You’ve probably heard that internal links are pure gold for your website. It’s true, but internal linking is not a guaranteed success. It has its risks. One of those risks is excessive keyword-based navigational links. If you have a sidebar that is stuffed with keyword-based links pointing to every page on your website and the purpose is to help increase your SEO rather than usability, then you’re hurting yourself.
So what kind of internal linking should you do? Here are 5 internal linking best practices that are easy to implement, but be careful that you don’t overdo it. A good thing overdone is a bad thing.
- Linking to past blog posts – Have you written about a topic before? Write about it in a unique way and plug the previous blog post.
- Link to a similar page using relevant anchor text – You likely have sections on your website that cover a wide variety of topics. If topics are similar but different enough to warrant their own page, point your readers to other pages that might assist them more with a narrower or more specific search query.
- Add a title attribute – This works great for non-keyword links that serve as calls to action. Include a keyword-based title attribute.
- Limit your navigational links – As mentioned above, don’t go overboard with navigational links. Either include a sidebar navigational menu or a navbar across the top of the page, but not both.
- Cross-link between sections – Do you have two sections of your website that overlap in certain areas. Add a “for more information” link on some of those pages to similar topics in other sections of the website. If you do it for the reader rather than for the search engines, you can get away with this a lot easier. Again, don’t overdo it.
The rule of thumb for any internal linking practice is to do what is best for your readers. If you do it for the search engines, it’s bad. If you do it for your website visitors, then it’s a practice that will go a lot further.