Internal linking is important to SEO because it is a factor that Google uses in determining search rank.
An internal link is a link from one page of a website to another page. Unlike external links, which link to outside websites, internal links keep visitors clicking around the same website. Ideally, internal linking should increase the time visitors spend on a website, as they click through from page to page.
Although dwell time is an important metric that is positively influenced by internal linking, it isn’t the primary reason why brand marketers care about internal linking. Internal linking is important to brands because of its role in search engine optimization, or SEO.
Without a logical internal linking strategy, a website will drop in search rankings. Websites that do not have logically organized internal links are harder for search engines to crawl, which means they are less likely to be completely indexed. We know how important indexing is to search rankings, so we want to make it as easy as possible for search bots to browse the pathways of a website and index every page.
Not all internal links are created equal. When it comes to internal linking, it is important to have a logical structure with clean links that provide value for visitors. From an SEO perspective, it is also important to consider link value.
Link value refers to the value that Google places on a link, either internal or external. Google generally places the greatest value on homepages, because homepages tend to have the most backlinks. Link value is shared between the links found on a page, with the value being passed on to the following page. Content pages have more link value when they are linked on the homepage than category pages.
As you set up your internal linking strategy, it is important to consider where you are placing your links. Relevancy of pages, relationship between pages, and link value of pages should all be taken into consideration.
To learn more about internal linking and other onsite ranking factors, click here.