Top 6 Internal Linking Best Practices to Maximize SEO Results

Internal linking is a powerful tool for your SEO performance. By implementing the right internal linking strategy, you help Google better understand your website structure and content which is necessary for Google to provide users with relevant results. 

Plus, internal links (aka INbound links) contribute higher conversion rate and better user experience by making navigation easy. Once you understand the importance of internal linking for your SEO performance, it’s crucial to know how to build the internal linking strategy properly. 

In this article, Aleph Website will go over the top 6 internal linking best practices that will boost your website’s SEO and improve its ranking on Google. 

Top 6 Internal Linking Best Practices to Maximize SEO Results

1. Keep the Website Structure and Navigation Depth Shallow

Your website visitors should find what they’re searching for in as few clicks as possible (three or fewer). This is described by Page Crawl Depth ‘Click Depth’ which shows the number of clicks needed to go from a homepage to another site page. 

Nowadays, online users are very impatient and demanding when it comes to the time needed for finding relevant information and completing certain actions. 

Aside from reducing loading speed, it’s crucially important to reduce the number of clicks it takes to arrive at landing pages and ensure that all website content is easily accessible. This way, you maintain a shallow website structure.

Otherwise, if website visitors find it complicated to find what they need on the site, they’ll leave and try to find what they’re looking for somewhere else. 

By ensuring that all content is easily accessible, you improve user experience and chances that prospects will become your paying customers. 

How to measure Page Crawl Depth?

Semrush Site Audit tool offers Thematic Reports that include comprehensive but straightforward Internal Linking Reports.

This report gives insights about:

Often time, the deep crawl is caused by redirect loops. A redirect loop is a redirect link that runs a few times before it reaches the destination. Make sure to check the health of your 303 redirects.

And we can see how internal link distribution is for each site:

2. Create Topic Clusters

A topic cluster model is a great way to organize website content and improve the overall SEO performance of the website. 

This model can be analogically represented by the main hub of the silo (‘pillar’ page for a particular topic). Any topically related page that provides additional content (cluster content) needs to internally link back to the pillar page. This signals to Google that the pillar page is a topical authority.

Keep in mind that pillar pages have to broadly cover certain topics and cluster content that links back to it. For instance, if you have a pillar page on content marketing, a cluster page could be about content marketing types for real estate.

It is easy therefore to map out the links based on entity relationships and connections between keywords; being within a cluster of other keywords. Logically these connections are replicated as links – both internal and external.

Internal and external links that pertain to a single topic have ahigh relevancy and will rank in parallel. In other words, suggested search terms, people also ask, and other results that pop up, all utilize the links to help the search engine serve better match results.

3. Use Relevant Anchor Text

Anchor text is important for SEO since it signals to Google what a web page is about. Plus, using keywords in the anchor text improves keyword ranking. 

However, it’s easy to ‘over-optimize’ anchor texts by using repetitive keyword-rich phrases. It wouldn’t sound natural if you used the same anchor text for all internal links since it’s not how people normally link. 

Instead, try to diversify anchor texts but keep them relevant and descriptive of the linked page. 

4. Link internally to new posts in old posts 

Aside from using internal links in new blog posts, linking to new posts in your old post is critical. This is why blog posts and blogging present such an easy and straight-forward solution for internal links.

In addition to increasing the authrotiy of the page it links to, the SERPs (search engine results page) are full of blog posts featured snippets. Which are featured answers often pulled directly from blog posts.

Don’t neglect to freshen up your old blog posts by creating internal links that lead to new posts.

By doing so, you help new blog posts get more relevant traffic from older ones that are topically related. Also, these links enable Google’s search crawlers to easily index since Google follows internal links from old pages to discover and index new pages.

Therefore, every time you publish a new article, don’t forget to check older topically related posts and update them with internal links to the new article.

This way, other pages can pass their authority to a new page, which contributes to its SEO performance and ranking position. 

A few conditions need to be met in order for this link to work:

  • The blog post needs to be indexable, and crawlable. Indexing the page is what makes the link count.
  • Do not use spammy links or keyword stuffing
  • Try to be versatile with links (use text, image, and button links)
  • implement On-page SEO to increase the blog post authority
  • Do not create duplicate content without a canonical pointing to the main page
  • Use DoFollow links
  • Stick to a niche subject and try to focus on topicality
  • Increase domain authority and page authority score by acquiring backlinks

How to Identify Authority Pages?

You’re probably wondering how to identify authority pages in order to pass their authority to other pages by using internal links.

The most authoritative web pages get authoritative backlinks from other sites. Once you identify these pages, you can pass the page’s value and authority (link equity) through to other web pages via internal linking. 

With the Backlink Analytics tool, you can identify these pages. All you have to do is to enter your website domain, and you’ll see all indexed URLs sorted by the number of referring domains.

5. Don’t Force Internal Links

Generally speaking, internal linking is a powerful way to improve SEO and the ranking position of web pages. However, forcing internal links might be harmful to SEO performance.

If there is no relationship between two pages, don’t connect them with a contextual link. It would harm the user experience and confuse Google while trying to understand the content of the page.

Premium Yoast and Rank Math offer Internal Linking suggestions if you need help with building and creating internal links.

6. Find and Fix Broken Links

Broken links are links that point to pages that no longer exist or cannot be found. 

A link is broken if:

  • It’s pointing to the wrong page
  • The page has been deleted or moved without updating the link
  • There’s a typo in the URL

Most importantly, broken links negatively affect the site’s ranking position.

If users click on a broken link, they will most likely leave the website. Therefore, broken links can easily increase bounce rate which indicates to Google that the website provides a bad user experience

In addition, if a website generates broken links, it will be hard for Google to understand the website structure and crawl the site properly, which can result in losing out on valuable traffic.

Due to these reasons, identifying and fixing all broken links should be a priority.

Google Search Console includes a Crawl Stats report where you can see whether your website has generated any broken links. All you have to do is to go to Crawl > Crawl Errors. 

Once you’ve identified broken links on the site, you can start fixing them by:

  1. Updating the link: If there’s a typo in the URL or the link points to the wrong page
  2. Redirect the link to the new page: if the linked page has been moved, you can point the link to the new page
  3. Removing the link: If the linked page has been deleted or is no longer available

SUMMARY: top 6 internal linking best practices

  1. Keep the Website Structure and Navigation Depth Shallow
  2. Create Topic Clusters
  3. Use Relevant Anchor Text
  4. Link internally to new posts in old posts 
  5. Don’t Force Internal Links
  6. Find and Fix Broken Links

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Višnja is a passionate digital marketing advocate that works with Aleph as an author, contributor, and consultant to our clients. She has a degree in psychology and a knack for content marketing.

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