The Importance of Internal Linking for SEO

The Importance of Internal Linking for SEO

There are countless factors of importance that contribute toward a website’s SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) performance and SERP (Search Engine Results Pages) rankings, and one is internal linking within a site.

Given that there are now so many aspects of SEO for marketers to manage, anything that doesn’t reach off-site can be under-estimated and left unconsidered: but internal linking for SEO should not be overlooked and here we explain why.

What is Internal Linking?

An internal link is any link from one page to another within the same website or domain. Users of a website use these links to navigate around the content on the site and to find the content they want, and (hopefully) take a desired ‘conversion’ action. Internal linking for SEO refers not just to the easy navigation of a website for its users, but also for the navigation of search engine crawlers around the domain to determine its content, appropriate audience, authenticity and usefulness.

How Internal Linking For SEO Fits in With Other Aspects of SEO 

Internal linking is not a direct SEO contributor in the way that keyword usage or mobile responsiveness is. It does, however, act as an indirect contributor. Internal linking around a website connects content and helps the ‘crawlers’ of search engines build a contextual map in order to rank it appropriately.

While external linking may demonstrate authenticity and trustworthiness to search engines from external sources, internal linking helps it then decide how to rank its content: creating a hierarchy by providing more important, content-heavy and most-visited pages more link equity than those that aren’t frequented or found to be useful. As a result, the more internal links to a page establish higher potential for good SEO ranking performance.

Why is Internal Linking for SEO Important?

Google and other search engines may be able to read your webpage as it stands alone, but there is only so much information that can be gleaned from a single page. Internal linking allows search engines to better comprehend not just the topic but also the value of a website, by maximising the content to be analysed. Internal linking allows search engines an indication of which pages are most important, and so help best present websites on SERPs in the most effective manner.

Internal linking is also positive for UX (User Experience) as it allows users to navigate and identify useful content, engaging users for as long as possible on the site and ensuring they’re able to access as much information as they need to before leaving.

Both benefits of internal linking are important, but it is critical that webmasters and marketers balance the two.

How do Internal Links impact on Bounce Rates?

The Bounce Rate of a website or page is the amount of users, usually expressed in a percentage, that arrive on a domain and then leave the domain to ‘bounce’ elsewhere: either to head back to a search engine, to visit somewhere else online, or to close the browser entirely. Bounce Rates vary hugely across industries and page types, but generally speaking, a lower Bounce Rate is better than a high one as it indicates the content within a page is engaging, valuable and relevant to the audience.

Internal linking for SEO or just for navigational purposes helps lower a website’s Bounce Rate and increasing the average overall time on-site as it encourages users to spend longer on the domain and ensures they needn’t immediately click elsewhere for information. This can help organisation’s websites gain competitive advantage above others and better their conversion rates.

How is Internal Linking Positive for UX?

Without internal linking throughout a website, users will only access the information or content on the page which they’re on and will be unable to take any further actions. This will inevitably result in them having to leave the site and search elsewhere for whatever it is they’re looking for if not immediately found; unless it is somehow addressed on the single page.

Internal linking for SEO promotes a good UX: keeping users on the domain for longer, presenting them with links relevant to their interest and encouraging further exploration. All of this demonstrates brand authenticity and trustworthiness, creating an overall positive perception of the website.

Types of Internal Links

There are two main types of internal links within a website.

The first, and almost always present (and certainly almost always required!) links are navigational links. These are those present on the homepage and supplementary webpages and menu that allow users to easily move around the site, accessing the pages they need to.

The second type of internal links are contextual links. These are links embedded within other on-site content, pointing users to other interesting and related content within the site. Contextual links encourage users to work around the website and allow search engines to understand the value of such content. The more contextual links a webpage receives, the higher up the hierarchy and the added importance search engines will add to it.

Both types of internal links are important and both can be considered positive contributors toward both UX and SEO.

Internal Linking Best Practices

Search engine algorithms and best practices shift and change all the time, but there are some that can be followed for internal linking processes.

While there is no definitive limit to how many links should be included on any one webpage, Google has indicated that its crawlers have the ability to read hundreds of links per page. However, a balance must be drawn here between ability and functionality. While it may be considered beneficial for search engines to have hundreds of links to move between and read, this is likely to result in a poor UX through the likelihood of incorrectly or mistakenly clicking links and the interruption of content.

It is best practice for webmasters and marketers to review their internal linking regularly in order to ensure they are not missing any obvious opportunities that could prove beneficial for users. This includes a scan of content that may be appropriate for related topic linking and the inclusion of descriptive and appropriate anchor text.

Where to Begin with Improving Internal Linking for SEO

Businesses should begin their internal linking and SEO practices with a full website audit to ascertain a current position and to assert the best areas for improvement and work moving forward.

Specialist SEO experts such as Woya Digital are able to offer full service packages that help better internal linking for SEO and best practice, as well as ensuring these processes line up with other aspects of SEO to rank higher, reach the right audience/s and gain competitive advantage above competitors.

