User experience is one of the most important ranking factors for Google. Getting a website to load quickly, adapting perfectly to all types of devices, present smooth and simple navigation, are fundamental characteristics to guarantee that the user enjoys the best user experience.
Internal linking or interlinking has a great influence when it comes to improving navigation throughout a website, helping both users and search engines themselves to move through its different URLs and better understand the theme and content of the site.
Although inbound links are usually the ones that are paid the most attention in SEO (for improving the authority of domain ), having a good interlinking is an essential part of the entire web page, blog or eCommerce, and should be a priority when designing or optimizing it.
What is Interlinking or Internal Linking?
Internal linking, also known as interlinking, consists of the link structure of a website that points to URLs on the site itself.
A website is full of internal links, from the navigation menu, banners, links from the footer, sidebars and content, etc. Optimizing all these links to follow an order and logical sense is essential to avoid that the web is chaos, and users end up disoriented, without knowing where to go or where they are at all times.
What is the importance of Interlinking for SEO?
For SEO, interlinking is a priority technique because is directly related to the experience offered by a website to a user. If a user has a good experience on a website, Google will rank them higher on its results pages.
In addition to improving usability and user experience, interlinking serves SEO to be able to distribute the authority received from the different inbound links, among the different pages that make up the site. To transmit this authority between the different URLs of a site, the dofollow and nofollow parameters are used in the directive of the links.
- Dofollow links. These links transfer authority from one page to another.
- nofollow links. They do not convey authority (nor does Google take them into consideration for web positioning).
Note: Google has indicated that it is beginning to value nofollow links for SEO positioning, so they are currently more important in strategies.
Benefits of a good interlinking
Interlinking is a necessity to optimize a website and be able to enjoy a series of advantages in relation to the user experience and web positioning.
The main benefits of having a good internal link on a web page, blog or eCommerce are:
Facilitates user navigation
With a good interlinking, users will always have an alternative to navigate the site , avoiding dead ends that ruin their user experience, and that may even end with the abandonment of the site.
Facilitates navigation to the Google bot
A good internal linking not only makes it easier for users to navigate but makes it much easier for Google bots to crawl the different URLs that make up the site improving the crawl budget.
If a website has good interlinking, crawlers will be able to move more quickly through the different pages, taking advantage of the tracking budget they have (time that Google bots have to crawl a website ).
Helps authority transmission
Although the main factor for the transfer of authority is backlinks or external linking (quality external links that point to URLs on the site), Google has confirmed that it also takes into account internal linking to calculate the PageRank and measure the authority of a website.
An optimized internal linking allows to correctly redistribute between different URLs the domain authority that is received.
Improve conversion rate
With a good internal link, users will stay longer browsing the different options and content on the web, which increases the chances of making a conversion, such as a subscription or a purchase.
Avoid content cannibalization
When several URLs compete to position themselves for the same keyword, in the end, they get worse positioning of each of them. A good internal linking allows you to correctly guide internal and external links to the URLs that are most interesting to position, thus avoiding the negative effect of the cannibalization of content.
Most commonly used types of internal linking
The most common internal linking structures used in SEO are:
Natural web linking
These links are those that are integrated into the content naturally, thinking of providing valuable information to the user. An example of this type of link occurs when in the writing of certain content, a link to other related content on the web is included, to provide more information on the subject.
Although natural links are valuable to users, they do not help structure the web to facilitate navigation. When a website has been adding content for a long time, natural links form an uncontrolled tangle that does not allow control of navigation.
Horizontal or chain linking consists of creating links to a page from different pages in order to enhance its positioning. Horizontal linking strategies usually create links from URLs with good positioning, to a poorly positioned URL, in order to improve them.
In a horizontal internal linking, the easiest-to-position or better-positioned pages have more outgoing links, while the worst-positioned ones receive more incoming internal links.
Silo or vertical linked
Vertical or silo-type linking consists of creating a pyramidal structure of internal links. This hierarchical linking begins with different top-level pages that each rank for a different keyword. These pages link to other pages that attack related keywords, and in this way it continues to go down the pyramid, creating a structure where each branch is a silo, and in each silo, the positioning of a keyword and its related ones is attacked.
It is usual that in a vertical structure the parent or first-level pages have greater positioning strength and are positioned by generic or semi-generic keywords. As you move through the branch or silo, the different pages seek to position themselves by related keywords, usually using long-tail keywords.
Vertical linking is very interesting to avoid keyword cannibalization, that is, that two same site URLs end up competing to position themselves for the same keyword (something that hurts both).
For many pages, it is more interesting to make a combination of horizontal and vertical linking. Implementing this type of linking is more complex and requires the investment of a lot of time and effort to implement a chain linking in each of the silos.
One of the keys to success in this type of linking strategy is keeping the silos independent of each other, that is, not linking pages that belong to a branch, with URLs from a different line.
What is the best internal link for my website?
Depending on the objective of a website, one type or another of interlinking will be more recommended. Let’s see some examples where it is interesting to bet on different internal links.
Virtual store with silo-type linkage
In an eCommerce or online store there are many products that are similar so the risk that Google considers them as duplicate content is high. With a vertical link or silo type, it is possible to differentiate between categories and products in eCommerce, and Google will be able to easily recognize that they are similar products so it will not penalize web positioning.
Online store with mixed linking
In stores that are not very large, it is not difficult to apply combined horizontal and vertical lacing. With this strategy, a better user experience will be offered, facilitating their navigation, cannibalization of content will be avoided, and the possibility that products appear in the rich formats of Google results in pages ( rich snippets ), thanks to chain linking.
Multi-topic blog with vertical linking
There are many blogs that address many topics and, therefore, have different categories full of articles that address different topics. In this type of website, vertical linking is the best alternative since it is easier for users and Googlebots to navigate through this hierarchical content, having to invest less time and effort for them.
For both monothematic blogs and eCommerce with vertical structure, the use of breadcrumbs is a very interesting element, which makes it easier for users to navigate more quickly and comfortably through each category or silo.
Monothematic websites with horizontal linking
Horizontal linking is indicated for web pages that do not have different categories and that address a single topic. In this type of page, horizontal linking will allow distributing the positioning force in a simple and efficient way among its different URLs.
In small pages that have few URLs, it may also be optimal to use horizontal linking, since it will not interfere with the user experience, and you will have greater control of the links.
How to monitor internal linking with Google Search Console
Thanks to the free tool Google Search Console is possible to view the internal links of a website to improve interlinking SEO actions.
To see an interlinking in GSC, follow these steps:
- Access Google Search Console having linked the website.
- In the left sidebar select the Links option.
- The content page will show information about the most linked pages, the sites with the most external links, but it will also show a list with the pages that have the most internal links.
- By pressing the More information button in the internal links section, you will access a list of all the internal links on the web.
In this quick and easy way, you can have a global and specific vision of the interlinking of a website. By analyzing this data, the best internal linking strategy can be established to optimize the structure of the web.
interlinking is a strategy that every SEO expert must implement to get the most out of the structure of their website and achieve a better position in Google’s SERPs.
With a good link building and interlinking strategy, it will be possible to redistribute all the authority received between the different URLs of the site, considerably enhancing its prestige and web positioning.