How to Optimise Internal Links for SEO

by | SEO News, Digital Advice

two individuals holding up puzzle pieces to depict internal linking

In the vast landscape of search engine optimisation (SEO), the importance of internal linking is often overlooked in favour of external links.

However, internal links are the backbone of the architecture of your website, and a strong internal linking structure plays a vital role in enhancing your brand’s visibility and authority, along with your site’s overall SEO performance.

From topics such as the types of internal links to exact match anchor text, we’ll explore the internal linking best practices; delving not only into its significance, but equipping you with actionable strategies that can help you to optimise your site’s internal links for SEO.

Already know all you need to know about internal and external links and want help putting a strategy in place? Contact our Leeds SEO Agency today for an internal link audit.

What is internal linking and why are internal links important in SEO?

using a search engine for internal linking

Internal links are all important pathways that connect different pages within a website, helping to guide users and Google from one piece of content to another. Ensuring that you have a solid internal linking strategy multiple purposes, including:


Internal links provide the visitors to your site with a roadmap, facilitating navigation across various sections and pages.

Internal links help to cross reference information for users, for example, when they want to find out more information about a product. They also provide other pathways for crawlers.

Distributing Page Authority

Internal links also play an essential role in the distribution of page authority throughout your website. By strategically linking to different pages, you can enhance the visibility and ranking potential of each.

Page authority is an important factor that is considered by search engine crawlers, and when combined with an external link building strategy it can help you climb the search engine rankings.

Establishing Site Hierarchy and Page Priority

Google would expect that a page that is one click away from the Home page is more important than a page that is five clicks away (if it were important, why would you place it so far from view).

Google would also expect that a page that is linked to just twice from around the site, is less important than a page that is linked to 2,000 times. After all, why would you link to a page so many times that is important, yet people do. How many times do you see sites that have footer links to all manner of policy statements? So, what to do if you have to link to the page but don’t want to create a false emphasis? Well the best thing you can do is to no index the pages that are unimportant to search and no follow the links to these pages. This will protect your crawl budget with Google and ensure that Search agnostic pages are not emphasised.

Also by implementing a solid internal linking structure, you can establish a hierarchical structure for your site architecture, indicating the relative importance and relationship between different pages on your site.

A successful internal linking strategy not only enhances user experience but also helps search engines to understand the structure and relevance of your website’s content.

Key Elements of Effective Internal Linking

building a website with internal linking using anchor text

To optimise internal links for SEO, it’s there are several key elements that you should focus on:

Anchor text

The anchor text is the clickable text that contains the hyperlink to other pages. When choosing your anchor text, it’s important that you choose descriptive and relevant text that accurately reflects the content of the linked page.

You should try to avoid generic phrases such as click here or read more, and instead incorporate keywords or relevant content that convey the topic or theme of the new page, use a word or phrase relevant to that page that would enhance the SEO this could include an exact phrase match for internal links (used sparingly) – for example, if you want a page to be found on “Professional SEO Services ” create a link to it that says Professional SEO Services.

Importance of Relevant Internal Links

Choosing relevant internal links is essential when planning your internal link building strategy. Choose contextual links that are thematically related, as this helps search engines understand the topical relevance of different sections within your website.

Ensuring that you only link to relevant supporting pages will also help to improve the navigational experience of your users.

Quantity Over Quality

When it comes to SEO internal linking, quality is more important than quantity. You should focus on creating internal links pointing to relevant pages using descriptive anchor text rather than indiscriminately inserting links.

When you overuse internal links it can be perceived as spammy and may harm your SEO efforts.

Follow vs Nofollow links

By default, links are coded as follow, this means that they pass link equity, or link juice, from one page to another.

Typically, nofollow is more important for external links pointing to other sites, however there are instances where internal links should also be coded as nofollow.

For example, if you find that you need to link to pages that have low-quality or duplicate content, tagging the links as nofollow can help to retain the all important link juice on your high quality pages.

Optimising Internal Links for SEO

a group working on internal linking on a laptop

Now that you understand the fundamental principles of internal linking, let’s delve into specific strategies for how to optimise your internal links for SEO.

1) Conduct a comprehensive site audit

When beginning your journey to a strong internal linking strategy, you should conduct a thorough audit of your website’s existing link structure.

