13 Ways to Use Internal Links to Improve Organic Rankings

Internal Linking Example

What is an Internal Link?

Internal links are links between pages on the same site. For example, a link from your site home page to service page or links from your site product page to similar product pages.

In short, internal links are links within the site and not pointing outside of the domain.

An internal link is a type of hyperlink on a webpage to another page or resource, such as an image or document, on the same website or domain. Hyperlinks are considered either "external" or "internal" depending on their target or destination. Generally, a link to a page outside the same domain or website is considered external, whereas one that points at another section of the same webpage or to another page of the same website or domain is considered internal.

Unlike other SEO factors, internal link has double effect on a website. Firstly, it influences user engagement metrics, including time spent on website, page views per session, and conversion rate. And secondly, internal link has significant ranking importance that can boost any site organic position in the SERPs.

Importance of Internal Linking

In SEO and Technical Side, Internal linking has four main purposes:
  1. In website navigation, internal link help user find more pages in the site.
  2. Internal Link Help Defines the Website Architecture and Hierarchy.
  3. Internal Link Pass Page Authority and Ranking Power Throughout the Site.
  4. Internal Link help search engine spider discover more pages on a site.

13 Ways to use internal links to improve your site rankings

1. Create Lots of Content.

In order to create internal links, you have to have lots of pages and posts. The first step is maintain a internal linking strategy is to have a killer content marketing strategy. You can’t have one without the other.

When you create lots of content, you’ll have lots of content for Internal Linking. The more links to Pages and Posts, the better your internal linking strategy will be.

Some internal linking strategies propose extremely complex layers of pages, silos of content, and a mathematically-balanced formula for number of links to levels of pages. I say it doesn’t really matter. Internal linking doesn’t require organizational spreadsheets and trigonometric derivative charts.

An internal linking strategy with lots of content looks less like an org chart, and more like this:
There are no “cycles.” There are no “silos.” There are no “tiers.” There are no structured flow diagrams. There’s just plenty of happy links going to helpful places.

2. Use Relevant keywords in the anchor text.

In keeping with the your website content theme, your internal links should only use anchor text - not images or any other media files. Image links are fine, provided that images are not the main source of links, and assuming the image is properly alt-tagged.

The use of anchor text for internal linking might not look natural. So, don’t use optimized anchors. Just use natural, un-optimized sentence fragments as anchor text, and you’ll do just fine. No cute tricks. No overthinking it. Just highlight the text, link it, and done.

3. Link deep.

The deeper your links go, the better. There are two types of internal links you should avoid:
  • Homepage. Most sites have too many links to the homepage as it is. You would rather strengthen internal pages to boost the overall SEO of your site, rather than simply point more links at the homepage.
  • Contact us. This is a common mistake of many who are starting out in content marketing. As part of their obligatory call to action at the end of a post, they may write something like, “Give us a call to find out more about our awesome services!” Then, they link to the “contact us” page using the anchor “give us a call.” Don’t link to the contact us page unless absolutely necessary.

In Essence, you should avoid links to the top level pages on a site — pages to which the main navigation menu already has links.

The Best links and the most natural links in a content marketing strategy are deep within the structure of a site.

4. Use links that are natural for the reader.

Internal linking requires a user-focused approach to adding value and information. The link value that gets distributed throughout the site is secondary to this key point providing value to the site visitor.

One of the corollary benefits of internal linking is that it improves user engagement on your site. When a user sees an informative link that truly matches the context of the content, they are likely to click on that link. It can be an external link, as long as it’s something that the reader will be interested in. If that link is an internal one, the site visitor stays longer and becomes more involved in your website experience.

When you link in your content you’re telling the search engine that the target of your link is so relevant and important that you want your visitor to simply be able to click a link and go straight there. Basically, that what you’re linking to is potentially so relevant that the visitor may want to stop what they’re reading and go to the next page.

Content links are a strong signal to both the search engine and the user that the content you’re linking to is really good. Readers want that. Thus, internal linking is helping the reader. But you’re also helping your SEO.

5. Create Only When Relevant.

Internal linking, as I’ve made clear, is less rigorous and scientific than some might think. But you still have to be intentional. Don’t merely link for the sake of linking. Instead, link to content that is relevant to the source context.

