INTERNAL LINK OPTIMIZATION SEO

Matthew Carter
Hello friends, my name is Matthew Carter. I’m a professional link builder for a large SEO agency in New York City.

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Many factors go into how search engines crawl, index and rank websites. Internal linking is up there as one of the most important. It should also be noted that creating and optimising internal links is one of the easiest things you can do on your site to help with indexing and ranking.

Step 7. You then need to add optimised links from other important pages on your site, to these pages.

Step 8. Look for the Settings option and click that.

Table of contents.

As with a lot of things in SEO, the answer is “it depends”.

So how do you show your data?

Step 3. You should see a pop up like this.

Step 3. Go over to the Structure explorer section and click that. You should see something like this.

When we say to show your data we don’t mean for you to bombard your clients with Excel files. Odds are, they’ll be ignored.

So you have to tread carefully.

With Screaming Frog.

Step 5. You now have a load of data at your fingertips.

Don’t be afraid of PowerPoint.

So you’ve got your data.

Yep. Manual is still a decent option. Especially for smaller sites. As you might suspect, you go to the pages that you want to add internal links to, then just edit the text in your CMS.

With Ahrefs.

Step 11. It’s then a case of taking your data and adding internal links to those pages, using the keywords you’ve searched for.

So, finding deep pages and linking internally to them is super important. Here are a few ways you can do it.

Step 12. Take your new spreadsheet and check each URL to see if it links to the page you want to perform better.

But how do review current anchor text, and how can we find new opportunities to optimise existing links?

Step 4. You’ll see a graph like in the image below. This shows the Number of URLs and Website Crawl Depth.

This will show you the keywords for which you rank on the top of page 2. Sort the results by Google Rank and discover the URLs that you'll link to from your high-authority pages. Don't forget about the keywords — you'll use them in the links' anchor text.

Here are the five link building strategies you can use to improve your internal linking for SEO as well as for users. Out of the numerous strategies out there, I've seen these five have the biggest effect on SEO and rankings. You can pick just one of them for your site, or use several in combination for even better results.

There are several types of links classified by their purpose and characteristics. The most important distinction is between navigational links and contextual links.

The third internal linking strategy will work for a tougher player whose website is optimized for a few high-search-volume, high-competition keywords. Such keywords often have very generic meaning, e.g., "buy cheap shoes".

The more links, internal or external, are found on a page, the less link juice each link sends to the page it points to. Moreover, unless the content is well-structured, it may be boring for your visitors to scroll down an endless list of resources. To top it up, an excessive number of links can send a spam signal to search engines, severely impacting your page's authority.

2. Point high-authority pages to low-hanging-fruit pages.

The alt attribute of image links acts like anchor text for text links — so it's another opportunity to send a ranking signal to search engines, increasing authority while you're at it.

Other than that, internal linking is mostly used for website navigation and maintaining an easy-to-follow website structure. While this is primarily a user experience benefit, a logical website structure also saves up on your crawl budget, allowing search engines to index more pages per visit. Which leads us to number three.

There are a bunch of other less frequent internal links that you may want to have. For more in-depth understanding how to apply internal links for technical SEO, check out HTML guidelines. While here, let me dwell on internal linking strategies in general. Because only with a clear linking strategy, you will make your internal linking consistent and beneficial.

Step 3. Use internal links to the high-conversion pages on the high-traffic pages. Image links or banners are likely to attract more clicks than text links. You can further experiment with link placement or banner variations within the page.

The second internal linking strategy will work if you already have a great blog with tons of useful content. And as we all know, useful content attracts external backlinks. We can use the accumulated link juice your blog posts enjoy from other linking websites to promote pages that are stuck somewhere on page 2 in the SERPs. These are the so-called low-hanging fruit pages.

Step 2. Find high authority pages that rank at the top of page 2 for your target keywords. We are going to use Rank Tracker for this task. I'll assume you already track rankings in Rank Tracker (otherwise, you'll need to import your target keywords into the tool and run a ranking check for them).

You can use WebSite Auditor to find orphan pages on your website. To do this, go to the Pages dashboard, click Rebuild Project , and check the Show expert options box. In the dialog box, select Look for orphan pages , and proceed with the next steps as usual.

It is quite common to have the nofollow attribute to disguise an unnatural link to an external domain. The same way some people use nofollow on internal links. For example, nofollow tags are added on comments to avoid user-generated content with spammy links that might disrupt the site authority.

