What is Internal Linking and How is it Good for Link Building? [Complete Guide]

Table of Contents

What is Internal Linking?

Internal linking is the process of creating hyperlinks on a web page that point to another page on the same domain. This practice helps users navigate a website easily and improves overall SEO. Internal links are typically found in website navigation, buttons, clickable images, and anchor text. Anchor text is the clickable part of the hyperlink, and its content should use descriptive keywords that relate to the topic of the source page. Internal links allow website visitors and search engine crawlers to access related pages on a website and also pass page authority from one page to another. When used correctly, internal linking can help organize content, improve user experience, and boost SEO.

1. They increase the internal structure of your website, which helps to improve its user experience.

The use of internal linking on a website is beneficial for both the user experience and SEO. Internal links help to establish a website’s hierarchy, allowing users to easily navigate through the site and find what they are looking for quickly. Additionally, it helps to direct users towards high-converting pages, leading to more revenue for the business. Furthermore, internal links help search engines to understand the website’s structure and pass authority, which in turn improves the ranking of the website. Ultimately, the use of internal linking helps to improve the user experience by providing more context in the content, guiding visitors to related content and keeping them engaged with the website.

2. They help visitors to navigate through your website more easily.

Internal linking helps visitors to navigate through a website more easily by providing relevant internal links that make it easier for them to quickly find the information they are looking for. By making it easier for users to jump from page to page on a site, it helps to reduce bounce rate and increases time on page, two very important metrics for user experience. Internal linking also establishes an information hierarchy and spreads link equity (ranking power), improving the website’s visibility and providing more opportunities for the user to convert. Lastly, internal linking strengthens the funnel by passing authority from one page to another, guiding visitors to high-value, relevant content, and prompting visitors to act through calls-to-action.

3. They increase the page authority of your website pages.

Using internal linking to increase the page authority of website pages is an effective way to boost the rankings of important pages on your website. Internal links pass page authority from one page to another, allowing more authoritative pages to help less authoritative, yet important, pages to rank higher in search engine results. By linking authoritative pages together, you can distribute the existing authority to other pages on your website, thereby increasing the likelihood of them ranking higher. This type of link building also helps Google to find more pages on your website, and gives them signals about which pages you value most. Additionally, the more authoritative a page is, the more likely it is to be crawled and updated by Google. Ultimately, by strategically using internal links, you can increase the page authority of pages on your website, and consequently, boost their rankings in search engine results.

4. They help to boost your website’s search engine rankings.

Using internal linking for link building can help to boost a website’s search engine rankings by passing authority from one page to another, helping to establish an information hierarchy, and spreading link equity (ranking power) around the website. Internal links provide users with an easy way to navigate a website, helping to keep visitors engaged, which can lead to increased conversions. Additionally, by helping search engine crawlers better understand a website structure, internal links can make it easier for these crawlers to update pages and promote them in the SERPs. All of these benefits make internal linking a vital part of any SEO strategy, as it helps to improve overall website rankings.

5. They increase the engagement rate of your website’s pages.

Using internal linking on your website can greatly increase the engagement rate of your website’s pages. Internal links help to guide visitors to other relevant content, which can lead to more page views and longer page sessions. This also communicates to Google that your content is valuable and can help to increase your organic traffic. Additionally, internal links can give signals to Google about which pages on your website are most important, helping them to appear higher in search results. By funneling visitors to other pages, internal links also create more opportunities for conversion and can help to reduce your bounce rate. All of these factors can help to improve your engagement metrics and give you a higher return on your investment.

6. They help to build a community around your website.

Using internal links for link building can help to build a community around your website in several ways. Firstly, it provides a clear journey for users to take and explore more of the website, creating a better user experience. This can help to reduce bounce rate and increase time on page, which are important user experience metrics to keep an eye on. Additionally, linking to other relevant blog posts on the website can showcase the website’s expertise in the eyes of users, further building up the brand and creating a sense of trust.

Further, internal linking helps to strengthen the three parts of the funnel: passing authority from one page to another, guiding visitors to high-value content, and prompting visitors to act. This encourages users to stay on the website, which can lead to building brand awareness and loyalty, as well as increasing sales. Lastly, internal link building helps to improve SEO strategy by increasing average pages per session and time spent on the website, as well as reducing the bounce rate. All of these together can help to create a strong community around the website.

