At Sandstorm we take SEO very seriously, it’s the cornerstone of effective content marketing campaigns.
One of the areas we cover quite extensively during the early stages of an SEO engagement is internal linking and information architecture. In fact, many of the huge quick wins we achieve for clients are directly related to improving this area of SEO.
To aid us in this audit, we recently added an internal links auditor to our SEO crawler available to our clients via their portal. The reports it generates are extremely useful in providing us with the insights to help our clients maximize the effectiveness of their internal links to boost organic search ranking.
What are internal links
In a nutshell, internal links are similar to external links (links pointing to other websites) but they are the links within your website pointing to other pages on your own website.
The difference is demonstrated in the screenshot below from this post about a recent client win.
Why are internal links important?
Similar to road signs on a highway, internal links provide search engines guidance about which pages of your site to rank for which search queries.
For example, if you own a website selling shoes, and have multiple pages selling different colors of shoes, red, blue, black, brown, etc. then your internal links should point to the red shoes page with “red shoes”, to the black shoes page with “black shoes”, and so on and so fourth.
Not all pages are equal
The art of internal linking lies in the discovery of the most important pages on your website and using these pages to channel your website’s authority (via internal linking) to the most strategic “money” pages of the site.
This is where our internal links auditor becomes an indispensable part of our audit. The screenshot below is a crawl of a previous client of mine (Sainsbury’s) which we recently re-audited. It demonstrates the importance of discovering the most important pages on your website. In Sainsbury’s case it’s the Groceries Page, followed by the Homepage and the recipe ideas page.
These pages should be utilized to link to the most strategic pages on their site.
Why should you care about internal linking on your site?
The importance of internal links lies not only in the power they have to boost your natural (organic) search ranking but also in aiding users of your website to easily find the information, products or services they’re looking for.