Check out how to avoid mistakes when using internal links on your site for SEO.
I have seen tons of websites use internal linking the wrong way. By that, I mean that they use internal link anchor text like “click here” or “see more”. Those generic words do not describe what the linked page is about. Using “click here” as an anchor text link is a mistake.
Read on to learn why.
What Is Internal Linking?
Internal links are hyperlinks that connect different pages or content within the same website or domain. These links are used to navigate users from one page to another on the same site and are an essential part of website structure and user experience. The clickable link here is the anchor text that leads to another page on my site: Remove sitemap from Search Console.
Internal links serve several purposes, such as helping users find related or relevant content, improving site navigation, and distributing link equity or SEO value throughout the website.
Properly implemented internal linking can enhance user engagement, improve SEO rankings for your keywords, and establish a logical hierarchy for content organization on a website.
Why Do Internal Links Matter?
Internal links matter for several important reasons:
- Improved User Experience: Internal links help users navigate a website more easily by providing pathways to related content. This enhances user satisfaction and keeps them engaged on the site.
- Enhanced SEO: Search engines use internal links to discover and index content. Proper internal linking helps search engines understand the site’s structure and the importance of various pages, which can positively impact search rankings.
- Distributed Link Equity: Internal links allow you to distribute SEO value or link equity from high-authority pages to other pages on your site, helping to boost the visibility and ranking of those pages in search results.
- Content Relevance: Internal linking helps establish relationships between related content, indicating to both users and search engines which pages are closely related or offer additional information on a topic.
- Reduced Bounce Rate: When users can easily find relevant content through internal links, it reduces the likelihood of them leaving the site after viewing only one page, thereby lowering the bounce rate.
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Internal Linking Mistakes to Avoid
When implementing internal links, avoid using generic anchor text (like “click here” or “learn more”) that lacks keyword optimization. This can diminish internal linking SEO efforts.
You want your internal links to describe what the linked page is about, which also helps search engines understand what the linked page is about.
As an example, I am going to link to a page about user-intent optimization. That anchor text describes the content on the linked page, and can help improve rankings for the keyword “user-intent optimization”. If I linked to the page with “click here”, then the link would be too generic and not make sense for search engines that crawl the link. The linked page is not about “click here”.
Additionally, be cautious not to overload your content with too many links, which can lead to a cluttered user experience and dilute link value.
Now, let’s get into more details about internal linking mistakes you should avoid.
Not Linking Enough and How to Fix It
One common mistake in internal linking is not including enough links within your content. When you don’t incorporate sufficient internal links, you miss out on the opportunity to guide users to related or relevant content on your website, which can lead to a less engaging user experience.
To fix this issue, it’s crucial to review your content and identify opportunities for internal linking. Look for relevant keywords or phrases within your articles that naturally lend themselves to linking to other pages on your site.
For example, if you have a blog post about “Digital Marketing Tips” and you mention “SEO strategies,” you can insert an internal link to a dedicated page about SEO.
Additionally, consider creating a sitemap or content hub that outlines the structure of your website and how different pages relate to each other. This can help you visualize and plan your internal linking strategy more effectively.
Remember that while you want to include enough internal links to be helpful to users, you should avoid overloading your content with them, as this can lead to a cluttered and confusing reading experience.
Finding the right balance between not linking enough and overlinking is key to a successful internal linking strategy.
Avoid Using Too Many Links in One Paragraph and How to Fix It
Overloading a single paragraph with too many internal links is a common mistake that can overwhelm readers and disrupt the flow of your content. When you have an excessive number of links in one place, it can distract from the main message of your content and make it challenging for readers to focus.
To address this issue, start by reviewing your content and identifying paragraphs that contain an excessive number of links. Prioritize the most relevant and valuable links for each paragraph, focusing on those that enhance the user’s understanding or offer additional resources related to the content.
Consider grouping related links within a section or at the end of an article in a “Related Articles” or “Further Reading” section. This way, you can still provide valuable resources without overwhelming the main body of your content.
Another effective strategy is to use descriptive anchor text that clearly conveys the purpose of the link.
This allows readers to understand the content they’ll access when clicking on the link, reducing the need for multiple links to provide context.
In summary, avoid using too many links in one paragraph by prioritizing the most relevant ones and presenting additional resources in a more organized and user-friendly manner.
