Internal Linking 101: Linking to Relevant Content for SEO

You’ve created some really amazing blog posts, but your pages are just not getting the traffic they deserve. Have you looked at your internal links?

Internal linking can be super helpful in boosting your page traffic – and it’s easy to get done!

what is internal linking?

Put simply, internal linking is linking between different pages and assets on your website.

Why is internal linking important?

Internal linking is helpful in a few different ways!

  1. Internal links allow people to navigate through your website more easily, giving them a better user experience.
  2. Internal links establish an information hierarchy on your website. They let Google know what the most important pages are, and they decrease the number of clicks that it takes to get between different pages.
  3. Internal links help spread link equity (also known as your ranking power, or your SEO juice, or your link juice). So the more links that go to a specific page, the more that increases their page rank, the more likely that page is to show up in search results.

two types of internal links

There are two different types of internal links: navigational links and contextual links. Let’s talk a bit about both:

Navigational links

Navigational links are ways for people to navigate around your site. For example, those links that you have along your main navigation, your menu bar, and your footer are navigational links

navigational links

Contextual links

The other type is contextual links. These are links that are happening within the copy of your pages that refer to other pages around your website. So these are links that show people relevant content to what they’re already reading on your website.

And there are two types of contextual links:

  1. Image links
  2. Text links

As a general rule, text links tend to perform better than image links. They tend to get more clicks and tend to transfer more link equity (So if you’re adding an image link, you may also want to include a text link with it).

Contextual links tend to perform better the navigational links because they’re right there in your content. They’re more specific to the needs of the people who are consuming your content.

What to link and how to link it

So how do you decide what you want to link from one page to another? Oftentimes it just comes naturally. If you’re writing a lot about one general topic, it just kind of makes sense to say, “Hey, go check out this page too.”

But how you go about linking is important. You always want to make sure that the part you’re linking is the relevant words – NOT the “click here”. This helps Google know that the page you’re sending people to is about that specific topic.

Another way to link to more pages is to always think about what you want people to do at the end of a particular piece of content – link to your call-to-action! Maybe that’s a contact form you want people to fill out or an opt-in lead magnet landing page that you want people to click on. Maybe you have a specific product you’d recommend to people. Link to those calls-to-action, and get people to take that next step!

What are some ways that you can make sure you’re linking between old content and new content that’s relevant to each other?

A good rule to follow is that every time you publish a new piece of content, find an old piece of content that’s relevant to it, and link through to it.

You should also make sure to use relevant anchor text to drive link equity from the old post to the new post (this helps the page to get indexed more quickly and helps Google to know that it exists).

Another way to make sure that you’re linking to relevant content in your posts is to build it into your theme. If you add relevant blog post links at the end of each post, then that’s an easy way to make sure that you have related links.

Sometimes I’ll even go through and add it at the end of a paragraph and say something like, “Here’s a related post in case you’re curious about it”.

FAQs about internal linking

I get a lot of specific questions about internal linking, so I figured I’d do a FAQ section here:

“Should I link to the same thing in multiple places?”

My answer: You don’t really need to.

The first link is the one that counts, and Google ignores any subsequent links. You never really have to link to your homepage, because that’s automatically linked in your main navigation. Don’t feel like you have to eep linking the same thing over and over again in case people miss it, because it doesn’t really matter.

“Does it matter if links open in the same window or in another window?”

My answer: Nope.

That doesn’t matter how Google perceives that link at all.

Instead, you may want to think about what your user’s experience is. If you want them to be able to get back to that original page very easily, you may want to open it in a new window, or if you want them to have more of a seamless experience, you may want to keep it in the same window.

“Does every page on my website need a link?”

My answer: Yes.

If a page doesn’t have a link to anywhere else on the site, it’s what’s called an orphan page.

Orphaned content, or pages and posts that don’t have any other links from anywhere on your site, is really hard for Google to find – and really hard for other people to find, too.

If you feel like you might have a lot of orphaned content on your website, you can use a free tool like Screaming Frog which will run a free report for you and let you know if there are any pages on your website that don’t have any of those internal links.

“Can I have TOO many links on a page?”

My answer: Not really.

As long as they’re relevant links, then it doesn’t really matter how many there are. Google can index hundreds of links on a specific page.

However, the more links you include, the less link equity it passes. So you don’t want to just slam all your links into a page just for fun – you want to make sure that they’re relevant.

If you have a lot of content that’s related to each other, it may even make sense to create a page to consolidate all of these links, which is what’s called a cornerstone guide.

Internal linking tools

If you don’t already have a SEO checklist you go through when posting content, there are a few tools out there that will do some of this for you!

Rank Math will include ideas of relevant internal links in their free version, and Yoast does too (but I believe only in the paid version).

I also use a plugin called LinkWhisper which indexes my entire page, figures out how many internal and external links I have going out and coming into each page, finds orphan links, and will even automatically add links if you give it permission to do so (which is a really good idea if you have a bunch of old content you want to link to!)

If you have any more specific questions about internal linking, head on over to my YouTube channel and leave a comment!