born with virtually no authority or recognition. With a deep link from the home page or a cornerstone page, you instantly transfer previously earned authority to that web page. That piece will be indexed faster and rank higher as a result.
Your internal linking structure should follow a pyramid formation. Your home page rests at the top. Directly beneath lie cornerstone pages or category pages that deep-link to relevant blog or product pages. All pages directly within one link of the home page will be perceived as the most important to search engines.
The goal is to reduce the total number of links that occur between a web page and the home page. Your home page is your most authoritative, in part because it is the page that will receive the most backlinks. Leverage your home page’s authority to spread link juice evenly throughout your site, and position each web page to rank highly.
This leads us to the importance of navigation bars and menu functionality. As your website grows with blog posts, content and resource pages, these sophisticated navigation features will ensure that all web pages are still within two to three links of the home page.
Let’s explore the anatomy of link placements and which ones serve our UX and SEO campaign more.
Content is not simply a clever place to insert internal links for indexation, but they also aid our site’s UX. Placing a link in a piece of content serves as a source material and communicates to readers that you can stop reading to gather more information “here.”
Bolding content links makes them visually stand out from the rest of the content and beckons users to click on them. Ideally, you’ll want to place links in blog posts to other relevant blog posts. Relevancy is key because irrelevant links will disrupt your UX and result in bounces.
You should ensure that your web page contains no broken links. If so, redirect those links to relevant web pages. It’s also important that your web pages load fast to ensure a positive user experience and to stave off bounces. Additionally, make sure that any linked web page is not more than one click away from a conversion page and always contains a call to action in reach.
Some experts speculate that content links are more valuable than other navigational links, which brings up an interesting topic with interlinking: Do links in different page spots affect my SEO, and what are the best practices?
According to John Mueller of Google, “position on a page for internal links is pretty much irrelevant from our point of view.”
This doesn’t mean the position of important internal links is irrelevant from a UX standpoint. Ideally, you’ll place your most important internal links on your home page, in the navigation bar, or on a drop-down menu.
Within lower authority pages, it’s unnecessary to link back to your home page or contact page within content. It does not pass “link juice,” nor does it promote a positive UX. It is best to link only to other relevant posts here.
Footer links and sidebar links should link to relevant content or product pages. While a link to a cornerstone page in your footer will not be less valuable than placing it in a navigation bar, it’s generally a bad practice from a UX standpoint to have an expansive footer bar.
Placing links at the end of articles or on a sidebar to relevant web pages will encourage users to keep interacting with your website. This provides positive user signals to Google, which may indirectly affect website and page rank.
A great way to help index your content is to place link tags or keyword tags on content that will communicate to search engines the topic of that landing page.
Breadcrumb links and an XML sitemap also contribute greatly toward user and site crawler navigation.
The essential component of Link-building 101 and Internal Linking 101 is relevancy. Optimize all anchor text to reflect the title or topic of the landing page being linked to. Placing irrelevant anchor text on a link will qualify your website as spam.
Be sure to create keyword variations for your anchor text structure. Constantly using the same anchor text for each link could qualify as spam and, if used for different landing pages, will result in keyword cannibalization.
Leverage your keyword research, and conduct a link audit to identify areas of content where relevant internal links can be placed. Ideally, you’ll want around three internal links for a piece of content, at least — perhaps more, depending on the word count.
I can’t fail to mention the importance of optimizing your call to action (CTA) to maximize your conversion rate. A CTA button should be big and bold and should be optimized for each device. Make sure your CTA is distinguishable from the background.
CTA positioning is important, and I recommend placing a CTA above the fold. QuickSprout often uses a slide-in CTA that gathers massive conversions.
Ultimately, you want your CTA to be present on each web page so that users are always one or two clicks away from creating a conversion.
If you don’t want a search engine to count the link juice flowing through a specific web page, then you can place a rel=”nofollow” attribute on your link tag. These are often used in links found in comments and user-generated content to protect against spam penalties.
Unfortunately, this tag can sometimes cause a ripple effect and limit the authority flowing through other pages directly linked to that page. Google specifically advises against what it refers to as “pagerank sculpting,” and the nofollow attribute generally shouldn’t be attached to internal links.
