Links are an important element of the search engine optimization process (SEO). There are two types of links you have on a website. They are known as external links and internal links. Although links to your website from other domains have more weight and value, it doesn’t mean internal links do not provide any link equity. In fact, if your webpages have a few external links or no links, then they too can rank well in the search results. In order to make this happen, the other important webpages should be linked to the ones which do not perform well. In short, the best performing webpages can be used to link the ones which are yet to gain a good ranking in the search results. Nevertheless, if your webpage or your website do not have any links, then it can be a challenging task to boost the webpage’s rank.
So then how can you boost rankings for pages through internal linking? How can you let your link juice flow to the other webpages? To answer your questions, continue reading.
Let’s first look at some basics of how link equity works.
1. Pages with Good Internal and External Links Pass More Link Equity
It’s pretty simple to understand this concept. A page that has acquired multiple external links over time has more authority to pass on to the other pages. If you have such pages on your website that have gained multiple links, then pass the link equity to other pages to improve their search rankings.
2. Pages that have Fewer Links Pass More Equity
Generally, the pages that have fewer links tend to pass more equity on the other pages as compared to the pages which have several links on it. More links indicate that each of the linked webpages will receive a smaller amount of link equity that can be passed on. However, this may not be true always. Suppose you have a page that has multiple links and instead you reduce the number of links to this page by only adding those links which are most relevant, then you are sure to get more link equity from this process.
3. 301 Redirects and Canonicalization Lose Little Equity
Here’s a look at some common issues with link juice flow:
A Few Web pages Receiving Maximum Links
If you have a large website, it is possible that some webpages receive plenty of external links while others hardly get any links. In fact, you may have multiple service pages and blogs but only a couple of them receive external links. Your aim should be to start getting links to the other webpages as well. For this purpose, you need to first separate the pages that are important for your business and do not earn links. This is because not all pages may be important to start getting links. Also, you can always work on the less important pages once the important ones start earning links. Therefore, for example, if you have a dental website and want to focus on “restorative dentistry”, then you may choose “restorative dentistry” service pages or blog posts as your most important pages.
After you have decided your most important pages, you need to start optimizing them. There are multiple things you can do in the optimization process. Begin by adding internal links from your best-performing pages (the ones which earn a majority of the external links) to the pages you need to optimize. Now, before you begin with adding these internal links, you need to identify pages that have earned a lot of link juice. Open Site Explorer, Backlink Analyzer Tool, Ahrefs, etc. provide the ideal tools to find the pages that have earned external links. Check if you can find any connection between the two pages and add the internal link. For example, if one of your blogs that provide information about various dental treatment has earned external links, you can add an internal link to the “restorative dentistry” service page. This is one of the simplest ways to pass link equity from one page to another.
Apart from adding the internal link, compare the content between the two pages and accordingly modify the content on the poorly performing page. In short, alter the content on the page that you want to get external links by analyzing the pages that are already receiving external links. Once you make the changes to the poorly performing pages, republish them in order to start getting more links.
Only One Page Receives Links
At times, it can happen that only one of your web pages gets all the external links. This is quite common for websites that do not have sufficient web pages and usually it is the homepage that receives the most external links. So if you have a small website with less than 40-50 pages, then there’s every chance that your homepage is the most linked to page. In such a situation, ensure your homepage focuses on your target audience and the right keyword phrases. Also, it’s difficult to pass on the link juice from the homepage since you have a few limited pages. Therefore, create more pages with relevant and useful content. Create content that is relevant for your users. At the same time, focus your content keeping in the mind the people who already link to your homepage.
Due to content management systems (CMS), there can be a lot of page duplication issues. Here, there are multiple pages that have the same content due to different URLs. For example, dentalclinic.com/redwidget?=review1 and dentalclinic.com/redwidget?=review2 may have the same content but the URLs are different. Page duplication can certainly affect your link equity. Some ways to fix these issues include using alternative versions of the page in order to indicate search engines which page is original and which page should be taken into consideration while ranking. This can be done by using the canonical tags.
Some Pages May Get Hidden
Some of the pages in your website may get hidden on account of your website’s information architecture. These pages usually are more specific and contain long-tailed keywords. So unless the user types in a specific search query, these pages won’t appear in the search results. As a result, these pages have a less web traffic and they get hidden deep inside your website. Since these pages are focused on a specific target audience, it’s important that you spread your link juice to these webpages.
One such way is to leverage the top-level category pages on your website. For a dental website, your top-level category pages would include the homepage, service pages, contact us page, the about us page, etc. Therefore, you can use these category pages that are generally well linked internally and thus, add links to the pages with long-tailed keywords or the hidden pages.
Another way to add links to these pages is by creating a separate top-level or mid-level category pages. For example, if one of your pages include the term “root canal treatment”, you can add a separate category page such as “dental treatment”. Or you can add a mid-level category page of “dental treatment” under the top-level category of “services offered by us.” This way you get to use the top-level category pages to link these hidden or long-tailed keyword pages and thus, flow the link juice to them. You can even consider internally linking pages which have similar content or the same keyword. For example, if one of your pages talk about “how to prevent a toothache” and the other page mentions “causes of a toothache”, then you can find a relation between these two pages and add an internal link. It makes sense to add an internal link between these two pages because a user searching for information on the causes of a toothache will be interested to know how he can prevent it as well. Therefore, if one of these pages has multiple links, then you can pass on the link equity by internally linking it to another page. Apart from ensuring that your page is indexed by search engine spiders, the links are beneficial to your visitors too.
Ways to Improve Link Equity
Improve Your Website Architecture
Start working on your website’s architecture. Ensure that your navigation consists of static links and includes your important webpages in the form of categories. In case, you cannot add a category to some pages but they are important pages, then consider adding quick links instead.
As mentioned above it is recommended that you use permanent redirects such as 301 redirects. Redirects are done when you have relaunched or redeveloped your websites with a different URL structure than before. Instead of adding a different URL structure, use the 301 redirects as this will not affect your search results rankings and plus, the link juice will not dilute.
Get More External Links
In order to get more external links, make sure your content is unique and original. If you have conducted a research or a study, then you publish them on your website. The quality and the uniqueness of the content will surely get you external links for your pages.
As mentioned earlier, links are an important element in the search engine optimization process. Therefore, do not ignore the link building process for your website. Have a good internal linking structure and by following the above-mentioned tips, try to acquire more external links. Nevertheless, you may not see the desired results instantly. Link building is a process that will take some time and plus, once you start getting external links, you need to work on ensuring that your link juice flows to the right webpages as well. If you need any assistance in managing your link building process, then get in touch with an SEO expert. The SEO expert will take care of your link building process and furthermore, also manage the other on-page and off-page SEO elements in order to enhance your search rankings.
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.