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How-to 8 min read September 10, 2019

How to optimize internal links

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.

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.

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

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.

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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