When we think of link building, we often ignore the UX and SEO value of building out our own internal link structure. While backlinks remain the crown jewels of SEO, their effects can be amplified through a sophisticated internal link structure that spreads the wealth evenly throughout your site.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.
Kristopher Jones is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor, and best-selling author of “SEO Visual Blueprint” by Wiley (2008, 2010, 2013). Kris was the founder and former CEO of digital marketing and affiliate agency Pepperjam (sold to eBay) and has since founded multiple successful businesses, including ReferLocal.com, APPEK Mobile Apps, French Girls App, and LSEO.com, where he serves as CEO. Most recently, Kris appeared on Apple’s first TV Show, “Planet of the Apps,” where he and his business partner, comedian / actor Damon Wayans, Jr., secured $1.5 million for an on-demand LIVE entertainment booking app called Special Guest.
Article source: http://searchengineland.com/how-to-improve-your-seo-with-user-friendly-interlinking-280653]]>
Dave Chappelle got a big honor bestowed on him over the weekend … by the New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Nika Milbrun, Cuomo’s Assistant Director of Constituencies for African-American and Women’s Affairs, did the honors in NYC, telling Chappelle he’s been a role model and an inspiration. She mentions how charitable Dave has been, notably giving $50k to Flint and set to host a charity event with Rihanna in Sept.
Milbrun said Dave has been a big influence in helping African-American entertainers, and the award syncs up with Dave’s August residency at Radio City Music Hall where he fills the stage with African-American entertainers.
She also joked that there were times Chappelle pushed the line, but all was good.
For his part, Dave was humbled by the honor and talked about his connection to the Big Apple.
Article source: http://www.tmz.com/2017/08/21/dave-chappelle-award-honor-new-york-governor-andrew-cuomo/]]>
Del Rio was asked about Smith’s arrest over an alleged July 4 beatdown of his sister’s boyfriend and produced a possible defense for the cornerback.
“He was defending his sister,” Del Rio told SFGate.com … “Obviously, things occurred that were taken issue with, so he’s having to defend himself right now.”
TMZ Sports broke the story … Smith — who signed a $40 MILLION contract last year — was arrested for felony battery in Pasadena after cops said he beat and stomped the man so badly he was hospitalized in critical condition.
Smith’s lawyer says his client is innocent and will fight the charges — but Del Rio’s comments essentially confirm he did get physical with the other man. So, the “It Wasn’t Me” defense is out the window.
But even if Smith was “defending his sister” — the law only affords someone the right to use “reasonable force” to stop an imminent attack.
Based on the injuries the man suffered — multiple broken bones, unconscious when police arrived, critical condition — it sounds like officials believe Smith exceeded that standard.
Smith’s due back in court next month.
Article source: http://www.tmz.com/2017/08/21/sean-smith-jack-del-rio-raiders-defending-sister/]]>
Lonzo Ball says he’s incredibly thankful to Jay-Z for ordering 3 pairs of his ZO2 kicks — but reminds the mogul the shoes ain’t coming for another 3 months!
We got Lonzo out in Bev Hills over the weekend — after dropping some cash at Louis Vuitton — and asked about Jay publicly and privately throwing his support behind the Big Baller Brand.
“I’m just thankful man,” the Lakers rookie said … “Appreciate it.”
Lonzo says he hasn’t met with Jay and doesn’t know too much about the business side of the shoe line — “I just play basketball man. I don’t handle that.”
As for Jay’s one complaint … that he hasn’t received any of the shoes yet — Lonzo reminded Hov that they aren’t scheduled to ship until November.
As we previously reported, Jay appeared on “Rap Radar” podcast on Tidal last week and told Elliott Wilson and B.Dot that he’s backing the BBB brand because it’s important for him to help black owned businesses.
Article source: http://www.tmz.com/2017/08/21/lonzo-ball-jay-z-bbb-zo2-shoes/]]>
George and Amal hit up Harry’s Bar at the Piazza Risorgimento in Lake Como. She looks amazing … remember, she dropped the twins 2 months ago.
Kinda funny … Amal got all spiffy in a glowing green dress, but George didn’t follow suit, or anything even close.
Can’t blame George for dressing down … guy’s gotta be losing sleep these days, or he just doesn’t care ’cause he’s worth half a billion.
