Internal links and SEO

Link building, content and the technical side of your website count as three units while optimizing your SEO. Internal links for SEO are an important factor here. The internal links make up the skeleton of your website.

Internal links contribute to the structure and usability of your website. I discuss exactly what it means and the importance of internal links for SEO.

What are internal links / what is internal link building?

Internal links are links that redirect to Web pages within the Web site. They redirect the visitor to other topics. It provides structure and cohesion to a Web site. Together, internal links form a “spider web” behind your site.(1)

Optimize internal links?

I am happy to help with internal link optimization. Please contact me for this purpose.

In this way, the visitor can navigate the website in a pleasant way. Once Google notices that visitors enjoy navigating through the website, Google factors this into a website’s overall rating. Internal links occur in a variety of ways on a Web site:

  1. an internal link from the main menu;
  2. an internal link from the footer;
  3. an internal link with a nofollow attribute (often to a phone number);
  4. A textual internal link;
  5. An internal link under an image.

What is important when optimizing internal links for SEO?

Optimizing internal links can have a significant impact on SEO. Here are some key points to consider, the benefits they provide for SEO, and how important they are to the overall SEO strategy:

Aspect of internal link optimizationImpact on SEOPriority in SEO strategy
Relevance of the internal linkIncreases page credibility and authority, improves user experience.High
Use of anchor textsHelps search engines understand the content of the linked page.High
Link distributionImproves site crawlability, distributes link equity.Medium
Link to deep pagesImproves visibility and indexing of deep pages, distributes link equity.High
Number of internal linksToo much can dilute the link equity you give, too little can hurt the user experience.Medium
Avoiding broken linksPrevents negative user experience and possible negative impact on ranking.High
Navigation StructureImproves the user experience, makes the site easier to crawl.High
Types of internal links: overview.

I always try to think about what intention of certain internal links. What would you think happens or what you find when you click on a particular internal link? When you think this way, you’ve come a long way around adding internal links.

The importance of internal links for SEO

In addition to the quality of each individual page, Google also looks at the consistency of a website. The more links (both backlinks and internal links) a page receives, the more value Google will place on it. Google recognizes the relationship between different links and content. Through the internal link structure, Google crawls a website.

Internal links give the visitor a complete picture of the topic at hand. It facilitates navigation through the website. This causes the time a visitor spends on the website to go up. This is therefore conducive to Google’s rating of the website.

Establishing an internal linking strategy

For the SEO of your website, it is important to evaluate the internal link structure and adjust it as needed. It is therefore important to establish an internal link strategy. There are a number of benefits to having an internal linking strategy.

  • Make sure you have a good anchor text profile per page (do not use the same anchor text for a page over and over again).
  • Match intent with what actually happens when a visitor clicks on a link.
  • Internal links define the hierarchy of the page. Keep this in mind when adding the links.

While setting up an optimal link strategy, a number of important aspects come into play. First, it is important to determine the structure. It is wise to do this according to the pyramid principle. The beginning is at the top, on the home page. This is followed by a number of categories (subheadings). From the categories, all pages are categorized. (2)

Optimize internal links?

I am happy to help with internal link optimization. Please contact me for this purpose.

After this, it is important to determine what the most important content is. What content is relevant to your core business? This is the content that shows expertise towards the product. With this, you want to be found by the visitor.

Third, it is important to use keywords in anchor texts for internal links. Keywords are used in anchor texts of internal links. This in fact ensures that the web page is better found by the visitor. Google also uses these links to find the web page. It is important to alternate with anchor texts. When all anchor texts are the same, it comes across as spam. A keyword in an anchor text gives a clear indication of what can be found on the next page.

Internal link structure and SEO

In short, it is important to maintain a clear internal link structure. Linking to important content helps Google crawl the website. The visitor benefits from internal links by making it easier to navigate to related topics.

When your website’s internal links are well structured, it enhances the visitor’s user experience. Google sees these as pluses. Structured internal links then positively influence your website’s position within search results.

Resources

  1. Importance of link architecture | Google Search Central Blog | Google for Developers. (s.d.). Google For Developers. https://developers.google.com/search/blog/2008/10/importance-of-link-architecture
  2. SEO Link Best Practices for Google | Google Search Central | Documentation | Google for Developers. (s.d.). Google For Developers. https://developers.google.com/search/docs/crawling-indexing/links-crawlable

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an internal link?

An internal link is a link that redirects to pages within the site itself. In doing so, you provide structure. This allows the user to easily navigate through your website.

What is the impact of Internal Link on SEO?

Google pays attention not only to the quality of each page on its own, but also to the website as a whole. This includes looking at the (internal) links. If visitors navigate your site a lot, this will be noted by Google and they see this as positive. You will therefore see this reflected in the ranking of search results.

How many internal links can I put on a page?

Actually, you can put as many internal links on a page as you want, but whether it’s wise is another question. Internal links refer to links that should redirect to a web page within your website. So it’s going to redirect your visitors to another topic. As a result, it provides more structure and also more cohesion within the website.

It is nice for visitors to be able to click on a word and then link through to another page within your website, where they can find more information on that particular topic. It saves them a lot of time having to search for it themselves. So by internal links, you contribute to the usability of your websites. Google also sees this as a plus and then you are also more findable.

