Internal linking: How to manage internal links

published on 18 March, 2022 by

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When it comes to search engine optimization, options seem to abound, sometimes monopolizing our attention. Which is why it’s worth remembering how relevant an On-Site strategy may be, given that we can lead it exactly as we see fit. Optimizing it is all about internal linking. This notion refers to the art of mastering your traffic and how your visitors navigate your site so that every single page produces an equal amount of link juice. Here is all you need to know about the role of internal links in SEO.

Overview of the internal linking strategies

The first internal linking strategy that comes to mind might consist in linking all the pages together, which is also a solution that will ensure they are all indexed. With that said, it becomes impractical if you have anything over 100 pages on your site…

It is also possible to apply a family tree link building strategy, based on the correspondence between categories / sub-categories / sub-sub-categories / etc. If the website is very deep, however, you might run the risk of diluting the link juice. This strategy also applies to websites with 100 pages or less.

For more sizable link structures, you might want to consider a silo structure strategy, which derives from the idea of a family tree hierarchy and introduces semantic partitioning to it. This offers the relevance Google is looking for and a consistent point of reference for Internet users.

Internal linking: focus on the Silo Structure Strategy

The term “Silo” refers to the storage tanks that farmers fill with grain and open at the top. On the Web, the ranking of pages is done in a similar way, through a funnel system where the first category page – also known as Parent – refers to a site-wide topic. Another category page – known as Child – introduces more specific content, and then another – known as Grandchild – delves even deeper into one aspect of it, and so on.

While a website must imperatively organise the information it contains according to a hierarchy, the architecture should be built in such a way that, the further you get into the menu, the more precise the content becomes. Thus, the main pages – and the ones most important for SEO – are introduced in your menu and show up everywhere. And if your optimization relies on these web pages being properly indexed, then your internal linking should be flawless.

The importance of semantic contextualization

One silo corresponds to one topic. Of course, several silos can coexist within a website. However, you need to avoid “horizontal lines” and there should be no communication allowed across topics (or between silos). This means that every page has to retain a certain logic when it comes to its connections, so that your internal links for SEO may also be used to add information. The idea is to keep going further and further down a rabbit-hole of pages.

SEO has been putting the semantic context at the forefront. This means the silo structure internal linking technique can produce the maximum amount of link juice on the pages, all while encouraging Google’s robots to index them.

Anchor links

By applying a good internal linking structure, you can connect one page with 5 others (tops!) on the same topic. It is also possible to use anchors like “On similar topics”, or “Other articles you may like” to add 2 more pages. The anchors must imperatively be customised for every single page. And varied. In any case, they have to address the same topic as the landing page the links point to.

Make sure not to fall into the trap of over-optimizing the anchors for your internal links, which Google Penguin penalises severely. For the small animal, the watchword is “natural”, which means the more ostentatious your optimization efforts are, the more you will get penalised. Varying anchors is the name of the game here. And be sure not to include too many within a given page.

The goal is to integrate the anchors harmoniously within the text content and to remain above the floating point – which is the screen page that appears when Internet users don’t perform any actions (or don’t scroll down).

SEO tips and advice

  • The three clicks rule prevails: every page on the site should be just 3 clicks away from the home page.
  • Breadcrumbs are a great point of reference and improve the user experience.
  • Over-optimising your internal linking is detrimental to your SEO.
  • If you add more internal links or over-optimize, it’s better to use a no-follow.
  • Internal linking should not use similar anchors, all the more so if they contain keywords (risk of over-optimization).
  • Automated systems may be very tempting, but they bring you nothing good in terms of improving your positioning in the search results, since Google notices them immediately!
  • The Google Browser Size tool allows you to know your website’s floating line under various screen resolutions so you can anchor your links properly.

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