Internal linking is a vital practice to build up traffic and rankings in searches on your website. Why? Search engines like Google are more likely to find your page when it’s linked to other pages, and internal links also help the engines get an idea of your website’s structure.
Take a deep dive with us into this SEO internal linking guide to learn how to wield these important tools masterfully.
What Is Internal Linking and How Is It Different from External Linking?
Before we get started, here’s a quick recap on the two different types of links:
An external link is a link that points from an external domain toward your domain. These are usually a favorite among SEOs since these types of links can funnel link juice toward your site and help it garner greater authority by leveraging another site’s authority.
On the other hand, internal linking provides internal links to other pages within your same site. These could be other blog articles or your company’s service page. (See what we did there?)
Internal Linking Best Practices: Create an Effective Strategy
Links are sometimes described as the “money of the internet,” meaning the more links you have the more your site gains authority and ranking potential on the web. While this is very true, it doesn’t mean that all links are equal. Moz provides a great article on the different types of links that you’ll encounter in the SEO world and we highly encourage you to read it if you need a little more information about these link types.
We’ll show you our internal linking best practices for building an effective and relevant internal linking strategy—specifically to help you rank for a key term you’re trying to target. If your website has some domain authority to throw around, this strategy can have a huge impact on your website rankings—just see the results below!
We had a client where we employed this technique alongside some healthy link-building, and the impact made me realize just how powerful internal links can be. Once we powered up the internal links, the rankings continued to soar.
Step 1: Research
To begin, determine a keyword topic that you’d like to start ranking for. You can accomplish this by performing a little keyword research to ensure that there’s a good amount of search volume for this term.
A great tool for this is Semrush because of their Keyword Magic Tool, which allows you to cherry-pick your favorite keywords and then compile a list that you can later export.
Got your keyword or keywords? Great. On to the next step.
Step 2: Identify Link Opportunities
Once you’ve got your keywords, you’ll need to identify a target page toward which you’d like to direct these power-packed internal links.
Let’s pretend your website is Catster.com, and let’s say your target page is this page (link:http://www.catster.com/cats-101/cat-toys) which you created specifically to rank up for the keyword ”cat toys.”
First, you’ll need to identify all of the SEO internal linking opportunities that can point toward this designated page. Do this by using advanced search operators in Google like so:
Site: [insert domain here] “[insert keyword here]”.
When you’re done, it should look like this image:
Look at all the places the word “cat toys” is showing up on the site. Depending on your site and keyword, you can have hundreds of opportunities for internal links.
For this “cat toys” keyword, we’ve got 10+ search engine ranking pages showing us possible opportunities for internal links.
Step 3: Organize and Analyze
The next step is to download the Chrome extension called Linkclump. This handy tool will allow you to grab all those links from the SERPs and copy and paste them all quickly into a spreadsheet at the same time.
Next, it’s time to analyze your opportunities. A quick way to do this is to do a Ctrl+F (brings up a page search) on the page with the link opportunity and then search for your key term. This function will then highlight every time your term is used.
Take the URL and anchor text and place them in a spreadsheet to remind yourself where to add the links later on.
Step 4: Implement
You can start adding links to the page with all this work done. To save time, copy the link, highlight the text where you want to add a link, and then use the shortcut Ctrl+K to insert it.
Limit yourself to less than 100 SEO internal links per page. Also, be sure only to add one link per key term back to your targeted page—adding more is spammy, and Google hates it.
If you really want to pack a punch with your internal links, use Moz Open Site Explorer to help you determine your pages with the most authority. When you point to internal links from a page with a higher authority, this will give your internal links a little more of a boost, and you’ll most likely see the rankings for your targeted keyword go up.
It’s also a good idea to update older internal links with newer links on a semi-regular basis to help build traffic on new pages.
For professional help with SEO internal linking, contact Big Leap. We’ll gladly take a look and provide recommendations OR do the work ourselves!