Two Big Things Internal Links Do for Your Site
Link builders and SEO professionals always emphasize external links over everything else, and for good reason – but the fact is, without good internal links, we’re just as lost as the Google “spider” in this picture.
While external links are the single biggest factor determining where your internet property lands on a SERP (not to mention the main reason our company exists), there are two huge things that internal links can do for your site that you need to know about right now.
Well-built and well-organized internal links can:
- Increase the likelihood that Google’s “spiders” will see everything there is to see on your site.
- Improve your sites’ user experience.
Let’s look at that second point first, because it’s a bit easier to explain (and will help you understand Google’s spiders a bit later on).
Every page on your site should have a direct link to it so that customers can access it more easily. Although search bars for your site are a nice feature, a customer should never have to use the search bar just to access your site’s content.
Also, every page on your site should have a link back to the home page, so users can easily get back to the beginning and look at other content on your site.
Often, the best way to arrange your internal links is in categories and subcategories. The way this site’s blog is structured is a good example: you can click on individual articles’ titles to access the articles’ individual pages either on the sidebar or within the main page content, you can click through our archive, and you can also get back to our home page by clicking the title at the top of the screen.
Having all these links allows customers to easily navigate your site – which means they’re more likely to stay longer and enjoy more of your content.
Although Google’s spiders aren’t people, they work in much the same way – they’ll explore every link on your site, but they’ll never go out of their way to look for content.
For example, Google’s spiders will never submit web forms or use search bars – meaning that any of your content that can only be accessed in these ways will not be indexed on Google. The same goes for the other search engines.
What this means is that you should have at least one link on your site to every single page on your site that has any content you want to be searchable by Google or any of the other major search engines – which means, unless your site has some private, members-only, or similar sections, that you want every page on your site to have a link to it.
For more on the wonders that good internal links can work for your site, as well as the source of that wonderful picture at the top of this post, check out what the Moz blog has to say about internal links.