Internal linking is a topic not many people understand or even care about. For most people trying to get more visibility in search, its all about the inbound links and all the other factors on-site. All that stuff is well and good but you shouldn’t ignore your internal link structure. A good internal linking strategy can help PageRank flow throughout your site helping other pages ranking higher and it can also help users discover more of your great content that they may not have known was there.
In case you didn’ t know, the exact match anchor is anchor text (hyperlinked text) that points to a page that is about that keyword. This is a popular strategy for external linking because pages that are linked to with exact match anchor text tend to rank better than those with arbitrary text as long as the intent isn’t deceptive. For example, “family law attorney Fairfax” would be good anchor text to use leading to a page trying to rank for that phrase.
Webmasters can get into trouble with this tactic when they build lots and lots of links using exact match text. The reason is because it doesn’t look natural. When people build links, they don’t think “oh I’ll use this specific keyword phrase because the destination page looks like it’s trying to rank for it.” Most of the time, people just use the URL or words like “here” or “click” or images.
With internal linking though, these things aren’t a consideration. That’s because Google doesn’t feel that using exact match text on your own domain is a big deal. +Matt Cutts speaks to this in the video below.
So within reason you can pretty much do whatever you want in terms of internal linking on your site. In the video Cutts points out that as long as you don’t have tons of links on a single page to another page, you should be ok.
Robots Will Love You
One of the main benefits to having a logical internal linking strategy is that bots crawling your site (namely Googlebot) will have a much easier time finding content. A bot should be able to find one page and either dive deeper into your site or find its way back to the home page no matter which page it finds.
Your ideal structure should look sort of like a pyramid if you were to draw it on paper. The home page would be at the top and the most detailed pages in the deepest parts of your site should all be at the bottom.
PageRank Can Flow
PageRank is assigned to pages and you can pass that through your website by the way you link pages together. Since your home page is probably the most linked to page (and this is common for most sites), it makes sense to have that at the top of your pyramid so that PageRank flows throughout your site and other pages can rank better in search.
Users Can Find Great Content
Traditionally web pages each had the site’s main navigation on them and then their own content. For the most part this is still how its done however you can take the opportunity to link to other pages in ways that don’t involve your main navigation as long as you follow your strategy. For instance if you are linking from one page to a sub-page in your link structure, you can add another link within content of that same page that is exact match text.
Figuring out how your link structure should look can be tedious and tough. If you use WordPress, there is a nice plugin called SEO Smart Links. The plugin automatically links keywords in your posts with corresponding pages and posts using tags and other keywords on those pages. It’s a really simple tool for leveraging exact match text within your domain to make it easier for users to find great content.
Internal linking on your site is an important way to make it more accessible and help visitors find great content. You can use exact match anchor text to your heart’s content as long as you don’t overdo it.