You need to know a lot about internal linking strategies to get around in the digital world. Internal links can do more than just lead to other pages; they can also improve the user experience and your SEO results.
The complex web of link types all serve different goals, from making websites easier to use to making them better for search engines.
In this guide, we will look at internal linking strategies to perform together and rank your website.
Reading this guide to learn how to do internal linking right will help your website be more useful and rank higher in search engines. So let’s get in!
Understand All Possible Types of Internal Links
Internal links on a website can serve different purposes and link to various types of pages.
Common categories of internal links include:
These links are usually found in the header, footer, or sidebar of a website. They connect to important pages like the homepage, contact, about us, etc. Navigation links provide site-wide access to key pages and improve usability.
These are links embedded within the content that point to other relevant pages on the site. Contextual links help connect related content. For example, linking to individual product pages from a category page.
Footnote links are used to cite sources or provide additional info. They commonly link to other website pages, PDFs, or downloadable files that supplement the main content.
These links highlight special offers, sales, and promotions. They help direct visitors to campaigns and increase conversions. For example, linking to a deals page from a blog post.
Breadcrumb navigation links are a trail of links showing the path to the current page. They provide context and improve usability when navigating through a website.
These links provide quick access to important pages deep in the site architecture. For example, linking to the shopping cart and checkout pages from product pages.
Links in sidebars, widgets, and menus that connect to related content like recent posts, archives, tags, downloads, etc. Help improve discoverability.
Links to navigate through multi-page content or products guide users through the content.
Internal Link Structure
A well-structured internal linking system is crucial for both usability and search engine optimization (SEO).
When planning your internal links, focus on:
- Structure your internal links to follow a logical hierarchy that guides users step-by-step to their goals. Start with links from your main navigation to key content pillars or categories. Then add links between related content within each section.
- Link to more general, high-level pages (such as your main service categories) from more specific, detailed pages (such as blog posts about a specific topic). This allows users to easily navigate up and down your hierarchy.
- Limit the number of links per page so users aren't overwhelmed. Focus on including the most essential and relevant internal links on each page.
Linking to Pillar Pages
- Identify your site's pillar pages - the most important pages that cover your core products, services, or topics. These tend to rank well in search engines.
- Ensure all high-value pages link to relevant pillar pages, so search engines can crawl through your site architecture via these key nodes. But avoid over-optimizing anchor text.
For example, link to your "About Us" pillar from interior pages with natural anchor text like "Read more about [Company Name]" instead of just saying "About Us" repeatedly.
- Plan your information architecture and internal link structure together. Your navigation and internal links should guide users logically through your content.
- Break up large sections into subcategories linked to separate landing pages. Link to related subcategories from each page.
Make sure pages targeting specific keywords also link back to higher-level categories, so users and search bots can easily navigate up to other relevant sections.
Optimizing Anchor Text
It's essential to vary the anchor text used for internal links.
Using the same anchor text repeatedly looks spammy and won't provide the diversity of signals that Google wants to see.
When linking to pages or content, use descriptive, natural keyword phrases that make sense in the context of the link.
Avoid overusing "click here," your brand name, or other generic terms.
Your anchor text should reflect the topic of the page you are linking to.
For example, if you have a page about organic search rankings, linking to it with anchor text like "strategies to improve organic rankings" is much better than just "this page."
Make your anchor text conversational and sentence-based. Work primary and secondary keywords into the link text in a relevant, natural way.
Don't force keyword repetition or density. Write for users, not search engines.
Linking to New Content
Cross-linking new and old content is a great way to leverage internal links. Whenever you publish new pages or blog posts on your site, be sure to link to them from relevant existing content. This helps search engines crawl and index new pages faster.
For example, if you publish a new service page, link to it from your services overview page, relevant blog posts, and other pages targeting related keywords. This gives Google signals about the new page's topic and relevance.
