SEOs know that internal linking is critical to the success of your site.
However, internal linking is a bit of a science.
It doesn’t have to be too technical or complicated, but there is a formula you should follow for the best results. Once you’ve learned the “rules,” good internal linking becomes second nature.
You can often quickly start seeing results as well. Pass that link juice to your pages that you want to rank higher!
Unfortunately, some people get a bit overzealous when they start doing internal linking and can often make some critical mistakes.
Today, I’m going to share mistakes that people often make when building internal links.
Here are 7 common internal linking mistakes so that you know what NOT to do!
Mistake 1: Add Way Too Many Internal Links
Don’t build tons of internal links from a page simply because it has a high Domain Authority.
When you have a post that has received many external links, it can be tempting to fill it with as many internal links as possible. However, it’s not good practice to force links into a post because it dilutes the strength of each link, and a lack of relevance won’t help either.
Too many internal links can be overwhelming for your readers as well. For example, the screenshot above. I’m so conflicted about which link to click on that I’m not going to click on any!
Instead of over-linking, only build relevant, natural links, and don’t overdo it.
Mistake 2: Use the Exact Same Anchor Text Over and Over
When building internal links to a post, try not to use the same anchor text too many times.
When you build external links to your site, its common practice to be a bit more cautious about the anchor text that’s used.
You don’t need to be as careful with internal links, but you still should build 100% keyword rich anchor text for your internal links.
You could go as high as a 90% phrase match, but you should also mix in other anchors. This not only makes your internal linking look less forced to search engines, but it gives them a broader picture of what the linked post is about.
If you have a site about vacuum cleaners and you are adding internal links to your ‘10 best vacuum cleaners’ post, even just adding different determiners in front of the primary keyword helps.
Examples of different link anchors:
- the best vacuum cleaners
- a top vacuum cleaner
- best vacuums for your home
- my favorite hoover
- these vacuum cleaners
- this post on the best vacuums
You get the idea!
Mistake 3: Letting an Automated Link Building Tool Do All the Work
When you have a link-building tool like Link Whisper, it’s easy to think it can do everything. It even has a feature where it will automatically add links to many posts at once.
For example, I have a post on Keyword Research to which I want to add internal links. Link Whisper can search my site for all the posts that mention ‘keyword research’ and add a link to my main article on the subject.
When using this tool, you also have the option to edit the anchor text as well to avoid breaking the rule above!
However, you have to be careful with this! If you set up your entire set to be built with automated links, you are setting yourself up for failure.
You’ll end up with too many links with too much of the same achor text and that can definitely be a big mistake.
While the auto-linking in Link Whisper is good, you should also use the regular parts of Link Whisper to get your links just right. (The “auto-linking” function of Link Whisper is just one minor feature and one that I personally don’t use).
Don't just build an automated rule and expect great internal links.
Mistake 4: Avoid Building Internal Links From a Page That Has No External Links
Just because a post has no external links pointing to it, that’s no reason not to build internal links from it!
Relevancy is important for SEO, so if there are relevant posts that you can link to, don’t hesitate to do so.
It’s a good idea to always include at least one internal link from every post before it is even published.
Link Whisper actually suggests relevant internal links as you write your article (with anchor text pre-selected).
All you have to do is scan the results, select the internal links you like, and hit update. All of those internal links will be added to the article for you. Now you have no excuse to build internal links, even when that article may not have any external links pointing to it.
Mistake 5: Don’t test or track how many clicks your internal links are getting
Do you know how many clicks your internal links are getting?
Most people don't.
Knowing which of your links are actually getting clicked can be extremely powerful information and can increase the time on site and overall engagement of readers.
You can quickly and easily view how many clicks internal links get using the Link Whisper click reporting feature. By default, the plugin starts tracking internal link clicks once installed.
Link Whisper collects:
- The text and URL of the clicked link
- The time of the click
- The IP address of the visitor that clicked the link
- The page that the link was in
- And the visitor’s user id if they were logged in
Once you know how many clicks your internal links are getting and which individual links are getting the most clicks, you can start testing anchor text variation, buttons, or more to see what increases the number of clicks.
This could lead to more sales or higher ad revenue by keeping visitors more engaged on your site.
Mistake 6: Don't use alt tags on image links
When adding an internal link to an image, make sure you include a descriptive keyword alt tag. That information is essential, but is often forgotten.
This can lead to better SEO as it helps Google understand what your link is really about (an image has no words and therefore does not describe to Google what the page is about).
You should use keyword descriptive alt tags on all images, but especially when those images are internal links.
Internal links on images are not common on most sites but can show up when sharing the same infographic in multiple posts or using an image as a call to action.
Mistake 7. Leaving Orphaned Pages
An orphan page has no internal links pointing to it, and that’s not a good thing!
How is Google supposed to rank your content appropriately if you never pass any sort of link juice from your own site?
It is important to create content silos that are all interlinking. This helps to build up your site’s authority on a particular topic.
Try to make sure all of your content has at least one internal link pointing to it. You can use Link Whisper reports to quickly see which articles don’t have any internal links.
As you can see from the Link Whisper report below, I have a couple of new articles that don’t have any internal links pointing to them, so I should build some internal links to those pages.
Fortunately, I can use Link Whisper to quickly add new internal links to these orphaned pages by clicking the “add” button on this report. This will give me suggested links that I can quickly add in a couple of clicks.
Perfect Internal Linking
Now that we’ve reviewed 7 mistakes that you should avoid when it comes to internal link building, you can start implementing some of these best practices on your own sites.
Google doesn’t share too much on the perfect internal linking processes (other than its importance), but these best practices have been tried and tested over time.
While internal links don’t always have the same amount of strength as good external ones, there is plenty of evidence that shows they do have a dramatic effect.
For example, see what happened when I built 108 internal links to 47 posts on my niche site in this internal link case study.
Nearly 75% of the articles I built internal links to were ranking higher after about 2 months.
The traffic increase in the screenshot above is partly attributable to these links!
Apply these internal link tactics to your website, keep learning and experimenting, and you will be in a good position to grow.
If you’d like to try out Link Whisper, you can get a special discount by using coupon code “WordAgents” at checkout.