We'll discuss some of the more advanced internal linking strategies in a minute, but, before that, let's make sure you've got the basics right. Here are the seven things that must be present in your site's internal linking structure.

To estimate link juice or PageRank, SEO PowerSuite's InLink Rank is a huge help. It's based on the same formula as Google's original PageRank, and it does the same thing — evaluates the ranking power of a page based on the quantity and quality of its backlinks. The higher the InLink Rank, the more authoritative page you get.

5. Make sure image links have alt attributes.

Links serve as a ranking signal to Google based on the concept of link equity, or ranking power. Around two decades ago, Google developed a special PageRank algorithm to calculate how authoritative pages are. The more backlinks a page has, the more useful it looks to Google. And vice versa, if a page has a large number of outgoing links, its PageRank is diluted. That is why building links to a given page adds up to its link equity and increases ranking potential.

In order to force browser to open a link in a new tab, add a 'target' attribute to the link in HTML:

To audit internal anchor text, launch WebSite Auditor once more. Under the Pages dashboard, click on any one of the pages. Below, click on Links from page to see every link on the page along with its anchor text, HTTP response code, and robots directives.

It is considered a good practice when each page can be reached within three clicks of the homepage. Nowadays, users are very demanding when it comes to the speed of websites, including page load time and the time required to complete certain actions. Why should one bother to get through tens of unnecessary links if there are plenty of similar websites out there with well-organized and efficient internal pages? Thus, it is crucial to reduce the number of clicks it takes to get to important landing pages and to maintain a shallow website structure:

An internal link leads to a page on the same website, as opposed to an external link, which leads to a page on a different website. Most commonly, internal links are used for navigation, but there are also some ways to use internal links for search optimization purposes.

These days, search engines rely on both sitemaps and links to discover web pages. It means that even unlinked pages (otherwise known as orphan pages ) can be found by the search engines as these pages are listed in the sitemap. But it's impossible to find an orphan page through the website's navigation. Such pages virtually don't exist for the users. It's a good idea to get rid of orphan pages — by creating internal links to them from other pages.

Step 1. Find pages with high InLink Rank. In Website Auditor, open your project and go to Site Structure > Pages . Click on the header of the InLink Rank column to sort the URLs by their InLink Rank. If you don't see an InLink Rank column in your workspace, right-click the header of any column to add it. You can also apply a custom filter to find pages that meet certain criteria, e.g. the blog pages. Use the filter icon to do that.

2. Internal linking makes people stay longer on your site.

Some other interesting internal links that could be mentioned here:

For example, you have a website that sells bicycles. And since bicycle fit is very important, each of your product pages links to a service guide on how to properly fit a bike. With that many internal links pointing to the guide, Google may consider this page more important than others. At this point, you can use the guide to link to some of your newer pages, passing some importance onto them and perhaps even improving their rankings.

To check your internal pages' click depth, launch WebSite Auditor, jump to Site Structure > Pages , and sort the URLs by Click depth . The analysis tool will show you how many clicks it takes to reach any given URL and whether any of them need to be moved closer to the surface.

Well, it’s a matter of taste, but for your site’s sake (especially when you build external links, though, the same applies to pages linked internally) the user should not lose the current browsing context. If you force links with additional information to open in a new tab, it's easier for users to return to the first page they landed on.

The Google Search Console can be the first clue to understanding your link profile. Here you can find the Links report which includes both external links, with top linking sites grouped separately, top anchor words on external sites, and the internal links report.

Navigational links are used to help users navigate through your website pages. They are site-wide links that define what kind of structure your site has. Navigational links appear as your header menu, in the form of as text or picture icons, and are marked with the proper HTML formatting. This can be a category page, the ‘About us’ page, or a landing page with a call-to-action. Thus, navigational links are not as numerous, however, building an effective navigation means a lot to build an effective conversion flow.

Instead of targeting a few high-search-volume keywords, you may prefer to hunt for many long-tail, low-search-volume keywords. In most cases, they belong to the bottom level of a website, e.g., individual blog posts or product listings.

The links placed within the page's content have a higher SEO value than the ones in the header, footer, or sidebar. The latter has more to do with navigation, and it looks like Google treats those as non-editorial links. Link in the main content, on the other hand, adds new information and value to the text. Furthermore, the text and keywords surrounding content links also matter for the ranking of the target page.

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