For your online audience, the primary purpose of an internal linking strategy is to make it easier for users to find related and relevant content using intuitive navigation. Fortunately, the very same strategies that are good for your users also help Google understand which pages on your site are important, and also understand how they should be categorized and appear in search engine results pages.
Use anchor text that is as descriptive as possible. For example, when linking to a page that is about the health benefits of Matcha Tea, instead of using “Get Info” as a text link,” use “Matcha Tea Health Benefits.”
This helps users understand exactly what content to expect, and also encourages click-through rates, which adds page views. For SEO, this has the added benefit of helping search engines understand how to categorize a page. While internal links do little to increase a page’s perceived “popularity,” if you have anchor text leading to a page that reads “Matcha Tea Health Benefits,” and other sites also link to the page using similar anchor text, it can help that page’s organic search ranking for those terms.
Related Products & Related Posts
Tools (widgets, plugins and extensions) that display related products and/or posts are extremely useful. Users appreciate them and will readily click on related products and articles so long as the tool is doing a good job of associating products and articles in similar categories or with similar tags. For example, if we are discussing “Matcha Tea Health Benefits” on a site page, we should also see links to “Order Matcha Tea” and “Gunpowder Tea Health Benefits.”
“Manual” Linking Automation Tools
An entirely different approach is targeting a page or set of pages for specific anchor text. Using our tea site as an example, let’s imagine that we sell 10 different types of “Green Tea.” However, we might decide that we want one general page on our site to be “the” page for general information about green tea.
To help both users and search engines understand which page we feel is the most valuable on our site about this subject, we can use a linking automation tool such as SEO SmartLinks for WordPress to assign anchor text values to links and point those links at a particular page. We also want to adjust how frequently these links appear.
Using our example, we might want to set our parameters as follows:
• Keywords - “green tea”
• Link description – general information about green tea
• Link to – http://example-site/general-green-tea-information
• Frequency – site wide, only the first time this appears on any page
William Tyree is a marketing technologist and writer, and is currently Vice President of Marketing for DemandResults, creator of SEO for Salesforce. He has worked as a marketing and technology strategist in a variety of industries, including B2B software, entertainment, healthcare, legal, large nonprofit, eGovernment and food & beverage. His writing has been published in Harvard Review, The Atlantic, Japan Inc and elsewhere.