Internal links are a tool most eCommerce store owners overlook.
But they’re simple to use and easy to leverage.
Internal links (like this) matter because they can boost your SEO rankings, improve visitor engagement, and even help you sell more.
Here are some best practices I’ve learned.
How to boost SEO results with internal links
Most of us know that external links are key for SEO—the more sites link to yours, the higher your site will rank in search engines.
On a smaller scale, the same happens with internal links. The more often you link to an existing page on your website, the stronger that page looks to Google.
Which brings us to my first recommendation:
Tip #1—Include internal links in every article you write
If you’re using content marketing on your eCommerce site, link to other pages on your site in every article.
When I worked for Neil Patel, the rule was three or more internal links in every article. That’s a good rule of thumb I still follow.
As you write, add in links to relevant articles you’ve already written.
Tip #2—Retroactively add internal links for new articles
Why not let your newest posts enjoy the same SEO boost as the ones you wrote months ago?
After you publish a new post, go back through and link to it in previously published articles. It’ll also keep your old content fresh. Again, three linking articles is a good number here.
Tip #3—Fix widow and orphan pages first
In SEO, orphan pages are those with no internal links pointing to them. Put your efforts there first since you’ll see the best results going from zero internal links to, well, a number that isn’t zero.
The second place to focus is on pages with no outgoing internal links. (Borrowing from typesetting terminology, I call these “widow pages.” But I’m pretty sure that’s not a real SEO term.)
Adding internal links to a page can boost its engagement and conversion rates.
How to sell more with internal links
Now let’s talk about what every eCommerce owner would love to learn—how to sell more with internal links.
Selling more with links is simple. Instead of focusing on links for search engine crawlers, we’ll add links designed for humans.
Tip #4—Add links pointing to product and category pages
If you run an eCommerce store, you know that product and category pages convert the best. So your goal with content should be to push readers toward pages that convert.
Typically, this is best done in articles on your blog, but you can get creative. Rather than think of which pages should have a product link, make product links the default for every page.
Consider adding product or category links to about us, contact, guarantee, policy, FAQs, and even 404 pages.
Tip #5—Write interesting product pages worth linking to
One of the challenges of linking to product pages is that there’s often not much on the page worth linking to.
The solution? Write great product descriptions. If you include interesting product information, you’ll give yourself permission to link to the page without needing to reference the product.
Tip #6—Use inline product links, not carousels or buttons
How you add a product page link matters. I’ve been surprised at how ineffective “buy now” buttons or banners are.
I’ve tested hundreds of articles and generally find no measurable difference in conversions between articles with “buy now” product carousels at the beginning, ones at the end, ones in the middle, or articles with no carousel at all.
My theory is that readers see these as ads and ignore them. A better strategy is to use basic internal links that lead to product or category pages. They tend to get a higher clickthrough rate.
Of course, experiment with what works on your site. But I don’t recommend only relying on banners, buttons, and carousels.
How to increase engagement with internal links
Engagement is one of my favorite ways to use internal links. By increasing user time on site and pages per session, you can build customer loyalty. Plus, these metrics have indirect effects on SEO and conversion rates.
Tip #7—Link to popular category pages and guides in menus
Your footer menu is great real estate for internal links. And if you have a drop-down header menu, there are plenty of opportunities there as well.
You’ll want to include links to category pages and ultimate guides—especially guides that help in the buying process.
You’ll see an almost immediate boost in traffic to the pages you include because now anyone can access them from any page on the site. Rank the link in order of conversions, from your highest-converting to lowest-converting page. What’s at the top will get more clicks.
Tip #8—Include link teasers
Link teasers hint at interesting information, enticing you to click. While they can also help SEO, the main goal is to encourage readers to visit more than one page.
Here are a few examples:
- Looking for the perfect sandwich recipe? (Since you already know the perfect way to eat sandwiches.)
- We’re proud to sell the highest-rated industrial oven.
- The hardest part about buying clothing online is finding the perfect size.
If you use this strategy for product links, you can increase visitors to those high-value pages.
Tip #9—Include link teasers at the beginning of content
Perhaps the best place for link teasers is in the first few paragraphs of an article. That’s because the beginning has the most reader engagement.
The goal of this strategy is to get you to click on other pages so that you’ll keep reading even after finishing the page you’re on.
And that’s a wrap! With these nine tips, you can start seeing better results for SEO, conversions, and engagement across your site.
The only problem? Implementing all of these is time-consuming and can be challenging if you haven’t done it before. Want some help? Just get in touch.