Is ranking higher in Google Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) one of your goals? If yes, then Internal link SEO is the strategy that will definitely work for you. Some very important aspects of internal link SEO include where to place links within page structure and how to optimize anchor text. All these things are critical to increasing organic traffic from SERP.
If building brand awareness and improving conversions are your goals, consider implementing internal linking SEO into your marketing strategy.
Here Are the Internal Link SEO Best Practices
Before your content can rank, you need links. And links are what make your content visible to Google. These just don’t come from external links to news sites, but internal links are another way to get links. These links connect your content and give your pages and posts additional link juice. This allows Google to find your content better, which boosts your rankings. But where do you start?
Have a Cascading Pyramid-like Structural Internal Links
The optimal structure for setting up a website’s internal linking structure looks similar to a pyramid. There are no fewer links from the homepage directly to any given page. Important pages, such as the homepage or the most visited pages, should have a low crawl depth (indicating how far away the page is from the home page). However, pages with less importance should have a high crawl depth. These pages can help increase the crawling efficiency of the overall site.
Create Pillar Pages and Topic
You can use topic clusters to help guide your content creation efforts. You can think of the pillar pages as being like the spokes of a wheel; the cluster pages act as the hub. Because each cluster has a single pillar page, you can easily link to it from any of the cluster pages. In addition to helping readers navigate your site, topic clusters can help you organize relevant content into coherent categories.
Know How to Implement Internal Link
The best way to implement internal link structures on your site is to follow a few basic guidelines. First, include the target keyword phrase in the link itself. This helps search engines understand what the link points to. Second, do just what is necessary. Finally, only include inbound links to relevant pages on your site. For example, only add a link to your homepage if someone wants to read about cats.
Third, add only a few internal link structures. Don’t go overboard. Search engines hate when people spam their sites with tons of useless links. Finally, remember to use descriptive anchors. These words appear next to the link. Using keywords here doesn’t hurt.
Internal Links that Aren’t Indexed
- Links in Forms
Forms can be composed of various components, including simple drop-down menus or even more complex forms, such as surveys. However, in both cases, search spiders will not submit those forms to web admins.
- Links Found in Internal Search Boxes
Google says its spiders won’t attempt to crawl sites that use invisible links to reach certain parts of their site.
- Links that Use Java, Flash, and Plugins
Most browsers block access to files stored within the plugin container unless you specifically allow it. As a result, search engines cannot see what is happening on your site.
- Links Blocked by Robot.txt
Google says it will stop crawling some URL structures entirely. This includes anything under /robots.txt/ and /nofollow/.
- Excessively Too Many Links
Too many links per page may mean that Google can no longer crawl them.
- Links in Frames
A link inside a frame or iFrame is technically a valid link. But it presents challenges for search engines because it doesn’t behave much differently than a link within another HTML element.
Use Keywords as Anchor Text
Google is now cracking down on websites that use exact-match anchor text. If you’re linking to another section within the same page, try to find a way to phrase it, so it’s relevant. Maybe you could say “more about X,” “a little bit more about Y,” or “check out Z.”
Use Descriptive Text as Anchor Text
There are ways to avoid being labeled spammy, including descriptive anchor text. For example, instead of saying “click here,” try something like “Learn More About X.” This internal link anchor text helps Google better understand the context of your link and, therefore, your page. Instead of just linking to the product description page, try adding a few additional words, such as “How To Use Product #1.” This makes it easier for Google to understand where the link is leading.
Google says it doesn’t penalize sites for having multiple links pointing to the same destination. But there are some exceptions. For example, if you’re trying to rank for the same keyword twice, it could cause problems. So if you want to avoid that scenario, here’s what Google suggests:
- Refrain from repeating internal link anchor text across multiple pages.
- Make sure each page has unique keywords in the URL
- Use descriptive anchors like “Learn how to play guitar.”
- Avoid using exact-match terms like “learn how to play guitar” unless you’ve got many pages about guitars.
- Keep it short — don’t go crazy with long URLs
- Be careful about using too many relative paths.
In 2016, Matt Cutts, former Google webspam head, told Search Engine Land that “the most important thing we look for is relevancy.” But, he added, “We don’t want to rank sites just because they have lots of links pointing to them.” This statement suggests that Google isn’t looking at links in terms of what happens to them after they land on a page. Instead, it looks at links in terms of whether they help answer the question being asked.
However, some anecdotal data suggests that placing links in the first paragraph of a page improves rankings. If the link is placed in the first paragraph, it’s likely to be seen sooner and thus increase the likelihood of being clicked. However, if the link is placed in a sidebar, it’s less likely to be seen until later in the article. So, while there is no concrete proof that this is a ranking factor, there is certainly something to consider.
Link from Past Content
When improving your rankings, one of the most pressing things to do is to connect one piece of content to another. For example, if you publish blog content about building a widget, add a link to that article on your home page. Or, if you write an ebook about making money online, include a link to that information on your homepage. These connections help people find what they want faster and keep visitors engaged longer.
