Internal Linking as an on-page SEO technique plays a big part when it comes to Organic ranking and User experience.
While Internal Linking caters for both Search Rankings and Visitors' experience, it can be time-consuming, tedious and even risky if not done well.
The time-consuming part of it can never be denied; thankfully, you can now address that using tools that streamline internal linking.
As for the risky part of internal linking - a growing number of digital marketers are becoming victims every now and then due to not following the best practices.
In this article, we bring to you — the Super 10 Internal Linking Best Practices that you can put into practice to make the most of Internal Links.
These takeaways provide a comprehensive guide to optimising a website's internal linking structure for better SEO and user engagement.
Ensuring you're always on point with Internal link building isn't an easy task. You'll have to devise a strategy, align it so that it fits with current guidelines, and then go through that over and over again.
Even the first facet (which is discovering Pages that can be used) isn't easy either. You'll have to comb through your content, finding potential opportunities for Internal Links.
Honestly speaking, Internal Linking isn't something that we easily get right. It's more than just adding internal links.
Here, we have successfully created a checklist that helps us in the process, and you can marry that too.
The SEO best practices for internal linking contain the following
A content hub is an SEO-friendly arrangement of topic variations and keyword clusters within a Subject that satisfies the user experience.
Google uses E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness), a part of the Search Quality Rater Guidelines to deliver the right results to people. Internal linking is part of the ranking process.
Typically, more Internal links mean more expertise or experience, and Google tends to rank websites that have more of that.
Link building alone (which is getting other websites to vouch for your content) won't get you there, which is why Internal links can never be forsaken.
A content hub lets you make the best use of Internal links on your website. It allows you to plug your coverage around a Subject in a defined location, contributing positively to SEO and the general user experience.
A content hub basically requires a Pillar Page and topic variations within a subject line. The idea is to create a Page called the Pillar, which can cover the individual topics of a particular subject in a snappy and concise way; then Internal Links are built from that Page (i.e. the Pillar) to the individual topic variations, also known as 'Cluster Pages'. These Cluster Pages delve deeper into specific elements of the subject covered by the Pillar, offering rich, valuable content that addresses user queries and fulfils their information needs.
In a perfect Content Hub strategy, the Cluster Pages mutually point links back to the Pillar Pages. This makes a convenient route for search engine crawlers and humans to better understand and navigate a site.
Creating a sound Content Hub requires deep research and planning. The outcome of a successful one is Increased visibility on SERPs.
When you have successfully set up a good Content Hub, it's essential to enhance its foundation periodically and also to bring improvements when you need to. This can be done by adding more Cluster Pages or extending the depth of the Pillar contents.
LinkStorm is an innovative internal link building tool that saves web administrators time looking for internal link opportunities and resolving link issues. It is compatible with most popular content management systems, including WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, and more.
At times, your important pages don't get the most backlinks, and this is where you derive your leads and money.
Don't panic; there's always a way around it - that's the idea of Link sculpting your Page Authority to your important pages.
The term is all about discovering Pages of your site that are getting more backlinks and then using their substantial authority to fuel your important Pages.
In concept, you visit these pages and then build internal links to point to your critical Pages. This action derives part of the Link Authority to support those priority Pages.
Whenever you're doing internal linking, ensure you're following the best practices to get the most results from it.
Google and other Search Engines respect the Links and Anchor Texts that first appear on a Page. They see them as priorities and treasures.
A Link and/or Anchor Text that appeared in position 2nd on a Page will probably get the most Link juice and authority than one buried in the 6th or 8th position.
As you go down the content, so the Link juice that each hyperlink carries decreases. This is how Link power is being shared in a Page.
Now, as an SEO writer, you will want your important Pages to get the highest Link power, and you can easily accomplish this by placing them first in your content.
The Anchor Texts also matter and are applicable to this. The best Internal Linking practice is to place optimised Anchors at the top of the Page, but don't overdo it.
Don't attempt to use them in all your links. Having two or three of them in the beginning is good, and you can always use LSI Keywords for your other Anchor Texts.
You read that right? — Link contextually and not as much as possible.
Because Link power gets shared among all the URLs on a Page, there's really no sense to Link as much as possible.
While you include spam links on your site, it harms user experience and your neatness as a content creator. Plus, it diminishes the power granted to each URL on that Page.
