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Internal Linking for SEO: Tips, Best Practices & Tools

Ever wondered how a robust internal linking strategy could transform your website’s SEO performance? Let’s unravel the secrets of effective internal linking together!

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Home / Blogs / Internal Linking for SEO: Tips, Best Practices & Tools
Raghav Tayal

Head Of Operations - Digital Web Solutions

January 17, 2024

A robust internal linking structure is crucial for your website to improve its search engine ranking and the website visitors’ experience.
Internal links tie the whole website together and greatly impact your website’s SEO performance. Therefore, needs to be done right.

Learn about the tips, best practices, and tools for SEO internal linking in the article below.

What Are Internal Links?

An internal link is a link in your website that takes you from the current page to another page within your website. These links are used by website visitors to find relevant content and enhance their user experience. 

In short, internal links are a navigation tool that provides a pathway to relevant content. 

Moreover, internal links are also used by search engines to discover and index new pages on your website. 

Different Types of Internal Link

1. Menu/Navigation Links 

Menu or navigational internal links are the central part of your menu’s navigational structure and are a permanent part of your main menu. These links are mostly present on the top menu or sidebar that helps you navigate the different pages on the website. 

2. Footer Links

Footer links are those links that appear on every page. But instead of being on the top, these links are placed at the bottom of the webpage. These links point to the pages that the visitor may want to visit. 

Footer links generally point to pages with FAQs, contact us information, About us, or other reference pages. 

3. Sidebar Links

Sidebars are links that take users to other related content pages. Many recipe or clothing websites have sidebar links that encourage visitors to explore more products or related content.

4. In-Text Links

Contextual links are usually placed in the main context of the article. These links are not navigational or direct links that take your visitors to the related page. Instead, these links take you to related content

Why Internal Links Are Important for SEO

1. Helps Google Index Your Site

Internal links help google understand your website to index it. When you link page A to page B, you signal to Google that page A and Page B are related. This helps Google to find page B through page A. This helps Google find new pages on your website. 

Moreover, linking various pages on your site helps search engine crawlers access and understand the reach of your content. There may be some pages on your website that Google doesn’t know about because it is new or hasn’t been indexed. When you link an indexed page to an un-indexed page, you help Google find the page and index it for ranking. 

2. Increases Backlink-Earning Potential of Deep Content Pages

Deep content pages are those pages on your website that take one single topic and dig deep into every aspect of the topic. In deep content pages, the related content is internally linked with each other, increasing the potential of earning backlinks. When one page on your website is linked to another, it passes  “link equity” or authority to the linked page. This enables the linked page to gain credibility. 

So, when internal links are placed strategically, the whole website gains credibility. This encourages other websites to link to the pages on your website, helping it earn “backlinks” that are very valuable for SEO. 

3. Internal Linking Spreads the Strength of the Site to Internal Pages

Internal links are a type of endorsement where one page vouches for the authority and credibility of another page. 

A robust internal linking SEO profile spreads the site’s strength to its internal pages. This process is known as the distribution of link equity. 

Every page in a website is assigned a link equity. When one page is linked to another page on the same site, it passes link equity to the other page. This strengthens the other page on the website as well. 

4. Internal Linking with Optimized Anchor Text Is Good for SEO

Internal links are strings of HTML tags. When you create an internal link with an anchor text rather than with a navigational image, the value of your internal link goes up.  

Google always prefers optimized anchor text for internal links. So, an optimized anchor is preferable if you want to improve your search engine ranking. 

5. It Provides Value to Your Users

Internal linking is a great SEO tactic. But, more importantly, it is a great strategy to add value to your users. It enhances the user experience of your website by making important and relevant information available instantly. Before you begin with your internal linking for SEO, put yourself in the place of your website visitors. 

Suppose you are looking for something and come across a particular website. Won’t you like it when the content on the website links to another website that reinforces your understanding of the topic you are searching for? 

Tips to Build Your Internal Linking Strategy

1. Identify Your Site’s Pillar Pages

To build a solid internal linking strategy, start by identifying the pillar pages of your website. These include the most vital pages of your website including the central pages about a broad topic that links to related pages. 

Identifying the pillar pages will help you build a topic cluster. These pillars form the basic architecture of your site. 

While selecting the pillar pages, make sure that they target the keywords with high search volume.

2. Create Topic Clusters Using Internal Links

After you have identified the pillar pages, segregate them into topic clusters. 

The pillar page is the main topic, and the other pages in the clusters are supporting pages. 