Consider adding a link to an existing authoritative blog post if you’re writing a new blog post. Doing so helps show Google there is value in connecting those pieces of content. And if you’ve published a new page, remember to add a link to that page from an old page.
This is an example many talks about, and only some people are disciplined to do it. Adding links from old content is one of the most overlooked tasks when building a brand’s link profile. However, it’s important because it helps build link authority and trustworthiness within the industry.
Fix Your Broken Links
You’ve got lots of broken links. And you’re probably wondering how many there are. So if you need help finding them, here are some tips to help find them.
First, check out the 404 errors on your site. They’re often a good indicator of broken links. Second, use tools like Screaming Frog to scan your entire site. Third, look for old URLs that no longer exist. Fourth, run a manual link audit. Finally, ask your webmaster to help you identify them.
If you find any broken links, consider fixing them. Here are four ways to go about doing that:
- Use 301 redirects. A 301 redirect informs search engines that the URL is permanently redirected to another location. This helps you avoid losing rankings while allowing visitors to navigate to the correct page easily.
- Fix the 404 error. 404 errors indicate that a page doesn’t exist anymore, but you can usually add a redirect to tell search engines that the page does exist somewhere else on your site.
- Remove dead links. Dead links are those that no longer work. Removing them helps keep your site clean, saves resources, and keeps your site running smoothly.
- Create a canonical tag. Canonical tags let you specify one version of a page as being “the most authoritative.” When search engines see the canonical tag, they understand that one version of the page is preferred over others.
Use Properly dofollow Internal Links
When building your site, it’s important to understand how the nofollow attribute works. You know the basics; it allows you to control whether or not Googlebot follows those links. If you’re doing keyword research and want to build links to pages within your site, consider adding the nofollow attribute to those links. This way, Google won’t crawl those pages and give them any weight in the algorithm. However, there are several things you need to keep in mind.
First off, you should never add nofollow to every single link on a page. Instead, focus on just a few pages where you need to control traffic flow. Why? Because if you put nofollow links everywhere, you risk losing all of the good PR you worked hard to earn. On the flip side, if you decide to make some of your pages nofollow, you can still benefit from the high percentage of link juice flowing into them.
Second, remember that even though you’ve added nofollow tags, Google will still see those links as being relevant to the topic of the page. So while you might think that having nofollowed links on a page will hurt its overall position in the SERPs, that is only sometimes true.
Finally, you’ll want to put only a few links on one page. Too much of anything can cause problems. For example, if you have 10 links on a page and each one gets indexed, that could mean up to 100 separate URLs showing up in the index. While that sounds great, it could also lead to many duplicate content issues down the road.
Add Related Links
This method works best when you already have many articles on your site. If you want to avoid creating dozens of articles, copy one of your existing ones and edit it slightly. Change the headline to match the new topic, and then add a “related links” section at the end of the post. Finally, replace the original link in the body of the post with the new one.
You can do this manually, but another option makes it much easier. Yoast SEO has a plugin called Related Links that allows you to automatically generate “related links “for every article on your site. All you’ve got to do is install the plugin, activate it, and enter some basic information. After that, Yoast will take care of the rest.
Don’t Link to Low-Quality Content
Google says that the crawl budget can suffer when linking out to low-quality content, such as duplicates, thin content, and spam. Google even mentions that you shouldn’t link to those pages directly. Instead, use relnext/previous for pagination.
Google prefers to avoid linking to low-quality sites because these pages are often filled with spammy links to promote products and services. This makes it harder for Google to determine the page’s real value. As a result, Google might decide that the site is only worth investing a little bit of time into.
In addition, links pointing to low-quality pages can hurt your rankings. When Google sees that you’re linking to low-quality web pages, it assumes that you want to rank well for terms related to those pages. So, while you might be trying to generate traffic to your main site, Google thinks you’re just trying to rank well for keywords related to low-value pages.
The deeper your links go, generally speaking, the better. This is because Google looks at the quality of those links and how relevant they are to the webpage topic. So, if you link to other relevant blog posts within your website, you’re doing something right. However, if you link to a random article about cats online, Google might think this isn’t very useful to readers.
There are two types of links that you should avoid using in content:
So, why do we say there are two types of links to avoid? First, you want to link to a specific page within your website but avoid linking to the homepage itself. Instead, you want to provide value to readers and show them what else is out there.
This is the usual mistake that most people make. They start with great body content but end up linking to things like contact us forms or 404 error pages. These are terrible ways to connect with potential customers.
Add Long Breadcrumbs
Add long breadcrumb navigation — or “long tail” — to your category pages to rank well for a keyword. This is where you link from one category page to another and include the parent category name along the way. For example, if your website sells shoes, you might have a shoe category page, a shoe departmental page, and a shoe brand page. If you link from the shoe category page to the shoe departmental page, you could use the following structure:
Shoe | Shoes | Shoe Brand
The longer the breadcrumbs, the better. But don’t go overboard. Keep them short enough to be readable but long enough to give searchers a sense of what they’re looking a