What is internal linking?

Internal linking is the act of creating html hyperlinks between two URLs within the same domain. 

What is an internal link anchor text?

The anchor text of an internal link is the text which is used to embed the link on to. It usually lights up as blue and underlined, but that can easily be changed in style sheets for any individual site, page or link. It responds to a left click which directs you to a new URL. Here is an Internal linking example:

The “anchor text” in this link is “Semantic Search Guide“.

Most content writing sites, whether that is Word, WordPress, Wix, or other, will allow you to embed internal links by highlighting the anchor phrase (the words you want to link to the other page) and right clicking. This should bring up an option to add a hyperlink. You will need to retrieve the URL from the target page and then add it.

How important is internal linking in SEO?

Internal linking is an underused yet important strategy in SEO. It is as much about topical proximity as it is about ranking. Even so, the significance of any single internal link will depend on the authority of the source page itself. Because most internal pages on a site have much lower authority than those of (say) the home page, individual links may not always provide much significance, but provide context.  By improving topical proximity/authority Google will be far more likely to offer your relevant and full-bodied pages over those that do not serve visitors as well.

This being said, links have always been important to Google’s algorithms, initially because of its PageRank maths. This later developed to include the “reasonable surfer” algorithms, which meant that some links out of a page were more important than others. It is presumed that links in the body of an article, and nearer the start of the content are the most valuable links in Google’s maths. In more recent times, Google has played down the importance of links for PageRank, although this has not always washed with the SEO community. Google still accepts that PageRank remains part of their system, but its influence is much less clear these days. 

What are the benefits of internal linking?

Good internal linking is great marketing in its own right. This strategy helps users understand the content they are reading on a page, by providing solid, supporting links to the underlying concepts discussed. This in turn helps machines like Google connect the concepts into tight graphs that allow search engines to derive meaning and intent. Here are many benefits of Internal Linking

What’s the best internal linking strategy?

Well, like in so many aspects of SEO, it depends. We believe that the best internal linking strategy is one that is semantically informed and structured towards your pillar pages. Every good internal link should point back to your pillar page with varied and interesting anchor texts. To do this, we suggest brushing up on your understanding of the semantic web, and how to design your site so that varied topics. Three approaches are Contextual links, Link silos and Navigational links.

How to use internal linking for SEO?

To create fantastic internal links that benefit SEO you will need to link sparingly and accurately back to your pillar pages with varied and consistent anchor texts. Not only this, but you will need to keep track of your secondary pages (perhaps blog posts) and link these straight to your pillar pages too. These will create silos to ensure your visitors are always being directed to the pages that give the best information and conversion rates.  

How many internal links per page should I have?

There is no definitive answer to this. Links in the body text of a page’s content should always remain contextually relevant. Some SEOs also advocate using a “Mega-Menu” to try and get a site’s content indexed and recrawled more regularly, but these links do not always convey the same contextual meaning that links in the body text are able to do. As long as internal links help the user get to the right content faster, you are on reasonably safe ground. Try not to have so many links that the user cannot understand that context, as machines will also struggle to understand the link context as well.

What’s the difference between internal and external linking?

An internal link is a link from one page to another page on the same domain or site.  An external link is on a page that links to an entirely separate domain. 

Is there any material difference to a search engine? One philosophy says no… as Search Engines calculate most of their signals at the URL level. Indeed… now that the Knowledge Graph is so developed, it can be argued that the search engines analyse at an even granular level… splitting a page into segments, called passages or chunks.  

Other SEOs, however, maintain that the domain itself might infer authority. This author is yet to be convinced of this latter approach since most research pages do not formerly discuss sites, but pages.   Even so, the website owner will have far more control over internal links into any given page than links from other domains. It might, therefore, be more valuable (all things being equal) to have links into a page from outside your site than links coming in from inside your site.  

Certainly, the PageRank maths would suggest that without any links coming in from the wider web, the internal links would not carry much weight, as ultimately only links from outside the web owner’s immediate locus of control can add to the overall authority passed through internal links. 

What are the best practices for internal linking?

Please refer to our internal linking guide to understand the best practices for internal linking.

What are the best internal linking tools?

There are many tools for auditing internal links, but less designed to recommend or build internal links. Several tools for auditing internal links are discussed here.

How to find internal links to a page/on a site?

A recent study has found that over 82% of all internal linking opportunities are missed. But what is the best way to find these good internal linking opportunities? We have highlighted these in our Internal linking guide

How to perform an internal link analysis?

Internal Link analysis is usually the backbone of an Internal link audit. It is important to start with the end objective in mind, as not all parts of the audit may be necessary for every analysis.

What is an internal links audit?

An internal links audit looks at where you stand, and what you need to do to improve. Here at InLinks, we have devised an internal linking score, enabling you to precisely do this. This will help you to see exactly just what you need to do to get ahead. As we have found that 82% of all internal linking opportunities are missed. This process is necessary to see the gas in your linking structure that could be stopping you from rankings!

What is the best internal links case study?

Here are the top case studies which show how important internal linking is as an SEO strategy: There are several studies backing up the benefits of internal linking for SEO.

Search pilot carried out an independent study on Internal Links.
Two other studies are summarized here.
All InLinks SEO case studies.

How to use internal linking for ecommerce sites?

Internal linking on an eCommerce site can very quickly become sporadic and confused, with clear pillar pages not emerging/existing. To have a more in-depth idea of how internal linking works for eCommerce sites on InLinks take a read of this article by Karim

Whats the best internal linking plugin for wordpress?

WordPress has many interesting, useful (and useless) plugins. It can sometimes be hard to find the right one for you. Look for plugins that have good reviews and are being regularly maintained and updated, as old plugins often become incompatible with your site over time.

How to use internal linking to your homepage?

Most pages naturally link back to a site’s homepage, but not all. Make sure that users can always link to the home page of a site so that they can always start a new navigational search. However, you usually only need to link to the home page in the body of an article sparingly, as you would hope that the user and the search engine understand your main home page.

Whats the best internal linking software?

We are biased.

How to use keywords in internal linking

Keywords are important as a starting point, but they are not the be-all and end-all in SEO. You should first start with your keyword research and understand the words you want pages to rank for. Then we need to start thinking like Google and understand the underlying semantics of the content.

What is an example of bad internal linking? – DUPLICATE CONTENT

Optimizing internal links is much less risky for SEO than traditional link building, which is generally seen as using strategies that develop links INTO your site or online ecosystem from third parties. Google frowns on many of these techniques, even though the majority of SEOs believe that this is a necessary tactic for SEO.

Any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This includes any behaviour that manipulates links to your site or outgoing links from your site.

Taken from Google’s link guidelines here.

Internal linking is not the same, however, as you are trying to make the best experience you can for your existing visitors. Even so, in the past, there were reports of penalties for excessive “Exact Match” anchors. These were usually patterns that were out of context or incongruous, but by using the entity-based approach described here, this risk should be eliminated, providing common sense is applied.

How to learn more about Internal Linking

You can read our Internal Linking Guide

Or you can sign up to Inlinks.

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Genie is looking at how Natural Language Processing algorithms consume and understand online content. She achieved a first-class degree in "Language, Culture, and Communication" from Warwick University.

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