If you ask me, which is my favorite onpage SEO technique – it’s “internal linking”.

Yes, you heard it right.

It’s my favorite for a reason.

It works like a charm.

It doesn’t matter if your website is old or new.

It simply works.

In this post, I will help you step-by-step on laying out a proper internal linking strategy for your website.

What is internal linking?

Simply said, internal linking is the process of internally linking relevant pages on your website together.

Internal linking

On your blog, the links between related posts are called internal links.

Internal links

The posts that you interlink to should be relevant to the post you are writing on.

It’s not just about linking blog posts together.

These are certain strategies and processes that you need to keep in mind before starting internally linking relevant content on your website/blog.

Benefits of internal linking

So, why do websites internally add links to their other relevant content? There must be some benefits, right?

I will discuss with you some of the benefits of internal linking.

Improves user experience: People find it very easy to find relevant information to explore further on your site. The internal links aid them greatly in their research process, as they find across other related articles when they are reading the articles.

Improves user engagement: Good user experience comes with good user engagement. When users stick longer on your site and explore your site further by clicking on your internal links, it results in lower bounce rate and longer page visit duration.

When readers will be sticking around longer on your site, Google can easily determine that your content quality is high and further boost your rankings in search engine results.

Website architecture: With the proper internal linking structure in place, you ’ll have a clear website architecture/hierarchy.

website architecture

This will further help you in your SEO efforts. I will discuss this later in this blog post, under the “silo structure” concept.

Distributes link juice: Internal links help you to uniformly spread the link juice on your site, and overall increase the domain and page authorities of your site.

Link juice flow

It helps you get more out of your link building efforts.

Along with this, you also need to remember that the internal links that appear at the top of the webpage receive relatively more link juice than the links present at the bottom of the page.

So, link out to the most important articles in the first paragraphs of your article by making the point across.

Effective Crawling: Search engines like Google can effectively crawl your site and also easily determine the topical relationship between the various blog posts on your site.

Google crawling

You need to internally link old blog posts to newly published articles on your site, it helps to speed up the blog post indexation process. This is one of the most underutilized strategies.

Once you publish any article, you need to head over to your relevant old blog articles and link to the newly published one.

How to do internal linking for SEO?

Listen.

There are various ways to add internal links. You can add the links to your content using HTML, manually using the hyperlinking feature, using auto-linking plugins or using the related posts plugin.

Linking Undraw

You need to do this internal linking process:

  • While writing any blog post, internally link to any of your posts as needed and when relevant.
  • After publishing a new blog post, head over to old blog posts and link to it for speeding up the new blog post’s indexation.

I highly suggest you do manual interlinking, as you’ll have more control when it comes to link placement, anchor text, and also creating a context.

People typically follow either of these techniques while doing internal linking:

  1. Keyword-based internal linking
  2. Topical-based internal linking

Keyword-based internal linking

This is the most straightforward process of internal linking. I recommend it for most of the people to get a great boost in their search traffic.

In this guide, I assume that you already have a site with content on it. How you need to add internal links to it.

In order to find the blog posts where you can add internal links, you need to make use of Google’s site modifier.

For an example, let me consider that I have a blog post on “LSI keywords”. Now I need to find other blog posts, where I can add links to my above post.

Using site modifier to add internal links

As you can see, I’ve used the query – “site:example.com” with the keyword in front of it, to return all the other blog posts on my site which mention the term LSI in it. So now, I can go ahead to those blog posts and interlink to my blog post on “LSI keywords”.

Note: You can also use your site’s functionality for this, but I prefer Google search as it also matches synonymous keywords (keywords with the same meaning) too. So, it covers more internal linking opportunities”

Topic-based internal linking structure

If you need to implement proper internal link structure on your site, you need to first have a proper topical structure for your site.

In this kind of internal linking, you need to create clusters of topically relevant articles on your blog, then only you’ll be able to create a good internal linking structure.

You need to have a pillar/silo pages around each of the topic your website deals with. Under these silo pages, you need to have a cluster of topically relevant articles.

Silo structure

Suppose if you have a website on fitness, you can create silos around:

  • Crossfit
  • Nutrition
  • Workouts
  • Yoga
  • So on.

And create supportive articles under each of these above topics/silos.

The silo page should internally link to all the cluster of articles that comes under it. The articles under a cluster should internally link to each other.

The articles of one cluster should not link to articles of another cluster/topic, no matter how strong the context turns out to be.

Silo internal linking

Here the majority of the backlinks you build will be to silo/pillar pages, and then the link juice from these flow to the internal cluster posts under them.

Akshay strongly recommends: Silo Structure for SEO in WordPress: The Best Guide on the Internet!

Keyword research for anchor texts in internal links

Anchor texts for internal linking

The anchor texts that you use for internal links should be natural to the readers to click on for exploring more on your blog.

The Google Penguin algorithm is strict when it comes to usage of exact-match anchor texts when it comes to backlinks. However, many webmasters confused it to be for internal links.