Article source: http://www.tmz.com/2017/08/21/george-amal-clooney-dinner-italy/]]>
Future got bum-rushed onstage and that poor bastard who did it paid a hefty price — security tossed him back into the crowd and a melee erupted.
The incident went down Friday night at Future’s concert at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex in Alabama. The rapper was in the middle of performing “Wicked” when the overly eager fan made his way onstage.
We’re told security managed to get the fan off stage and, once back on the floor, the fan started fighting security. That’s when security tossed him back onto the crowd, who took matters into their own hands and laid a beatdown.
Arena security and off-duty cops brought control in a matter of minutes … all while Future performed throughout the fight. We’re told EMTs treated several people and cops took statements but it’s unclear if any arrests were made.
Bum-rushing the stage … it never ends well.
Article source: http://www.tmz.com/2017/08/21/future-brawl-concert-brawl-fight-wicked/]]>
Jay-Z has finally broken his silence over the infamous elevator video in which Solange Knowles attacked him as Beyonce looked on.
Jay was on the podcast ”Rap Radar” when he addressed the 2014 incident at the Standard Hotel in NYC, but without discussing the trigger for Solange’s tirade.
Jay said obtusely, “I fought my brothers and argued with my brothers my whole life. It just so happens, who we are, these things go into a different space, but it ain’t nothing.”
He went on … “We had one disagreement ever. Before and after we’ve been cool. She’s like my sister. I will protect her. That’s my sister, not my sister-in-law, my sister.”
It seems Solange was angry over Jay’s alleged infidelity when she went off in the elevator, which he underscores in his new song, “Kill Jay Z” … “You egged Solange on/Knowin’ all along, all you had to say you was wrong/you almost went Eric Benet/Let the baddest girl in the world get away.”
Article source: http://www.tmz.com/2017/08/20/jay-z-addresses-elevator-fight-solange-podcast-beyonce/]]>
Blake Griffin thinks LeBron James could end up in NYC — but that’s news to LeBron James.
Bron was leaving Coral Tree Cafe in Brentwood on Sunday when we asked about the prediction Griffin made on the “View From the Cheap Seats” podcast … that LeBron will leave Cleveland for the Knicks.
“Honestly, I don’t see him coming to L.A. period,” Griffin said … “I could see him going to New York before L.A.”
So, how did Bron feel about that?
“I don’t even know what you’re talking about, shawty,” LeBron told our female photog … right before hopping into his clean white Porsche.
We asked some follow-up questions — LeBron was super nice to our photog. But ultimately, we got more information about his rap music preferences than his basketball plans.
Article source: http://www.tmz.com/2017/08/21/lebron-james-los-angeles-new-york-21-savage/]]>
Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler has been formally charged with 3 misdemeanors for allegedly roughing up a dude in an apartment parking lot last month … TMZ Sports has learned.
According to court docs, obtained by TMZ Sports, Fowler has been charged with 1st degree misdemeanor battery, criminal mischief and petty theft.
As we previously reported, Fowler was initially arrested after cops say he got into an altercation with a man who criticized his driving — and proceeded to hit the man, knock off his glasses, stepped on them … and then grabbed the man’s bag of newly purchased liquor and threw it in a nearby lake.
If convicted on all counts, Fowler faces about a year behind bars.
Fowler has since apologized for the incident — telling Jaguars fans, “I’m a better person than that.”
Article source: http://www.tmz.com/2017/08/21/dante-fowler-charged-battery-theft/]]>
Musk signed an open letter to the U.N. Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons … the body is taking up autonomous weapons, including drones, tanks and machine guns.
Musk, who has warned about the dangers of A.I. before, said, “Lethal autonomous weapons threaten to become the third revolution in warfare. Once developed, they will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend.”
Musk goes on … “These can be weapons of terror, weapons that despots and terrorists use against innocent populations, and weapons hacked to behave in undesirable ways.”
Musk calls the autonomous arms race a Pandora’s Box which, once opened, will be tough to close.
Musk was not alone in his concern … 89 leaders around the world signed the open letter.
Article source: http://www.tmz.com/2017/08/21/elon-musk-open-letter-weapons-arms-race/]]>