Internal Links: The inner mesh allows you to transmit SEO “juice” to specific pages of your site. But where and how to place the hypertext links? The JDN interviewed several experts.
Last March, John Mueller, Google’s webmaster trends analyst, confirmed the importance of internal links. The internal connection, which connects the page of a site to another of the exact location, makes navigation more fluid, makes it possible to control the axes of the passage of Internet users and promotes the exploration of search engine robots. In summary, they need to guide Google and visitors to the pages you think are essential.
The search engine uses PageRank to calculate the degree of popularity of a page based on the number of incoming and outgoing links to it. A score that has not been made public since 2016. In natural referencing, the internal link makes it possible to transfer part of the SEO “juice” from a page to the one it points to. Note that the more a page has links to other internal site pages, the less these will have weight. As detailed below, all these notions must consider in creating an appropriate internal linking strategy.
Table of Contents
Structure the Site
One way to place links intelligently for the user and Google can be by establishing silos.
The thematic silo, for example, makes it possible to create links within the same category. The pillar pages of the thematic clusters start from the home page. They correspond to the main query or essential keywords. The runners of different levels make links between them within the same category. E-commerce sites generally use this type of structure. It requires cleaning and classifying the contents
The keyword research is done in the second step. It is, above all, a question of covering a theme and thinking about the user’s needs. The goal is to form a coherent semantic universe. The semantic cocoon places the user and his expectations at the center. It requires, in particular, to know its personas well. Tools like Yoda Insight, Cocon.se, SEMrush, and SEObserver can help with its implementation.
“As a general rule, we favor the silo structure, having coherent themes and semantic universes section by section,” says Daniel Roch, CEO at SeoMix and SMOKEY. The link will indeed have more weight and interest if it connects similar themes and universes.
Place Links to the Right Pages
Methods also exist to know which pages should receive the most links within the site. For Daniel Roch, “this is THE right question to ask, especially since it often neglect when implementing SEO strategies. (…) Normally, we will add more links to our important pages when it makes sense for the user and from a semantic point of view. So, in theory, adding links won’t break silos. It will happen sometimes, but it’s okay not to have silos; moreover, it is scarce to have a real site with perfectly watertight silos.”
He counts several methods within his agency. Among them is creating links on the pages citing the targeted keywords to the pages that specifically target these same terms. Another process is adding links to pages that have not received clicks for 90 days, generating impressions. The anchor text pointing to those pages will then feature the keywords on which those pages are making impressions. Just use the Google Search Console to achieve this. The method can be replicated on low-click URLs and so on. To be practiced in moderation.
Another way to do this is to display exciting pages using different tools. “We set up Screaming Frog to extract links based on their locations on the page, using Xpath,” explains Daniel Roch. “We crawl the entire site. Then we export the data. And we integrate it into Gephi. The PageRank calculation launch according to the location of the links. We configure the visualization of the site to visualize the “strong” pages on which ones to intervene.”
Linking Similar Pages or Posts
It is also possible to automate certain links, such as those to similar articles or products. A common practice is at the end of an article or page. “For automatic links at the end of articles, it’s a good practice,” analyzes Daniel Roch. “It is even more so if the site has a lot of publications because it is difficult to come back manually to make certain links on all the old content, especially when there are thousands of them. But this does not replace manual links well placed within the content itself”.
Vary Anchor Text
The text on which a hypertext link place is called the anchor, and it allows Google to understand the subject of the linked page better and gives greater weight to the page that contains it and the page it directs. It should also note that the links placed in the textual content are more taken into consideration by Google than the others.
The link anchors must vary according to the number of SEOs. Why? “Simply to get as close as possible to a natural link profile,” says Quentin Brizard, SEO consultant at Noise. For him, it is necessary to dilute the optimized anchors, that is, to communicate using the keyword of the page, with, for example, generic anchors of the “click here” type or bare URLs. For Olivier Andrieu, French “pope” of SEO and “100% white hat”, anchors must be “descriptive, varied, natural and must not look like queries.”
Identify the Points to Work on With an Audit
A good internal linking strategy can also go through an audit. It allows, in particular, to know the broken links, the orphan pages, or the pages with excessive connections.
“The real interest of the link audit is the optimization of its popularity and its internal meshing,” defends Daniel Roch. “We will thus be able to improve the transfer of popularity from certain pages to others, which often makes it possible to have significant gains in visibility with a reduced effort. Thus, we will be able to give more weight to our main pages and our headers of silos.”
For example, Screaming Frog lets you know high-performance pages with few internal links. To understand this, you must configure the crawl in the tool on the internal links by going to “Configurations,” “Spider,” “Crawl,” and “Internal Hyperlinks.” Exporting to CSV or Excel is recommended for more straightforward analysis.
Once connected to the Google Analytics API, you can, for example, filter your URLs by organic sessions to see the pages with the most visits. Look at how many inbound internal links they have. You can then add links knowingly.
Also Read: Assess the Age and Dynamics of a Web Page
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