Your Website already oozes keywords and key phrases, right? And it's also a pretty safe bet that you have some dandy links coming into your site. After all, you know that the holy grail of SEO is content-rich, keyword-heavy posts and quality incoming links.
But I would also wager that your SEO is not all it could be. Why? Because maybe you don’t realize the importance of internal links.
An internal link, as the name suggests, is a link in your blog, article or other online content that links to other parts of your site. Typically, people will write something like, “For more information, click here” – with the “click here” linked to the some other place on your site.
And therein lies the rub. Not optimizing your internal links is a wasted opportunity and can mean significantly lower page rankings.
Here’s why. Let’s say that you are a chiropractor. A useless (for SEO purposes) internal link would be something like “Click here to download our free e-book Relieve Your Back Pain in 6 Short Weeks”. In this case, the search engine spiders correctly assume that linked words or phrases are extra-important. Here, the chiropractor is telling the spider that for his site “click here” are important words.
See the problem?
Similarly, because the spiders can’t read graphics, having a picture be the link is also useless insofar as SEO goes.
Instead, our chiropractor might want to create a link like this: “Click here to download our free chiropractic e-book Relieve Your Back Pain in 6 Short Weeks with Wilson Chiropractic.” You get the idea – linking the entire phrase signals to the search engine spiders that this phrase, these words, and this page, are the important things.
Therefore, properly creating internal links means that more of your web pages will be indexed, and ranked higher, by the spiders.
For many small business sites, the homepage gets the most attention and is optimized the most. As such, the homepage is the one that search engines will most often link to. But by creating content-rich, properly formatted internal SEO links on other pages, you indicate to the spiders that these other pages are equally important.
This can mean that more of your pages will be indexed, that more of your key phrases show up in search engine results and that those pages will get ranked higher.
So, how do you create these valuable, internal links? Follow these easy steps:
1. Turn keyword-rich words and phrases into links: The most important thing you can do is to create links that use multiple keywords and phrases. By creating links that are more than a word or two, or worse, a non-optimized word or two (like “click here”) you force the search engine spiders to index and rank more of your key phrases and more of your pages.
2. Do not use graphics or videos for your links. Even though search engines are getting better at indexing images, a graphic historically does not do a lot to increase your SEO because the spiders primarily index words, not pictures.
3. Create keyword-rich text to name the pictures you use and fill out "Alt-Text" fields in your content management system: In addition, the explanatory text you place next to or below your pictures or video, if also made part of the link, can actually end up being a valuable SEO tool.
Bottom line: Don’t miss the opportunity to use your internal links to boost the quantity and quality of your search engine results.