If you are working on optimizing your dental clinic’s website for search engines, then you will be familiar with the term internal linking. If you don’t know what it means, then you need not worry. Internal linking is not a term that only technical or computer specialist will understand. To speak in layman’s words, internal linking means hyper linking or adding a link to your webpage that directs users to another webpage within the same website. An internal link connects two webpages on the same website. So, the source domain and target domain are the same. Internal links are beneficial for following reasons:
Helps Google crawl through your clinic’s website
Allow users to navigate to your website
Establish information hierarchy for your healthcare website
Distributes power rankings and authority throughout your dental clinic’s website
Internal linking cannot be overlooked and so, if you want to ensure you get all the above-mentioned benefits of internal linking, then make sure you follow these best practices.
Create Plenty of Content
If you want to have lots of internal links, then you need to create more content on a regular basis. When you have plenty of content, you will have multiple articles and webpages to link. The more links on your healthcare website; the better will be your internal linking strategy. For example, you can create a separate webpage for heart treatment or operation on your clinic’s website and have several blog posts that talk about heart diseases, heart surgeries, etc. Each of these blogs can be linked to your heart treatment or operation webpage. So, when a person comes across your blog through a Google search, he may go through your blog and then click on the internal link that directs to your heart treatment service webpage. Similarly, if you have a dental clinic, you can write several blogs on a root canal treatment, dental braces, restorative dentistry, etc. and add links to the main service webpage. So, when a person is directed to your service webpage, he may avail your dental services to overcome his problem. This also makes it easier for search engine spiders to crawl through all your content on a website.
Make sure you link deep across your webpages. This means that you need to link webpages that are not linked or deep within your website. Instead of focusing on adding links to your homepage or contact us page, focus on adding links to webpages that do not have any links. This is very important because no matter how good your content is on a webpage, search engines will not be able to trace them unless you have linked it with other webpages. Also, it makes sense to strengthen internal pages to boost your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts instead of adding links to the homepage. In short, avoid links to webpages that are to the top level of a website.
Use Relevant Links
When you provide a link, ensure it is a relevant one. Don’t add a link just for the sake of doing so. If a user clicks on your link and finds the content not credible, then he will immediately leave your website. For example, you have a webpage about heart treatment and a blog post on “how to avoid a chipped tooth.” Now there is no real connection between these webpages and hence, linking them would be irrelevant. But, if you have a blog on “how to keep your heart healthy”, then there is a good connection to link this post to heart treatment service webpage. Both the webpages will have information about “heart” and because of this similar piece of information, providing a link between these webpages becomes relevant.
In order to ensure your links are relevant, hyperlink the anchor text only when it is relevant. For example, if you have hyperlinked the phrase “treatment for common flu” or “treatment for infected tooth”, then users must be directed to a webpage that contains information on treatment for common flu or infected tooth respectively. Again, should the users find your linked webpage irrelevant, then they will quickly move out of your website. As a result, you will see a high bounce rate which is not good for both the main webpage as well as the linked webpage. The search engines are becoming smarter day-by-day and if they identify that you are adding irrelevant links, then there is a possibility that they will penalize your healthcare website.
Provide Links that Appear Natural
This means that your links should not appear as if they are linked only for the SEO purpose. The internal links should be more focused on helping readers to get more information. In other words, the links should provide value to the readers. They are more likely to click on your link if they perceive that the link provides related information to what they are reading. If you do this right, you will find readers spending more time on your website and thus, improve your website engagement. The amount of time spent by users on a website is instrumental in boosting your rankings. This gives a clear signal to search engines that people are spending more time on your website because you have some really good piece of content on your healthcare website.
If you use WordPress for your website, then use plugins that will automatically turn keywords into your webpage text to keyword relevant links. These relevant links will point to some of the major content in your healthcare website. This reduces your time to fetch which text you should use to add internal links. The plugin will do the work for you. One of the most popular internal linking tools is Screaming Frog SEO Spider. Use the “Inlinks” and “Level” fields feature of Screaming Frog to identify webpages that require some assistance from internal linking and webpages that have excess links than their actual value. Moreover, it will show you if there are any broken links and identify if there are any redirects problems as well. Using SEO tools and plugins will help you from the tedious task of manually adding links and fixing internal link issues.
Do Not Add Excess Links
If you think adding several links to your content is going to help you in boosting your SEO efforts, then you need to reconsider. Having several links on your blog posts affects the user experience. It affects readability and so a person may stop reading your blog. Eventually, the average time spent by visitors on your website will drop and hence, search results rankings will be reduced.
These are some of the best practices of internal linking that you should begin with. If you need more information on the best practices of internal linking, then contact a specialist SEO firm. A professional firm will guide you through your internal linking process and plus, provide you with other SEO tips to boost your healthcare website’s ranking and avoid any SEO mistakes. However, if you do not have the right expertise or sufficient time to look after your SEO, then outsource your website’s SEO process to a specialist SEO firm. The expertise and knowledge of a SEO specialist in managing multiple projects will certainly be beneficial to boost your website’s SEO rank.
Ali Salman is an online marketing strategist who have worked with Coca-Cola, Extreme Pita, Mucho Burrito, KIA, Honda and other Fortune 500 companies. Ali Salman now heads Rapid Boost Marketing - Canada's fastest growing search marketing agency. RBM clients include Fortune 500's and medium size businesses across North America. Ali as RBM CMO leads his team in building and managing quality, high-performing and cost-effective interactive campaigns and programs for our company's customers and partners. In his career, he has significantly improved campaign performance for large brands such as Government of Alberta, Liberal Party, Workopolis, Cathay Pacific, as well as medium to large retailers and high-tech B2B-enterprise niches.
Ali and his team develop online promotional concepts that spark viral growth through search and social media for RBM clients, devising strategies that use search engines and more to reach key demographic segments in the ways they're most likely to be receptive. Ali Salman also oversees corporate marketing initiatives for Rapid Boost Marketing, including strategic communications counsel, public and analyst relations and client education programming.