Internal linking has power beyond any other type of link building strategy. Take a look at Wikipedia. They are a self-ranking juggernaut–internal links galore! If you’re wondering about the proper use of internal links, let me guide you. I am an on-page, internal linking specialist hacker Grin

Internal Linking Structure

I wanted to give you a visual so you can better understand proper internal linking structure. If you just look at my beautifully, hand-crafted internal linking diagram, you can begin to see that there’s a lot more than just creating a link on one page to another within your site.

Check your internal linking strategies against these points:

  • Are they anchor text links?
  • Are they relevant anchor texts?
  • Do the links come from relevant pages?
  • Do the links point to relevant pages?
  • Are you targeting long-tail/stemming keywords with the anchor text?
  • Are the links built within the content (contextual links)?
  • Where are the links placed within the content? – All Links are Not Created Equal [Rand Fishkin]
  • Does the link point upward in your silo/site architecture or hierarchy?

Here’s an easy sketch of a promising internal link strategy (just an example):

  1. Page: Apple Bottom Jeans
  2. Anchor Text on Apple Bottom Jeans page: Cute Stylish Jeans
  3. Anchor text points to relevant page higher in the silo or site architecture Cute Stylsh Jeans —> Stylish Jeans page
  4. Parent Page of Apple Bottom Jeans: Stylish Jeans

The reason for internal linking this way is that all your off page link building juice efforts will be passed from one page to another. This way, you amplify your efforts. As one page builds its rank, relevancy and authority, it passes on all three to the page to which it is innerlinking.

Just like building offpage links, you look at a site’s or page’s neighborhood, trust, authority, PR, etc. If the page you build a link from receives untrustworthy links from another site, and that site links to you, that pages link will pass distrust to yours and your page will look suspicious to Google because of it’s ‘friends’.

One way that I look at internal links is as if your site’s pages were a link wheel–all interconnected, all giving each other a boost. As one link in the chain strengthens, it adds strength to the rest. The same rule applies when building blogs, articles and other Web 2.0 properties that link to your site. As those properties gain strength, authority and rank, they boost your site.

The most powerful contribution of internal links is that you personally control contextual links that will only be erased if you decide to erase them. Links that come from other sites come and go and may not be reliable in the long-term.

As I said in the beginning. Wikipedia has hundreds of thousands, if not millions of internal links, thus hoarding all the ranking juice for itself. Thus it becomes a self-perpetuating ranking juggernaut.

As an extra thank you for reading this entire post, I give you a little technique that has amazing power.

Use rel=”nofollow” on links that don’t provide relevant anchor text. This will tell Google that you don’t want it to pass link juice to that page. It is key to use only relevant anchor texts to pass juice. There is an inbound to outbound link ratio that each of your pages has depending on the amount of content/text you have on your page. Don’t waste link juice on non-relevant anchor texts. The less outbound links you have on a page, the more ranking power it has. The more outbound links, the more juice passes and the lower the ranking and ranking power. So only pass ranking power through relevant anchor-text links.

If Google follows a link that reads “Click Here”, then the Big G sees that as you trying to rank for the keywords “Click Here”. That is worthless. Your link building efforts can be far better optimized. Update 9/11/12 If you are building links, this type of backlink anchor-text is not worthless. Part of a natural backlink profile will have backlinks with anchor text such as “click here”, “this site”, “this post”, etc. If you are building offsite links, use those types of terms some. For internal linking though, don’t use those types of anchors. Use exact match, partial match or semantic keywords.

Published – Aug 12, 2011