In other words, let’s say I have a page on my site about dog food. And, I have a page on my site about the nesting habits of parakeets.

Should I link the two pages?

There is not a strong connection between dog food and parakeet nests, especially on a superficial level. These two pages probably won’t provide mutual enhancement from internal cross-linking.

But, if I have a page on parakeet food, then it might make a great internal link for my parakeet nest article. Chances are, information about “parakeets” is going to be on both of the pages. Because of this content overlap, the link is relevant.

As much as possible, link to relevant content in your internal linking.

6. Use do-follow links.

Do-Follow links are the best way to build out the internal link architecture of your content marketing.

One theoretical internal linking strategy of the past was to no-follow most of the links on a page, in order to increase the link juice to a single page. This type of pagerank sculpting doesn’t work as an SEO strategy.

Back in 2005, the search engines came up with the no-follow, known by the attribute rel=nofollow. The idea behind no-follow was that the link “should not influence the link target’s ranking in the search engine’s index.” As Wikipedia stated, such links would “reduce the effectiveness of certain types of internet advertising because their search algorithm depends heavily on the number of links to a website.

Despite the uproar and confusion in the wake of the no-follow link, most people now agree that it’s a good idea. As Danny Sullivan explained, no-follow links can help sites “avoid problems with search engines believing they are selling influence or are somehow involved in schemes deemed as unacceptable SEO practices.

In spite of its value, however, using no-follow links is not a strategy you should be using as part of your internal content links. The link value needs to flow freely to and from internal pages, rather than get stopped up by a no-follow. Keep things free and fluid.

7. Use a reasonable number of internal links.

You don’t need tons of links in your internal content. Google’s instructions are simple: “Keep the links on a given page to a reasonable number.

What the Heck is a Reasonable Number?
Answer is Simple Nobody Really Knows.

Smart people have tried to answer the question, but not even Matt Cutts has provided a definitive statement. He wrote, “It seemed about right to recommend 100 links or so,” and “in some cases, it might make sense to have more than a hundred links.

So, should you go for 100 links? Maybe, but that 100-total links includes all the links on a page — footers, headers, nav bars, ads, everything. 100 links isn’t as hard as it sounds, once you calculate the total number of HREFs on an entire page.

When it comes to internal linking, I suggest around three to four, depending on the length of your post. I usually write articles that exceed 1,500 words, and I don’t have a link-heavy navigation bar. So, I wouldn’t feel bad about throwing in ten or twenty internal links if I needed to.

There’s no magic number. There is however, the all-important user. Add as many links as would be helpful for the user.

8. 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 the main website's content and are normally blocked from indexation.

9. Make sure image links have alt attributes.

The alt attribute of image links acts like anchor text for text links — so it's another opportunity to send a ranking signal to search engines.

So, Make sure image links have alt attributes.

10. Mind duplicate links to the same URL.

If there are several links on the same page that point to the same URL, search engines would give the priority to the first anchor text.

Keep this in mind and use the right keywords in the first link's anchor: subsequent anchors won't matter as much.

11. Place links within pages' main content.

The links placed within a page's content have a higher SEO value than the ones in the header, footer, or sidebar. The latter have more to do with navigation, and it looks like Google treats those as non-editorial links.

Links in the main content, on the other hand, add new information and value to the text. Furthermore, the text and keywords surrounding a link also matter for the ranking of the target page.

On the contrary, if you force links with additional information to open in a new tab, it's easier to go back to the original piece of content.

In order to force browser to open a link in a new tab, add a 'target' attribute to the link in HTML:

<a href="http://exampleurl.com" target="_blank">Anchor Text<a>

However, remember to avoid this tactic when you channel users through a conversion funnel. In this case, links should be opening in the same tab.

12. Point links from traffic pages to conversion pages.

Many companies run a blog to create "engaging and useful content". Some of them achieve the goal, and their posts attract significant traffic. The problem is that a blog post can rarely boast a high conversion rate.

Why not channel users from high-traffic blog posts to landing pages that are specifically optimized for conversion?