Cleaning Up Temporary Internal Links (Redirects)
Temporary internal links, often in the form of redirects, can create problems if not properly managed. These redirects can accumulate over time due to website updates, changes in content structure, or other reasons. Failing to clean them up can negatively impact user experience and SEO.
To address this issue, regularly audit your website (monthly) for temporary internal links and redirects that are no longer necessary. Review your site’s content and identify any pages or resources that have permanently moved or no longer exist. Replace temporary redirects with direct links to the new or updated content whenever possible.
Utilize website auditing tools (Search Console) or WordPress plugins like Yoast that can help identify and manage these redirects more efficiently. By maintaining a clean and organized internal linking structure, you can ensure that users can access the intended content without unnecessary detours, enhancing their overall experience on your site and potentially improving SEO rankings.
Checking for Broken Links
Broken links are a common issue that can negatively impact user experience and SEO. These are links that no longer lead to valid web pages, often resulting in error messages like “404 Page Not Found.” To maintain a user-friendly and search engine-friendly website, it’s essential to regularly check for and fix broken links.
To identify broken links, you can use various online tools and website auditing software. These tools scan your website for links that return error codes (such as 404 or 503) and provide a list of the broken links found.
Once you’ve identified broken links, take the following steps to fix them:
- Update or Replace Links: If the linked content still exists but has moved to a different URL, update the link to point to the new location. Ensure the anchor text and context remain relevant.
- Remove Unnecessary Links: If the linked content is no longer available or relevant, consider removing the broken link altogether. This declutters your content and improves the user experience.
- Implement Redirects: In cases where you’ve permanently moved or renamed pages, set up 301 redirects to guide users and search engines to the correct pages. This helps preserve SEO value and ensures a smooth transition for visitors.
- Regular Maintenance: Make checking for broken links a routine part of your website maintenance. As your site evolves and grows, new broken links may appear, so ongoing monitoring is essential.
By proactively checking for and addressing broken links, you can maintain a website that provides a seamless user experience and supports your SEO efforts.
Don’t Only Linking to a Homepage, Link to Inner Pages
One common (and old school) mistake in internal linking is overemphasizing links to the homepage while neglecting to link to inner pages. Over-reliance on homepage links can limit the visibility and accessibility of valuable content deeper within your website.
To fix this issue, diversify your internal linking strategy by adding links to relevant inner pages throughout your content. Identify key pages or articles that offer in-depth information or valuable resources related to the topic at hand, and insert contextual internal links to guide users to these pages.
Additionally, create a logical and hierarchical site structure that ensures inner pages are easily discoverable. Implement a clear navigation menu and consider including related articles or “Recommended Reading” sections within your content to promote these inner pages.
By distributing internal links more evenly across your website, you not only enhance the user experience by providing access to valuable content but also improve the SEO performance of these inner pages by passing link equity to them, ultimately benefiting your site as a whole.
Don’t Use Too Many Links on One Page
As mentioned before, too many links on a single page can overwhelm users, making it challenging for them to navigate and digest the content. This practice can lead to a cluttered and confusing user experience, ultimately driving visitors away.
To avoid this issue, carefully evaluate the number of links you include on each page. Prioritize the most relevant and valuable links that enhance the user’s understanding or provide additional resources related to the content. Aim for a balance that ensures a smooth reading experience without unnecessary distractions.
Consider grouping related links together within a section or at the end of an article in a “Related Articles” or “Further Reading” section. This allows you to provide valuable resources without overloading the main body of your content.
Additionally, use descriptive anchor text that clearly communicates the purpose of each link. This helps users understand the content they’ll access when clicking a link, reducing the need for multiple links to provide context.
Use a clean and user-friendly page layout by avoiding an excessive number of links, focusing on relevance, and presenting additional resources in an organized manner. This approach enhances the user experience and ensures that your content remains easily accessible and digestible.
Don’t Overlook Orphaned Pages
Orphaned pages are web pages on your site that lack internal links from other pages within the same site. These pages often go unnoticed and are disconnected from the overall structure of your website, potentially resulting in poor user experience and missed SEO opportunities.
To address this issue, regularly review your website’s content and identify orphaned pages. Once identified, integrate these pages into your site’s internal linking structure by adding relevant links from other pages. These links can be within the content, in navigation menus, or through related articles sections.
By ensuring that all pages on your website are interconnected, you improve the chances of users discovering and exploring these orphaned pages, which can contain valuable information or resources. Additionally, integrating orphaned pages into your internal linking strategy helps distribute link equity throughout your site, potentially enhancing their search engine rankings and visibility.
