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Tips for Creating an Internal Linking Strategy

Among the many aspects of organic SEO that often gets overlooked is the practice of internal linking. When executed correctly, internal linking can enhance the search rankings of a website as well as its usability.

In external linking to other sites, search engines like Google pass value, or keyword relevancy based on the words used in the links anchor text. Most organic SEO efforts are in this external form, where SEO's acquire backlinks from other websites that include keyword-specific anchor text for which the site has been optimized for.

Although external linking is a dominant factor in search engine rankings, contextual internal links can also contribute to improving a website's search rankings for targeted keyword phrases.

Logic and Context are Key

The content of your webpages offers a wealth of opportunities to pass along link weight to other pages of your site. The first step to establishing your internal linking strategy involves going through the various pages of your website to see where it is logical to build a few links to other relevant pages. It is important take this approach from the standpoint of a user, and not just a search engine spider.

When creating internal links, it is not only important to choose the right pages, but also where on the page you add the link. The most effective links are called contextual links, or links embedded in the copy of the content. Contextual links, both for internal and external link building strategies, are ideal because they are surrounded by related text - a concept that search engine spiders take into consideration.

Keyword-Focused Anchor Text

The anchor text you use when building internal links is also significant. Be sure to use targeted keywords in which you would like the destination page to rank for. You don't always have to use exact phrase matching of your primary keyword target of the destination page. In some cases, a partial linking strategy (where only some keywords are used in the anchor text) may be the best option.

As you are going through the internal linking process, make sure that the destination page includes the targeted keywords of the link (anchor text), both on-page and off-page. By this we mean it is important to have the targeted keywords in page title and meta tags (off-page), as well as in body copy of the page (on-page).

In essence, links are more effective if the words and phrases used in the link's anchor text also show up in the various areas of destination page. And to reinforce the importance of contextual links, the surrounding text of the internal link plays a role too. In some instances, you may want to edit the copy around your internal links to improve the search engine value.

The benefits of internal linking can be advantageous for user interaction as well. They can help funnel users to find the content that they are truly looking seeking on your website. For this reason, logical links that have relevant destinations and keyword-focused anchor text is thesis to a solid internal linking strategy.

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Understanding Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) for Improved SEO Copywriting

Semantics are big deal to search engine crawlers. LSI, or Latent Semantic Indexing, is a method search engine use for information retrieval. In simple terms, LSI enables search engines to reference content (or certain words) that has similar meaning and context, although not exactly the same.

LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) Defined

In article about LSI by Arron Wall at SEO Book, he says that "Latent semantic indexing allows a search engine to determine what a page is about outside of specifically matching search query text."

To give you an example, after a search engine users queries "drunk driving lawyer," Google might reference indexed pages that are optimized for "DUI attorney". In essence, the queries are quite similar; however the semantics is slightly different.

SEO Copywriting with LSI in Mind

There are two way in which SEO copywriters can improve their content using the concepts of Latent Semantic Indexing: in the copy and in the anchor text

In-copy Keyword Variation

Keyword redundancy is typically a good thing when it comes to optimized web copy - to an extent. Sometimes repeating keywords too often can have a negative impact. Search engines are quick to spot spammy, keyword stuffed content, and often times they are quick to penalize sites with such horrendous copy.

Not only is overly keyword dense content risky for your rankings, but spammy copy is difficult and not very delightful to read. Choppy copy rarely converts visitors because visitors often bounce after struggling though the first couple sentences.

With Latent Semantic Indexing, SEO copywriters can still capture keyword relevancy without having to use the exact same words constantly throughout the copy. Rather, SEO copywriters can use synonyms and related keyword variations to mix things up a bit. For example, instead of using only the phrase "DUI attorney" throughout the copy, try using variations like:

  • DUI lawyer
  • DUI legal services
  • DUI law firm
  • drunk driving attorney

Most of these variations are common keyword queries used by the same audience searching for a "DUI attorney". So not only will mixing up your keywords help the readability of the copy, but also the rank-ability of the webpage. This is because the use of keyword variations (with respect to LSI) will help to make your pages more relevant on slightly similar, yet different search queries.

Anchor Text Variation

Similar to using keyword variations in the copy, SEO copywriters should employ the same tactics in the anchor text of their links. This includes both internal links as well as external links (backlinks).

Furthermore, SEO copywriters should keep the concepts of LSI in mind when using partial linking strategies (linking with only part of the whole keyword phrase.) This also helps to make a webpage more relevant on those close keyword variations.

Well there you have it - your SEO copywriter’s guide to improving content with respect to LSI.

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How to Use Internal Linking for Better Organic SEO Results

Recent Panda, Penguin, and other search engine updates to Google's algorithm that determines keyword rankings have made links increasingly important, even internal links on your website.

Most website owners do not pay attention to internal linking while others do not know how to do it right, but it could have a great impact on your search engine ranking and consequently on your traffic when done right. Internal linking is also advantageous in that they are in your full control, unlike that of external links (which can require a great deal of effort).

So, how do internal links affect your organic SEO and website optimization?

Optimizing Your Website with Internal Linking

Google and other search engines “crawl” websites as the first step towards indexing them and determining their rankings. Internal links facilitate crawling since they tell search engines where to go from page to page. The anchor text used in those links will express keyword relevancy for the pages being linked.

The creation of a well optimized website hierarchy is important for better crawling. The creation of optimized website hierarchy is where most website owners fail. Avoid the temptation of trying to link every page to each other with the exact phrase match of your keywords targets. After Google Penguin, internal links can even be targeted for over-optimization.

Maintaining proper website hierarchy shows that a website is professionally designed and that it is properly managed. This is an indication that visitors will have a fun and fulfilling time at the website. Google and other search engines want websites that are as natural as possible and they will appreciate the effort and reward you for it.

When building internal links, keeping users top of mind is critical to ensure the best results. Ensure that there is natural, obvious connection to the links. As an example, a natural link in a category page selling televisions is a link to a particular television in the category. You should always have the user in mind. If the links are good for visitors, they are probably good for your SEO campaign too.

Internal linking should point to important posts. This ensures that your best posts do not disappear. You could link back to posts that you wrote a long time ago if you want people to read them again or if you suspect people never got to read them. By linking to old content, you avoid having to repeat concepts to every person who wants answers.

Internal linking is time consuming, but its positive effect on your ranking and the fact that it is free of charge means you should try it. You should include keywords in anchor text when doing internal link building. Repair broken internal links regularly for an effective organic SEO campaign.

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