What is Internal Linking and Why Does it Matter?
Date: August 4, 2022
Internal linking is one of the simplest, yet critically important, aspects of SEO. In fact, you are probably already utilizing internal linking and aren’t aware of the positive impacts it provides your website.
What is Internal Linking?
Internal linking is when you link from one page on your website to another page on your website. Internal linking helps both the users coming to your website and the search engines that crawl your website by giving them a way to navigate through your site and find exactly what they are looking for.
Types of Internal Links
When it comes to internal links there are four main types: navigational, contextual, image and footer. Now we will go into some more detail about each of the four types with examples to illustrate.
A navigational internal link is any link that is located in the navigation of your website – for example, the menu you have at the top of your website. Below you will find an image to further illustrate what a navigational link looks like.
When adding links to your website’s main menu navigation, this signals to Google that those pages are of high importance, which is why you often want to include all of your main and sub-service pages within the navigation menu.
A contextual link is a link located within a page that gives context to what you are discussing. For example, if you have a service page and you mention “contact us,” you would add a link over the words “contact us” that leads to your contact page. Below you’ll find an example of how we’ve used contextual links in one of our blog posts. The words highlighted in blue are linked to relevant pages. There are even contextual links placed within this blog – can you find them?
Contextual links are very useful to incorporate into blog posts promoting your services. For example, if you’re a part of an elder law firm and write a blog about how to create a living will, you’ll want to include a contextual link within that article that leads back to your living will service page.
Image links are when you include a link within an image. These are commonly used on “Team” pages, which outline the members of your team or the attorneys at your law firm. For example, if you have an attorney page with images and names of your attorneys, you could add an image link that leads back to their bio page.
Footer links are similar to navigation links except, instead of being in the main menu, they are placed in the footer of your website. The footer links often mimic the main navigation menu but do not always have to. Below is an example of footer links on our website. Similar to the navigation, you will want to include your main service pages in the footer in order to further show Google the importance of those pages.
Why is Internal Linking Important to SEO?
Internal linking is critical for a variety of reasons – the most key being that internal linking can actually impact the rankings of your pages since they help signal to Google which pages on your website are important. In addition, internal links help Google to index pages on your website. If a page is not indexed, that means it will not show up in search results and is essentially invisible in organic search.
Pro Tip: If you’re having issues getting a page indexed, try adding a contextual internal link on the unindexed page to a relevant page that is indexed or, if applicable, add the page as a navigational link. This can help signal to Google that your page exists and speed up the indexing process.
In short, internal linking is key in order to rank your pages higher on Google. So I challenge you to take a look at some of your service pages or blogs and see if there are any opportunities where you can incorporate internal linking. You’d be surprised by the impact they can make when done correctly and strategically. I do caution, however, as with anything too much of a good thing can be bad so try not to include too many links on one page or within your navigation as it can become distracting. An ideal amount of internal links would be 3-5 within pages (contextual) and, in your navigation, you want to include all of your main service pages.
If you have any questions about internal linking, the 9Sail team is here to help! Reach out with any questions you may have.