You can also link from new content back to your existing, authoritative pages. If you publish a blog post on a topic you've covered before, link back to your most in-depth content on that subject. This cross-linking helps establish the relevance of both pages.
Tips: When adding links, focus on pages covering closely related topics or keywords. The links should feel natural and relevant to readers too. Avoid over-optimizing with links that don't make contextual sense.
Interlinking Related Content
Interlinking related content through cross-links helps strengthen the internal link structure of your site. It allows you to connect relevant pages and topics in a natural way that improves the user experience.
One effective cross-linking strategy is to link related pillar and cluster content pages together. Pillar content refers to cornerstone pages on your site that cover broader topics and tend to rank well and attract links.
Cluster content explores subtopics related to the pillar content in more detail.
For example, if you have a pillar content page on "Social Media Marketing", you could link to related cluster content pages on topics like Facebook marketing, Instagram marketing, Twitter marketing, etc. This provides the user with natural pathways to more information.
Other ways to interlink related content include:assets category
- Connecting blog posts on the same topic
- Linking related product or service pages
- Linking location or category-based content
- Linking related resources and assets category-based
Measuring and Improving Internal Linking
Internal links are powerful for SEO and usability when done right. However, you need to measure and track their effectiveness to maximize results.
Here are some key ways to measure and improve internal links:
Track Clicks on Internal Links
Use Google Analytics to view click-through rates on internal links. Focus on links with low click-through and improve/change them to drive more clicks. Prioritize fixing low-performing links. Also, track click flows in Analytics to see how users navigate your site. Identify weak points and link gaps causing high exit rates or low time on site. Link to those pages better to improve flows.
Monitor Broken Internal Links
Broken links frustrate users and can hurt SEO rankings. Use tools like ScreamingFrog or Ahrefs to identify and fix broken internal links. Don't just redirect them, replace them with relevant working links.
Check link health regularly, not just once. Internal sites change often, so links can break. Set up automated link monitoring to stay on top of broken links proactively.
Analyze Internal Link Equity Flows
Some pages end up over-optimized from too many links while others lack link equity. Use Ahrefs or another SEO platform to analyze internal link equity distribution.
Identify pages hogging equity and consider reducing links. Also, find orphaned pages and increase links to them. Balancing flows improves overall SEO results.
Get Help From Internal Link Building Tools
Internal link building should be an ongoing process as new pages and content are added to a website. Several SEO tools can help identify pages that are great options for internal linking best practices to enhance your website's structure and improve search engine optimization.
- Linkbot Several SEO tools can - Linkbot streamlines link building by automating the creation of valuable internal links, ensuring a well-structured and optimized website for improved SEO, user engagement, and navigation.
- SEMrush - The Site Audit tool provides an Internal Links SEO report to see pages with the most and least internal links. The orphaned pages report shows pages without any backlinks.
- Ahrefs - The Site Explorer shows pages ranked for target keywords that could be better optimized with internal links. The Orphan Pages report highlights pages with no backlinks to focus internal linking efforts.
- Screaming Frog - The Inlink tool provides an Internal tab to analyze the number of internal links for each page. Site Audit identifies pages with thin content that need more internal links SEO.
- DeepCrawl - The Site Explorer has an internal links map to visualize linking between pages. The orphaned pages report identifies pages without internal links.
- Botify - The Internal Links section provides internal link metrics and highlights pages with fewer backlinks than the site average.
- Majestic - The Index Explorer can filter for pages with few or broken internal backlinks as internal link-building opportunities.
- Moz - The LinkIntersection tool identifies the number of pages linking to two URLs to find pages that could be interconnected.
By leveraging SEO tools to analyze internal link patterns, you can identify weak areas to focus your internal linking and interlinking efforts for better optimization.
Technical Aspects of Internal Linking
When structuring internal links, there are a few key technical elements to consider:
- Use clean, descriptive URLs rather than overly complex or generic ones. For example, use `example.com/services/social-media-marketing` rather than `example.com/?pageID=1234`.
