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Why Interlinking Your Blogs Posts is a Must (and Not Just For SEO)

This is a guest contribution by Daniel Vassiliou of Endurance SEO.

Everybody loves (LOVES) to talk about link building and find the latest and greatest technique for building backlinks to your blog. While this gets you more traffic and better rankings in the search engines, it can draw away from an equally important aspect of your blog – internal (or onsite) SEO.

Not only does a good internal SEO practice help boost your rankings by making it easier for Google’s crawlers to access your pages, but it also allows real people (yeah, they’re still on the internet) to navigate your site and hopefully stick around longer.

A major part of onsite SEO is the internal linking of your blogs pages, and this post will explore the intricacies of interlinking your blogs pages to one another.

Linked

Image copyright stock.xchng user lusi

Why Interlink Blog Posts?

The main goal of interlinking your blog posts is to have search engines be able to easily crawl and index all of your pages, as well as see the structure of your site. A clean structure makes it so all of your pages get indexed, which means it can match them to search queries.

Since Google strives to give the best experience as well as the best content for queries to its searchers, the quality of your site layout comes into play when rankings are determined.

Benefits Other Than SEO

There are plenty of blog posts that will tell you that interlinking is only important in regards to SEO, but this simply isn’t the case.

Internal links make it easier for your readers to navigate through your site and find more content. Imagine someone finding a post of yours through a Google search. They could read it, get the information they want, and exit or back out without a second thought. But if you incorporate anchor text links within the blog, leading readers to other relevant posts, of a sudden your readers are exploring your site for an extended period of time, rather than only a few minutes. And this greatly increases the chance of them subscribing or coming back another time.

Bounce Rate

Drawing visitors into your blog for longer periods of time will lower your bounce rate, which is important because Google uses your bounce rates as a metric to determine if your blog has good content or not. Google tracks if searchers jump into a post, look at a single page without exploring deeper, and bounce back out of the page. If this happens a lot on your site then Google can tell that people aren’t finding your site useful and you will experience lower rankings as a result.

This is a great Problogger post about reducing bounce rate. Pay special attention to the first Navigation Bar tip as it is a form of internal linking as well.

Ways of Internal Linking Effectively

There are two things to remember when internally linking your blogs: structure and common sense. For structure, focus on using a tiered linking system that uses a top down approach, starting with the home page. A good example of this can be seen with breadcrumbs.

Breadcrumbs

Hansel and Gretel may have been the first depiction of internet readers that we have to date. They were both so ADD that they couldn’t even remember how to get home on their jaunts in the woods. Readers on your blog are the same (in a way) but they can’t leave their own breadcrumbs to find a way back – so you have to help them out.

This is an example of online breadcrumbs taken from the Amazon query “blogging for dummies”.

Amazon breadcrumb example

Breadcrumbs show you the multiple levels and landing pages that took you to where you are. If you ended up going too deep down the rabbit hole a simple click and any crumb brings you to a broader page. There are plenty of plugins that allow you to incorporate breadcrumbs into your site, which in turn creates natural internal links on all of your pages. The best I’ve found is Yoast’s breadcrumb plugin for WordPress.

Link Naturally

Once you have a tiered system set up that internally links all of your main pages correctly you can begin to link between your blog posts. This helps to keep any one post from falling in the cracks and helps to keep everything indexed in the SERP.

There are tools that can help link naturally between blog posts – the best of which is yet another WordPress plugin known as SEO Smart Links that matches keywords to tags and titles and automatically makes links between the two.

SEO Smart links can be a great tool for larger blogs where you might forget about specific articles or if you post a lot of content. If you have a smaller blog however, it is relatively easy to link between your posts manually.

Make the anchor text relevant and keyword specific so crawlers and users know what kind of page the link is pointing to. This helps with click through rates and indexing, as well as SERP rankings.

Don’t Overdo It

It’s important not to overdo it when it comes to interlinking. Trying to manipulate the SERPs by creating thousands of exact match keyword anchor texts to your landing page looks, and is, spammy and your blog will be penalized for this abuse. Keep it natural and mix up your keywords to fit naturally within sentences, rather than trying to force your content around the keywords.

Keep it Under Control

It’s important to stay true to the tiered system of internal linking to keep things in order for users and for crawlers. Try following something close to the classic pyramid structure where the Home Page is on the top, and everything flows down from there. Linking randomly to and from landing pages, blog posts, the about page, contact pages, and whatever else you might have can quickly make a mess of things and you could be sending the crawlers on a wild goose chase as they attempt to make sense of your site.

Keep it simple for them and they will reward you with better rankings and quicker indexing, and your readers will reward you with more exploration and involvement.

It all starts with great content

Of course, the best internal linking structure is a moot point if you don’t have strong content in order to keep the readers around and interested. Any part of SEO should never take precedence over the quality of your content, but it can be used to boost strong content to the next level.

Daniel Vassiliou is CEO of Endurance SEO and has been involved in SEO and online promotions/marketing for about 13 years now. If you have any queries regarding this post or how to improve your websites internal linking strategy, then leave a comment or contact Daniel.

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Comments

  1. Abhishek says:

    Very nice points brought by you here. Once I was surprised to see when I saw my internal links in my backlinks count and after reading your posts I am now gonna interlink all my posts..

  2. Alex says:

    Inline linking is the most effective way for the readers. The links from the blog post body are practically extensions of the initial information, added values for the post itself.

    • Interlinking pages effectively is great to help readers/customers move around your site efficiently. Thi shelps to minimise bounce rates too. Thanks for replying.

