How to build an internal link strategy

April 14, 2022

Internal linking helps readers and search engines better understand your content.

So what’s your strategy for internal linking?

It’s normal to not really have one. But still, you should have one. Otherwise you’re missing out on a lot of engagement opportunities. (Google’s John Mueller recently reëmphasized this point.)

Strategic internal linking:

  • Helps interested readers find more relevant articles
  • Gives site visitors more potential click-throughs
  • Reinforces your expertise in a given subject

Also: when Google crawls your site, it counts the number of internal links that each page receives. The pages with the most links will be deemed the most emblematic of your site. This affects your organic search performance.

So let’s look at how to decide on a strategy, act on it, and bake it into your production process.

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You can locate this data pretty quickly in Google Search Console.

Click on the “Link” tab in the left navigation panel.

(That report has some other cool stats, too, like which external sites are linking to you.)

If the “Top Linked Pages” in that report are not the pages that are most important to your brand and market strategies, it’s time to make some changes.

🏄🏼 What you can do

Build your own internal link strategy.

First, decide which pages deserve the most internal links:

  • Which page is the most central to our brand identity?
  • Which 2-3 pages are the most important to our marketing strategy?

Next, it’s time to build those links!

  • Create a list of all pages that are related to your chosen page. (If you don’t have a site index handy, you can use Google search to find relevant pages on your site.)
  • On those related pages, add links to your target page wherever it’s relevant.
  • When you link, make sure to use descriptive text for the link text. The link text should describe the content of the page you’re linking to – not just “Click here!”

Address structural issues that affect internal linking:

  • Change your standardized calls to action. (Make sure they link to your target pages.)
  • Add your target pages to the navigation bar (Pages in your nav get an inlink on every single page of your site.)

Those two elements are probably having an outsized effect on your current internal link numbers. By adjusting them, you can decrease the link count for less important pages while increasing the count for your target pages.

Moving forward, think about internal linking whenever you write a new piece of content. Consider adding them to your content briefs.

Internal links are an important distribution channel!

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