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How-to 16 min read

Internal links for seo: an optimization guide

Linking optimization (structure and texts of internal links) is one of the main tasks in the promotion. It's important to pay attention to the competent distribution of statical weight between pages and the proper use of anchor text to effectively promote the resource.
The incorrect use of links within site can lead to irrelevant documents getting into the search engines and low values of behavioral factors since the users won't find the necessary information on the pages. The small value of statical weight on promoted URLs will interfere with their growth in search engine results pages.

What is internal linking?

Linking is the page interconnectedness of a site. Internal links are used to connect one resource page to another. Internal linking is intended for user navigation and SEO promotion.

High-quality site linking allows you to keep visitors on your site longer and is also highly valued by search engines.

Internal linking rules

  • Navigation should allow the user to go to any page of the site in no more than three clicks. If you place the page at a deeper level, then the search engines may not index it, or the page priority will be extremely small;

  • as a rule, the menu contains pass-through links to all categories of the site that are accessible from any page, and on the logo, which is located in the header of the site, you set a link to the main page of the resource;

  • you should use bread crumbs for convenient navigation. These are the user's path to the current page with links to sections and subsections in which it is placed;

  • the number of circular links should be minimized — from the page to itself.
How To Carry Out An Internal Site Optimization: Diving Into Details

Internal links' checking

Site link analysis always begins with the collection of information. At the first stage, you need to find all the internal links on the site and upload them to a single table. This can be done using free online services such as SmallSEOTools.
How to find internal links on the site
Next, you need to check the internal links of the site for relevance. They should match the theme of the page and anchor. By placing more links to important or worthwhile pages, you are contributing to the growth of their positions in the search. This is how the link weight distribution works.
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Link weight distribution

The number of internal links to a page indicates to search engines how significant it is on the site. The distribution of the linking (statical) weight and the promotion of important pages occurs using internal linking.

At the same time, make sure that all promoted pages receive a sufficient number of internal links, and that the number of links to irrelevant and not important pages is minimal.

Delete hyperlinks that are unnecessary for promotion. Otherwise, pages that aren't relevant to key phrases may occupy high positions. The situation when a page that doesn't match the query appears in the search results misleads the user. This leads to a high bounce rate. The visitor goes to the site but immediately leaves it without seeing the necessary information.

That's why it is important to check the contents of pages in the search results with user requests. This relevance check is available in the Serpstat "Rank Tracker" module:
Rank Tracker in Serpstat
To check the resource, add a new project in Serpstat:
How to track your positions in search engines using Serpstat
Enter the project name and domain, then click "Create":
Positions monitoring in Serpstat
  1. Go to the "Rank Tracker" module, select the essential project, and click "Continue".

  2. Then select the search engine, device type, region, language, and go on.

  3. After that, add key phrases that you can enter manually. Load them from a file or use the proposed options. You can also specify tags. Then click "Add".

Move to the "Keywords" subsection. The report shows the frequency of your keywords, your site's positions on them and their dynamics:
Rank tracking report in Serpstat
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Best Practice

Regularly evaluating and improving your internal linking strategy is critical for your site's SEO. You ensure that Google recognizes the relevancy of pages, the relationship between pages, and the worth of pages by include the appropriate internal links.

There are a few factors to consider while planning your internal linking strategy. Of course, how you go about it depends on your site and your objectives, but the steps best practices are an excellent starting point:
1
Whether you have a small or large site, website architecture is critical to its success since it affects people in terms of accessibility and user-friendliness, as well as search engines in terms of crawlability and technical features.
The next step is to figure out what your most essential content is. In a nutshell, it's your best and most comprehensive information; it's about your business's core. It's the material you want people to find when they're looking for specific topics or products.
How to create a content plan
3
Incorporate contextual links
When you've produced several articles on the same subject, you should link them together. This will demonstrate to Google – and users! – that the articles are linked in topic. You can add links at the conclusion of your post or link directly from keywords in your article.
What are natural links and crowd marketing
4
Create a link between pages in a hierarchy
If your website has hierarchical pages, link parent pages to child pages and vice versa. Also, don't forget to link the sites of siblings together. On a well-organized website, these pages should be related, and connecting them in this way makes perfect sense.
5
Think about including a section for related posts
Many plugins and modules allow you to include comprehensive related posts sections in your posts. If you use one, we recommend checking to see if the associated posts are indeed related.
6
Experiment with adding navigational links
It's feasible to make your core content more authoritative by adding links to it from the homepage or top navigation, in addition to linking from topically-related posts and pages. This should be done with the most important posts and pages for your business.
7
Include hyperlinks in your taxonomy
Taxonomies, like categories and tags, help you structure your site and make it easier for people and search engines to comprehend what you're talking about.
8
Use anchor text that is keyword-rich
Anchor text is used by search engines to figure out what page you're connecting to. For internal links, having appropriate, relevant anchor text is critical. It's a fantastic opportunity for your page to climb the search engine rankings for relevant keywords.