For example, if you are writing on digital marketing, it will be the main topic, and tools that help implement an effective digital marketing strategy are cluster topics. 

All the cluster pages should be linked to the page pillar page to showcase that the main page is the primary source of information and is the most authoritative. 

3. Choose the Right Anchor Text

After you have built the topic cluster, you can’t forget about the anchor text. You are in complete control of your anchor text, and you have to be very strategic about what anchor text you use and how you place it. The anchor text indicates what a particular page on your website is discussing. This helps your users and Google understand what the page is about before clicking on it. 

4. Identify Your Site’s Authority Pages

To identify the page with the most authority, you must check which page has the most backlinks. Backlinks are seen as a sign of authority by Google; it is a vote of confidence. So logically, when a website has a lot of vote of confidence, they are considered authoritative. 

The main reason to identify the most authoritative page is that when other pages are linked to the most authoritative page on your website, some authority or link equity is passed on to the pages.

5. Support Your New Pages

A solid internal linking structure is crucial for your new pages that haven’t earned a lot of backlinks. You must identify the relevant linking opportunities to support these new pages. SEO interlinking is particularly essential for new pages because Google may not have indexed them, and internal linking speeds up the process. 

Internal Linking Best Practices

1. Use Keyword-Rich Anchor Text

Using keyword-rich anchor text is essential to make your internal linking strategy for SEO the most effective. Google recommends using keyword anchor text in internal linking.  

But you can’t get away with using the exact anchor text for all the internal links. This will make your site look spammy. You have to have a variation of anchor text to make your website look authoritative, and the internal linking structure look natural. 

2. Link to and From Content-Heavy Pages

The best internal links are those links that connect one content-heavy page to another. If you have a good site architecture, you will have enough links to the site’s main page. This is essential to drive sales. 

But having links to content-heavy pages is also essential. When you have a good site architecture, the linking structure flows naturally and strikes a balance between links for sales purposes and content-heavy and informative links. 

3. Create Text Links Using Anchor Text

Links with descriptive anchor text work best for your internal linking strategy. When you have descriptive anchor text links, the search engine and your users understand beforehand what a particular page is about. 

Therefore, while adding the anchor text, ensure that it adequately describes what the link is all about. 

4. Add an Appropriate Number of Links Per Page

The number of links you add to a page is significant in internal linking. Add four to five links to the old articles if you have a new page on your website. Every page has a freshness value, so when you add links to the old pages, your new page is more likely to rank in search engines.

5. Don’t Use The Same Anchor Text For Two Different Pages

You need variations in the anchor texts used in your website pages. Don’t avoid the hard work and find an easy way out when choosing the anchor text for your pages because having the exact anchor text in all your pages will make your website look spammy. 

So, to gain the trust and authority of your web visitors, you have to use different anchor texts that are contextually relevant. 

6. Put Links High Up On Your Page

It has been found that putting internal links high up on the page helps enhance user experience. Of course, you need to distribute the internal links throughout your article. But putting one or two links at the top won’t hurt. 

Using links in the first few paragraphs of your page will motivate the visitors to explore your website and enhance their user experience. 

7. Update Old Articles With New Internal Links

For the best SEO results, use internal links to update new articles. When you update old content, you signal search engines to see it again, index it, and rank it on SERPs. 

Here is how you can update your old articles with the help of new internal links:

  1. Add new content to the existing article.
  2. Remove the outdated content and statistics from the article.
  3. Strategically place several internal links to the article. 
  4. Make sure that the placement of the links is logical and adds value to the reader’s experience.

8. Add Links Where It Makes Sense

The placement of your link should make sense. It may be tempting to put the link at the end of your article with an anchor text stating, “For more such content, click here.” But this doesn’t make sense.

Look for a placement high up in the article where the subject matter overlaps. This also brings us to the point that the link shouldn’t be placed in the article’s first few lines. Give your readers time to understand what you are trying to say before introducing the link. 

9. Only Add Dofollow Links

Only use dofollow links for internal linking because nofollow links don’t add value to your search engine ranking. Google neither transfer page rank to no-follow links nor crawl them.

Therefore,  nofollow links are of no use. For best SEO internal linking, dofollow links are the best.

10. Link to High Converting Pages

Do you have pages on your website that convert more visitors into customers than others? If you have such pages, then link your other pages to this page. This is where your internal linking strategy is more than just an SEO strategy. It is also a way to drive sales.

7 Internal Link Building Tools for SEO

Link Whisper

Link Whisperer is an innovative link-building tool that is powered by Artificial intelligence. The tool suggests relevant internal linking opportunities when you start writing your article on WordPress. 