You can use exact keyword in your anchor texts when it comes to internal links.

Sometimes, when an exact match is not possible, you can also use LSI keywords in the anchor texts of the internal links.

Suppose if the keyword is around travel pillows, you can use these kinds of variations in anchor texts.

  • Best travel pillows
  • Best pillows for travelling
  • Travel-friendly pillows
  • Pillows for travel
  • Pillows for commuting
  • Pillows for journeys

So how to find these kinds of keywords?

Just Google your seed keyword.

Finding LSI keywords

The Google suggests you some of the related search queries, and these are called related or LSI keywords.

Google can easily identify these above terms mean the same, and in most of the cases give you the same benefit as if you have used exact match keyword anchor text in internal links.

You can also make use of tools like SEMrush for this.

SEMrush keyword research

These are some of the related or LSI terms you can include in anchor texts of your internal links, to help your content rank for a wider range of related search queries.

Nofollow vs dofollow for internal links

You should always dofollow the internal links. If you nofollow affiliate links, it’s like signaling Google to not flow the link juice and follow your internal pages.

Topical relevance between your related posts will not be built when it comes to nofollowing internal links.

If you have the habit nofollowing internal links in your blog posts, none of the internal linking benefits I mention in this blog post are applicable to you.

However, in some cases, if you are linking to pages like your contact page, terms, privacy policy page, you need to nofollow the links. Because, you are not willing to rank these pages on Google, right?

In WordPress block editor, you can easily do it by adding the following rel=”nofollow” code in the code editor.

Nofollowing the internal links
Opening the links in new tab

Also, it’s very important to open the internal links in new tab, to prevent the readers from being distracted reading the current blog post when they click on them.

Location of the internal links

Location to add internal links

In-content: Having internal links to your related posts within the blog posts’ content are called contextual links. They are the strongest ones as Google can accurately make out of the context in which you are linking to your related post.

Also, pay some attention to the text surrounding the internal links, make sure that it contains LSI keywords related to the topic you’re linking to.

Navigation bar: You can also consider including links to your most important pages along with about me, contact, and other pages. But don’t overdo it.

If you own an ecommerce store, read this case study published in 2012 that certainly is relevant today. According to it, an ecommerce site had 170 links in the navigation bar. They deleted 70 of those links. Due to this, the site saw a substantial increase in rankings and traffic.

The bottomline is that each link dilutes the juice that is flowed to the links already in place. So, consider limiting your global internal links.

In the same time, you need to also remember that in order to flow the link juice uniformly throughout your website, no page on your website should be three hops away from each other. This was explained by Rand Fishkin at Whiteboard Friday.

Footer bar: In the footer bar, you can try linking to some of the money posts you’re willing to rank. It has worked well for the guys at NinjaOutreach, which I’ll explain in the below section.

Apart from this, include links to your privacy policy, contact and terms of services page in the footer. You can consider nofollowing these links – although it’s not necessary to nofollow legal pages as reported by Matt Cutts in 2009.

Sidebar: You can include popular posts or recent posts widgets in the sidebar. Including the recent posts widget in the sidebar will speed up the new post indexation process.

How many internal links?

Number of internal links

There’s no rule that you need to have “this” many number of internal links.

However, going overboard when it comes to internal linking can hurt user-experience and engagement – they would feel overwhelmed.

My rule is to add 1 internal link every 100 words of my content.

However, if you don’t have enough posts on your blog, it may differ. But, I would avoid going beyond this number.

Instead of asking “How many internal links for SEO?” you need to ask – “How many internal links, if I add in this post, will enhance user-experience?”.

Add the internal links only where you feel that users need some other resource to explore further or fill the missing content gap.

Sending link juice to money pages

Sending Link Juice

Many novice bloggers ask me, “What’s the best way to build backlinks to money pages?”.

No one would link to commercial pages.

Then how to fix it?

It is by internally linking to money pages through your highly-backlinked pages.

Let me explain this to you.

First, you need to plug in your site’s URL in Ahrefs and pick the posts with most backlinks.

Analyse backlinks in Ahrefs

Now, you need to download the list of your highly backlinked articles.

If you don’t have access to Ahrefs, you can make use of your Google search console.

Finding backlinked articles in Google Search Console

After getting the list of highly backlinked articles, you need to make a list of money posts that you want to rank for.

Now print out the highly backlinked articles and also money posts you want to rank. Put them side-by-side for analysis.

If any of these blog posts are relevant, you can straightaway add the internal links to money posts.

In some cases, you need to create contexts in those popular pages to link to money pages. You can create this context by adding a new section to your most backlinked pages that make internal linking to money posts natural.

A case study by NinjaOutreach is a great example of this. They increased 50% of their organic traffic due to strategic internal linking.