7. They help to increase the overall reach of your brand.

Internal links are important when it comes to increasing the overall reach of a brand. By linking between pages on a website, users can explore more content and become more familiar with the brand. This helps to create a more loyal following and establishes a better connection between the brand and its target market. Additionally, internal links can help to reduce bounce rate and increase time on page, both of which are important user experience metrics. Furthermore, linking to other relevant blog posts on the website also helps to demonstrate industry expertise and elevate the brand in the eyes of users. All of this works to create more opportunities for the brand while increasing its overall reach.

What are the benefits of using internal linking?

Step 1: Identify Your Site’s Pillar Pages

Creating an internal links structure is an essential step in effective SEO. Pillar pages are the foundation of this structure, so it’s important to identify them before building out topic clusters. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you identify your site’s pillar pages and create an internal links structure:

  1. Make a list of pillar pages: central pages about a broad topic that link to related, more specific pages. Pillar pages should target broad keywords with high search volumes rather than more specific long-tail keywords.
  2. Create topic clusters: groups of content about specific topics related to the pillar page.
  3. Avoid creating too many pillar pages and topic clusters— they should be specific enough to be useful, but not so specific that they become too niche.
  4. Use a keyword generator like Semrush’s Keyword Magic Tool to come up with topic clusters or supporting pages. Plug in a general keyword and search through the results or use the left-hand column to find groups of related keywords.
  5. Fill out a spreadsheet for each topic cluster. This will help you stay organized and track progress.
  6. Map out your topic clusters and build ideas for relevant supporting pages.
  7. Link your supporting pages to the pillar page to demonstrate topical relevance and indicate the pillar page as the authoritative source.

By using these steps, you can easily identify your site’s pillar pages and create an effective internal links structure. This will help you establish your topical authority in the eyes of Google crawlers, as well as improve your SEO.

Step 2: Choose the Right Anchor Text

Choosing the right anchor text for an internal link structure is an important part of optimizing your website for search engines. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it:

  1. Gather relevant keywords based on keyword research. Use tools like the Keyword Magic Tool to look for relevant phrases related to the topic of the page you’re linking to.
  2. Make sure the anchor text is brief and relevant. Keep it to five words or less. Avoid vague, clickbait anchor text like “click here” or “this weird life hack will help you lose 10 pounds a week.”
  3. Use exact-match anchor text for internal links as long as the anchor text is relevant to the linked page. Don’t over-optimize by keyword stuffing.
  4. Be careful with external links. Manipulating external anchor text is a violation of Google’s webmaster guidelines.
  5. Use a mix of anchor text types. Use exact-match and partial-match, as well as naked URLs, generic text, and branded anchor text.
  6. Optimize for diversity. Use a variety of types of anchor text to show Google that your links are natural and not over-optimized.

Following these steps should help you create an SEO-friendly internal link structure with the right anchor text.

Step 3: Choose the Right Keyword

Choosing the right keyword for an internal links structure is essential for optimizing individual pages for the keywords and phrases most relevant to them. To do this effectively, you need to conduct keyword research and identify primary, secondary, head, and long-tail keywords that will aid in your strategy. Here is a step-by-step guide for how to choose the right keyword for an internal links structure:

  1. Use a tool like Ahrefs Keyword Explorer or Moz’s Keyword Explorer to examine relevant keywords to your brand and generate ideas related to your industry.
  2. Compare those keywords based on the number of people searching for the term and the number of companies currently competing for it.
  3. Select a powerful primary keyword phrase for each page in your URL list (or at least each page that matters) and avoid overlap.
  4. Look for long-tail phrases and synonyms that can be used as secondary or tertiary keywords and target mid-search-volume keywords.
  5. Make sure to use semantic variants of the same keyword phrase for nearly every link you build to it.
  6. Don’t have multiple internal pages competing for the same keyword or phrase.

By following these steps, you can ensure that you are choosing the right keyword for an internal links structure and optimizing your pages for the best possible SERP ranking.

