Curious about internal linking?
You’re not alone. Only a handful of people know exactly how Google determines the value of your internal links. Those same people know how your links factor into Google’s algorithms to determine your page rank.
Google is, of course, the uncontested search-engine leader. If you want to increase your page ranking, you need to follow their SEO recommendations.
Unfortunately, they’re notoriously tight-lipped about the exact nature of their algorithms.
They only paint the broad strokes for us. They leave the rest for us to determine for ourselves. Unfortunately, that leaves many people like you in the dark.
So what can you do about it?
You come to people like us. In the following article, you’ll find recommendations from the smartest people in the business.
Follow their strategies and you’ll improve your page rank overnight. Read on to learn more.
What is Internal Linking?
Let’s begin with a little background to ensure we’re on the same page. An internal link connects one page of your website to another page of your same website. In other words, the source domain and target domain are the same.
Your visitors use these links to navigate to other useful pages on your site. If you use them intelligently, you’re guaranteed a longer overall dwell time from each user. Search engines factor dwell times into their algorithms. They use them to determine your search engine page ranking (SERP).
The links also help search engines define the architecture and hierarchy of your site. Google says the number of internal links pointing to a particular page signals the relative importance of that page. On the same note, these links distribute page authority and page ranking power in your site.
How does all this happen, exactly? Well, the jury is still out on that one. Much like other SEO matters, major search engines hint to internal links being a factor in their algorithms.
Unfortunately, they’re unwilling to share exactly how links factor in. It’s left to us to figure out the rest through trial and error. The following sections are based on the results of thousands of tests from dozens of digital gurus.
Build Tons of Content
Search engines mark you down if you have too many internal links on any single page. They similarly mark you down when you have too many internal links on any given domain. What is an appropriate amount, you ask?
We’ll get into that in a little bit. For now, all that’s important is that you know not to overstuff your pages with internal links. You should also know that the more appropriate internal links your site have, the higher your SERPs.
It follows that the only way to have a ton of internal links is to build a ton of content. You don’t need spreadsheets or pie charts to figure out the optimal number. You need just need a roadmap for your content production.
How do you come up with new ideas for hundreds of pieces of relevant, engaging content for your audience? Simple. You cheat.
Check out sites like SemRush that let you spy on your competition. Figure out what content is working for them, and create similar, better content.
Approach the topics from new angles. Give new insight into old ideas. Fill in gaps your competitors might have missed.
Then create a content calendar for yourself, so you’ll never run out of ideas.
Link Using Anchor Text
Avoid images as your primary source of links. Does that mean that you can’t use image links? No. As long as they are correctly alt-tagged and not the primary source of links, we recommend using image links.
Instead of image links, use textual links. Write your content naturally. Then choose a fragment of your organic sentence as the anchor text.
The fragment should be no more than five words, numbers, or a combination thereof. Don’t overthink it. Highlight it. Link to it. And have done with it.
Pages to Avoid
When it comes to internal links, all pages are not built equally. Some pages, top-level pages should be avoided. These include pages like your homepage, about us page, contact us page, etc.
These pages naturally acquire all kinds of links from navigation bars. When you link to internal pages, tie your new content to pages deep within your site. Think cornerstone content and popular pages.
Cornerstone content focuses on fundamental topics. These topics relate to most of the other topics on your site. For instance, if you have a health and fitness site, a cornerstone topic may be “How Your Metabolism Really Works.”
Popular pages are just that. They’re the pages most viewed by your audience. Use metrics to determine which of your pages make the cut.
Boost Page Authority
Search engines place weight on links coming from sites with a high domain authority (DA).
In other words, backlinks from leaders in your industry will increase your page ranking. Backlinks from common Joe’s, on the other hand, won’t affect your page ranking.
Well, the same can be said of internal links. All pages aren’t created equal. Some pages on your site have more DA than others.
The pages most lauded by your viewers have a higher DA than your other pages. If you want to boost the page rank of new content, link to it from your pages with high DA.
Note: Be aware that page rank and DA are two distinctly different things. If you need more clarity between the differences, check out our article on Page Rank vs. Domain Authority
Some thought leaders suggest links at the top of your page hold more weight than links further down. Consider placing your new internal links toward the top of your pages.
Also, Moz suggests that no page on your site should ever be more than three clicks away. Build your pages in an interconnected web, easily accessible from any direction.
Well, have you had enough of link building? Internal linking doesn’t have to be complicated. You don’t need a byzantine strategy to be successful.
Start by creating a content building roadmap. Mark your onramps, exits, and main thoroughfares. Then connect the dots.
If you enjoyed this article, take five minutes to check out our other great link-building articles. Do it now while it’s still fresh in your mind.
So long and good luck!