Internal Links Definition
What are internal links?
- This is a link to my homepage. That's an internal link, because the link is to another page on my site.
- Here's a link to WordPress - this is an external link, because the link is to another page that does not belong to me.
Pretty easy, right?
Consider these links as building bridges from one webpage to another within the same domain. Understanding the difference is easy when we compare these with external links, which leads users to an entirely distinct domain. Consider a bakery's website that links its homepage to a "Contact Us" page; that's a classic example of an internal link. On the other hand, should the bakery's site have a link leading to a coffee bean supplier's domain, we call that an external link.
Here's another definition of internal links:
"Internal links are hyperlinks that direct the reader to a target page on the same website or domain. They help in spreading link equity (ranking power) around websites and in guiding users to relevant content, improving site navigation and SEO."
These internal links are useful to both humans and search engines. They help people find the rest of your pages and your content, provide important context and hints about relevance and are an easy way to improve your SEO and user experience.
How Can Internal Links Help My SEO?
Internal links play a crucial role in enhancing a website's SEO. By linking related pages, they provide greater context and depth to the content, enabling search engines to understand the relevance and relationship between different pages.
These interconnected links essentially "glue" pages together, forming a cohesive structure that aids in guiding users throughout the site. For example, on this page, most of the pages I'm linking to are also about internal links - this helps both people and search engines find that content, and it gives those pages additional context and authority as a result.
A well-defined internal link structure not only ensures that all pages on a website are accessible but it also helps distribute page authority evenly. As a result, internal links can enhance user navigation, increase page views, and potentially boost the overall site ranking in search engine results.
How Can Internal Links Hurt My SEO?
Internal links, when properly managed, can be beneficial, but if mismanaged, they can actually harm SEO.
Broken links can cause disruption to the user experience, leading to increased bounce rates and signaling a lack of site maintenance to search engines. Irrelevant links or those lacking value can confuse users as well as search engines, often making content seem out of place or spammy. With too many internal links, your site may appear as though it's trying to manipulate the system, which could risk penalties from search engines.
On the other hand, linking to low-quality or minimal content can weaken the authority of your primary pages. That's why it's important to use internal links wisely, focusing more on quality rather than quantity.