Internal link building is an indispensable part of SEO strategy that no one is telling you about but can strengthen the overall SEO of your website.
Good internal linking provides:
- A clear path for spiders
- Prolonged sessions for your users and
- Create a tight-knit network of pages and posts on your site. You can think of a silo structure here.
In SEO, it's not uncommon to see people thinking only about backlinks or external links once they hear the term link building.
What if I told you - getting backlinks is just the beginning of your link-building strategy.
Well, in this post, I will show you what internal link building is and why you should start leveraging the power of internal linking on your website.
What Are Internal Links?
Internal links are links on your website from one page to the other relevant pages on your site.
Note, there are two types of links:
- External link - points to other domains (websites).
- Internal link points - to other pages of your website.
In an internal link-building process, the source domain and the target domain remain the same.
Internal link building is a strategy - site owners have used to - successfully build their businesses.
Here's a case study of how Ninja outreach increased their traffic by 40% and not only that, from position #33 to #5, all by doing internal link building.
How internal link complements external links
When you acquire a backlink to one of your web pages, how do you ensure that any link juice that accompanied that link is passed across to other pages on your website?
What if the page that received the link is not as relevant as your sales page, but you want your sales page to benefit?
What about your less linkable links? You wouldn't want them to remain ophan.
That's why you need Internal link building to promote other pages and make them visible on search engines.
Internal links play an essential role in delivering a return on investment (ROI) from external link acquisitions.
How Link Building Can Help Your Website Rank Better On Search Engines
While backlinks focus on gaining signals and boosting PageRank on search engines, internal links benefit both users and search engines.
And in fact, you can only convert the traffic boost by backlinks to returning customers with the power of internal link building.
Benefits of Internal Linking: Why You Should Care About Internal Link Building
1. Internal links spread Link Equity throughout your website
One of the significant benefits is internal links can directly pass link equity throughout your entire site.
The page that is linked to - takes all of the link equity (link juice), but it shouldn't be the only one to enjoy it.
So through internal link building, you can direct part of the juice for other pages to benefit.
And this way, your less linkable pages - such as "money pages" - also benefit from the link equity value you get from blog content.
2. Internal linking Helps Google to Find Your New Content
Internal links are a great way for search engines to find and index your new content or web pages easily.
Search engines regularly crawl and re-crawl web pages to find new content. Because they're aware that web admins update their web pages or publish new blog posts from time to time.
And as such, you must link your newly published page(s) to an existing page - ones that have been indexed. So that, when next Google crawls your website, they can quickly discover the new content and add it to the index.
Most times, when people publish a new post, they go out looking for external links to the posting page - forgetting that they can actually give the page a boost on SERP by just linking to it from a relevant page within the site.
Don't act like them!
When you're publishing new content, first, link it internally and then pitch for backlinks.
3. Internal Linking Signals Your Most Important Pages to search engines
Google uses internal links as a measure of how vital one page is to the other.
Here's what Google says about internal linking…
"The number of internal links pointing to a page is a signal to search engines about the relative importance of that page."
The more links that point to a particular page of your site, the more important that page is to Google and the better its chances of ranking well above other pages.
4. Internal link helps with Canonicalization
You can use internal linking to canonical a page by hinting to Google that a particular page on your site should be given more preference - do this to avoid diluting ranking signals.
An internal link is one of the methods to canonical a page. Although not as effective as when you use a rel=canonical tag, it works.
When you have multiple pages with similar content on your site, the one that's most linked to internally will be considered the canonical page by Google, and Google should rank it above the others.
5. Internal link building makes it easy for users to find and navigate your site.
Users' experience (UX) is something to consider here because it's an important ranking signal to Google.
Good internal linking will ensure that users can find what they want on time and spend more time on your site. Thereby reducing the bounce rate on your site.
6. Internal link building makes you more MONEY
Surprised? Yes, it does!
The navigation menu helps funnel visitors to the most critical pages on your website, so also are internal links.
You can use internal links to map out customers' journeys, helping users determine the next step of action to take until they get to the final destination - where they convert or make a purchase.
7. With proper internal linking, you can get Google to crawl your site by submitting only the homepage URL
most especially if you've pages less than 1,000 on your site, provided links are connecting the pages, Google will discover and index them.
Best Practices and Strategy: How to Use Internal Links to Boost Web Pages
I know you must be asking…
How does this internal link-building strategy work?
Tactical inner linking is a powerful technique, most significantly - for a successful SEO.
There are many ways around this, but I'll show you two simple strategies you can start implementing right away.
My best and quickest method. It works well for me!
Method #1: Google "Site:+ " Search Operator"
I recently published a post on my blog, and this was the method I used to link the new article to an existing page internally, and you can do the same - this method is straightforward.
First, head over to Google and start by searching using this site search operator:
site:yourdomain.com "keyword or phrase related to the new page.
In my case…
This search query will return already indexed pages on your site where the keyword or keyphrase is mentioned.
