Googles John Mueller explains best practices for internal anchor text to help web pages rank. Anchor text are the words you use when you link from one page to another, what the user clicks on (like, click here).
“You mentioned internal linking, that’s really important. The context we pick up from internal linking is really important to us. with that kind of the anchor text, that text around the links that you’re giving to those blog posts within your content. That’s really important to us.”
What that means is, rather than use non-descriptive words like “more info” or “read more,” it is better to use anchor text that is meaningful, that uses words that describe what the content is about.
Of course, that’s hard to do in the context of a blog home page. But it can be done from within the content of other pages.
Then he discussed the value of standard SEO practices such as titles and headings:
“Additionally, of course the content, like I mentioned is really important. So, making sure you have clear titles on those pages, you use clear headings, you could structure content in a way that’s easily readable that’s in a way that is really clear that this is about this topic without… resorting to keyword stuffing. …be reasonable about… putting keywords on your pages.
Write your pages in a way that they would work well for users rather than in a way that you think search engines might pick that up.”
John Mueller then reiterated that repeating keywords “in all variations” is a 20 year old spam method that is outdated so don’t try it.
What About External Links?
Google is about ranking specific pages for a search query. Search queries that are specific about size or colour tend to return product pages that are specific about size or color. Google seems to prefer ranking pages for detailed phrases, not home pages.
If a home page is ranking instead of the inner page, then that could be a symptom that the site does not have enough useful links overall and that a majority of the links tend to go to the home page instead of inner pages.
In my opinion, a weak link profile could work against inner pages to rank. But the other factors discussed above related to the proper use of excerpts, good site architecture and a clear focus of what the home page is about can overcome a disadvantage from a weak link profile.
Watch Google’s John Mueller answer how to rank an inner page.