Are you tired of playing hide-and-seek with search engine crawlers, desperately trying to get your website noticed on SERPs?
Are you looking for a powerful strategy that can boost your website's authority and visibility on Google?
Look no further than internal link building.
Not only does it improve your website navigation and enhance user experience, but it also passes link equity throughout your site like a hot knife through butter increasing your website’s overall authority. And that means higher rankings, more traffic, and more conversions, baby!
So, if you want to be the king of the search engine jungle, start implementing internal link-building strategies because it's time to take your website to the top!
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For too long, the focus for linking strategies has been heavily weighted towards external links. And while there's no denying the importance of good backlinks from other websites, the benefits of implementing internal links cannot be overlooked. In my agency, we have ranked websites in uber-competitive spaces (niches where the cost-per-click is between $200 - $900 in Google Ads) with only internal linking strategies. So do not overlook internal links as an essential part of your overall SEO strategy to remain competitive.
What Is Internal Link Building?
First, let's start with the basics. Internal link building is the process of linking pages within your website through text links or images. It is different from external link building, which involves getting links from other websites you do not own.
What Are the Benefits of Internal Linking?
What you want to avoid are orphaned pages - that is, pages that have no links pointing to them. If you’re not willing to link to a page, Google may not even find the page to index, and even if it does find the page on your site, Google is certainly not as likely to show it in search results.
Internal Link Building Strategies, Approaches
Topical Hubs and Content Silos
Topical hubs, also known as Content Silos, are a powerful internal linking strategy that can help organize and prioritize your website's content around specific topics or themes.
To create a topical hub, start by identifying a broad topic or theme that is relevant to your website and that you have several pages of content about. Then, create a "hub" page that serves as a central hub or directory for all the related content on your website.
For example, if you’re a dentist and one of your specialties is in dental implants then build out numerous pages related to dental implants that are all topically related to each other and link them together (a related post about dental SEO). Here’s a chart that illustrates this. The top of the content hub, or silo, is a general page about dental implants, then there are child pages that are about that subject as well.
Once you have the top of your silo created, you can link out to all the related pages from the hub page and use internal links between the related pages to strengthen the topical relevance of the content.
The implications of this strategy are significant in terms of the number of keywords you can rank your silo for in Google.
We used this strategy with a dental site and captured an amazing amount of traffic and keywords.
Utilizing Related Posts
Related posts are typically displayed at the bottom of a blog post or article and feature links to other content on your website that is related to the topic of the current post.
By including related posts and linking to related content, you're providing additional resources for users to explore, which can improve the overall user experience and engagement on your website.
To use related posts effectively, it's essential to identify related content that is relevant and helpful to the user and to use descriptive and relevant anchor text to link to the related content.
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And if your site is large, or you’re not aware of all the content on your site, you can use Advanced URL Operators to find all the related content you could link to.
Here’s an example of how to use an advance URL operator:
start by typing "site:yourdomain.com" into a search engine's search bar, followed by the relevant keyword or phrase.
So if you wanted to find all the pages on your website related to "running shoes for women," you would type "site:yourdomain.com running shoes for women" into the search bar. Google will sort the results based on the most relevant and authoritative pages.
Anchor Text - What Keywords To Use on Internal Links?
Anchor text is the visible, clickable text that appears as a hyperlink - like this to our home page - 39 Celsius Web Marketing Consulting - and it serves as an indicator to search engines of what the linked page is about.
By using descriptive, keyword-rich anchor text that accurately reflects the content of the linked page, you can signal to search engine crawlers what your page is about and help Google understand the context of your content. Additionally, using relevant and descriptive anchor text can improve the user experience by providing clear information about where the link will take them.
Another best practice is to include internal links within the body of your content rather than just in headers or menus. This approach makes the internal links more natural and integrated with the content, which can improve the user experience and provide a better context for search engine crawlers.
