Search engines reward those pages with good rankings that are particularly relevant to the user’s search query. In addition to the alignment of the page to specific search terms, the classification of the respective page in the overall structure of the website is an important signal for the thematic relevance.
When analyzing the hierarchical organization, Google in particular also includes its semantic meaning. This creates an ontological view of the documents on a page. (In contrast to a taxonomy, which only forms a hierarchical subdivision, an ontology represents a network of information with logical and semantic relations.)
This means that internal links to and from the individual pages should be examined more closely: Do they have any meaningful reference to current information and the needs of the user, or are they superfluous references to irrelevant information?
EXTRA: User experience as the most important factor for a good ranking? [SEO tip]
Ontology through internal linking
With siloing, a large website is divided into several thematically separated page areas (the so-called silos). The links are then focused exclusively on pages within the respective silo.
Only really relevant pages and appropriate information should be linked on a page that satisfy the information needs of the user. In search engine optimization, this concept is also summarized under the term “siloing”. On the one hand, this leads to a reduction in the number of general links on each page and thus to strengthening the relevant links and, on the other hand, improves the ontological organization of the page through thematically appropriate links.
Accordingly, the number of links should be limited to a relevant minimum in order not to overwhelm the user and to limit the number of links that are repeated permanently on each page.
Tip: prominently link top pages
Self-optimizing systems are particularly helpful for internal linking, which automatically link particularly important or current pages. Especially in online shops with a large assortment or content-rich websites such as blogs or magazines, such a system can ensure that popular pages and products or also pages that are particularly frequently visited seasonally are automatically displayed in link lists on relevant pages and thus also for the increasing search volume Search can be linked in a particularly prioritized manner.
In many shops, for example, a widget in the sidebar ensures that the shop’s top sellers or the best-selling items are prominently placed for the user and the search engine and thus reacts automatically to preferences and trends as well as seasonal search queries.
The link text is a very strong signal to the search engine and includes all the words in the clickable part of a link. It is located within the day. This text tells users and Google something about the content of the linked page. Regardless of whether internal or external links to external pages, the better the link text, the easier it is for the user to navigate and the better Google understands what the linked page is about.
EXTRA: 8 SEO Mistakes to Avoid in 2019
Checklist: Internal linking
- Link from each page to meaningful additional pages that can help the user to achieve their goals.
- Appropriate link texts help convey the linked content.
- Use each link text only for one landing page to avoid internal competition.
- Choose a formatting that highlights the linked text so that the user can distinguish this link from normal text and also use it to navigate within the website.
10 common mistakes with internal linking
1. Multiple links to the same destination
If there are several links to the same target on a page, no more link power is transmitted, but the number of links increases, which leads to a thinning of the link power of all links.
2. Too few links on individual pages
For the search engine, it is extremely important that each subpage is sufficiently linked and that it is assigned sufficient relevance.
3. Too many links on individual pages
Depending on the strength of a page, there should not be more than 100-200 links on each page so that the individual link can still pass on sufficient strength.
4. Internal competition through over-prioritizing sub-pages
If sub-pages are geared towards multi-word combinations and linked too prominently, these often compete with superordinate category pages and thereby worsen overall performance.
5. Internal nofollow
Internal links with the nofollow attribute let link juice fizzle out and do not strengthen the remaining links on the page. Therefore always avoid.
6. Redirects to the home page
Google treats this as a “soft 404 error”.
7. Links to redirects
Internal links that only go through one or more redirects should be converted.
8. 302 redirects
These should be avoided if possible, as the URLs remain indexed.
9. Unclear internal link texts
Be explicit. Clear and descriptive link texts help the user and the search engine.
10. Canonical link on paginated pages
If pages two and following are canonicalized on the first page of a pagination, Google will no longer evaluate the internal links of these pages.