One of the big jobs of an SEO is to carry out a link building strategy. These can be external links and internal links, each over lap to a degree in what they are trying to accomplish, and both do other things as well. Internal links help to build up relationships between different aspects of your site that are relevant or related to each other. A common question that comes up when starting out with SEO is: how many should I include?
Adding Internal Links
Starting out, we are often tempted to fill pages full of links, to add those pointers to any and every possible related page/topic. So you rip through your content throwing down links where ever you think they should go. Once done you step back and see what you’ve done. The content will be blue (or whatever colour your link text is) and underlined! Congratulations, you’ve done internal linking, but it doesn’t look very good does it?
In fact there’s a lot of links going out to the same page, and their anchor text is in some cases a word, or an entire run on sentence. At this point the links outnumber the actual main content of your page. Surely this can’t be the right way to do this, is it? Well as it happens it’s not.
A good rule of thumb that we operate with is that there should only be 3 to 5 internal links per page. Obviously this rule will get broken if you have a service page and have more then 3 to 5 services, or multiple locations, or even many service areas. For now we’ll assume you’re working on a content page and not a “listings” page. With that in mind, try limiting yourself to 3 to 5 internal links per content page (like a blog for example).
Now that we know the rough number we should aim for, we now need to know what to do for anchor text. Standard wisdom would say that the anchor text should be a keyword or phrase that matches the content on the linked to page. SEO for a page about SEO for example. While this isn’t exactly wrong, Google does prefer contextual links to exact match these days. This is all in an effort to avoid keyword stuffing and to make sure content is relevant to its topic.
Avoid anchor text that is only one word long, especially if it’s a short word. Aim instead for a couple words or a good phrase. This will help to make the link more visible to the user while not being intrusive. If you follow this advice, then you’ll have a good start for beginning the internal link building.