Example of Good Anchor Text:
An example of effective use of anchor text would be linking the phrase "best running shoes for women" to a page on your website that reviews and recommends running shoes specifically designed for women. The anchor text clearly describes the content of the linked page and includes relevant keywords that search engines can use to understand the context of the linked page.
And below is an example from one of the cooking sites we have worked on utilizing internal links throughout a blog post - there are related internal links all over.
This is a kid's cooking site, and there are pages about all sorts of ingredients and recipes which enabled ample internal linking opportunities.
As you can see, if you are not producing much content, your internal linking opportunities are limited.
But this is an example of improving usability - if anyone wants to learn more about a particular ingredient in this recipe, they can find it on the website. We also highlight this site as an SEO case study if you want to learn more about the impact of this strategy.
Example of Bad Anchor Text:
An example of bad use of anchor text would be linking the phrase "click here" to a page on your website that talks about the benefits of your product or service. The anchor text doesn't provide any context or information about the linked page, making it difficult for search engines and users to understand what the page is about. This could lead to confusion, reduced user engagement, and ultimately, harm your website's SEO efforts.
Google Search Console (GSC) for Uncovering Anchor Text
GSC is a free tool from Google that can provide excellent ideas on what Google thinks a page is about on your website. It provides all the keywords your page has shown in organic search results. (a related post about 4 easy ways to use Google Search Console for improved SEO).
Here’s an example of a free cooking site for kids that offers step-by-step video tutorials. We pulled the search terms the Home page has been showing in Google search. From the table below, we can see the home page is showing for what it should be. Hopefully, what you uncover in GSC about a particular page on your site is what the page is about - if not, then you have to rethink what keyword you’re trying to rank for, rethink the content, the internal linking strategy, or all of the above.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
Overusing Internal Links
Overusing internal links can be a tempting strategy, but it's important to understand the pitfalls and dangers of this approach.
When internal links are used excessively or in a way that is not relevant to the content, they can be seen as spammy by search engine crawlers. This can lead to negative consequences from Google, including a decrease in website authority and in extreme cases, a potential penalty for violating Google's webmaster guidelines.
Instead, focus on using internal links strategically, only linking to relevant and helpful content within your website that would benefit the user.
How much is too much?
Like most things with SEO, there’s no precise answer to this.
But this should help guide you:
if your internal links are not relevant to the content or appear to be inserted in an unnatural or spammy way, this could be a warning that you're overusing internal links. Additionally, if you're using the same exact anchor text for multiple internal links, this could also indicate that you're relying too heavily on internal linking as a strategy.
Linking To Unrelated Pages
Let’s say you’re a dentist and you have a page about all-on-four dental implants. The average age of someone needing that service is likely in their 60s or 70s. You would not link to a page on your site about pediatric dentistry from a dental implant page since those two services are not unrelated.
Or perhaps you have a cooking site. And one section of that site is about making different types of salsas, and another on desserts. It would not make sense to link to a page on your website about French desserts from your salsa pages - those two things don’t go together.
Competitiveness and Volume of Posts
The volume of posts on your website about a related topic and the competitiveness of the topic both play a significant role in how effective internal links will be for your website.
For example, if you only have one page on your website about dental implants, it’s hard for Google to perceive your site as authoritative. So the volume of content is important to building authority, credibility, and usability.
And if you are competing in a highly competitive niche, and all your competitors have many pages of content about a topic, you likely will need a similar number of pages to do well.
Ultimately, the effectiveness of internal linking depends on a variety of factors, including the volume of posts on your website about a related topic and the competitiveness of the topic.
By using internal linking strategically and with other SEO strategies, you can create a strong internal linking structure that benefits your website's authority, visibility, and overall, stellar SEO performance.
Next Steps for Your SEO
- 1Schedule a no-pressure 15 min introductory call with us to find out if we're a good fit
- 2We will prepare and send you a proposal outlining our proposed scope of work and costs based on your business needs
- 3We'll schedule a kickoff meeting and begin work on your digital strategy