13. Keep it Natural.

This strategy implies that you don't care about the number of internal links, their anchors, or any SEO tricks. You just follow common sense and create links to the content that may be helpful to your users; as simple and elegant as that.

In practice, it means that you should only keep in mind the internal linking best practices that I mentioned in this post.

Infographic: 2017 Voice Assistant Trends

The popularity of voice assistants has seen a phenomenal rise in the last few years. In fact, we’re quickly closing in on one million voice assistants connected to IFTTT! So, we know you love them — and love using them with IFTTT to control everything from smart lights to your social media. But, we wanted to learn more about how exactly you’re interacting with your assistants. So, in April, we reached out and asked you. Here’s what you had to say:

 Alexa and Google Assistant are honorary for IFTTT Headquarter — always ready to help out with a question, find a phone, take a note, track a to-do — or start the party. There’s more on the way, too: new assistants are building with IFTTT! Watch this space to hear about them as soon as they hit the platform. In the meantime, check out our latest collection, Applets for voice assistants, to see some of our favorite use cases.

What We Know About The June 25 Google Update

Google Algorithm Update June 2017 Google updated their search results algorithm in late June, and over the holiday weekend. A significant Google algorithm update happened on June 25. This update has had webmasters and SEOs buzzing in all past week about the significance of its effects on websites across the world.

Not all the tracking tools are showing massive changes. Mozcast has been overheating for the past couple months now, SERPMetrics seems to have declined a bit, Algoroo is somewhat calm now, Accuranker shows activity, RankRanger is showing major swings and SEMRush is also showing major changes.

Google's June 25 Algorithm Update - High Fluctuations, Low Chatter

Despite the length of the current update, the initial chatter, per Barry Schwartz of SERoundtable, was quite light. This is obviously peculiar, not only in light of the length of the update, but the fluctuation levels themselves as well. The risk levels on our Rank Risk Index have risen above moderate, and show a continuous series of high fluctuation levels.

With rank fluctuations being what they are, a voluminous degree of chatter would be the norm, or at minimum the expectation. What then is behind the slow development of industry chatter in this instance? This question, oddly as it may be, plays a significant role in understanding (of course partially, as only Google knows the full picture) what transpired with this update.

It’s no secret that Google updates its algorithm often, and based on what we’ve seen since 2000, it will likely continue to do so for years to come. If you’re noticing the reduction of impressions in Google Search Console over the default view of 28 days, expand the range to 90 days.

June's Algorithm Update Ranking Positions Hit Analysis

RankRanger, another tracking tool, provided further analysis of the June 25 update in a blog post published today. The company says this appears to be a long running update, the likes of which has not been seen since October 2016.

Analysis from RankRanger indicates Google’s recent algorithm update primarily targeted sites that were ranking in positions 6-10.
  • Top 3 Results - Exact Match (%)
  • Top 5 Results - Exact Match (%)
  • Top 10 Results - Exact Match (%)
RankRanger also broke down its analysis by niche. While there were fluctuations across all niches, the food & beverage industry appears to have been hit the hardest. This is followed by sites in the health & fitness, gambling, retail, and travel niches respectively.

Google's June Update - What You Should Do Now

Being able to accurately identify the root causes plaguing your website can seem like a scary proposition for some. Using the scientific method can help you figure out whether you have a big SEO problem.

For those who want to know, How to tackle this situation, follow this guide:
  • Start With Hypothesis
  • Make Ranking Observation
  • Conduct an Website Analysis
  • Update Your Content Regularly
  • Publish Relevant Content

Does Organic CTR Impact Google Rankings?

Organic CTR Impact on Google Rankings

Does organic click-through rate (CTR) data impact google rankings? This has been a huge topic of debate for years within the search industry.

Several tests seem to have shown that the click-through rate Influence the Google Organic Ranking. A new test seems to show the opposite. Who to believe?

According to Rand, Click-through rate is a Ranking Factor

Rand Fishkin ( co-founder of Moz.com ), has several times used moz's large subscribers (mainly via social networks) to carry out SEO Tests. A test in July 2015 seems to have shown that the Organic CTR (Click-through rate) Improve Google Search Ranking, and that a better CTR led to a better position in search.

