In this blog post, I’m going to go over the basics of internal links, how to use internal links for SEO, and how to create a solid internal linking structure on your blog that Google will love.
Let’s get started.
What are internal links?
An internal link is when you link to another one of your blog posts. A good example of internal links is the related posts section many blogs have.
Internal links help readers find relevant content on your blog, and they help Google understand the structure of your blog.
A tried and true SEO strategy is building external links, but we ignore on-page SEO far too often. One of the best ways to improve your on-page SEO is to build internal links to your best content.
Best WordPress plugin to add internal links for SEO
While you can add links to your pages on your own, It helps to use a WordPress plugin.
The plugin I use and recommend is LinkWhisper.
Here’s what you can do with this plugin:
- Get relevant internal link suggestions right on the Edit post page.
- Add links to new pages from your old posts in bulk (this is a game-changer!)
- See how many links (internal and external) each post has, which is useful for identifying orphaned pages (with zero links).
- Automatically add links (even affiliate links) based on keywords.
- Bulk URL changer to change all mentions of an old URL to the new one.
- Find and fix or delete broken links in one click.
Here’s why you need to be building internal links:
Internal links help Google crawl your website
Who doesn’t want more Google traffic? It’s a phenomenal traffic source, even better than Pinterest traffic.
Building internal links creates a web of links that let Googlebot crawl as many pages of your website as possible. You want to create a hospitable environment for Googlebot, and they love following internal links.
Internal links help Google learn what your content is about
Using descriptive anchor text (keywords) can help Google learn what your pages are about. It may even help you rank for these keywords on Google search.
It is entirely possible to rank a website on Google by only using the power of internal linking. You can use an SEO tool like UberSuggest and see plenty of instances of sites ranked on the first page with 0 backlinks.
Internal links help Google understand how your pages are related
Say you write about 4 main topics, and you have 6 articles in each category. By linking these 6 posts together, you’re letting Google know this group of articles is about the same general subject.
Doing this is effective because it can give you topical authority on this subject.
Internal links tell Google which content is most important
Internal links can help Google understand the value of certain blog posts. When you point multiple links to one piece of content, you’re letting Google know this page is important on your site.
This is why an about me page can rank so well in Google search, in part because you’re linking to it from every page via the main menu.
Internal links will reduce your bounce rate
Bounce rate, which is the percent of people who visit only one page, can be vastly improved with relevant internal links.
Links connect the web, and they should connect your site too. For example, when you link to other content within your blog posts, you encourage readers to click through to other pages of your website.
Doing this is important because most conversions don’t happen on the first pageview. If users visit multiple pages, they’re becoming more committed to you with every page they visit.
Internal links keep people on your site longer
It’s important to show Google that your site has a positive user experience. One metric that can help determine that is the average time on site.
When you can show Google you have a low bounce rate, people visit multiple pages per visit, and they spend a long time on your site, you’re sending all the right signals to Google to rank your site higher in the rankings.
Creating your internal link structure
Now it’s time to build internal links for SEO. Here is a basic link structure that, while simple, is highly effective.
- 1. Categorize your content
Split your blog into groups, categories, or hubs based on their content.
- 2. Choose your pillar posts
On each of your main hubs, identify one blog post that covers this topic the best. Yoast calls this cornerstone content; others call them pillar posts.
This article should be long-form content and is a page you want to rank for on Google.
- 3. Link them together
For each of the articles in a given category, link them with each other. You don’t need to link post #1 to post #2 and post #2 to post #3 like a chain. Just interlink your posts naturally, where appropriate.
- 4. Link to your pillar post
In each article in a given category, link to the pillar post. Since your pillar post is such an important page, it deserves to have the most amount of links. Of course, you’ll also want to link to these pillar posts from your homepage as well.
Your action plan
If you’ve been handling adding internal links manually, odds are your old blog posts have many links, and your new ones don’t have as many.
Take the time right now to use the LinkWhisper plugin to find internal linking opportunities for your new blog posts; they deserve it!
Until next time,