  3. Thanks for this post and the plugin for interlinking our posts. We don’t do a good enough job of this and perhaps this plugin will help. Also, thank you for the interlink to the bounce rate post. Really was great and I am sure we can lower our rate by following this post.

    Thanks again!

  4. Vivek says:

    Interlinking to older posts is always a good strategy, but linking to those posts which doesn’t add value to your current topic is not good. Since it will only increase the competitiveness for you and for your blog post.

    So linking to authority sites ( outbound ) and to internal sites which are relates to your current topic will always help.

  5. dub says:

    Sweet article! well done Important tips indeed. Thanks brown trout

  6. Edson Hale says:

    I think related post widget at the bottom of the page is also another important tool for internal linking and can reduce your burden to simply rely on anchor text linking

  7. Babanature says:

    I had problem with my bounce rate some months ago till i started interlinking my post. But now, my bounce is reduce to a great amount and i must confess that i am relieved. Thanks for showing me other benefits for the interlinking…

  8. Okto says:

    Hi Daniel,

    Great points and good plugin you have shared with us. Interlinking helps a lot in blog development. It can provide user further reading options and suggestions on where they can explore related topics at our blog, help in keeping visitors for a longer time, increase page rank of our internal pages and in broader sense, it also helps in building the relevancy of a page to a keyword phrase by which we are linking our article to. Last things to remember : Don’t over do and keep it under control when do interlinking so that the visitor surely clicks on the link ;)

  9. Yogesh says:

    Quite true, at the end of the day it is more about making content easily accessible to the visitor than SEO and generally if it is done right, it helps the visitor immensely.

  10. nathan says:

    Nice post, didn’t know about the Seo smart links plugin so will have a look. I think the yet another related posts plugin, or YARPP, also plays its part with internal linking.

  11. Matt Lane says:

    Great points! We are just starting to look at SEO and interlinking for our site, and this was truly something we will take into consideration.

  12. keshav says:

    I really liked it.Seriously never thought that having breadcrumbs can reduce the bounce rate.Since I am a newbie to wordpress,can anyone suggest me a good ad free plugin so that I could use it on my website? It will be a great relief to me. Thanks!

  13. Zareef Hasan says:

    As far as i have tried to interlink in my website, i found no relevant post to do so, which because i have no niche articles posted before. I think it would work better in niche blogs.

  14. Syed Balkhi says:

    I totally agree. Internal linking is crucial to reduce bounce rates. I think that measure is far more important to me then just basic SEO link juice. Reducing bounce rate for me = increase in conversion which = more $$$.

    • Ben Troy says:

      Yes, hundreds of thousands of sites make the critical mistake of hiding or obsfucating their main link navigation in ways that search engines cannot access

  15. Recently, I started interlinking my blogs. I get a notification, the same as I would get one for a comment. I don’t know whether to keep it of delete it. This is like a pingback from my own site. Should I keep them, or delete them? This is a little confusing to me.

    • Same here, I have been deleting them, but I don’t know if I should or not. Would be helpful if someone could provide some guidance on this.

      Thank you!

  16. Jon Rhodes says:

    Hello again Dan! I always try to think about interlinking my articles. I sort of base by model on Wikipedia. Their style of interlinking certainly hasn’t done them any harm!

  17. Bucee says:

    What do you think how many interlinks per a post is safe? I usually post 2-3.

  18. Priveyo says:

    Daniel, great insights on internal linking. Google loves a website that has a clear navigational structure and website theming by internally linking pages/post makes a website more thematic and helps users to explore further and learn more on the topic that he is reading.

  19. Esther says:

    Thanks for the link to the 3 Ways to Reduce Bounce Rate post!
    This was all really helpful. I haven’t been linking to similar posts, but will do so immediately!

  20. Onyekachi says:

    I link to similar posts manually but I do it just for S.E.O, thank you for adding more knowledge to my blogging experience.I now know more reason why I do what I do and how best to do it.

  21. Salman says:

    Internal links also usefull to user for better browse your website anyways nice post

  22. Ahsan says:

    I saw in Wikipedia there are lots of interlinks in every post. Previously I think that interlinking too much might be a black hat SEO. But now I am clear by reading your content. Interlinking helps readers to visit other article very easily. It is also SEO friendly.

  23. Duran Drake says:

    I think interlinking of the Blog is good because it will creates the good effect of LINK WHEEL . But its again fall under the category of SEO i think we cant neglect the concept here .

  24. Chris says:

    I agree with your don’t overdo it sentiment. As a novice in this game I think that was exactly my problem. I’m in the process of trying to correct it and make Google love me again. :)

  25. Chris says:

    Any good SEO technique is worth doing even if SEO didn’t exist. Whatever you do don’t use one of those wordpress plugins that automatically link certain text anytime you use it. This is extremely dangerous as it leads to “over doing it”.

  26. Bogdan says:

    Great write up Dan,

    Bounce rate is important seo factor that should be considered seriously. Google is the preferred search engine for a very simple reason – committed to shows result relevant to user’s search. Even if you succeed to rank high for a keyword but not improve Bounce rank you will lose it for sure.

    I agree absolutely with you.

  27. Jacob Barlow says:

    Thank you for this, I found it helpful.

  28. Nice post. Interlinking helps in gaining quality traffic to your site, and helps in achieving better PR.

  29. Jerald says:

    Thanks for the good writeup. It if truth be told used to be a amusement account
    it. Look advanced to far added agreeable from you! By the way, how could we communicate?

  30. Josh says:

    Thanks for the great suggestion for internal linking tool with wordpress. The layering with the breadcrumb technique will also be helpful as I can see the great advantage for search engine crawling.