3 Effective Internal Linking Tips

The effects of internal linking are often overlooked.

Many people concentrate on generating external links to their website, because these links boost their site SEO -search engine optimization- wise.

They often don’t realize that effective internal linking may get them similar results.

Particularly if you have a website containing many different pages, a significant impact on your search engine rankings is possible, depending on the way that your blog or website is set up.

Effective internal linking is about three important factors. Here they are.

internal linking
Photo Credit: Arjen Toet

1. Site navigation
That’s how your visitor will move through your site.
This is the first step you must perform to set up your internal linking correctly.

From your navigation menu you must link to your best pages. It doesn’t matter if they are categories or just regular pages.

Quite often you’ll even have two navigation menus. One covering the whole site with the exclusive goal to show the main sections of your website to your visitors. The extra navigation menu will be for informational pages such as those that have your ‘about’-page and contact information, tutorials, a description of your site, etc.

Take a look at the menu at the top of this page. Links to important pages.
And then we have the menu at the right. All the categories are listed, there’s an archive that you can turn to and there’s a search box. All about navigation.

2. In-context linking
That’s just what the name says. Links that are within the context of your blog or site and that are not listed in a navigation menu.

Because they appear in a natural way within your text, search engines prefer in-context links, so it’s crucial to use internal linking to connect your related posts or pages to each other. WordPress has several plugins to achieve this.

The frequency depends upon how huge your site is.

You don’t want to use a lot of internal linking if you only have a relatively small website or blog. In that case you’d rather select the most important keyword phrases and link them to your most important relevant pages.

On the other hand, if you have a larger site, you can use internal linking a bit more frequently, as it has a much greater effect on larger sites than it does on smaller sites.

I use another plugin to achieve this on my blog. Whenever a key phrase appears in the text, that plugin automatically links to certain pages.

3. Anchor text
That’s the text you use in your links and it is very important for search engine optimization.
Lots of webmasters still make the mistake of using “useless” words in their links. The phrase “Click here” is a great example of this. It’s linked it to the page they want their visitors to be taken to.
Make absolutely sure that you don’t make that mistake.

Use keywords/key phrases instead.
Like “Marketing strategies help here” and link just the words “marketing strategies” to that page. Marketing strategies is a much stronger anchor text phrase to use. Your potential visitors are not searching the internet for the term “click here”. They’re looking for marketing strategies and that are the exact relevant words you should tell the search engines.

Take these three internal linking elements and you can either start on the right foot with a new site or blog or you can optimize what you already have online fairly quickly and easily.

So, what do you do about internal linking?
Post your comments below.

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12 thoughts on “3 Effective Internal Linking Tips

  1. Case Stevens says:

    Welcome Martin and yes, you’re right.
    A link to your home page increases the value of it.
    Here’s how you do that in WordPress:

  2. fotk says:

    I actually do what you pointed out, but I think it will only have effect on indexing your pages, not their position in SERPs. Page rank cannot depend on structure of a page, if so then there would be templates and a lot of spam pages having page rank > 6 etc.

  3. Mike says:

    Another tip is create post series and put a link outside to a homepage, so that your old content will have a chance to be read again as well.

  4. Gary Brazzell says:

    Thanks for the valuable reminders. My personal experience suggests that internal linking strategy does affect SERP in that top level links get higher page rank. For instance, pages linked off my main menus tend to achieve higher page ranks than subpages, even if I don’t optimize the pages linked off my main menus individually. I think Google gives preference to top level pages in the SERPs, and what Google thinks is a top level page depends on your internal linking strategy.

    I would also add to the Anchor Text reminder #3. If linking images to important pages in your text, remember to provide relevant alt text for the images. Search Engines read this alt text and use that alt text to help decide what the linked to page is about.

  5. stewart says:

    Thanks for all these comments. Oddly, the company that designed our webpage suggested we didn’t have too many inner links and didn’t even mention that a link on each page to our Homepage would be beneficial. Having said that they did say they would provide SEO at a cost. That makes me suspicious!

  6. Commercial says:

    My favorite is placing a link to an important page in the sidebar or footer of your blog. Again, you should always be taking advantage of anchor text when linking to content in your site, whether you’re linking from outside your site or inside your site.

  7. Ken @ Affordable Website Promotion says:

    I agree 100% with your assertion that one should not use useless words in their text links. The problem I have is that most of my clients have only graphical links to their inner pages because their web designer –almost to the man/woman– as little or no concept of optimization or even proper internal linking strategies. Unfortunately I’m only hired after the damage has been done and I’m supposed to work with was given to me and, of course, do miracles with these websites and make them rank #1 in Google.

    Case, do you have any advice for me to handle the situation is better before I lose my mind or (shudder!) learn web design myself?

    • Case Stevens says:

      You are in a very typical situation, that all local Internet marketers experience:
      1. The mistakes already are there; plenty of them
      2. (Most) Website owners always know better (colors, headlines; calls to action; use of pics, etc.)
      3. The techie, who calls him/her self ‘web designer’, says it can’t be done!
      I always turn that into a contest. I make a copy of the page and change the things I want to implement.
      Next, I’ll run a split test contest. See which version performs best. I almost always win! 🙂
      Need a great web design manual as a reference? Download “The Bible of Webdesign”.

  8. Marc says:

    The effects of internal linking are often overlooked.
    Many people concentrate on generating external links to their website, because these links boost their site SEO -search engine optimization- wise.
    They often don’t realize that effective internal linking may get them similar results.

    I found your article interesting, I will be updating my article Sales Information – Do You Have What You Need?

  9. Data Entry Outsourcing says:

    After reading this blog, i have used all three tips suggested by this blog and now my keywords is in top 10 on Google . Thanks a lot Blog administrator.

    Data Entry

  10. Business Process Outsourcing says:

    Most of the online marketers concentrate on off page optimization to build quality links to a website. On-page optimization is the first thing to concentrate. If links in the site are well structured we will get good rankings for our targeted keywords. First concentrate on site structure and links with in the site. This will be very useful for user as well as search engines.

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