Building a high-quality internal network

A web page, by definition, contains hypertext links. This is because the web is a network of linked pages. Navigation is based on shortcuts to other content that enriches, explains, defines or comments on the content.

Internal hyperlinks have a similar role, but for pages within the same website.

What is internal linking?

First of all, let's remember that internal linking is intrinsically linked to natural search engine optimization, or SEO. What is it?

Natural referencing

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a set of tools and techniques for improving a web page's ranking on a search engine. These include keyword optimization, internal linking and the choice of a consistent domain name.

We don't know all the parameters for good positioning, but experience has shown that SEO contributes to it.

In addition, respecting SEO rules helps to improve the user experience. This is no coincidence, since search engines give priority to sites they consider more relevant, richer and more elaborate.

Internal meshing

Internal linking consists of adding links within an article that redirect to other content on the same website. Multiplying these links makes it easier to signal content to search engines and readers. In this way, search engines spend less energy crawling the site, and content is more easily accessible to readers.

However, the quality of the links added should not be overlooked. This criterion is also taken into account by search engines, since the whole point of internal linking is to provide users with relevant links. So it's essential to give priority to hyperlinks that have a coherent destination page, offering rich, useful content. 

These hyperlinks often take the form of "further reading" links at the end of an article. They allow users to deepen their research by accessing more content.

But it's not the only option!

Why mesh your website?

There are two main reasons why it's essential to develop your website's internal mesh.

Improving the user experience

Firstly, readers can navigate more easily between content and discover more. They no longer need to use a search engine or search through the website's headings: links in the body of the article are provided. Improving the user experience is of paramount importance these days, as there are so many websites to choose from. To stand out from the crowd means taking into account the desires and needs of users, but also facilitating navigation and access to content.

Improve your search engine optimization for free

SEO is a set of free techniques that enable you to be visible on the web. Internal linking is one of them. When a website conforms to the rules of SEO, it achieves better search engine rankings, even if the exact rules are kept secret.

To achieve this, you need to use many, if not all, of the well-known SEO tools. Here, we recommend adding several hyperlinks to other website content. Another essential criterion is to use them with care. In this case, if blog posts systematically link to content without any coherence, the website will be penalized. On the contrary, if the links added are well thought-out and relevant, the website will be doubly rewarded, with better search engine rankings. In short, it's all about choosing the right text anchors, adding the right link attributes and creating the right links. To create a high-quality internal link, you need to establish a strategy. In this way, it will have a real impact on SEO, and the most important pages will be given greater prominence.

Know and measure the quality of your internal links

Knowledge of architecture and meshing 

First of all, to evaluate your website's internal linking, you need to know its architecture. However, it's not easy to visualize all the pages on a website, or all the links between them. There are a number of techniques you can use to do this. Let's take a quick look at some of them: 

The mind map

Using an online or paper-based tool, you need to fill in all the pages of your website, as well as all the links between them. It's a complex task, however, and requires a great deal of rigor.

Dedicated online tools

A number of tools have been developed to provide a faster, more accurate representation of a website's architecture and internal links.

Please note, however, that most of them are not free...

Evaluate the quality of your network

To assess the effectiveness of internal linking, you need to choose the right performance indicators. The quantitative criterion is based on the average number of clicks to reach a page on the site. There is a wide range of indicators for quantitative criteria. Here are a few examples: 

  • Page positioning in search engines
  • Number of visitors
  • Number of unique visitors
  • Most visited pages 
  • Session time per page
  • Page views per session
  • Click-through rate on internal links
  • Bounce rate 

It's important to choose them according to objectives set strategically in advance. This enables us to identify potential internal network failures and the improvements that need to be implemented. 

How do you create internal links for your website? 

Once the website audit phase has been completed, it's easy to build the mesh. The current structure is analyzed, both in terms of its strengths and weaknesses. It's then time to define the objectives of the mesh, as well as which landing pages to prioritize and which to mesh with each other.

1 - Define a strategy based on identified objectives

Once again, each strategy is unique to each website. Not all sites need to direct traffic to the same pages, nor offer the same path. This step is an opportunity to reflect on the desired end. It's also important to think about this strategy in the long term.

2 - Creating semantic cocoons

A website is unique, and the main themes that can be highlighted are infinite. That's why it's important to choose the most relevant ones. 

Starting with articles already published can be a useful way of identifying a website. Taking stock of the topics covered makes it easy to identify semantic cocoons

3 - Identify coherent internal links

Once the semantic cocoons have been created, the path can be traced. To do this, we need to identify the relevant links to be made between each article belonging to the same semantic cocoon. 

4 - Work on every internal link 

Once all the links have been placed to build a coherent, high-performance mesh, it's time to work on each link individually. It's essential to carefully choose the anchor text and add a link attribute.

This is the recommended methodology for creating the best possible mesh for a website. It's a laborious task, but one that is sure to have a beneficial effect on SEO. 

Our Semantic Platform solution helps you achieve quantitative and qualitative internal networking automatically. 

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