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Understanding Internal Linking
If you want to drive quality traffic to your website, optimizing your website to rank well on search engines, like Google, is one tactic that will help. However, just simply creating a website won’t help your search ranking. It takes time, work, and effort to ensure your site ranks well and attracts new visitors. And one important aspect that’s part of the work I mentioned above includes coming up with an internal linking strategy and structure for your website.
What Exactly is Internal Linking?
According to Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media Studios, an internal link is a link from one page to another page on the same domain. Basically, those links are just regular, text links from one page on a website to another. So, if you are reading this blog and you click on a link that redirects you to another page on our website, that link is considered an internal link. The purpose of an internal link is to help visitors know where to go if they’re ever looking for other information on your website. Your readers will read more, thus adding more value to your content. Lastly, internal links help spread link equity, or ranking power, around websites.
Internal Linking Structure
Before we delve more into the topic, let’s first take a look at the ideal internal link structure. Think of your website as a pyramid. The most important content will be at the top and the least important will be at the bottom. This is why most medical practice websites have their homepage at the top. This is because it contains important information about your practice as well as your contact details. Under that, they have the next most important pages which include the about us, services, products, blogs, testimonials, and many more. If you open those subpages, you will see the slightly less important pages such as information on individual products and/or services pages, blog posts, testimonial videos, etc. However, keep in mind that you should not link all pages in one level of the hierarchy to all pages on another. For example, you should not put all the links of your services in all your blog posts.
Why is Internal Linking Important?
One reason why medical practices have their own website is for potential patients to easily find them online. And for your patients to easily find you, the goal would be to appear on the first page in search engine results. One factor that will help your website achieve that is to use internal links. Google uses internal links to help discover new content that helps your website get a higher rank. Generally speaking, the more internal links a page has, the higher it’s page rank. But always bear in mind that it’s not all about quantity. You need to think of the quality of the link as that also plays a vital role. Plus, your readers won’t want to read content that contains a ton of links every few words; that will make for a bad user experience.
By now, you already have an idea of why internal linking is important. It helps to increase your website’s visibility online. But it doesn’t end there. Here are some reasons why internal linking is important:
Aids with understanding page relationships.
In order to find new content, Google crawls websites by following links, both internal and external, using a bot called Google bot. Internal linking helps Google’s search crawlers to understand the whole layout of your website and the page relationships within it. You can use your internal linking to have a hierarchy of category pages, main pages, and subpages. This will help Google rank your web pages and your website itself.
Helps patients with site navigability.
When a visitor comes across your website, that means that they are interested in the information that you provide and what you can offer. Internal linking helps your visitors navigate your site easier. If you use internal linking properly, it will serve as a guide to make your visitors more aware of other content on your website that they may be interested in. For instance, suppose you are a cardiologist and one of your visitors clicks on a page that contains the illnesses you treat. They might also be interested in the treatment options available for those illnesses, so, through internal linking, you can redirect them to your services/treatment pages. The point is, adding internal links will give them shortcuts to other topics and pages that they might be interested in. Overall, adding links will give your visitors a better user experience—which is also one important factor that Google considers when ranking web pages.
Improves visitor retention.
If the content you provide to your audience is relevant, they’ll likely read more articles and content found on your site. You can make it easier for them if you add the right and appropriate links to your content. The good thing about this is that your visitors will stay on your site longer. And the more time they spend browsing and navigating your site, the more opportunity you have to promote your products and services.
Helps with crawling and indexing.
Earlier, we mentioned Google bots and how they constantly search for new pages and add them to known pages. Some pages are known because Google has already crawled them before. To discover new pages, Google follows a link from a known page to a new page. Suppose you add a new page on your website that contains information about a new service. Google will be able to find it if you add its link to one of your known pages.
The pages with no internal links are considered to be orphan pages, which is a page where it’s not obvious to users where to go next. When this happens, they will likely abandon the website. And, of course, no organization wants that.
Internal linking can significantly improve your overall SEO performance. Therefore, it is important that you have an internal linking strategy for your website. If you don’t, you’re probably missing out on rankings and potential patients. If you need assistance coming up with an internal linking strategy, Website4MD can help. We have helped healthcare providers across the nation build digital strategies that have improved their online visibility and interaction with patients. Give us a quick call and let us help you establish a prominent web presence.