Step 4: Use keywords in the anchor text

The anchor tag is an important part of an internal links structure, as it helps search engines to understand the context and relevance of the page you are linking to. By choosing the right keywords for your internal links anchor text, you can help support pages for ranking in specific SERPs and optimize individual pages for the keywords most relevant to them. Here is a step-by-step guide to using keywords in anchor tags for an internal links structure:

  1. Perform keyword research for your website to come up with relevant keyword phrases.
  2. Choose a couple of appropriate, related keywords and add them to your strategy document.
  3. When you publish content, use keywords in the anchor text to maximize your chances of ranking for those terms.
  4. Use exact match anchor text for internal links as long as the anchor text is relevant to the linked page.
  5. Avoid over-optimizing by keyword stuffing and use broad match variations of the keywords.
  6. Be careful when it comes to external links and avoid manipulating anchor text as it violates Google’s webmaster guidelines.
  7. Assign anchor text suggestions to your pillar and cluster content based on keyword research.
  8. Keep anchor text brief so that it’s clear to users and search engines what the page’s topic is about.
  9. Use contextually-relevant anchor text that properly describes the page that the link leads to.
  10. Provide users with a clear message to Google about keyword and page associations via anchor text.

When it comes to the number of internal links on a page, there is no definite answer. Generally speaking, the number should be between 3 to 5 links per 2000 words, but the number of links is ultimately dependent on the context. For example, if the page has lots of statistics to cite, then it is appropriate to include as many internal links as necessary. The best approach is to provide users and crawlers with an experience that isn’t overwhelming. If there are too many links, it will be obvious that you are forcing them in, instead of simply including them where it is natural to do so.

Additionally, it is important to remember to not overdo it with the internal links. If a page has more than 150 links on it, search engines will not crawl it. Moreover, if there are too many internal links on a page, the PageRank will be diluted and it will look spammy. To avoid this, it is best to use your best judgment when it comes to the number of internal links on a page and consider what would be beneficial to someone reading the page. As a rule of thumb, there should not be more than 3 clicks from the homepage, and something like 2-6 internal links per 1,000 words of content is a good ratio to shoot for.

Step 6: Place contextual links within the main content

Contextual links can be placed within the main content to create an internal links structure in several ways. Firstly, links should be placed within descriptive anchor text, such as “Fossil Free Media”, so that the link makes sense within the text. Secondly, they should be placed within the body copy, either as a “further reading” block at the end of an article, or in a box within an article. Additionally, blog posts often feature contextual links in order to point readers to related, relevant content and help Google to understand how the site’s pages are related. Finally, it is important to remember not to arbitrarily link to other pages, but only to link to pages that are relevant and helpful for the visitor’s journey.

Step 7: Make sure all the important pages are linked

Having an effective internal linking structure is essential for any website. To make sure all important pages are linked, there are seven key steps to follow. Firstly, you need to have content on your website that you’re able to link from and to. Secondly, you should aim for any page to be reachable in three clicks or less from the homepage. Next, try to focus your efforts on links that lead to pages that are already ranking well. Then, think of your website like a pyramid, with the most important content at the top and the least important content at the bottom. After that, use SEO PowerSuite’s InLink Rank to estimate the link juice or PageRank on pages with high InLink Rank. Finally, identify pages with high authority that rank at the top of page two for your target keywords using Rank Tracker, and use the link juice from these pages to promote other pages. Following these steps will ensure you have an effective internal linking structure.

Step 1: Avoid adding keyword-rich internal links in the footer section of your website. This practice has become obsolete and may lead to an algorithmic penalty.

Step 2: Don’t link the homepage of your website when building internal links. The homepage will already have many links pointing towards it, so instead of having more links point towards it, focus on strengthening internal pages by interlinking them.

Step 3: Don’t link the “Contact Us’ page to add a call to action (CTA) at the end of your posts unless it is absolutely necessary. Generally, the homepage will already link these pages in its main navigation bar, so avoid linking them and, instead, link the ones that are present deep within the structure.

Step 4: When building your internal links, use natural and unoptimized sentence fragments. This will help you avoid making your links look spammy.

Step 5: Make sure that all internal links that you add serve a distinct purpose and have a legitimate place within the content. This will help you avoid any SEO hits from improper link stuffing.

Step 9: Prevent using same anchor texts for two different pages

Step 1: When creating anchor text for web pages, focus on using descriptive anchor texts. This will help Google to understand the topic of the web page and avoid confusion.

Step 2: Get strategic with the words and phrases used in the anchor text. Make sure they clearly indicate the target page topics.

