Hi, I’m Darrin Holtz owner of WNY Web Development. Today, I want to talk to you about how to do an internal linking strategy on your website.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone in and improved internal linking on a site. I’ve seen the top pages with top terms shoot up in the rankings. As well as other pages that are on the site that are deeper inside of the site structure get indexed and rank better. So this is definitely one article that you’re going to want to read.
Internal linking strategy
Okay, so first, what is an internal linking strategy? Well, it’s the way that you hyperlink pages together on your website. There’s a couple different elements that go into it. For example, you’re going to be looking at things like your navigation. Your navigation on your site creates a lot of internal links. So whatever links are in the header of your website. And whatever HTML links are inside of the header of your website are actually important.
Content – The Body Section
So then, kind of moving further down, whatever is in the body of the page is also going to have internal links. Now the body on the page is on a template by template basis, right? Template referring to page. So your homepage is going to be on one type of template. Your category page on another type of template. Your service or your product page on another type of template, subcategories and so on and so forth, right? Then specific landing pages. So each one of those templates has HTML content on it. That HTML content generally will have some hyperlinks. It’s important that we look at how those hyperlinks exist on the website. And how they relate to other pages on the website, because that actually matters a lot to crawlers.
Footer Internal Linking
As we move further down the page, we get into the footer. Now the footer is another element that has hyperlinks on it. The footer can be important for internal linking. And for helping crawlers like Google. And other search engines get further into your website. So, the biggest thing to keep in mind is we have to be very deliberate about our header. We have to be very deliberate about the internal linking inside of the content on the page. And the links inside of the footer. Now the content on the page is generally some of the most important links on some levels and let me explain that.
So if you have an internal link inside of content on a page that has a lot of authority. Meaning there’s a lot of other links out there on the web that link to this page. If that page inside of the content links to another important page on your site with that exact anchor text.
If you don’t know what an anchor tag is. That’s the term inside of the HTML that’s linked to. So if I made a hyperlink with a term like SEO company and linked to my SEO company page. SEO company would be the anchor text. So that’s very important. Because if you link inside of the content of that page. on a very important page. With a lot of other links coming in to another important page. That passes that link weight on to that other page and helps that other page rank higher, okay? So that’s an important thing to kind of consider about the in-content links. Now when you’re looking at the navigation links. The navigation links are also very important as well as the footer links, for another reason. They are on every single page of your website.
So, that’s a clear indicator to search engines. If you have a link inside of the header or footer, they definitely need to check out that page. They definitely need to index it. The more internal links that are pointing to a specific page. The clearer signal, that is to Google that that is an important page on your website. So, if you have one link pointing out a page that’s a one-vote. If you have 1,000 that’s 1,000 votes, right? If you have a million it’s a million votes, and so on and so forth, to rank that page higher.
Global Internal Linking
Now, the last element to that is. You know, the global links are pretty important. The footer links are pretty important. But these in-content links on authoritative pages. That have a lot of other Link’s pointing at them. Are the most important. On kind of a one-to-one basis. And that’s all determined based off of how many other links are pointing at that specific page. So some general information to get it started there.
Okay, so now I want to give you a general overview on how to do internal linking. I want to give you a basic overview so that you can understand more of it than most people. so, when you look at the navigation, you want to make sure that your most important pages are in there. But you generally don’t want to have a navigation that’s too bloated. Why? Because you don’t want too many links on a page, because then it diminishes the quality of each of those links, right? The authority of each of those links. And if you kind of confuse the crawlers, so there’s a lot of, kind of like back and forth on this online. Google used to say a hundred links on the page. Then, you know. A lot of people say it started saying, well it should be 300 links on a page, Moz talked about that, and some of their content. But Google kind of removed those guidelines, right?
You know there’s this whole idea around page sculpting. Page sculpting is this concept that you want to make sure you kind of understand every element of the page. And how that relates to the rest of the website. We could go more into that. But when it comes to your navigation, you want to think about the ratio of links. In that navigation to your footer to the body, right? If you use, say, 20% out of 300 links. You want to make sure that you’re maintaining 300 links on a page. Then that only gives you that other 80% of links to use within the rest of the page, to your important elements on the page.
