Hey there you sexy thing! Put the kettle on, light a candle, and settle in for a doozy of a blog post: this time, I’m tackling the concept of innerlinks.
Innerlinks are a part of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) that help Google understand the topic of a webpage. In order to understand how to use innerlinks, you’ll need to have a good grasp on the concept of keywords. If you’re a bit fuzzy on those deets, it’s worth reading my Understanding Keywords blog post first. Also maybe have the SEO dictionary open in another tab for easy reference.
So, once you’ve decided on the target keywords that you will use for each of the pages on your website, it’s time to get to tell Google exactly what your target keywords are. One of those ways is by using the keywords in the content of the page – in the SEO titles, alt texts and page copy. This is all super important. Another way to tell Google what a page is about is through the use of innerlinks.
What are innerlinks?
Innerlinks – also known as just ‘links’ or sometimes ‘hyperlinks’, are words in website copy that a user can click on, which will take them to another page of your website. Using innerlinks on a website can not only help the user navigate the different pages, it also helps google navigate your website.
Think of an innerlink like a big sign that points at a location where information can be found. For example, if you click on the words SEO Bitch Reviews here, you will be taken to the page of reviews on my website. Wait, come back!
The clickable words are called an ‘anchor’ or ‘innerlink anchor’. Those words that form the anchor should be the target keywords of the page that the link goes to, not the page that the link is on. When choosing what words to use in an innerlink anchor, think of it as what the person will expect to see after they click the link. Basically, you expect the topic of the clickable anchor to match the topic of the page that the link opens.
How do I use innerlinks?
In short, every page of your website should have innerlinks in the text that direct the user/google elsewhere on the website. The plan is to have these signs pointing all over the website using innerlinks that tell the user/Google where to go for certain information.
However, it’s important to have an innerlink strategy to ensure that you don’t send mixed signals to Google, and to make sure that the most important pages are the ones that have the most signs pointed at them.
Which pages are the most important? Which signs do I put where?
It can help to think of the structure of a website like a tree. In general, the most important page of a website is the homepage, and therefore it’s the trunk of the tree. That is the page where you use your most important keywords, and it is the place where most user journeys will begin. It is usually given the broadest keywords in order to capture the widest market.
Each sub page, like the different ‘collections’ pages, is a branch off of the trunk. Then, a product within that collection is a leaf off that branch. Each branch and leaf has a more and more specific topic, and therefore more and more specific keywords. The homepage should have the most signs pointing to it, and the product should have the fewest.
Let’s take the example of the website for a company that makes lots of different types of ceramics, like plates, mugs, trinket trays, ornaments etc. The home page keyword might be something like ‘handmade ceramics’. Then, the collection of mugs might be “handmade ceramic mugs”. Then a product page for a blue mug might have the keyword “blue handmade ceramic mug”.
A good innerlink strategy involves putting innerlinks on pages that point a sign back from the least important pages, to the most important pages: from a leaf to a branch, and from a branch to the trunk.
So, a product page for a blue handmade ceramic mug (leaf) should have an innerlink in its product description that sends the user to the collection of ceramic mugs (branch), as well as an innerlink that sends the user to the homepage (trunk). The links to those pages should use the homepage and mugs collection page’s keywords as anchors.
For example, part of the product description for a blue handmade ceramic mug could say:
“This blue handmade ceramic mug is part of a large collection of handmade ceramic mugs made by this company, which also creates a lot of other handmade ceramics.”
By including these links with these anchors, we give both the user and Google a very clear sign of where to go for more ceramics, or more mugs.
The more unique pages on a website that have keyword-filled innerlinks, the more obvious it is to Google what the topic of a page is. Like, the more signs that point in one particular direction make it more obvious what the destination will be.
Still with me? Great job! This is a convoluted topic, so don’t feel like you should totally understand everything immediately.
Okay, so having an innerlink strategy ensures that there is only one destination for a sign – meaning, every page has unique target keywords. This is important in order to not confuse Google.
If you have a link with the anchor ‘handmade mugs’, that link better go to the handmade mugs collection page, because we have decided on those target keywords for the handmade mugs collection page. If you have a link with the anchor ‘handmade mugs’ go to any other page, it will just confuse Google. Google will be all like, “wait a minute, I thought you said that the handmade mugs were over there, and now you’re saying they’re over there? Which one is true? ANSWER ME!”
Therefore, it’s really important to decide the exact target keywords of each page of your website before you start implementing innerlinks anywhere. They’re a massive ballache to go back and change later! That’s the general gist of innerlinks.
Now, your job is to:
1. Identify the target keywords of all of your website’s pages
2. Edit all of your product listings to include innerlinks that point to those pages using keyword-filled anchors.
Sounds tedious? It is! But trust me, using innerlinks are a great way to improve your website’s SEO, get that ranking up, and gain more traffic from Google than ever before.
Until next time you cheeky bitches!