SEO Quick-Tip: The Many Benefits of Good Internal Linking.
So you have a nice, well-designed website for your home performance business, populated with good content, and you're slowly growing your links. What else can you do to increase your website's performance in search engines and increase the number of leads your business is getting? Well, there are a few things. One of them is to make sure your URL's have keywords in them. Another is to make sure that you have a good internal linking strategy.
What is Internal Linking?
Internal links are links that go from one page on your website to another page on your website. Most websites have some, and there's about a 99% chance that yours does too -- the links in the navigation menu, for example, go to other pages on your site, so they're internal links.
Internal links are obviously beneficial from a usability standpoint -- you want people to be able to get from one page on your site to another. But they're also useful for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Just as external links (links coming from other sites to pages on your site) signal to search engines that a particular page on your website is important, links to a page from somewhere else on your website suggest to search engines that that page is particularly important. While internal links don't have the same clout as external links, they can still do you some good from an SEO perspective.
This is an example of a good home page 'above the fold.' Before you scroll down on the page, there are a bunch of opportunities for you to dive deeper into the website. Nothing here will take you off the site, there are good calls-to-action, and there are plenty of internal links. Nice work, Home Energy Hero.
Identify Which Pages on Your Site are Most Important. Link to Them Frequently.
What are the pages on your website that are most important? That depends. Your contact page, or any other page with a lead-capture form, is right up there. But you also want to optimize the pages that you're hoping will perform well in search engines for your target search terms. A "Home Energy Audit" service page should be one of your targets, because you want that page to show up when people in your area search for "home energy audit." Same with "insulation," and other high keyword volume service pages.
Keep in mind that your links should have anchor text that's relevant to the page to which you're linking. If it's a page about energy audits, link the text "energy audit" rather than creating a link that says "click here" or the like. Anchor text tells search engines that a page is about a particular topic, so if you link the text "energy audit," search engines will see that as a signal that that page is about energy audits, and increase the page's chances of doing well in search results for that term. If the link just says "click here," it doesn't tell search engines anything, and may not be as useful for SEO.
Use Calls-to-Action on Blog Posts and Services Pages. Link to a Contact Form.
A blog post is great for SEO, and services pages are great for SEO. But one thing that can make them even more valuable for your business is if you have a compelling call to action that increases the chance of turning readers into leads. Consider adding some text at the end of each of your pages that links to a landing page, or the contact form on your site, and gives a value proposition -- e.g. "take advantage of a limited time offer on home energy audits," or "contact us to learn more about what makes us different," or the like. Link this text to a page on your site that has a lead-capture form, such as a relevant landing page, and you'll increase the chances that readers will fill out that form.
Minimize External Linking in Favor of Internal Linking.
We see this all the time: you want to have links on your site, and you want to give your readers the opportunity to learn more about a given topic, so it's tempting to link off-site whenever you get the chance. Pages about tax credits on home performance websites, are frequently full of links to Energy Star, DSIRE, DOE, etc. "About Us" pages are often full of links to BPI, Efficiency First, RESNET, etc.
While it's okay to have some links to other websites, keep in mind that when people are on your website, they're a potential lead, and you want to do everything in your power to keep them on your website until they either fill out a contact form or call your phone. So whenever it's possible to replace one of these external links with an internal link, do it. (For example, when discussing tax credits, consider saying "contact us for more information about tax credits" and link that text to your contact page. If your sidebar or footer has a big BPI logo, consider linking it to a page on your site about BPI certification and what it means, rather than linking directly to the BPI website.)
Thoughts, comments, questions? Feel free to chime in. And for more information about web marketing for home performance, be sure to download our free white paper. (See what I did there?)