Why We Start an SEO Campaign with a Website Audit

Why We Start an SEO Campaign with a Website Audit

With the prevalence and reliance on the internet that society now holds, SEO is very much a critical business practice in order to gain competitive advantage as well as the necessary visibility and exposure required to gain brand awareness and positive brand perception.

At Woya Digital, we plan and operate SEO campaigns for businesses of all types, shapes and sizes – and one of the first steps in doing this is to carry out a full website audit. But what is a website audit and how does it contribute to a brand’s SEO? Let us explain…

What is SEO?

SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimisation; the practice in which a business aims to improve their organic (not paid-for) ranking on search engines. This is done through the improvement of sources from which search engine algorithms judge the relevancy, accuracy and quality of the data on any website and therefore determines when and where it is appropriate to position it in search engine results.

For the most part, SEO guidance and practice focuses on appealing to Google’s algorithm but there are slightly different approaches to be taken in order to meet the needs of smaller search engines too.

In order to improve organic search ranking on search engines, there are several practices businesses can undertake. This includes:

    • ‘On-Page SEO’ – the creation and publication of relevant and shareable content that helps demonstrate to search engines what the brand is about and who its appropriate for
    • ‘Off-Page SEO’ – mentions of and links from high-authority websites or channels to reiterate the authenticity and reliability of the brand to search engines
    • Technical SEO – the user experience and safety of a website to ensure that’s easy to access and safe for users
    • Local SEO – the marking of a physical business with a geographical location so that it ranks higher in results to those looking for a brand/product/service in that area or in the language used in that area
    • App Store Optimisation – the practice of ensuring that the brand is ranked highly in the results pages of app stores when a potential user searches for a related term.

An SEO strategy is a plan of ongoing effort to boost the rankings of a business’ digital presence above that of its competitors and to keep it as high as possible. It is not a ‘one-and-done’ job but rather something a brand must work at continuously to meet the ever-developing needs of consumers and of changing algorithms.

It is not known exactly how often search engines update their algorithms and programming but it’s estimated that Google do so almost daily; and so it is not enough for businesses to update everything and then sit on their laurels as the ranking will only deteriorate over time.

Why is a Website Audit carried out?

Carrying out a website audit is the first stage in any SEO strategy planning. This audit analyses the existing site for any initial areas for concern or improvement, providing a baseline foundation from which SEO work can be planned and implemented. Should there be any areas on the website that are believed to be hindering SEO efforts, these can be tackled as a priority before further work begins.

If a business website has been created professionally and in line with best practice SEO standards, it may be that the work to be done may not be too comprehensive or complex.

Regardless of the status of the website, an SEO website audit allows for a picture to be built up of what work needs to be done; avoiding any unnecessary work or duplication of work carried out.

A content audit may be carried out as part of a wider website audit and this looks to analyse the types of content on the site and how well it performs for and is received by its audience. This is enacted in order to influence the future direction of relevant content to improve its chances of success.

What is a Website Audit?

A website audit is a general analysis of a business website to review its performance, areas for concern and/or improvement, and user experience. All businesses should have a website audit in order to continuously improve their online presence. Every page is analysed alongside the full navigation and overall experience the site delivers.

There are several software programs and online services offering automated website audits, we even have a free instant audit on our home page, check it out.

But for in depth analysis we would recommend that an audit is done manually by a professional with expertise in both user experience and SEO. At Woya Digital, our staff carry out comprehensive website audits routinely and regularly on sites of all types, sizes and functionality.

What is analysed as part of a Website Audit?

An extensive and complete website audit should begin with a general overview of first-hand site experience, before the following areas are analysed:

    • Website Performance Assessment – a brief navigation assessment of the function users experience as they attempt to navigate the website. How fast do pages load? Do all internal links work? Is it easy to find what you’re looking for? Does navigation appear intuitive; are things where you’d expect them to be? Is the site up when you try to access it?

This will identify areas that could be laid out more easily and increase the navigation of the site in order to increase conversion rates.

    • Content Assessment – an analysis of the content that’s on the site to judge its relevancy and appropriateness for the target audience.

Is the content relevant to the brand’s niche or theme? Is it easily shareable? Is it easy to consume with relevant headings and sub-headings? Does it load fast enough? What are the bounce rates from the site on content pages – and where do users go to afterward? Is the content tailored to the buyer personas/target audience? Does it contain call to actions related to the brand? Is the keyword performance as expected?

This will help focus the types and direction of future content published by the brand to ensure its maximum efficiency and optimisation.

    • Conversion Rate Assessment – websites should function not just to inform and educate customers on the brand and its product/s and service/s but also to drive users to complete a desired action – be that make a purchase, give details or get in contact with a business representative.

Does every page have easy-to-find contact details or direction for where to find further information? Where specific calls to action exist are they being used? Is the language used on calls to action clear and concise? Is there a variety of calls to action available to appeal to different buyer personas?

This will help improve conversion rates and ideally, overall sales volumes.

    • Technical Assessment – a developer, IT expert or SEO consultant should undertake a technical assessment. This does overlap with some previously analysed areas – performance, SEO and conversion rates – but takes into account the technical input and performance of these elements to assess where they can be improved from a development angle.