When building internal links, you should consider the context, value and user experience. If the Link is off-point, don't place it! If it won't help your readers, don't take it.
Build links strategically and with heavy caution.
Some people still get it wrong by using the wrong Link attribute or behaviour for their types of Links.
If you absolutely must link to a specific website that could potentially outrank you on SERPs, you can use the Nofollow attribute to instruct crawlers not to pass any authority to the Page.
Likewise, if your Content includes Affiliate Links, the Sponsored and Nofollow attributes can be used to prevent getting flagged.
Google ultimately recommends the Sponsored and/or Nofollow Link attribute for money and affiliate links.
So it's your duty to ensure that you're playing it safe!
The Nofollow attribute instructs Search Engines to ignore the appearance, thereby passing no Link juice. The Sponsored attribute lets Google understand paid and sponsored links. As for the Dofollow attribute, it tells crawlers to treat it important, hence passing Link power.
I bet you have also heard of the UGC Link attribute; Google recommends using it for comment links and other user-generated content.
Using the same Anchor Texts for two or more Pages will put Search Engines in a puzzle as they struggle to define the best Page for that keyword.
It can lead to something called Keyword cannibalism, a ranking issue where two or more Pages of the same website compete for the same keywords.
Google and Cos despise this and can possibly demote the Pages concerned in Search Results.
After ticking the Internal Linking Best Practices discussed above, you don't relax because new Pages will be added as time goes on, and this will open more opportunities for internal linking.
When you add a new Page on your site, consider adding internal links from older Posts that are relevant. You can do this by exploring how far you have gone in Content creation.
While finding older Posts can be time-consuming and tedious, it's worth the while
Internal Linking isn't quite right without Link Management. After you're done creating smart links across your content, don't put away the management part because it can ruin your entire work.
Link Management involves the inspection of URLs on a Page or website. The goal is to identify Broken Links and 404 errors that are detrimental to SEO.
With the right tool, you can easily spot links that are faulty or broken and then take the right steps to fix them.
Before we forget the Orphaned Content part, let's shed some light on it...
Needless to say, when you publish a Page on a site, it stays in the Orphanage for a while until you visit your old Posts and create links to it.
Orphaned content means Pages on a site that have no internal links pointing to them. And Internal Links is one of the ways Google understands topic coverage on a site. Without them, you're kind of sailing a boat without a compass.
Google will likely not rank standalone Pages without links pointing to them; it could be a disaster because the Pages aren't detailed enough and won't satiate the needs of searchers.
In all you do, you should combat Orphaned Posts as hard as you can.
Unfortunately, bloggers and even seasoned SEOs fall into the problem more often than you can imagine. The simple truth is that the presence of Orphaned Post can't be completely avoided.
Thankfully, you can use SEO tools and Plugins dedicated to internal linking to easily find and fix Orphan content within your Page editor (more on this in the next line)
Building Internal links that are important to your business can help you optimise well for conversions.
The impact of Internal Links on SEO is huge, which is why adding more of them that are relevant shouldn't be ignored.
However, the process of Internal Linking can be overwhelming and time-consuming, making it something you would always want to overlook.
The appearance of Internal Linking Tools as one of the best practices is not a joke - You should be aware that you're not playing it smart if you're not using anyone.
Internal Linking Tools are Plugins that facilitate the process of inserting smart internal links. With one onboard, you can take proper Interlinks management as they typically analyse your internal linking structure, finding things that are not right.
There are many use cases of an Internal Linking Plugin; they can help identify potential opportunities for internal links, find faulty Links & Orphan content and even show the clicks on Internal Links.
Additionally, an Internal Linking Tool that is using the Next-gen technology can help you build contextual links nearly automatically. We recommend the Link Whisper WordPress Plugin; it's a must-have tool for those who want to take the next step in the Internal Linking game.
After you have implemented the internal linking best practices discussed above, you aren't all set and should stay within reach.
Proper internal link-building lasts the test of time and involves a thorough analysis of your progress and the impact on your website.
Taking records and trying something new should help your success.
When doing Internal Linking, you don't want it to affect your Content quality, nor are you ready to digest penalties from Search Engines.
Most importantly, you would like to get everything right. Because things done right are unlocked success.
With the tips provided in our list of best Internal Linking practices, we believe you have all the information to stay on point and to fall in love with Internal Linking again.
To your success!