Depending on the number of articles you have on your site, the tool will suggest numerous internal links for the articles.

All-in-One SEO (AIOSEO)

This WordPress plugin offers a range of features to enhance your link-building efforts. This tool gives you relevant suggestions on adding internal links to your old content and identifying orphaned content that needs internal links. 

Internal Link Juicer

This tool automates your link-building efforts. So, instead of finding linking opportunities yourself, it will find internal link-building opportunities for you. This tool has an intelligent built-in per-post configuration that helps you diversify your anchor texts. 

Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO has an internal linking tool for WordPress. This feature allows you to work on your website’s internal linking strategy that contributes to better site structure, crawlability, and page indexing. 

This link-building tool scans your content to understand what it is about before suggesting internal links.

Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP)

This SEO plugin displays related posts with the help of simple yet powerful algorithms. This is a highly customizable WordPress plugin that introduces your visitors to relevant content. Moreover, the tool enhances visitor engagement, time on site, and SEO

Interlinks Manager

This WordPress plugin allows you to monitor and optimize your internal links. This plugin generates the internal linking data and then analyzes these data to provide you with valuable information. This tool features internal link equity analysis and an algorithm that analyses internal linking optimization. 

Rankmath

This WordPress plugin uses Artificial Intelligence to improve your SEO and attract more traffic. It intelligently suggests relevant content on your website for interlinking, increasing the chances of ranking higher on SERPs. 

Common Internal Link Problems & How to Fix Them

1. Broken Internal Links

The first and the most common issue that impacts your search engine crawlability is a broken internal link. 

Broken links impact the flow of link equity and send signals to Google that your website is of low quality. 

To fix the issue of broken links, check if the given URL is incorrect and correct it if necessary. Also, if the link is leading to an error page, remove the link immediately or replace it with a live link. You can also create a redirect from the broken link if nothing else is working. 

2. Too Many Internal Links

Too many internal links can make your website look spammy and impact your ranking negatively. You must concentrate on the quality and relevance of your internal links rather than on quantity.

Consider what links will be relevant to your audience and strategically place them in your content. This will help in a better flow of link equity and assist your visitors to navigate the site better.

3. Nofollow Attributes in Internal Links

Nofollow links tell search engines not to follow a particular link and add no value to your internal linking structure.

Therefore, you must see whether the link added is a nofollow or dofollow link and remove the former from your linking structure.

4. Orphaned Pages

Orphaned pages are those pages in a website which has no links added to it. Orphans pages are completely isolated from the website, and the only way to reach the page is through their URL.

The idea with orphan pages is that you want them found by your visitors through various other routes. Therefore, you need to create internal links from other websites to this website.

5. Pages With Only One Incoming Internal Link

Having one internal link will do no good to your website. Even though it is better than having no internal links, you need at least a few incoming links to make your website crawlable. Have multiple internal links to make a natural web of links that enhances search engine indexing and user experience.

6. Crawl Depth of More Than Three Clicks

If your website has poor crawl depth, then it is going to impact your search results ranking adversely.  The search engine crawlers will not be able to index a page more than three clicks away from the main pillar page. 

To solve this problem, use a robust internal linking structure that connects the page to the main page in less than three clicks, making it easier for the users and crawlers to reach the page with fewer clicks. 

7. Internal Redirects

Internal redirects take site visitors from one page to another within the same website. While redirecting may not be harmful to your website, you have to keep in mind that you are redirecting to relevant pages. Redirection should lead them to the answer they are looking for.

8. Redirect Chains & Loops

Redirect chains and loops appear when there is more than one redirect from the main URL to the destination URL.

Redirect chains and loops overburden the crawlers since Google crawlers follow up to only five redirects. 

So, if there are more than five redirects from the main page to the destination page, the page may not get indexed. 

9. Links on HTTPS Pages Lead to HTTP pages

When you link HTTPS (secure) pages to HTTP (non-secure) pages, the modern browser shows a warning that the page the URL is leading to is not secure. While nothing is wrong with it, you can avoid these redirections to enhance the user experience. 

To fix this problem, link HTTPS pages to other HTTPS pages only.

Summary

Internal linking is a great tool to improve the SEO tactics of your website and enhance the user experience. It is a strategy that ties the entire website together, making it into one cohesive unit rather than being a combination of different web pages. 

Moreover, this tool is effective not only for SEO but also to increase your sales revenue. So what are you waiting for? Keep in mind the best practices and start your journey to success today.

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