Spacing Internal Linking Out
So, for big sites, like if you’re a very big website, this stuff becomes very important, right? So in your navigation. For example, you might only want to have 100 links, or 50 links. Because you know that you’re going to have another 50 or 100 in your footer. And there’s going to be X amount inside of your individual content, and you only want, you know, 150 or 250 on the page.
Links vs Content
For my recommendation, it’s different for every site. So I can’t tell you exactly how many links you should have on your page. There’s so many things that go into that business decision. Generally, you know 50 to 200 or so is going to be about right for most websites. If you’re starting to get kind of over 300, it’s feeling like a lot, right? And there’s most likely something wrong there. So, with your top navigation, put your most important pages inside of your top navigation. and make sure that they’re accessible. Inside of the body of your content, you know, you’re going to have a little bit of a different strategy.
Help Other Pages Rank Higher
So with content. The way that you want to lay those out is generally within the top part of any individual piece of content. whether it’s a blog post or an HTML page. You want to link to within the first link. You want to link to a very important page that you want to rank higher on the Internet, right? So, what are your top 10, 20 pages on your website? Put that into an excel sheet, and then in the beginning, link to one of those pages. And your secondary link, you also want to link to one of those pages. Once you get further down inside of your content. You’ll want to link to pages that are on the same level as that piece of content, right? So your first two pages. First two links you’re linking to pages that are kind of more important. That you’re trying to push authority to, your next ones on the same level. Then, further down, you’re going to want to link to, pages that are further inside of the site architecture. What that does is create this foundation that you can use to link throughout the website. It’s very very effective for Google. For the crawler, and it kind of makes sense from a hierarchy standpoint. So that, in a way, is internal linking in a nutshell, but there’s no hard and fast rules. And then you generally, inside of your content, you only want to link for every 50 to 150 words. You don’t want to put too many links. You don’t want to have too few links in there. 50 to 150 words is about right.
Internal Linking To Relevant Content
Also, not to make it too much more complicated. You want to make sure that you’re keeping those links on topic, right? So when Google crawls that page, they see links that are relevant to that individual piece of content. If you’re linking keywords all over that doesn’t adhere and relate, then that page isn’t going to rank as well. And it’s not going to channel the link way and an authority over to that other page as well as it could. Okay, so now we’re getting into the last element, which is the footer. So, the footer, there’s a couple different things that go on there. Generally, you want to put in your most important links that go to other important pages on your site, right? Make sure you’re linking to that with the correct anchor text. That can be helpful for Google to understand that they should rank this page for this thing. You also want to link to an HTML sitemap.
Sitemaps Or Tiered Sitemap
So, every website should have an HTML sitemap. If you’re a big site with millions and millions of pages, though, you can’t put every single link on your HTML sitemap. So you actually need to create a tiered sitemap. so in your first sitemap, you might put in a hundred links. Then, once you click on a couple of those links that are in the tiered sitemap, it takes you to another site map. That has another hundred links, and so on and so forth. That helps you develop that site architecture. That’s going to be effective for Google and other search engines to crawl.
An excellent example of this is go take a look at Linkedin’s footer. They’ve done a great job with how they’ve done their tier sitemap, and I could help you with that as well. Other things in your sitemap? If you have international websites, you generally want to link to those there, as well. So, sites that are in different countries. Sites that are in different languages. That is a great place to make sure that you’re linking out to those so that people can find it.
No Follow Attribute
Okay, so the last thing that I’ll say on internal linking. You can always use something called the no follow attribute. What that does is that makes it so that Google doesn’t follow the link and pass credit. So if you have too many links on a page and you know you need to, you can put some no follows on some of those. If you don’t want to push too much link weight to other pages on your site. You can no follow those as well to kind of keep the authority within the the single page that you’re on. There’s a lot of banter online about the effectiveness of this. I have use it to some degree and on certain cases.
So that’s it for internal linking today. A lot of information around it. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it and working on it with very very large websites and smaller websites. Every website owner should know they’re top pages. Every website owner should have an internal linking strategy. It gets much more advanced from there. Especially with bigger sized e-commerce sites or lead generation sites with many pages. So, I hope this was helpful for you and I can’t wait to see you for the next article have a great day.