The initial link on the page is taken into account by search engines. To perform better, it must be good, keyword-rich, and include relevant anchor text. Ensure that your links are placed at the top of your page for a better navigation experience to your highest converting pages.
9
Nofollow links
The nofollow internal links will be treated as if it were a regular link, and its link value will be lost. As a result, having fewer connections on a page makes more sense than nofollowing some of the links.

It's important to note that putting a nofollow tag on a page doesn't guarantee it won't show up in Google's search results. If you don't want pages or posts to appear in search results, uncheck the box.

Analysis of search results and the URLs in it

Also, check the matching of queries and pages using the Google Search Console Tool. Go to the section "Performance". It displays requests, the number of shows and clicks. To analyze a specific request, click on it:
Perfomance analysis in Google Search Console

What internal links of a site need to be removed or replaced?

1
Links to redirect. Place direct links to pages instead, because some redirects don't transmit the link weight or reduce it, and also lead to slower loading of the final URL.
2
Hanging sites are pages that have no outbound links. These pages must either be deleted from the site and set up a 301 redirect to the appropriate documents or add links to important URLs on the project being promoted.
3
Cyclic links can be misleading to the user: the visitor clicks on the hyperlink and eventually gets to the same page.
4
Broken links that lead to non-existent URLs, showing the user the 404-error, must be corrected to the correct ones.
5
Links that lead to pages that are closed for indexing.

Checking the site using Netpeak Spider

You can analyze the site for problematic links using various programs, extensions, and online services. Consider checking the site using Netpeak Spider. This tool is available for a 14-day trial period or at a paid rate for a period of one month.

To get started, you need to register:
Registration in Netpeak Spider
After registering and installing the program, enter the URL of the site, which must be checked for errors and click "Start". After analyzing the site in the right panel of the program, all errors will appear, grouped by the critical level. Having clicked on a certain error, you'll see below a piece of brief information about it:
Endless redirect in Netpeak Spider
Having received information about the existing circular links that need to be removed, you'll check the site for the presence of dead ends:
How to find dead end on the site
Similarly, you'll look through the list of broken links:
Broken pages on the website
Netpeak Spider also allows you to measure the internal PageRank. That's the relative weight of each page:
Netpeak Spider internal Page Rank
Significant and promoted URLs on the site should be in the first 20% of the static weight (PageRank). You must verify that important pages have a great PR on Netpeak Spider.
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FAQ. Common questions about optimizing internal links

What is internal link in seo?

Internal links are used by Google to assist in the discovery of fresh content. Internal links also help your site's PageRank circulate. That's a significant achievement. In general, the greater a page's PageRank, the more internal links it has. However, it's not just about the number; the link's quality is also important for internal linking in seo.

How many internal links is too many?

You don't need hundreds of internal links—just one or two well-placed internal links can frequently make a major difference and help you get benefits from it.

How to build internal links for seo?

1. Make a lot of content. 2. Make use of anchor text. 3. Use proper links for internal link building. 4. Use links that are natural for the reader. 5. Use links that are relevant to the reader. 6. Make use of follow links. 7. Keep the amount of internal links to a minimum.

Conclusion

In SEO, internal links can improve behavioral factors and increase the position of the project in the search results. However, for this, they must be properly configured. Regular checking of internal links will allow the timely correction of all errors, for example, hyperlinks to deleted pages.

When optimizing internal links, it's important to consider the following points:
1
Internal linking of site pages should provide the user with convenient access to any section of the site in a few clicks. This will increase the depth of view and distribute the link weight.
2
The use of a large number of different anchors in internal links.
3
The relevance of the site's pages to queries that go from search results.
4
Technical SEO-audit of the site and correction of errors related to links.

This article is a part of Serpstat's Checklist tool
Checklist at Serpstat
Checklist is a ready-to-do list that helps to keep reporting of the work progress on a specific project. The tool contains templates with an extensive list of project development parameters where you can also add your own items and plans.
Try Checklist now

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