Has the site been built with responsive design to allow for it to adapt to the device on which it’s been viewed? Is the site free of error messages? Do additional accessibility tools work on the site where they may be needed? Are URLs optimised? Is there unnecessary code? Is the route for web page crawling and indexing well defined? Are public and XML sitemaps in place? Has the canonicalisation of content been defined?

This will identify technical improvements that can be made to better raise the site’s visibility in search engines that may go unnoticed by those without specific technical knowhow.

The Benefits of Competitor Analysis

It is prudent for businesses to undertake a basic SEO website audit of their competitors sites as well as their own. There are various benefits to this, including:

    • Understanding where and how competitors may rank above the business in order to optimise their site to feature alongside, if not above, them.
    • To understand key words and phrases which may be relevant for the business that they too could produce content to cater for.
    • To understand how competitive key words and phrases may be better utilised to gain competitive advantage organically – and reduce the need for spending on key word targeting.
    • To understand what kind of content the target audience is sharing, engaging with and benefiting from – and replicating such an approach.

Although not all aspects of a competitor’s website can be easily analysed, it is worth gaining an overview to best position the brand against them and learn from them.

Where to Begin with a Website Audit

Woya Digital offer a full SEO website audit as the very first element of all our SEO packages, with expert SEO consultants carrying out work to the highest possible standard before making recommendations for tangible improvement.

Sounds like something your business would benefit from? Get in touch!


The Benefits of an SEO Audit

The Benefits of an SEO Audit

What we know about Google’s search algorithm is that it changes almost daily, with up to 200 tweaks and amendments made every year. These constantly moving goalposts is why many businesses struggle to keep on top of their SEO – and why a regular SEO Audit is important.

Where to start with an SEO Strategy

Every business with an online presence should have a strategy in place to ensure that the content they’re producing and publishing digitally ranks where it should on search engines – making and maintaining visibility amongst desired target audiences when they search for related queries online.

Exactly how each brand chooses to approach their SEO will vary, but commonly focused activity tends to include:

    • Pages built and content produced for each relevant topic
    • The research into and onward usage of relevant keywords and phrases
    • A consistent content-producing and publishing schedule
    • A plan for link-building
    • A process for the development of new pages and sites that includes technical SEO
    • Regular updates on the latest ‘best practice’ for SEO updates and strategy.

A comprehensive business SEO strategy will allow content to be produced in a way that plays into the search engine algorithms to keep organic search traffic as high as possible; although often working alongside paid-for ads.

What is an SEO Audit?

An SEO Audit is a full analysis of a website’s features that help or hinder its rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs). This entails analysing its areas of success as well as highlighting any areas where improvements could be made, in accordance with current SEO best practice approaches. An SEO Audit should form the first step in creating a tangible workplan to maintain a healthy SEO approach and to consistently improve performance – so the purpose of it is to build a foundation from which to work.

An audit will uncover any issues within technical SEO, the website structure, on-page SEO, user experience, content gaps, content opportunities, off-site opportunities and competitive marketplace standing; clearly mapping out any areas where changes should or could be made.

Although a very basic check through of any website for SEO purposes can be carried out by anyone with the relevant knowhow, it is always recommended that businesses use an SEO specialist for a comprehensive site audit. This provides more technical expertise as well as ensuring the latest in SEO best practice is adhered to; particularly important when you consider the constantly changing Google algorithm.

Why is an SEO Audit important?

A common misconception amongst brands is that as long as your website contains plenty of relevant keywords, it will rank well on search engines. Whilst this may have been the case many years ago, the Google algorithm has long moved on from the simple search of appropriate words and terms. Instead, high SEO ranking now relies upon a vast variety of factors including technical aspects of a website, accessibility functions and links from other trusted and authentic sources – although exactly what combination of successful factors is paramount is unknown.

SEO Audits immediately and discreetly highlight any areas for improvement, so any broken links, missed keyword opportunities or small technical amendments can be fixed. The constant changes to websites combined with human error means that mistakes do happen; and an SEO Audit can ensure they are swiftly rectified with minimum disruption to the site’s rankings.

Regular SEO audits are an essential way to ensure that a website is being worked on in the most appropriate way to adhere to current best practice in an ever-changing environment.

How often should an SEO Audit be carried out?

SEO Audits should be carried out regularly but not so often that the business doesn’t have the chance to enact any required changes and see the difference they make. Ideally, a comprehensive review of the site managed by an expert will take place either every quarter or every six months; with actions taken from it to improve the SEO position as quickly as possible once delivered.

Even if a business is managing their own SEO requirements without the involvement of a specialist service, it is recommended that they invest in a professional SEO Audit at least twice a year to assert their position and reinforce that the actions being taken are correct.

Free SEO Auditing Services

If you are paying for SEO services and do not receive regular reports, or find that your business isn’t feeling the benefits of the service, you should absolutely have an independent SEO audit carried out by a separate SEO provider. This will show you if the services you are paying for are being carried out as they should. Every SEO provide should provide their clients month reports.

At Woya Digital, we offer a free SEO audit report service. Request yours now.