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A website is an important tool for any property investor. You should have one to show of your properties, to help develop your brand, and to host blogs or other types of content that you’re sharing with visitors.
To manage a website properly, you’ll need another set of skills on top of the ones you use to move properties. Unless you want to pay a web developer for every change you make, you need to know how to do some of this work yourself.
Fortunately, some of the most important website fundamentals you need to know aren’t hard to understand or implement. Internal linking is a simple task that can make your website far easier for other people to find.
In this guide, you’re going to learn about internal linking. You’ll learn what it means, why it needs to be done, and what pages need to be linked together in order to make the practice worthwhile.
What is Internal Linking?
Internal linking is the work of linking one page on your website to another. The navigation bar that appears at the top of many websites is a form of internal linking, but for the purposes of this guide, we’re talking about the links that you place in the text of your content.
These are often known as contextual links.
For example, imagine that you have two pages on your website that deal with related topics. For the purpose of the example, we’ll say that:
- Page A is a general guide about what renovations need to be made to flip a house for a higher sale price.
- Page B is a narrow guide about how to replace damaged drywall.
Naturally, you don’t want or need to interrupt a general guide with a detailed description of how to perform a specific process. That would get in the way of the information you’re trying to communicate. However, someone reading Page A may realize that drywall is the biggest problem they have with the home they want to flip.
The best way to assist this reader is to provide a link to Page B in the section of Page A that discusses replacing drywall. Once you’ve placed an internal link, the reader can easily follow it to the information they really want.
Serving your site visitors is important, but it’s only part of why you need to link pages together.
Why Do I Need to Internally Link my Pages?
You need to internally link your pages because it plays an important role in the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) of your site. The better your SEO, the more likely it is that your site will appear for searches on engines like Google.
Internal linking empowers your SEO in several specific ways.
- It establishes a site architecture
- It spread the juice of any incoming links to the rest of your site
- It creates a better user experience
It establishes a site architecture
One of the ways that Google assesses which sites deserve a place in search results is by sending out crawlers. Crawlers are automated programs that travel through a site and determine the information that is available there.
These crawlers attempt to navigate the site the same way that a human might. They travel through links as they arrive at them, and the paths that they travel becomes how Google interprets your site. If the crawler can’t reach a page, that page may not appear in searches at all.
Internal linking helps to ensure that crawlers can find all your pages.
It spread the juice of any incoming links to the rest of your site
Link “juice” is a term that describes the power that is passed to a site by a backlink (a link that comes from another site). In general, Google considers sites and pages that attract backlinks to be more valuable and rewards them with higher visibility in searches.
What does this have to do with internal links? The answer is that link juice can travel. If one page on your website attracts a high-quality link, some of that juice will pass on to the pages it links out to.
Internal linking can help your entire site benefit from a solid backlink, rather than just the page that attracted the backlink in the first place.
It creates a better user experience
Internal links create a better experience for anyone browsing your site. It allows them to transition to the information that they want most. That’s good for you because it means you won’t need to develop massive pages in order to cover a lot of information.
A better user experience can indirectly benefit your SEO in the sense that sites that are friendlier to users tend to do better. Google is evasive about what factors are tracked to give this advantage.
What Pages Should be Linked Together?
Internal linking is powerful, but you can only really exercise that power when you build internal links the right way. When you’re choosing what pages to link together, you need to consider the overall structure, the role of your most strategic pages, and the ones that focus on similar topics.
Building a structure through internal linking
Earlier, we talked about how internal links matter because they allow crawlers to navigate your site. This is one of the main reasons that you must consider structure when you’re building your links.
Your internal links should provide access to most, if not all, of the pages on your website. However, that doesn’t mean that you should provide links to every page on every page. Spamming internal links will make your content frustrating to read and may confuse crawlers as well.
What you’re trying to do is to create a loop. This will require grouping sections of your site together and making the internal links flow through these groups, and then back to a central point.
Let’s play out how this might work on a real estate investor site that draws traffic by providing expert information about the property investing process. Imagine this site has dozens of pages and posts, but they all fit into three general categories such as:
- Finding good markets for property
- Preparing homes for flipping
- Navigating the sale process
One way to create a structure would be to have the home page link out (only) to the pages that cover these categories in the most general way. Then, those general pages would link out to pages that cover more narrow information in the same category. The narrow pages would then link out to the pages that cover the most specific information in that category.
The loop is completed when the most specific pages link back to the home page. This structure ensures an intuitive flow for both crawlers and users to follow. It helps you plan to connect all of your pages together in a way that makes sense.
You can apply this structure even if you cover many more than three categories, and you can do it just by looking at your page titles and planning out the structure with a pen and paper.
Supporting your most strategic pages
There is an important exception to building a simple structure, and it centers on pages that stand out from all the others.
Imagine you created a blog within one of your categories, and within months, it exceeded every expectation. It started attracting more traffic than any of your other pages, along with backlinks from major sites in your niche.
A page like this should always take advantage of the power of internal links to pass on link juice. Here are some of the ways you can do that:
- Make sure to create an internal link directly to the home page (regardless of where it is in your link structure). This will allow the page to pass on power to the home page and all the major category pages that are linked on the home page.
- Create internal links to new pages and pages that need support. You can take advantage of a particularly powerful page by linking to pages that you want to grow fast. Pages that are directly linked from the powerful page will benefit most from the link juice.
Make the Right Choices when Linking Pages
Internal linking is some of the simplest work you can do to improve your real estate site’s performance in search results. It helps you establish a site architecture so that all of your pages can rank. It also helps you spread link juice to every page while you’re creating a better experience for people who read your content.
You don’t need to do anything technical. As long as you can create text links in your content, you can start creating an advantage for your site. Just remember to link the right pages together by setting up a structure and considering your most strategic pages.