Internal linking is a part of on-page SEO (search engine optimization) that can be confusing to many people, especially beginners.
In essence, internal links are links between the pages of your domain, including those in your header, menu, footers and sidebar.
These links are not only essential for the user experience of visitors, they are also important to search engine crawlers.
Internal links provide a way for crawlers to discover how your pages are linked as well as the importance of the various pages in order to properly index them for search results.
The part which trips most people is in finding a balance between not linking enough and having too many internal links.
Rest assured that building internal links is one of the easiest and evergreen SEO strategy that anyone can use.
Overview for Doing Internal Links The Right Way
- Include at least 3 relevant links in your post
- Update old posts regularly
- Make anchor text conversational and natural
- Do not overuse the same anchor text
- Avoid unnatural techniques
- Link deeply and to a variety of pages
- Do not use nofollow in your internal links
- Contextual Internal Link (Keyword + ‘here’)
Include at least 3 relevant links in your post
One of the worst things you can do for your site is not have any internal links at all – this is a wasted opportunity to boost your site’s SEO!
Make it a habit as you are writing your blog posts to embed internal links in your content to other relevant articles.
Also, do not count too heavily on the “Related Posts” or “More from Author” plugins, depending on your settings, they could be randomised and will usually not be as relevant compared to directly embedding internal links in your content.
Update old posts regularly
If your website has been running for some time, you can re-visit old posts and add internal links to them.
To make this process easier on WordPress, you can simply search for posts or pages that match your keywords to find relevant content.
Another option, and if you are not on WordPress, will be to search on google with the operator “site:example.com keywords” to find content only on www.example.com for your specified keywords.
It’s also a good idea to turn this into a habit as it allows you to link your older posts to newer posts, especially if the newer posts have important updates or helps the visitor solve their problem in a more effective way.
Make anchor text conversational and natural
When placing your internal links, your first priority should be to write for human readers followed by for the crawler bots.
If you over-optimise your content by forcing internal links of specific keywords where they may not be relevant, you may face a Google penalty.
Hence, the most important thing is to ensure your anchor text is natural, conversational and relevant to the content.
The Google crawler bot will be able to pick up contextual relevance from surrounding words, sentences and content.
Do not overuse the same anchor text
Related to the previous point, Google is able to detect if anyone is trying to artificially inflate the significance of a post.
Have some variance in the anchor text of your internal links instead of using the same keyword repeatedly.
If you need ideas for other relevant anchor text, you can always enter your keyword on Google and scroll to the bottom to see related searches.
Alternatively, you can consider using tools such as SEMRush and Jaaxy which come with a suite of other advanced services.
SEMRush offers a 7 day free trial while Jaaxy offers up to 30 keyword searches for their starter trial.
Another nifty tool is AnswerThePublic which gives you a visualisation of your keyword and related words and terms.
Avoid unnatural techniques
You will also want to have a natural backlink profile for your pages and website, which means having a healthy mix of anchor text, pages and domains that link over.
Hence, avoid plugins such as Linkify Text which allow you to automatically link to pages on your site whenever you use a particular word or phrase.
You do not want a page that have many backlinks with the same anchor text.
Link deeply and to a variety of pages
You will also have pages that are more valuable than the rest – your money pages in other words – and it’s perfectly natural to want to link more to them to raise their profile.
However, you have to be careful not to overdo it as Google may penalise sites that appear “spammy”.
Linking to your other content also have the benefit of helping Google index them faster, especially if these pages and posts are deep within your site.
Do not use nofollow in your internal links
The Google crawler bot generally only continues on to another page when a link has been formatted as a “follow” link – which is the default link <a href=””>Text</a>.
If you use “rel=’nofollow'” in your link, you will prevent the crawler bot from going further into your site and indexing the pages there.
Should you use follow links to your valuable pages and nofollow links elsewhere, you may get penalised by Google for “page rank sculpting” in which you manipulate the crawler bots to flow to certain pages to increase their value and influence.
Contextual Internal Link (Keyword + ‘here’)
This is a bonus tip not often mentioned elsewhere.
You often see common anchor texts that use “here” in internal links, such as “You can read more about this here” or “If you want to know more, click here“.
What you can do to optimise your site a little bit more is to place your keyword beside “here” as the Google bot is able to detect the context based on the surrounding words and content.
The examples above become: “You can read more about SEO tips here” and “If you want to know more about SEO Tips, click here“.
Generally, the keyword does not always have to be right beside to the anchor text but it is best to keep it as close by as possible.
This provides you with an additional way of optimising your internal links to bring your website up one notch.