But be careful, his test was biased, like all tests, and the CTR was not the only variable. He talked about this again in a video referring to a patent you should read. He had already been interested in this in 2014.

According to Bartosz Góralewicz, Google no Longer Uses CTR in Their Ranking Algorithm

Bartosz Góralewicz conducted a test in March 2015 to try to prove the same, but he came to the opposite conclusion! According to Bartosz, Google no longer take into account CTR in their Organic Ranking Algorithm. You can read hiss explanations on Search Engine Land (as well as in more detail on its own site ).

In summary, Bartosz used click bots, which simulate users doing Google searches and clicking on results. He explains that he had trouble getting there, but after weeks of work he could simulate visits that Google apparently did not identify as Bot user. To prove this, He shows that the visits were recorded in Google Analytics and Google Search Console (which is not easy for simple clickbots ). And most importantly, he was able to influence Google Trends and Google Ad Planner. In his conclusion, he believes that it is finally safe to tell that that Google has abandoned CTR from their core algorithm, because this metric can be easily manipulated.

According to Google, CTR is not a Ranking Factor

Besides, Gary Illyes ( Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google ) said in 2015 that Google do not use CTR as a Ranking Factor.

My Personal Opinion

Well then, if Google does not use CTR as a Ranking Signal, why other tests have positively shown Organic CTR Does Improve Google Ranking? And why do we read That Higher Organic CTR Lead to Higher Position on Search Engine?

Here are some thoughts I would like to share with you about tests I Mentioned Earlier:

  • Rand's Test Conducted By Real Human Users: Real Human Google Visitors, with Browsers cookies enable. Conversely, the experiments of Bartosz were made with software. Although he ensured that google were unable identify this as artificial visit, But it does not prove that Google's algorithm has not "decided" to ignore these types of queries and clicks. In reality, it seems probable that Google checks if the CTR increases for people not connected to their Google account as for others (Ditto for many other things such as the type of desktop / mobile device, Operating system, browser, etc.).
  • It is also possible to surmise that the actions performed by human visitors at Rand's test to increase the CTR have involved other criteria which may also influence the search ranking.
  • Bartosz conducted the test for a short amount of time (2 weeks if I understood correctly). In my opinion, to improve the CTR results in improved positioning, it takes a much longer period. And if one day there is a peak of traffic (it can happen, buzz or other), the CTR must keep high after that, otherwise it does not confirm the interest of Internet users.

What is Your Opinion About Organic CTR Impact on Google Ranking?

How to Remove 404 Errors in Google Search Console

Fix Crawl Errors in Google Search Console
If you having issue with 404 Error in Google Search Console, this tutorial is for you! Follow the Steps to Improve your Website Usability and Organic SEO.

The Framework is as Follows: Despite your efforts, Google lists 404 errors (And other types of HTTP Errors) in the "Crawl Errors" report in your website Search Console Account.

Is 404 Error Bad For My Website?

How to correct them and make HTTP Errors disappear from GSC?

Do 404 Errors Bad For My Website SEO?

Here are the explanations provided by Google:
In general, 404 errors do not adversely affect your site's performance in search results, but they can help improve the user experience.
In the help, you will find additional tips:

They often occur as a result of typos or configuration errors, for example in the case of links generated automatically by a content management system. They can also be the result of the growing development of our services to detect and explore links in integrated content such as JavaScript.

This last sentence is not very clear, but basically we understand that Google sometimes seeks to access URLs that simply do not exist, but its interpretation of JavaScript codes makes Google believe that these URLs may exist.

I End with the latest tips from Google about 404 error:
It is quite normal, even desirable in some cases, to encounter 404 error codes on the Web. You will probably never be able to control all links that redirect to your site or resolve any 404 errors that appear in the Search Console. Focus on the most important issues, solve the problems you can, then move on to another step.

So? The purpose of my article is precisely to help you understand 404 error impact on organic seo and how to fix them.

