Internal links (as opposed to external ones) are hyperlinks located within your website that directs visitors to the same domain these hyperlinks are located on. They're crucial to search engine optimization (SEO) because they enable search engines to crawl through your site more thoroughly. What's more, internal linking can even help promote keyword clusters and increase possible key phrases you can use to further expose your site to the general Internet public.
Keyword Clusters and Internal Linking
Clustering keywords can increase the effectiveness and speed of your link building efforts. It is based on how passing the internal strength between pages of your website can make it a lot more SEO-friendly. Incidentally, a keyword cluster happens whenever a group of keywords related to your website are combined together for SEO targeting purposes. Because of the billions of websites available in the Internet today, it's a lot more efficient to target key phrases and different keyword combinations than standalone keywords.
You're likelier to make it to the first page of a search engine results page (SERP) by focusing on keyword clusters instead of a single keyword. In terms of internal linking SEO, internal links are vital to targeting keyword clusters because multiple pages of your website are likelier to be indexed by a search engine in bulk if they all contain internal links. In turn, your whole website domain will rank higher on a targeted keyword cluster by having all your pages available for indexing. All this can be made possible by having a sensible and sound internal linking structure.
Search Engine Crawlers and Internal Linking
Search engine crawlers or spiders are likelier to pick up your website for a number of search phrases and keywords if you have internal links that link back to multiple pages within your domain. Essentially, having a well-planned internal linking structure will ensure that every one of your pages will be indexed by search engines properly. That increased number of credited, indexed content can even draw traffic from keywords you haven't even thought of before.
Furthermore, the more pages you can get indexed on a search engine, the more relevant your website will be to certain keywords because a larger amount of your content will be accessible to the search engine. You should think of internal links are doors leading inside your house, with the house serving as your website domain. The visitors will have an easier time going to the different rooms of a given household if they're open for access to anyone who visits them.
Navigation Scripts and Internal Linking
With that said, a home that has lots of clutter, narrow passageways, and labyrinthine hallways will make it tough for people to visit every last room of the house... or rather, for spiders to index the different pages within your domain. Internal links help expose all the pages within your website to search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. If the internal linking structure of your website is such that you have orphaned or hidden pages, then search engine crawlers will have a hard time indexing your whole site.
Using navigation scripts to facilitate navigation for your site can also make it hard for search engines to crawl through your domain. If your website uses a script-based navigation system, then you should consider adding an internal linking structure to your webpage in order to increase the indexing chances of all the pages of your website. Ditto with any image-based navigation, since spiders cannot tell what the image is, so assigning relevancy to your site will prove difficult for them.
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