Identify internal pages with high authority and relevance as these will be your most important internal links, and ensure they are adequately linked to from other relevant web pages within the site.

2) Implement your structure

If your site audit indicates that your internal linking structure needs work, then you should spend time creating a structure that makes logical sense to both search engines and users. Organise your important pages into relevant clusters and interlink them.

And, if you find that your internal links are lacking, then consider creating relevant content in the form of new pages or blog posts to improve your internal link strategy.

3) Leverage internal linking tools

While SEO internal linking can be a challenge, there are numerous tools and plugins that can assist with internal linking optimisation.

These tools can analyse your website’s current linking structure, identify opportunities for improvement, and provide recommendations for anchor text and link placement.

And, if you’re looking to get some extra help with internal links and SEO, consider contacting our team at Maratopia to set your internal linking strategy on the right path.

4) Optimise breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs are navigational aids that display the structure of a website and indicate the user’s current location within that structure.

When you add internal links to these breadcrumbs, you can improve both user experience and search engine crawling.

5) Refresh older content

Your linking strategy should be constantly reviewed, and this means updating older content to ensure that internal links are current and relevant.

As new content is created, look for opportunities to link back to existing pages, thereby strengthening their authority and relevance.

It’s also a good idea to keep an eye out for broken internal links, as broken links can have a negative impact on your overall SEO performance.

6) Monitor internal linking metrics

When developing your internal linking strategy, it’s a good idea to keep track of metrics such as click-through rates, bounce rates, and the time that your users spend on a page.

By analysing these metrics, you can gain valuable insights into user behaviour and help identify areas for improvement in your internal linking strategy.

7) Diversify anchor text

Where possible, you should try to avoid using the same anchor text repeatedly for multiple internal links, as this can appear unnatural to search engines.

Instead, try to incorporate a variety of relevant anchor texts that use target keywords naturally within the context of the content.

8) Implement 301 Redirects

When restructuring your website or updating any existing URLs, you should ensure that any old URLs are redirected to their new equivalents using 301 redirects.

This step is essential as it preserves the link equity associated with the old URLs and prevents users from encountering broken links.

Some other internal linking questions you might have

internal linking questions

How many internal links are good for SEO?

There isn’t a specific number of internal links that is considered universally good for SEO as the ideal number of internal links can vary depending on different factors that are unique to your website, such as the size, content structure, and overall SEO strategy.

Instead of focusing on whether you have too many links, or too few, it’s more important to focus on the quality and relevance of the SEO internal linking strategy, you should consider relevance, your use of anchor text, site hierarchy and balance.

Ultimately, the goal of internal linking should be to provide a better user experience and help search engines understand the content and structure of your website. By focusing on quality, relevance, and usability, you can improve your site’s SEO performance over time.

Are backlinks the same as internal links?

No, backlinks and internal links are not the same thing. Backlinks, also known as inbound links, are links from other websites that direct users to your site.

These links are essential for SEO as they signal to search engines the relevance, authority, and popularity of your website. Backlinks from authoritative and relevant websites are particularly valuable for those looking to improve their site’s search engine ranking.

Internal links, on the other hand, are links that connect different pages within the same domain. These links help users navigate the website, discover more content, and establish a structure for your site’s pages.

Internal linking is essential, both for user experience and SEO, as it helps search engines understand the relationship between different pages on your website and can improve how indexable and crawlable your site is.

So, while both backlinks and internal links are important for SEO, they serve different purposes. Both are essential parts of a thorough SEO strategy. If you want to learn more about backlinking, contact our team to find out how you can benefit from a blogger outreach campaign.

Can a blog post have multiple internal links?

Absolutely, a blog post can definitely have multiple internal links. In fact, it’s often encouraged to include multiple internal links within your blog posts as it can help to improve SEO, enhance user experience, increase page views, and establish authority.

When adding internal links to your blog posts, you should ensure that the linked pages are relevant to the content of the post and provide additional value to the reader.

Additionally, avoid overloading your posts with too many internal links, as this can be overwhelming for readers and may come across as spammy to search engines.

Aim for a balance that enhances user experience without detracting from the readability of your content.

Are you looking to enhance your internal linking and SEO?

Contact our SEO Agency Leeds and set your site on the path to success!

Author: Stephen Harvey-Franklin Steve Harvey-Franklin

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