What if I have hundreds and even thousands of web pages on my site?
This process is more applicable when you have a small website.
If you have a large site and see many results for a given query or you want to return a list of pages on your site, here's a quick step to doing that:
Step 1: go to Google (as we have done above) and enter:
Site: your domain.com and hit search
This will return a list of all the indexed pages on your site.
For a better experience, go to settings (on the search results page) and set the number of results to 100.
Step 2: Scrape the URLs: You can use this free chrome extension to scrape the results from SERPs.
And copy-paste them on Google sheets and then save.
Step 3: Download this free SEOpowersuite and copy+paste the URLs, and extract the keywords.
You can also use this Ahrefs trial to extract the keywords. Or even start by using the Ahrefs toolbar to download the top 100 URLs (just like in step 2).
Use this free tool to convert the keywords into a comma-separated list
This will convert the list of keywords into a comma-separated list.
Repeat this process by going back to the SERP and copy+paste other URLs.
Step 4: you can now research those primary keywords to find related keywords. You can use the Keyword Everywhere chrome extension or google's related search.
This step isn't really necessary because, unlike external links where you have to carefully and strategically choose anchor text, you're at liberty to link your primary keywords anyhow as long as it's relevant to the pages you're linking to.
If you're here with me, I'm glad to let you know that the hardest part is now behind.
Step 5: add the keywords to your site With SEO Auto Linker;
SEO Auto Linker takes care of everything for you.
Now, install SEO Auto Linker - head over to your dashboard and click on add new link
paste your keywords and save.
SEO auto Linker works by scanning through your site for any occurrences of the keywords you've saved in it in blog posts and pages.
It automatically adds a link with the matching keyword as anchor text to the page when it finds one.
Note, Set SEO auto Linker to one or two or three per page but don't overdo it.
Method #2: The "Power" Pages Method
Pages on your site with the most backlinks and authorities are called power pages or "authority" pages.
Authority+Backlinks = Power
I use this method whenever I publish a new blog post and want it to start ranking fast.
Most of the time, you have pages on your site standing as orphan pages. Or less linkable pages that you wish could rank better on search engines results pages.
Power Page + Orphan Page = Better Rankings
Or, in eCommerce sites - often, the product pages struggle to rank because it's hard to build backlinks to it. But by linking them to power pages on your site, you can get them to rank well on SERP.
How do you find power pages?
Ahrefs gives you a 7-day trial for $7, which you can use to find power pages and link all of your orphan pages or product category pages together.
Once you're in, open the Site Explorer > enter your domain > Best by links.
Immediately you'll see a list of the most powerful pages - with lots of backlinks and authorities - on your site.
How to place the link
Select one or more of the "power" pages that topically relate to the page you want to link to.
Go to the content, insert a relevant anchor text, and link it back to the new page.
However, avoid redundant links. That is, too many links from a single page pointing to the same page.
If you run an eCommerce website, you can follow this step to link to your product pages.
If you sell Shea butter online and have an authority post with lots of backlinks on "9 ways Shea butter can improve your skin,". It makes sense to link your product/category page to the post - to boost its ranking on the SERP.
#Bonus method: my best and quickest inner-linking method
The two methods I described above - are what I have been using on my website, including my clients' sites. But since I came across this plugin - that I'm going to show you now - I've saved a lot of time for myself.
If you want to build internal links better and smarter, Link Whisper is my recommended tool.
When you install Link Whisper on your WordPress website, it gives you intelligent suggestions automatically.
When I was about to publish this post, it automatically detected that I was not linking to any pages internally.
By clicking add, it automatically suggested links for me to add, and not only that, it allowed me to customize what I wanted as the anchor text.
Once I was done, I clicked add links. And that's all.
When using Link Whisper, all you need to do on your part is to review, add or remove the suggested links.
Link Whisper is a robust tool - that also gives you reporting out of the box.
Basic Guidelines To Follow When Building Internal Links
- Use relevant anchor text only.
- Avoid using the exact anchor text.
- Link only to relevant pages
- Don't overdo it. Keep it simple!
Summing Things Up With FAQ...
What is internal link building?
Internal link building is the process of linking from one page to another page of your website. The source domain and link-target domain is the same.
How can I benefit from internal linking?
Internal link building directs link equity throughout your site to support orphan pages or less linkable pages on your site.
Search engines will better understand the most important pages - including the keywords associated with them.
With internal linking, you can funnel visitors down to the conversion point.
Does it apply to all types of websites?
Yes, as long as you have more than one page on your website - you'll need to link them together.
Is internal link building a continuous process?
Yes. As you publish new content, you'll need to link them and account for the internal links, probably monthly. That's why I recommend using Link Whisper. It'll save you lots of time.
How long does it take to see results?
For fresh content, results could take up to a few days or even weeks with internal links from your most powerful pages.
I don't think I have the time; can you help my site with internal linking?
I understand managing business and doing SEO can be tedious. If you want to hire my team and me, start here.