Digital Marketing Institute Blog

Andy Crestodina

December 19, 2012
by Andy Crestodina

Internal Linking: An SEO Shortcut

by Andy Crestodina
on December 19, 2012

Internal Linking: An SEO Shortcut

Links are a big factor in search engine rankings, but good links from trusted sites are hard to earn. Some bloggers will spend hours writing and pitching guest posts just to get one high-quality link.



Lots of web marketers miss the easiest opportunity to build links: internal linking on their own website. True, internal links won’t improve the authority of your domain, but they’re still valuable. They pass authority from old pages to new ones, helping them rank. They can also send visitors to the new page, helping increase traffic to your latest content.



You have total control over internal links. They’re free and fast to create, so let’s take a quick look at internal linking. Here are the steps to follow next time you publish a new post or page:



1. Publish the new post.

Once you’ve optimized it for a target keyphrase using the SEO checklist, make it live as a blog post or webpage. As you do, use phrase in the page URL if possible, such as www.yoursite.com/blog/keyphrase



2. Find related pages on your site.

Search your own site in Google for related pages: “site:www.yoursite.com [keyword]” This is a quick way to find any mentions of the keyphrase on other pages. Google will show you all the instances of the phrase on your site. These pages are candidates for internal linking.



3. Link from older pages and posts to the new page.

Turn the instances of the keyword on other pages into links to the new post. Follow these basic guidelines:

  • Use the phrase as the link text. When the text within the link includes the target keyphrase, this helps indicate the relevance of the new page to Google.
  • Add a “Related links” to the bottom of recent blog posts.


4. Check your sitemap.

Every great website has at least two sitemaps:


  • A sitemap for visitors with links to everything. It should reflect the SEO-strategy of the overall site. Not sure if it is? Read how to make a sitemap.
  • An XML sitemap that helps search engines find everything.


Lot of sites are not set up to update the sitemaps automatically. Double check both sitemaps to make sure they’re up-to-date and that the address of the new page appears.



Internal links are neither “on-page” or “off-site.” They’re the off-page/on-site part of SEO that is often overlooked. Even if you’re using best practices for website navigation, you might still be missing these opportunities.



Bottom Line

Remember, you’re not finished search optimizing a page on your site until you’ve captured all of these opportunities for internal linking!





 

Andy Crestodina is the Strategic Director of Orbit Media, a web design company in Chicago. He’s also the author of Content Chemistry, An Illustrated Guide to Content Marketing You can find Andy on and Twitter.

Andy Crestodina

About Andy Crestodina