Step 3: Keep the anchor text brief and to the point. Having it too long may confuse users and search engines. We recommend keeping anchor text to five words or less.

Step 4: Avoid vague, clickbait anchor text like “click here” or “this weird life hack will help you lose 10 pounds a week.”

Step 5: As far as internal links are concerned, it is ok to use exact-match anchor text, as long as it is relevant to the page it is linking to and not keyword stuffing.

Step 6: When using images, link them using anchor texts instead of directly linking the images. Ensure that the alt tags are written properly and describe each picture accurately.

Step 7: Use natural, unoptimized sentence fragments for linking anchor texts. This will help to avoid appearing spammy.

Step 8: Lastly, try to avoid using the same anchor text for two different pages, as it confuses Google and may lead to lower rankings.

Creating an effective internal links structure starts with putting links high up on your page. Here’s a step-by-step guide to get you started:

Step 1. Find pages with high InLink Rank. Using SEO PowerSuite’s InLink Rank, look for pages that have a high ranking power based on the quantity and quality of their backlinks.

Step 2. Find high-authority pages that rank at the top of page 2 for your target keywords. Using Rank Tracker, apply filters to find keywords that have a page 2 ranking and identify the URLs you will link to.

Step 3. Add links to the pages you chose in step 1. Make sure the links are relevant to the content on the source page, as this will keep visitors on the page for a longer time.

Step 4. Place links at the top of your web page to increase the time spent on the page and reduce bounce rate. While this is controversial, there may be a weak ranking signal if all other factors are equal.

Follow these steps and you will have a strong internal links structure that benefits both users and SEO.

Step 11: Use internal linking makes people stay longer on your site.

The use of internal linking can help to keep people on a website for longer by providing users with relevant and useful content. Internal links, placed strategically throughout a web page, can make it easier for users to navigate the site and find what they are looking for quickly. This improves the user experience (UX) and encourages user engagement. In addition, they can also lead users to related content that they may not have been looking for, which provides more opportunities for users to convert. By providing users with relevant content, internal links can also increase the time spent on the web page and reduce bounce rate. As a result, this increases the chances of a user completing their desired action, such as making a purchase, filling out a form, or buying a product.

FAQs

What is internal linking?

What is internal linking? Internal links are hyperlinks on a webpage that point to another webpage or resource, such as an image, video, or document on the same website or domain. These types of links allow users to navigate a website easily. Internal linking is the process of hyperlinking to other pages on your website and helps communicate to web crawlers which pages are the most important, next important, and least important on your website. Internal links are created using buttons, clickable images, and anchor text, or the clickable part of the hyperlink that links to the other page. Internal linking is one of the SEO basics as it helps improve your overall website SEO, user experience, and website architecture.

What is the purpose of internal linking?

The purpose of internal linking is to help improve user experience on a website, enhance website navigation, and boost SEO ranking. Internal links enable search engine crawlers to easily navigate a website and index its pages, while also creating a hierarchy of information on the website. Internal linking also passes link equity between web pages and helps to define the website structure, which is necessary for indexation and ranking on search engines. Additionally, internal links help demonstrate the contextual relationship between two pages on the website and can be used to guide visitors to high-converting pages, leading to more revenue for a business.

How does internal linking help with SEO?

Internal linking plays a significant role in SEO as it helps create a hierarchy of information on a website, making it easier for users to navigate and explore the site. Additionally, it can guide visitors to high-converting pages, leading to more revenue. All of these factors help to send positive signals to search engines, which will boost the website’s ranking. Internal linking helps establish relationships between various pieces of content, and can also pass authority from one page to another, creating double duty for top-performing content. As web crawlers move through the website, they gain more information which influences the SERPs and can ultimately improve the website’s SEO performance.

What is the best way to implement internal linking?

The best way to implement an effective internal linking strategy is to ensure that your website is SEO-friendly and easily crawlable by search engine spiders. Start by making a list of the URLs on your site and making a conscious effort to incorporate them into your existing and future content. When adding internal links to a page, use anchor text that makes sense in context and is relevant to the topic or page you are linking to. You can also add a few links to other important pages of your site when publishing a new blog post.

Once you have your internal links in place, it’s important to make sure that your website is well organized and has a logical navigation structure. This will make it easier for search engines to index all the pages on your website and improve the SEO of your website. Additionally, internal linking can be used for website navigation and creating an easy-to-follow website structure.

