Internal linking is an important part of SEO. In fact, some experts see internal linking as one of the untapped or underrated SEO strategies that works super well. For many new publishers, you need to learn every thing related to internal linking in this tutorial and how to implement to improve your SEO.
In this tutorial, you’ll understand the following:
- What Is Internal Linking and How Does It Work?
- Types of Internal linking
- Internal Link Analyzer Tools
- Importance of Internal Linking To SEO
- Best Internal Linking Strategies
- How To Fix Broken Internal Linking
What Is Internal Linking and How Does It Work?
Internal linking simply means linking to a page or post on your own website within your website.
Unlike “backlinks” that also link to your website albeit from another website, internal links are within the same domain.
To further illustrate. Imagine your website to be a house. Internal links are like doors that link to another room within the same house.
How does Internal Link Work?
In practice, internal links work exactly the same way backlinks do. They pass link juice or authority from one page to another.
Every page on your website has a level of authority that can be passed to another page. Internal linking is one way to pass this “authority” to another page.
Types Of Internal Linking
Generally, there are just two types of internal linking; contextual and non-contextual.
1. Contextual Internal Linking
Contextual internal linking is what we call “in-content” links to another page on the same website that are found in the body of a post or page.
It is contextual in nature.
2. Non-contextual Internal Linking
Non-contextual internal links are links to another page on the same website that are found in any other place apart from the body of content.
You can find non-contextual internal links at the footer, sidebar, header, or any other place, not within the body of content.
Why Is Internal Linking Important To SEO
One important reason why internal linking is important to SEO is that link juice or authority is being passed around to all pages on a website.
This, in turn, means that linked pages have a better opportunity to perform better on search engines.
Best Internal Linking Strategies
Internal linking seems the easiest SEO task (it actually is) but you’ll be surprised to know that poor internal linking structure is the major problem why some websites are not ranking.
The point here is that as simple as internal linking should be, many publishers still do not adopt the best internal linking strategies.
Find below 4 of the best internal linking strategies that you should adopt consistently.
1. Use Different Anchor Texts
Just like backlinks, the anchor texts you use for your internal linking are very important to your SEO.
It is always a smart idea to use different anchor texts each time you are linking a particular page or post.
For example, imagine I want to link how to do keyword research on Google on several pages on my website. In article 1, my anchor text for the article could be Keyword research on Google. In article 2, anchor text could be find rich keywords on Google.
When you vary anchor texts like this, it’ll be easier for Search Engines to pass link juice to the page.
On the other hand, note that internal linking with the same anchor text (maybe the exact H1 phrase), would likely pass no link juice or impact your SEO.
However, it is a good practice for your readers’ sake and can help improve your bounce rate.
Read Also: What Is A Good Focus Keyphrase?
2. Make It Look As Natural or Relevant As Possible
As mentioned before, backlinks are very similar to internal linking. Your internal linking has to be natural and super relevant to be effective, if not Google will ignore it while it exists.
In other words, when internal linking is not natural or relevant, they won’t pass any link juice or “authority” to another page.
What makes a link unnatural you may ask? When a link is just placed for the sake of it without any logical coherence to reading.
Such linking does not look natural and would literally have no powerful SEO effect.
However, such links could still be useful for human readers who may be interested in the topic.
On the other hand, imagine I am writing about keyword research and somewhere in the article I write, “…. you can as well do an effective keyword research on Google without 3rd party software.”
That’s a better way to link internally for a better SEO result.
Another thing to take note of is that the linking may be directly relevant topically, but could be relevant contextually.
For example, in this article, I am talking about internal linking, but imagine that I digress a bit and talk about backlinks and how Domain Authority is so irrelevant to Backlink and SEO.
Such internal linking is contextually relevant and should pass link juice.
3. Link to your homepage often
Regularly linking to your homepage is one of the best internal linking strategies often overlooked.
Make it a habit to link to your homepage at least once in your article in a natural way.
Also, it is important to note that it is a good practice to use branded keywords as anchor text as many times as possible.
For example, I can link to Digital Acce on any page using the same anchor text as many times as possible.
4. Link Contextually (In-content) more often than Non-contextual Internal linking
Another powerful way to boost your internal linking strategy is by linking in-content.
What does that mean?
Remember that backlinks work in a similar way to internal linking. Editorial or in-content backlinks have much more weight than the author or footer links.
Similarly, internal links placed in-content are much more powerful than those placed at the footer, sidebar widget, or any other place not in-content.
However, I should emphasize again that internal links that are not in-content do not have much effect on SEO but are still very useful for your human readers. So, they are not useless after all.
However, for the purpose of this topic, to improve your SEO, contextual (in-content) linking is much more effective.
Internal Link Analyzer Tools
Even if your internal linking strategy is intact, you should use some analyzer tools to evaluate your process.
See below some recommended internal link analyzer tools.
The Link analysis tool on Outranka is one of the best tools to analyze links on a page.
By simply placing a page URL, the tool can easily give an analysis of both internal and outgoing links on that page.