I advise you to pay attention to relevance when placing internal links. When is a link really interesting and relevant to post? On some pages, there are more of them than on others. But it must add value to your visitors and thus to the search engine.

How do I determine which anchor texts to use in my internal links?

You have certain keywords you want to be found on and you use these words again in anchor texts of your internal links. This makes the web page better found by visitors. Google also uses the links to find the page. Therefore, you should also alternate with anchor texts. Are they the same Google will see it as spam. By using good anchor text, the keyword can actually be a good indication of what can be found on that page.

So you have to look at what you are going to refer to, what word fits with that? It’s about a word you also want to rank for in the search engines. Choosing a particular word combination is also possible. As long as it is clear what information a visitor can expect when he clicks on the internal link. You need to give people clarity and you can do that by using good anchor texts for the links.

When you visit a Web site yourself, you also want it to be clear what kind of information you get when you click on a link. This is exactly what visitors on your website also want, so delve into that and then you will naturally determine the right anchor texts for internal links.

What happens if I use the wrong anchor text in my internal links?

If you use the wrong anchor text in your internal links, it’s not good for Google but it’s not good for visitors either. They think they find certain information on the page, but it turns out to be something else entirely. A keyword should be a good indication of that page, and if it is not, then it can have a negative effect. You are, as it were, giving people false hope, they think they will find an answer there but that is not the case.

That’s how it works for a search engine too, you indicate that information about a keyword can be found and it’s not true. So this is not reliable and does not contribute to the usability of your site. It will also come at the expense of your findability in the search engines. Therefore, you need to think about that and use the right anchor texts with your internal links.

If you’re not sure which anchor texts to use, you can always seek advice from a specialist. I would then be happy to help you and let you see how best to handle this.

Is internal link structure crucial for SEO?

It is important that you start using a good internal link structure. In fact, this linking will also help Google crawl your site. After all, a visitor really benefits from it because it allows them to better navigate to certain topics and thus find everything more easily. A visitor will also stay on your site longer as a result. Then if all internal links are well structured, the result is that it’s only going to enhance your visitor’s user experience.

So these are real pluses that Google is going to see. It also makes you score better in search engine results. Obviously, what you want to achieve with your website is to be easily findable, attract people to your website and hope that they will proceed to some action or purchase. This is why internal linking is so important to invest enough time in it.

If you’re not so sure how to link internally or you need help with it, you can always ask for advice. I will then be happy to help you and make sure everything fits together. You can outsource the whole process to me and I will make sure that a good internal link structure is created.

What results can I expect if I improve my internal link structure?

You’re going to see positive results if you start improving your internal link structure. Google will see it as positive, but it will also help your visitors navigate your website better. Just imagine that when you come to a website. You are reading a text and then you wonder what they mean by a special word. If you can then click on it for more information, you will quickly have an answer to your question.

As a result, you will spend longer on the site, which adds to the usability of your site. Google will also rate this as positive, which in turn makes you more findable in search engine results. Therefore, spend enough time on it and if you don’t have time for it yourself let an SEO specialist do it.

I’m happy to arrange it for you because your internal link structure is just very important, for visitors and for the search engines. Therefore, the investment is going to pay for itself quickly so worth getting something done with this soon.

What tools can I use to check my internal links?

If you want to check your internal links, Ahrefs can be used for that purpose. Allows you to check existing internal links. But you can also choose to automate the internal links in a website, and this can be done through Internal Link Juicers. I would also advise you to take advantage of this, but I also understand when you don’t have experience or time for it.

It is then good advice to outsource it to me. I am an SEO specialist with years of experience and I can make sure that your internal links are checked quickly and the internal link structure is greatly improved. This has a positive effect on search engine results and that’s what you’re doing it all for right?

This is why it makes sense to use the tools; it would be best to use both of them. It gives you a lot of clarity and then you also know quickly what you still need to adjust and where that is your opportunity.

How do I know if an internal link gives a negative result?

It is important to know if that an internal link will cause a negative result, as it may affect the number of visitors and your position in Google. That’s why you need to recognize this. You can recognize a bad internal link primarily by an incorrect anchor text used (a keyword for which that page does not want to come up where it points). Or the internal link points to the wrong page.

So these are two ways by which you can recognize if an internal link gives a negative result. If you know which of the two it is, then you can do something about this. You could also outsource it, I can then check the internal links as an SEO specialist and adjust them where necessary.

Internal links should ensure good results. After all, the point is to ensure that visitors do not receive error messages. It should all fit together, which is why the right keywords and anchor texts should be used. You should also regularly check that all links are still working, visitors who land on a link that doesn’t work too often will stay away after a while and that should be avoided.

Senior SEO-specialist

Ralf van Veen

Senior SEO-specialist
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I have been working for 10 years as an independent SEO specialist for companies (in the Netherlands and abroad) that want to rank higher in Google in a sustainable manner. During this period I have consulted A-brands, set up large-scale international SEO campaigns and coached global development teams in the field of search engine optimization.

With this broad experience within SEO, I have developed the SEO course and helped hundreds of companies with improved findability in Google in a sustainable and transparent way. For this you can consult my portfolio, references and collaborations.

This article was originally published on 8 April 2024. The last update of this article was on 5 June 2024. The content of this page was written and approved by Ralf van Veen. Learn more about the creation of my articles in my editorial guidelines.