If your site’s internal linking structure resembles a lump of tangled wires, and it takes you 10 clicks to navigate to a blog post that you published just a week ago — you are doing it wrong. Poor internal linking doesn’t just have a negative impact on user experience; it hinders ranking growth. Luckily, internal linking is one of the SEO factors that are 100% under your control. And in most cases, you don’t need any technical skills to fix it.
Follow along with this practical guide, find out more about internal linking best practices, and learn how to implement 6 proven internal linking strategies.
Before we get down to the internal linking strategies to help you boost rankings, let’s make sure you’ve got the basics right. Here are the 8 things that must be present in your site’s internal linking structure.
1. Keep a shallow website structure.
It is considered a good practice when each page can be reached within 2-3 clicks from 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. They expect to complete their goals fast. Why should one bother to get through tens of unnecessary links if there is plenty of similar websites out there that let them complete the same goal faster? It’s boring and frustrating to perform redundant actions. Thus, it is crucial to reduce the number of clicks it takes to get to important landing pages.
On complicated websites this goal can be achieved using breadcrumbs, tag clouds, and internal search.
2. Make sure all the important pages are linked.
These days, search engines rely both on sitemaps and links to discover web pages. It means that even unlinked — or the so-called ‘orphan’ — pages can be found by the search engines as these pages are listed in the sitemap. But it’s impossible to find ‘orphan’ pages 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; you can either delete them (if they are useless) or link them from other pages of the website.
Landing pages that are created for pay-per-click campaigns are an exception. They often act as independent website areas that are not linked from main website’s content and are normally blocked from indexation.
3. Keep the number of links per page reasonable.
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 for search engines.
Thus, if you want to send more ‘ranking power’ to pages you link to, reduce the number of outgoing links. WebSite Auditor will help you detect all pages on your website that have over 100 links, both internal and external. To get a list of pages with too many links, go to the Site Audit dashboard in your WebSite Auditor project and click on Pages with the excessive number of links.