What’s internal linking got to do with SEO?
Internally linking certain phrases or keywords to other pages on our site isn’t just helping user experience. There’s a lot more going on behind the scenes. In order for a page or website to rank and index, search engines need to crawl through your website’s elements and content. Internal linking plays a very big part in this, as you’re pointing Google to relevant content and helping it understand the page’s overall theme. All in all, the more direction you give to Google, by linking to other good, relatable content, the better the chances of those pages ranking!
Best practices for internal linking
It isn’t a simple ‘let’s just hyperlink this and that’ approach, here are the best practices to follow.
Spotting internal link opportunities
To review your content to spot opportunities for linking, there’s a handy trick you can do that beats having to spend time looking back through pages of content. This is especially handy when you have years of content to sift through.
Head to Google and use the search operator ‘site:[your website domain name] “[keyword you want a page to rank for]”’. For example, – site:theauditlab.com “technical seo”.
Depending on the volume of results, you can either click on each link from the SERP and check to see if the mentioned keyword is linking to the page you want ranking for that keyword. Or you can use a tool like MozBar if there’s a lot of results.
This tool downloads all the pages from Google’s SERPs so you can sift through on a spreadsheet to check for linking. Here you can see any that are lacking, and simply add in your links to the keywords to the page you want ranking for that keyword. Just make sure you update the search settings to show the maximum number of results per page.
If you do find that this keyword is mentioned numerous times, you should consider the keyword difficulty score of the target page, your current ranking for that keyword and the strength of the link results. From there, prioritise the strongest pages to add in your links and factor in how low the ranking is for your targeted page. The lower it is, then the more pages you should add in links to. You just need to balance your resources, time and current performance.
Writing anchor text
You may see the term ‘anchor text’ floating around in SEO circles. That’s because they are crucial; your tech SEOs can certainly chew your ear about them. If you’re in the habit of linking terms like ‘click here’ or phrases that aren’t clearly relevant or reflective of the page you’re linking to, then stop now. The visible and clickable text that links to another page should be relevant to that linked page. It goes back to making Google read and crawl through your site easily. When Google is better directed and analyses your pages to see they have great content and contextual flow, you’re onto a winner.
When using anchor text, it’s about appeasing both search engines and website visitors. Once you understand the need for better hyperlink text, you should perfect the skill of weaving the links in naturally, so that they fit into the content nicely and with good readability. You can add in CTAs and stand-alone lines, but when adding anchor text within your content and paragraphs, make sure you get that balance of good anchor text and readability right. For example:
“The changing landscape of SEO and its best practices certainly keeps us on our toes. What worked years ago could land you in hot water with Google today, and we need to remember this going forward. So, when people ask “is SEO dead?”, just point them to us and our SEO agency – they’ll certainly be able to answer!”
See how the anchor text works naturally within the sentences? They’re also highly relevant to the pages they’re linking to and utilise the target keywords for those linked pages.
Don’t oversaturate with internal linking
This brings us to the volume of internal links on a page. Avoid keyword stuffing, please! There isn’t a specific ratio when it comes to word count and targeted keyword mentions, but if you read a page that’s around 200 words and come away from it annoyed or nearly hypnotised with a phrase echoing through your brain, then that page is definitely doing some anti-SEO with keyword stuffing.
‘Oil’ just leave this here…
Just as you need to avoid keyword stuffing, you need to minimise your internal links going to the same page using the same keyword, as this might land you in Google’s bad books.
For example, if you have a page talking about the benefits of olive oil and have a separate page that is targeting the keyword ‘olive oil’ (it could be a product page), you don’t need to link every reference of ‘olive oil’ you have on your other pages.
If you have quite a lengthy piece on the benefits of olive oil, you may have a couple of the same anchor links going to the same page – one near the top and one near the bottom to direct your readers. But you certainly don’t need to oversaturate the content with the ‘olive oil’ links, nor the keyword itself – especially if another page is targeting that one!
Update new and old content with internal links
When using your content calendar, make a note of relevant pages that can be linked to from your upcoming content, and remember your anchor text. Each time you publish a blog or new page, you should get into the routine of updating older content that is relevant or has the targeted keyword with added links going to the recent content.
Your internal linking is just as important as your external linking, so don’t let it slide. Luckily, there are teams dedicated to improving your SEO and internal links; just contact our technical SEO and content marketing experts to see what we’re doing with clients and how we’re improving their sites!
Head on over to our blog for more SEO articles, like our updated guide to Google’s Core Web Vitals.
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