Don’t Use Nofollow for Internal Links
Using the “nofollow” attribute for internal links is a common mistake that can hinder your website’s SEO efforts. When you add the “nofollow” attribute to an internal link, you essentially instruct search engines not to follow that link or pass any SEO value to the linked page. This practice can be detrimental for several reasons.
To correct this mistake, it’s essential to reevaluate your internal linking strategy and remove “nofollow” attributes from internal links unless there is a specific and legitimate reason to do so. Check plugins and other things that might automatically nofollow internal links in case they are out-dated.
In most cases, internal links should be “followed” to ensure that link equity is distributed throughout your website and helps improve the SEO performance of linked pages.
Make sure internal links are used for logical navigation, user experience enhancement, and content flow. By allowing search engines to follow these links, you can maximize the SEO benefits of internal linking and improve the discoverability and ranking potential of your website’s pages.
Avoid Linking to Different Pages with the Same Anchor Texts
Repeating the same anchor text for links pointing to different pages is a common mistake that can confuse users and hinder SEO efforts. It makes it challenging for both users and search engines to understand the context and relevance of each link.
To correct this issue, prioritize using unique and descriptive anchor text for each link. The anchor text should provide a clear and concise indication of the content or topic of the linked page. This not only enhances user experience but also helps search engines better understand the relationship between the anchor text and the linked page’s content.
Additionally, consider using variations of keywords or phrases related to the content of the linked pages to add diversity to your anchor text. This approach not only improves the clarity of your links but also contributes to a more natural and effective SEO strategy by signaling the relevance of your content to search engines.
Not Using Descriptive Anchor Text, Use Keywords in Your Anchor Text That You Want to Rank For
Using non-descriptive anchor text or generic phrases for your internal links is a common mistake that can hinder both user experience and SEO efforts. Instead of vague or generic terms, it’s important to use anchor text that clearly conveys the content or topic of the linked page and strategically incorporates keywords you want to rank for.
To address this issue, review your internal linking strategy and ensure that anchor text is both descriptive and keyword-rich. When linking to a page about “digital marketing strategies,” for example, use anchor text like “effective digital marketing strategies” rather than simply saying “click here” or “read more.”
By using descriptive anchor text that includes relevant keywords, you not only provide valuable context to users but also signal to search engines the topic and importance of the linked page. This can contribute to improved user engagement and better SEO rankings for the targeted keywords, ultimately enhancing the overall performance of your website.
Don’t Link to Irrelevant Pages with Internal Links
Linking to irrelevant pages within your website can confuse users and harm your website’s overall user experience. It can also dilute the SEO value of your internal links by suggesting a lack of coherence between content.
To rectify this issue, ensure that your internal links are contextually relevant to the content they appear within. When selecting pages to link to, consider whether the linked content adds value to the user’s understanding or complements the topic being discussed. Avoid inserting links solely for the purpose of increasing page views or SEO manipulation.
Regularly review your internal linking strategy to identify and remove links to irrelevant pages. By maintaining a coherent and contextually relevant internal linking structure, you can enhance user engagement and the overall quality of your website while maximizing the SEO benefits of internal linking.
Avoid Internal Linking One Page More Than Once
If you are still with me at this point of the article, please, please, (please) take this point away with you.
Repeating internal links to the same page within a single piece of content is a common internal linking mistake that can negatively impact user experience and dilute the SEO value of those links.
To address this issue, carefully review your content and ensure that you’re not overusing internal links to the same page. Instead, focus on using internal links sparingly and strategically. Prioritize links that provide the most value to users and enhance the content’s context.
If you find multiple opportunities to link to the same page within your content, choose the most relevant instance and remove the others. This keeps your content concise, reduces redundancy, and ensures that each link serves a distinct purpose.
By avoiding excessive internal linking to the same page, you maintain a cleaner and more user-friendly reading experience while maximizing the impact of your internal links for SEO and user engagement.
Conclusion About Internal Linking Mistakes
In the world of SEO and user experience, internal linking is a powerful tool when used correctly, but it can lead to various pitfalls when handled improperly. Avoiding common internal linking mistakes is crucial for maintaining a well-structured and user-friendly website that performs well in search engine rankings.
By steering clear of these internal linking mistakes and adopting best practices, you can enhance your website’s user experience, improve SEO rankings, and ultimately achieve greater success in the digital landscape.