Internal serves many essential functions. Doing so correctly not only gives your site the topical relevancy and authority it needs to rank, but can also provide a fluent flow of link equity from one page to the next. This is particularly useful for pages that are alone (orphaned).
So what makes internal linking such a great SEO technique? From a high-level perspective, there are three specific reasons.
First, it can improve user experience by providing them opportunities to check out other related and relevant content from other pages. Second, it’s a highway for Google bots to crawl through your entire site so every page can get indexed appropriately. Lastly, it enables you to strategically share link equity across your entire site content so everything else can rank, too.
So let’s learn how we can capitalize on these points by following several guiding principles.
There are several guiding principals to keep in mind when conducting an internal linking campaign:
Leave no orphan page behind. Everything deserves a link. This ensures link equity passes through all pages, and bots can crawl to index everything.
Use relevant links and link naturally for the reader. Don’t force things in the body of the content. Relevancy for your readership is still important. Be mindful of this.
Use a reasonable number of contextual links. It goes without saying that you should not fill a page with blue links for the sake of getting the links in. It’s not sexy and makes you look terrible. (Unless it’s a resource/”start here” page!)
Have lots of content. Internal linking only works when your site has content. Cover a variety of topics pertaining to the categories of interest, and you’re on your way to building proper silos.
Think about how you want to build your content silos. This means having a particular category of content internally linked to each other. This helps with relevancy and provides topical relevancy that can translate to expertise, authority, and trust (E-A-T).
Link deep into your site. Smaller and more targeted content can bring in a lot of long-tail keyword channel traffic. Home pages and cornerstone guides tend to receive the most internal links. Don’t forget to share internal link love to content deeper into your site.
Reevaluate your internal links every few months. Or whenever you hit a new milestone. Find out which pages are the best performers. You will want to reevaluate how you distribute and structure internal links to and from these pages.
Install or run a text counting script. If you have a tool like Yoast Plugin for sites using WordPress, you can check how many inlinks and outlinks each page receives. This lets you ensure all pages have at least 1 inlink.
Prioritize top performing pages. Here are 3 questions to help identify these top pages:
- What are the high-traffic pages? (To link out naturally from)
- What pages have high unique referring domain count? (To pass out link equity from)
- What pages have exceptional rankings? (To share authority from)
Apply a tactical approach. Here are 3 more tactical considerations to keep in mind:
- Include a “related post” section in your content
- Add navigational links from the home page or the top navigation to your cornerstone content
- Don’t forget to link to taxonomy pages (categories and tags)!
There is no clearcut way on structuring your internal links. There are several principals you can follow to ensure all the pages work effectively and can be found. Either to be enjoyed by readers, detected by bots, and ranked by Google.