Below are the steps they followed:

  1. They prepared a spreadsheet containing all the posts on their blog
  2. They assigned each post a goal value (money-making power)
  3. Tagged posts tier 1, 2, and 3 based on their goal value – most money-making posts in tier 1 and low-ranking posts in tier 3
  4. They internally linked to tier 1 in the best positions like in the navigation bar and also the footer
  5. They linked to tier 2 posts from tier 1 posts, and tier 3 from tier 2.

As a result of doing this, they increased their traffic by 50% in 3-4 months.

How to improve existing internal links?

Are there any changes I can recommend to your existing internal links?

Of course.

These are the two changes you can make.

  1. Optimize the internal links’ anchor text for SEO
  2. Optimize them for more clicks

But first, you need an easy way to figure out what internal links to optimize by checking the clicks they are receiving and also the presence of keywords.

You can check the clicks made on all your internal links using Google Tag Manager, follow the tutorial below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_C9JLhX5Npo

Seems little tough?

As an alternative, you can use a good WordPress plugin like Interlinks Manager. It comes with analytics and other great features.

Now you need to determine which of your internal links are getting less clicks.

You need to head over to those internal links, and consider optimizing the anchor texts to get more clicks by changing the position, changing the text around it, provoking curiosity, etc.

You can also consider tweaking the anchor texts of some internal links to include the keyword in it. For this, you also may need to tweak the text around it to make the anchor text natural.

Wrapping up

Internal linking is one of the most underutilized technique when it comes to onpage SEO.

Tracking properly how your internal links are performing, what posts are linking to what posts, anchor texts, and optimizing them periodically is very important.

Don’t go blindly behind SEO when it comes to internal linking, keep user experience also in mind.

Once you implement proper internal linking structure on your blog, you can’t expect the search traffic boost to happen overnight or in a couple days.

It’s essential for you to wait for at least 2-3 months to notice the increase in organic traffic.

Hope you guys found this post on internal links for SEO useful.

Akshay Hallur

About me

Hi, I’m Akshay Hallur. The founder of this blog BloggingX and many other online ventures. 

I’m a professional full-time blogger, a digital marketer, and a trainer. I’m here to help bloggers like you to create an outstanding blog and earn money from it.

One request?

I’ve put so much effort writing this blog post to provide value to the blogging community. It’ll be very helpful for me, if you consider sharing it on social media networks.
SHARING IS ♥️

28 thoughts on “Internal Linking for SEO: The Art of Ranking Content on Command”

  1. Hey Akshay

    Great message about internal linking I have done some testing on my blog which given some good results. We can do the stuff using googling just search the keywords u want to inter link with site:website.com we can find the possible posts. Other way is that find out the top post using google search console and find the opportunities and always link from old post you can find the improvements in the results..

  2. Abhishek Dharmik

    Thanks for sharing this easy guide on internal linking. I loved the way you have included all the essential points in the above article. Till now I was just having a little knowledge about internal linking but after reading this post I think I’m now ready. Internal linking is one of the most essential factors considered in SEO and if one wants to optimize blog properly then overlooking this point can result in a huge mistake. Will definitely be sharing this blog post with my network. Waiting for more interesting articles in the coming days… 🙂

  3. Hello akshay I wanted to about plugin which u use for navigatio
    index 1.e in top where user can directly go to the sub topic ..thanks in advance

  4. Wow thanks for the article, I learned a lot from you and videos you posted in it, bookmarked your page and hope to get more good juice in future from your FB group, and I have a lot of changes to do on my page

  5. Awesome piece of content about Internal Linking ! Thanks for sharing such great stuff. Keep up the good work! As always,

  6. To be honest
    I have about one week reading all days articles in Spanish and English about interlinking.
    This has been the best, really thanks for your amazing content.
    Of course, I must say I have much information already to understand but the way that you use to write is very smart and simple to understand.
    I will share this article is great really.
    Thanks in advance.

  7. SEO is mainly depended on two factors- Keywords and Backlinks (Internal and External links). If you can manage these two aspects very well, that means you will get best SEO results.
    Thanks for sharing this.
    Cheers!

  8. Internal linking is a good way to revive your old post, I usually do that in my blog and until now my old post still gain traffic. It’s an effective SEO

  9. I actually enjoy reading articles on your blog as well. I like to learn something new every day and your blog posts are just the ticket.

  10. mahmudul hasan

    Hey Akshay
    love your content. so much value.

    I don’t know why people always underestimate the value of internal linking?
    It’s my first priority, then other backlink.

    thanks a lot

  11. Hello Akshay
    Very informative article, one question – whether LSI keywords are just synonyms of target Keywords.

  12. I really love applying this strategy on my blog, not only does internal linking improve your SERP, it also helps engage my readers and also increase traffic

  13. Narendra Reddy

    Wow! your article is so nice, thanks for sharing this information for me. I have got a lot of information on this article, really it will help me a lot. Keep on updating for latest trend topics.

  14. Vikrant Tamhane

    Killer advice. I was always confused about how to go about internal linking and used to do it randomly. Will use your advice going forward. Thanks a ton. Could you also do a blog on outbound links and how many to link to?

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