My Point of View:

  • If a user land 404 page by clicking search engine organic result then you should fix the link ASAP. Because this 404 error (404 or other) will negatively impact your website search ranking.
  • If a page is in error 404 because of a link coming from other website, you can do nothing and it does not degrade your SEO performance. But if the link is coming from quality site, as long as it landing in a broken page, you're not getting any seo advantage of this link, so you should correct the link.
  • If you have too many 404 errors in your internal links, it degrades the user experience so you should fix them to improve user experience.

Steps to Fix 404 Errors

In your place, I would follow these steps.

Step 1- Fix 404 Errors Generated by Internal Links

If 404 errors are caused by internal links, they must be corrected because:

  • These errors degrade the user experience
  • These errors interfere with your SEO since a page does not receive the link you had planned to make
  • It's easy to detect and correct :-)
  • It will do a first cleaning of the list of errors 404 indicated in Search Console

Step 2- Fix 404 Errors Generated by Sitemaps

Use an HTTP header checker tool to check that each and every URL in your Sitemap actually returns a 200 status code (which means everything is OK). There should be no redirection.

If you are lost in all these codes: see the list of HTTP codes .

Step 3- Fix 404 Errors Generated by backlinks

Some 404 errors may be linked to backlinks, that is, links from other sites, pointing to a wrong URL on your site. To identify them, use your favorite backlinks analysis tool (Majestic, Ahrefs or Moz) and retrieve the list of backlinks pointing to a 404 error. Majestic has published an article on this topic, it's up to you to exploit it for your own Site instead of that of a competitor. If you do not arrive at all, and you ask me kindly , it is possible that I will do it for free ;-)

If the one who made the link was slightly mistaken in the URL, it is a pity and it must be corrected:

  • Contact the webmaster of the site that makes you the link in error to ask him to correct it. Introduce him in a positive way by explaining that he has a broken link on his site ...
  • If it does not respond, set up a 301 redirect from the wrong URL to the right one

Step 4- Fix other HTTP Errors

Once you have validated the previous steps, wait 1 or 2 weeks for Google to update your Search Console account. Next, see the Crawl Errors report, click the "Not Found" tab in the "URL-level Errors" sub-section.

Google lists Errors in Order of Priority, so enjoy.

If it's easier for you to manage the list in Excel, simply download the table in CSV format (or Google Docs). In the case of CSV, here are the columns that you will retrieve:
  • URLs
  • Response code: 404 for pages not found
  • Google News error: only applies to sites in Google News
  • Detected: date of first detection by Googlebot (the robot of Google)
  • Category: error type (here "not found")
  • Platform: Googlebot version encountered error (computer, smartphone or multimedia phone)
  • Last exploration: date of last crawl by Googlebot

Depending on the different cases that remain listed, you may need to repeat one of the previous steps. To see more clearly, you can check the box in front of the URL processed and click on the button "Mark as correct".

Tip : If you have a lot of errors, you may get to the limit set by Google, which is 1000 URLs. To circumvent it, simply declare a subpart of your site as a new property in Search Console. This technique works only if you have directories at the root, for example / blog /. In this case, you can declare http://www.example.com/blog/ as a new property; It will be validated immediately and you will be able to consult the list of errors 404 concerning only this directory. Convenient !

Redirect to the Reception: bad solution!

I still regularly encounter badly configured sites, on which in case of page not found we are redirected to the homepage. Do not do that!

Indeed Google's online help confirms that a web server must return a 404 code when a resource can not be found:
It is quite normal, even desirable in some cases, to encounter 404 error codes on the Web.

You may have configured a custom 404 error page (that's fine). However, check that the HTTP returned is a 404 code, and not 302 (temporary redirection). Use an HTTP code test tool on a non-existent URL on your site. If you have a 302 redirect, you may have specified an entire URL in your .htaccess file for the custom error page.

How often should you check for 404 errors?

You should be checking your 404s at least once every month and on a bigger site, every week. It doesn’t really depend on how much visitors you have but much more on how much content you have and create and how much can go wrong because of that. The first time you start looking into and trying to fix your 404 error pages you might find out that there are a lot of them and it can take quite a bit of time. Try to make it a habit so you’ll at least find the important ones quickly.

Need Help?

If you do not get there or something is not clear enough for you, feel free to ask the question in the comments