Finally, give your site a check-up a few times a year to make sure that your internal linking is still effective. This will help you ensure that your website is well-organized and has a strong link profile.

When it comes to internal linking, there are four main types of links that should be used: navigational links, footer links, contextual links, and sidebar links.

Navigational links are the most important internal links because they are generally used site-wide and help users find what they are looking for. These are often implemented on the top menu or sidebar and cover product categories, services, or main content topics. For example, a website about cars could have a navigational link for “New Cars”, “Used Cars”, “Car Parts”, and other related topics.

Footer links are a type of navigation link that typically appear at the bottom of a webpage. These links can be used to link to pages that may not be as important, such as a contact page or privacy policy page.

Contextual links are links included within a body of text. These types of links provide additional information about the topic you are discussing and help to pass page authority from the linking page to the destination page.

Sidebar links are links that appear on the sidebar of a website. These are generally used to link to pages that are related to the content of the page itself. For example, a blog post about cars could have sidebar links to other articles about cars.

What is the benefit of using anchor text for internal linking?

Anchor text is the link text or visible text of a link and its purpose is to provide context to both search engine bots and users. It is used to tell the search engine what the page linked to is about and can help boost relevance. When using internal links for SEO purposes, it is important to use contextually relevant anchor text that properly describes the page that the link leads to. Additionally, it is important to avoid overusing exact match or keyword-heavy anchor text as this can look suspicious to search engines.

The benefit of using anchor text for internal linking is that it can help increase your page rankings for specific keywords in search engines. Internal links are one of many ranking factors that Google considers when indexing and ranking content. Additionally, internal links can also help improve user experience by providing them with relevant content and helping them navigate through your website seamlessly. Anchor text can also provide Google with more context as to what the content on the linked page is about, which can help increase the relevancy of your search results for the end-user.

How does click depth affect internal linking?

The click depth of a link can have a significant effect on its effectiveness for internal linking purposes. When a page is closer to the homepage, it signals to Google that the page is more relevant, and they reward it with more weight in their ranking algorithm. If a page is further away from the homepage and has a higher click depth, it can be harder for Google to find and crawl it, resulting in a lower ranking. To ensure that pages are easily accessible and crawlable, it is best practice to keep the click depth between 1-3 clicks from the homepage. Furthermore, it is important to make sure that internal links are strategically placed throughout the website in order to make navigating the website as easy and efficient as possible. Doing so will help to optimize your website and make it more likely to be indexed by Google.

How does website structure affect internal linking?

The structure of a website can have a major effect on its internal linking. Having a well-structured website helps Google crawlers navigate and index the pages on the website more easily. This will help the search engines better recognize the most important pages related to the website and assign the appropriate keywords and phrases to them. Additionally, having an effective internal linking structure means that the important pages will receive more value than the less important ones.

It also helps provide an easy-to-follow website structure that helps visitors navigate the website more easily. Furthermore, having a solid internal linking structure saves up on the crawl budget, allowing the search engine crawlers to index more pages per visit. Finally, when used strategically, internal links can help demonstrate the contextual relationship between two pages, as well as highlight the most important pages on the website.

How does a website audit help with internal linking?

A website audit can help with internal linking in many ways. First, it can help identify any errors in the current linking structure that need to be addressed, such as broken links and pages with too little or too much link juice. Second, it can provide insight into the hierarchy of the site and help identify which pages are the most authoritative. Finally, it can help improve the user experience by making navigation simpler and more intuitive. By doing an internal link audit, website owners can identify where improvements can be made to the internal linking structure and create a strategy for future linking. This helps both Google and users navigate the site more easily, and it allows website owners to leverage more authoritative pages.

What tools can I use to check my internal linking?

If you’re looking to check your internal linking structure and determine future internal link building opportunities, there are a number of great tools out there to help you. For example, Screaming Frog is a great tool for getting a better understanding of your top internally linked pages, while also allowing you to filter by pages that include a specific term to identify internal link building opportunities. Other tools like Majestic, Moz, Ahrefs, and Semrush can also be used to assess your internal link structure and optimize it for maximum benefit. Lastly, Google Search Console has a section specifically for internal links, which can help you easily identify broken links, mismatched anchor text, and orphaned pages with few links pointing to them.