If we know the importance of links and net linking in SEO, we tend to underestimate the power of a good “on-site” SEO strategy. However, effective internal linking can considerably improve its performance and its positioning in search engines. So, why optimize your internal linking? And how to.
If we know the importance of links and net linking in SEO, we tend to underestimate the power of a good “on-site” SEO strategy. However, effective internal networking can considerably improve its performance and its positioning in search engines. So, why optimize your internal linking? And how to? Some tips in this article.
Definition of internal mesh
Before being interested in the reasons which can lead to optimizing its internal mesh, and in the way of proceeding, it is advisable to define it well.
In terms of SEO, there are two linking strategies:
- the net linking, consisting in extending the number of external links (backlinking) leading to its site;
- internal linking (or internal linking in French), which consists of linking the pages of the same site together.
We, therefore, define the internal mesh as how we organize the referrals of a given web page to other pages of the same site.
More concretely, it is about how we will integrate hypertext links in the content, pointing to certain pages of the same site.
This organization results in a good understanding of the site by Internet users but also of the subject of its pages by search engines. These are therefore essential elements to appear in the first search results on Google or another search engine.
Why optimize the internal mesh?
Internal networking is very useful for making users’ navigation more fluid: by allowing them to “jump” from page to page, within a site with logical and clear architecture, their experience is considerably improved. But what are the other benefits?
Optimize SEO referencing with internal networking
With a good internal linking strategy, we can raise the PageRank of a page, that is to say schematically the rating (from 1 to 10) that Google assigns to it for its popularity. Usually, the shallower pages on a site are the pages with the best PR. To calculate the PR, Google takes into account three main factors :
• the number of inbound links on the page;
• the PageRank of the pages pointing to the page ;
• the number of outgoing links from pages pointing to the page.
As mentioned previously, the quality of the user’s navigation is positively impacted by a relevant internal networking strategy. However, this is one of the elements favored by Google’s algorithm to increase its PageRank.
Also, it is possible to transmit the popularity of a page of a site (the home page for example) to a less exposed page, by inserting a link from the first to the second. Through this mechanism, known under the term link juice (link juice in the language of Shakespeare), one can indeed drag its reputation and mechanically increase the popularity of pages less crowded and deeper. This helps them to better position themselves in the search results (SERPs).
Internal networking to promote indexing
The internal mesh also facilitates the indexing of the deep pages of a website. Subsequently, the page may have to position itself in the SERPs, based on additional and equally important criteria: the richness of the content, its structure, its ability to answer user questions, etc.
A good internal linking simplifies the task of the “crawlers”, like the Googlebot, the robots that Google uses to analyze a site and its content, and determine its ranking, and therefore its position in search results.
You should know that the exploration time of these bots is limited: the deeper the page of a site, the more clicks it takes to reach it from the home page, and the more its chances of being crawled. ‘reduce. Except to link the pages with each other: in this case, each page can, with an effective linking strategy, enter the bots finder.
How to build your internal networking strategy
To be effective, an internal networking strategy must obey a few main principles. What are they?
Select your link anchors for the internal mesh
To increase reading comfort, a hypertext link is systematically associated with a group of words, generally underlined and highlighted by its blue color. This is called an “anchor”.
An anchor is not decided at random: not only must it allow the Internet user to immediately distinguish the subject to which the link directs him, but it must also allow Google to better identify the object of the linked page.
We therefore favor:
- an anchor that makes sense: the anchor must be readable and not disturb the Internet user in his reading. For example, we favor the expression “Choosing the right link anchor” to the detriment of “Choosing the right anchor link”;
- an anchor consistent with the semantic objective of the target page. For example, if a target page develops the SEO criteria allowing it to be well-positioned on the search results pages, it will be interesting to propose an anchor such as.
- an anchor that appeals to the reader: the expression must encourage the click but it must above all keep its promise, and lead the reader to the announced subject.
For information: unlike net linking for which it is not recommended to overoptimize anchors, it is quite possible (and even recommended) to use the same link anchors to push the semantics of the linked page.
This practice is not recommended in net linking: for example, if you have few referring domains, and you get a very powerful link anchored in the exact keyword of the semantic objective of your page, then Google could penalize you.
The relevance of the links for the internal network
In the same spirit, the internal network must be as “logical” as possible: the more the linked content is close or related, the more Google will understand their subjects in detail, and the more it will value them in terms of reference. This requires organizing its contents beforehand: we can for example group them according to their semantic universe, and work on different semantic cocoons.
However, we must be careful not to overload the pages with links, at the risk of diluting the juice and its favorable effects on natural referencing. A home page should therefore be content to refer to the most strategic internal pages for example.
The mostly obfuscated links are the links to footers, shopping cart, CGV, legal notices, customer reviews, etc.; in other words, any page which is not intended to be positioned.
An effective internal linking strategy can considerably improve SEO referencing as well as the indexing of the pages of a site. But its implementation can be complex: if knowing how to use tools such as screaming Frog can help, the accompaniment of an SEO agency is unmatched.