The context of internal links
News Courtesy of Yoast.com:
Context is the SEO word of 2018
A lot of information about how Google works comes from patents. Whenever Google comes up with new technology, the next step is oftsonen to claim a patent. Studying these patents gives us lots of information about what Google is up to. These days, what keeps coming up is context. Bill Slawski, an SEO veteran, calls context the search term of the year.
In my opinion, Bill is right. Context is what helps Google make sense of the world around us. For instance, Google does not rank a text on the term ‘ballet shoes’ just because you use the word ‘ballet shoes’ in every other sentence. Google is getting better and better at figuring out what a text is about and how to fit it in the grand scheme of things. Google can read texts, so understanding of the context, synonyms, related words and concepts becomes critical. My post about related entities contains some more thoughts on this matter.
When I talk to other website designers, they all understand the importance of SEO. A lot of them think that content and backlinks are the only really important factors when it comes to ranking for terms. They’re right in the sense that both of these things are crucial to achieving good rankings for targeted keywords. However, not too many value the other factors such as on-site optimization. This doesn’t just mean how well or fast a website performs for a visitor, but also how the content is structured.
Header, meta, and title tags have been engrained in most of us as necessary to have any sort of chance of ranking. Internal linking seems to be an afterthought. Truthfully, I never really used to give it much of any thought either. When you think about it in terms of a search engine crawler, the importance of internal linking starts to become more clear. In order to discover your content, it needs to be accessible.
While a sitemap works great for bots, no real visitor is going to discover your pages this way. They’ll either navigate through the menu or click on links within the content of a page. It might be tempting to just stuff a bunch of links at the bottom of your content. However, as Yoast describes, the context with how these links are placed is starting to matter. Relevancy matters. Therefore, you should integrate important links in a manner similar to outbound links. Be aware of the anchor text and make sure it makes sense to the reader. Doing so should help those targeted pages ranking better.