But our focus here of course is internal links.
The good thing about Outranka is that all tools on the platform are free to use.
Google Search Console
On your Google Search Console dashboard, click on “links” and navigate to “internal links”.
Scroll down and click “More”. Then, you’ll see a complete report of all internal links indexed by Google.
Here, you need to take note of pages getting the least internal linking and simply devise a means to link to them following the strategies highlighted above.
Read Also: How To Use Google Site Kit WordPress Plugin
Yoast Plugin For WordPress Users
If you are using the Yoast Plugin as a WordPress user, the plugin can help you improve your internal linking structure.
One key thing to take note of is the “orphaned content”. To check if you have orphaned content, click on “posts”. If there are any, you’ll see the column “orphaned content” on the same line with “drafts”, “Published”, etc.
What are orphaned contents? These are posts or pages that have NO INTERNAL LINKING AT ALL. It’s like a child being left out of a family gathering.
Next, click on the “Orphaned content” to see which posts or pages have no internal linking. Simply link up those pages using the strategies discussed above.
In addition, you could use the Yoast Plugin in a better way to improve your internal linking strategy.
In the “Post” page, you’ll see a column that has “incoming internal linking” and “outgoing internal linking”. Your focus here is the “incoming internal linking”.
Simply sort all your posts by “incoming internal linking” and then you’ll see all posts sorted in order of how many internal links they have.
To do this, click on the “incoming internal linking” tab and your posts will be automatically sorted.
Take note of the posts with low internal linking then simply link to them in relevant posts.
Internal Link Juicer (WordPress Plugin)
The internal link juicer plugin can automate your internal link-building process.
All you have to do is provide keywords for each post or page and the plugin will add an internal link wherever those keywords are on your website.
Also, you can a simple report of your links on the plugin dashboard.
However, to be honest, I’m not a big fan of the plugin. It makes your internal linking look unnatural and can be easily ignored by a smart search engine like Google.
Manual efforts are always better than automated processes, especially with link building.
But if you don’t really mind, you can give the plugin a shot. It will save you tons of time.
Link Whisper is a powerful internal linking software that suggests posts or pages to you while you are writing.
Even the Yoast Premium plugin would not do this for you.
On Yoast Premium, you can only copy the link to some suggested posts and then find the best place to link to those suggested articles by yourself.
The Link Whisper plugin, however, recommends it on the go while you are writing.
Also, you can analyze your internal links from the Link whisper report.
Of course, there are other internal link analyzer tools but you really do not need all. You only need one that you can use effectively.
Read Also: How To Convert YouTube Videos to MP3
How To Fix Broken Internal Linking
Broken internal links are completely unavoidable. It is part of the process. However, there are ways to check it.
Google Search Console
Again, the Google Search Console could be your go-to guy for fixing broken internal links.
Go to Coverage and select “excluded”.
Look out for “not found 404” or “blocked due to other…”
Click them to see internal links possibly affected. In most cases, you’ll find links that are not really useful. But if you find links to important posts or pages, you should redirect immediately or find another way to make sure the link is active.
Link Whisper helps to suggest internal links on the go but it is also a powerful way to help track all broken links on your website.
As mentioned before, the software is not free.
Another way to monitor broken internal links is by using SEO software like SEMrush, Ahrefs, Moz, Ubersuggest, etc.
The downside of this software is that they are not free. And the free trials cannot monitor broken internal links for you.
These tools pretty much work the same way. They will notify you when there is a broken link on your website.
The best way to fix it is to redirect to a new page or republish that post and replace the link.
Of course, there are many more tools out there to detect and fix broken links but these highlighted here can be effective too.
Bonus Tip (Strategy)
In order to make internal linking faster, here is a bonus tip.
While editing an article, you can simply link internally by selecting your anchor text and using the CTRL + K command on your windows laptop.
If you do not have the link to the page you want to link to, no problem. Simply type one of two keywords relating to what you want to link to and you’ll see a list of articles or pages on your website related to the keyword.
Click on the most relevant article. Boom. That’s it. You’ve just linked to another page on your website in a few easy clicks.
Read Also: Use FAQ Blocks To Scale Up Your SEO
To be candid, building internal links in a strategic way as outlined in this tutorial can be very tedious. It requires a lot of work to do it in a different way from what others are doing.
Remember that if it was too easy, everyone would do it. Luckily for you, everyone is not implementing this internal linking strategy you have just learned here.
The good news is that everything about these internal linking strategies is super easy to implement. Moreover, it is 100% within your control, unlike backlinks.
Find below a quick reminder of the best internal linking strategies:
- Use different anchor texts
- Make it as natural as possible
- Link to your homepage often
- Link Contextually (In-content) more often than Non-contextual Internal linking
In case, you still need further help concerning anything related to internal linking, watch this video to clear all doubt:
Furthermore, I suggest watching these 27 YouTube Channels to learn SEO.
Start building your internal links like a pro and scale up your SEO.