Many Sites Said Not Maximizing Potential of Internal Links

sew-internal-linking-best-practices-april2012.jpgAlthough internal links can have a positive effect on search engine rankings and visibility, many websites are failing to exploit the full potential of internal linking, according to an April 2012 Search Engine Watch study. Analyzing more than 280,000 internal links from more than 3,000 e-commerce and non-e-commerce domains, the study found that almost 3 in 10 images with internal links did not have alt text. Additionally, 58% of internal links did not contain the link’s anchor text, and more than 4 in 5 domains did not have a user site map.

Most Internal Anchor Text 1-3 Words

The study also looked at how websites implement anchor text, comparing the distribution by number of words for internal and external links. 77% of internal links were 1-3 words in length, with a plurality being 2 words (32%). This compares to 53% of external links between 1 to 3 words in length, with a plurality being 1 word (19%). On the other end of the spectrum, just 16% of internal links were 5 or more words, compared to 35% of external links.

Privacy Terms Most Common

Ranking the most common words used in internal anchor text, the study found that privacy policy/privacy terms were the most widespread, followed by contact us/contact and terms and conditions/terms of service/terms of use. Rounding out the top 5 were email and sitemap/site map. Of note, all the top 20 most-commonly used anchor text were between 1 and 3 words in length. Insight from the study suggests that by building in more long-tail anchor text, marketers may be able to rank for more specific, longer tail queries.

About the Data: The domains were analyzed in Searchlight, Conductor’s enterprise SEO platform.