- Keep URLs short and avoid unnecessary parameters or directories.
- Use hyphens (-) to separate words rather than underscores (_).
- Use lowercase letters for URLs.
- Try to maintain a consistent URL structure throughout the site.
- Assign unique IDs to key pages that you want to link to frequently (e.g. contact, about, etc).
- Use descriptive ID names like `id="contact"` rather than generic ones like `id="page4"`.
- Link to page-specific IDs rather than the generic page URL when possible.
- Organize your site's file structure to reflect the main navigation and site architecture.
- Place pages in intuitive subdirectories to make internal links more meaningful.
- Avoid nesting pages too deeply - try to keep most pages within 1-2 directory levels maximum.
- Use index.html for homepages of sections rather than default.html.
Relative vs Absolute Links
- Favor relative links like `/about/` over absolute ones like `example.com/about/` for internal linking. This makes migrating or updating the domain easier in the future.
- Use absolute links for external resources or links opening in new tabs.
Common Internal Linking Mistakes
Internal links are a useful tool to improve website navigation, SEO rankings, and the overall user experience. However, incorrectly implementing internal links can do more harm than good.
Some common internal linking mistakes to avoid include:
It's possible to over-optimize internal links, which looks unnatural and spammy to search engines.
Using the same anchor text links repeatedly, or forcing links where they don't fit naturally are examples of over-optimization.
Search engines may penalize sites that aggressively over-optimize anchor text and internal links. Moderation is key - internal links should develop organically and use natural variations of anchor text.
Excessive Internal Links
Adding too many internal links on a single page can dilute their effectiveness. Pages overloaded with links create a distracting user experience.
- As a best practice, only link to other pages where highly relevant to the content.
- Avoid excessive links that don't add value for users.
Poor Internal Link Structure
With no strategy guiding what to link from where internal link structures can become inefficient and chaotic.
Certain pages may get overlooked, while other less-worthy pages receive too many links. To maximize SEO and usability, it's crucial to follow internal linking SEO best practices by connecting relevant pages in logical ways.
Using site architecture, priority pages, and user journeys to inform internal linking decisions creates optimal structures.
Collaboration Between Linkbot With Strategy Of Internal Linking
To improve user experience and SEO in the digital age, you need to know how to use internal links. This in-depth guide has untangled the complicated web of different types of internal links and shown how they affect SEO and usefulness.
As this in-depth look at internal linking comes to a close, internal linking best practices become an important consideration. Because it uses dynamic internal linking automation, Linkbot can easily work with the methods in this guide.
It's incredible how well Linkbot can find and fix broken WordPress internal links and, likewise, on other platforms.
In today's constantly changing digital world, it's important to master internal linking, which can be made easier with tools like this.
FAQs – Get More Answers Here!
How can I optimize my website with internal links and SEO best practices?
Answer: Optimize your website with internal links SEO best practices by incorporating keywords into your anchor text, avoiding excessive linking, and ensuring a natural flow of navigation for users. Also, focus on linking to high-priority pages.
Are there specific internal linking best practices for WordPress websites?
Answer: Yes, for WordPress websites, use the built-in editor to add and manage internal links easily. Additionally, employ plugins that assist in suggesting relevant internal links while creating new content to streamline the process.
What is the significance of internal link-building in SEO?
Answer: Internal link building enhances the overall SEO of a website by distributing link equity, guiding search engine crawlers to important pages, and improving the user experience through logical content connections.
Can you outline a basic SEO internal linking strategy?
Answer: A basic SEO internal linking strategy involves mapping out your site structure, using relevant anchor text, creating a logical flow between pages, and periodically reviewing and updating internal links to align with changing content priorities.
How does interlinking SEO contribute to a website's overall performance?
Answer: Interlinking SEO, or the practice of connecting related content through internal links, enhances a website's performance by improving user engagement, reducing bounce rates, and signaling to search engines the relevance and authority of interconnected pages.