Interlinking your articles, so we’re told, is very good for SEO.
It makes sense on many levels. It’s good for the user experience. It ties related content together. It helps Google crawl your site faster and more thoroughly.
You might say interlinking is one of those no-brainer on-site SEO practices that you should do since it’s a win/win for users and Google.
It’s also easy and fast to do.
But, it is boring (I have a solution for that below).
Table of Contents
- What is interlinking?
- Should you create nofollow interlinks?
- Where should you put your internal links in your articles?
- How many internal links should you create on an article?
- Should link text include the keyword/keyword phrase of the target article?
- Should every internal link be reciprocal?
- Should you link to new content from old content?
- Can you outsource interlinking?
- Is there interlinking software that works?
- MOST IMPORTANT:
What is interlinking?
Interlinking (aka internal linking) is creating dofollow links among your articles.
• Outbound link: A link going out to a URL
• Inbound link: A link pointing toward a URL
• Dofollow: This type of link passes link juice for SEO purposes.
• Nofollow: This type of link does not pass link juice for SEO purposes. Basically, you’re telling Google there is no value in the target URL
• Target URL: The URL an outgoing link points to.
• Source URL: The URL from which a link is created.
Should you create nofollow interlinks?
No. Okay, there may be rare exceptions but your practice should be to dofollow all internal links.
Should your internal links open in the same or new window?
Years ago I’d say new window.
These days, I say the same window because more and more people visit on mobile phones and it’s annoying when surfing on a mobile phone to have another tab open up. It actually makes it harder to find the previous page than if you open it in the same window.
Therefore, when creating links within your site, set them to not open in a new window.
Where should you put your internal links in your articles?
I don’t have the formula for this.
My first priority is to look for natural areas toward the top of an article with a natural-reading reference of the word to create the link. By “natural” I mean instances of relevant words or phrases you can use to create links.
Next, I look further down the page.
Third, I often create “Related: Link 11 Link 2” sections within the article.
Fourth, I create Related: Link 11 Link 2″ sections at the bottom.
How many internal links should you create on an article?
I don’t think there is a magic number. I’ve read 3 to 5 outbound internal links at a minimum. I’ve done quite a bit more than that routinely. My instructions to my interlinkingVA are up to 20.
As for how many inbound links to a particular article, I don’t think there is a limit. If you really want to rank a particular article, dozens or 100+ is fine AS LONG AS THEY ARE FROM RELATED ARTICLES.
And that’s the key IMO… interlink related articles.
Should link text include the keyword/keyword phrase of the target article?
Yes, but don’t manipulate it so that it reads clumsily.
For example, if the target article’s keyword is “AWeber review”, don’t end up with a sentence in the source article that reads like “I got my first AWeber review account 9 years ago.” That doesn’t make sense. In this case, I would either link just “AWeber” or I would write the following “I got my first AWeber account 9 years ago. Be sure to read my in-depth AWeber review to learn more.” where I would hyperlink “AWeber review” or “read my in-depth AWeber review”.
Should every internal link be reciprocal?
A reciprocal link is where two articles link to one another.
Whether you do this depends on the article cluster.
If you have one article in a series or cluster that you want to rank far more than any other, you may limit outbound links from the important article and instead have mostly inbound from the related articles.
However, if you prefer the entire cluster to rise in Google, interlink them all. However, one caution is if you have a cluster that has 50 articles, it’s probably excessive to have 49 outbound links from all 50 articles in the cluster. In this case, mix and choose or focus on a few articles that are most important for you to rank.
Tagging helps identify interlinking opportunities
In the previous lecture on Tagging, I mentioned how a systematic tagging scheme can help plan interlinking. It really does.
Essentially, articles with the same tag are related and therefore make for terrific interlinking webs. I do this extensively.
In fact, I’ve hired a full-time VA whose sole job is to interlink tagged articles and clusters on all my sites. This is one way to avoid the tedious boredom of linking.
Should you go back and interlink old content?
Should you link to new content from old content?
Yes, you should. When I publish a new post, I build one, some, or many links to it from the related content.
Can you outsource interlinking?
I do not like building links. It’s boring. It’s one reason that until recently, I wasn’t very diligent.
My solution was to hire a VA to do it. Because I tagged everything carefully, I was able to instruct my VA to simply interlink tagged articles.
If you have other methods on your site for a VA to identify related articles (aka clusters), then you can easily outsource this task.
When I publish a new article, I email my VA to create links to and from the related articles. Sometimes I set out the other articles and sometimes I simply say interlink with the “X” tag.
Is there interlinking software that works?
I understand hiring a VA for interlinking is not feasible for most bloggers. Therefore, you’re wondering if there’s a fast way to create internal links via software (i.e. plugins).
As with most things in WordPress, there’s a plugin for that. A couple actually. Here they are.
Link Whisper: I used this plugin quite a bit until I hired an interlinkingVA. This plugin is much more nuanced than SEO Smart Links but it’s not perfect. Overall, I say it does a good job. It’s better than not interlinking. I think it’s a great solution if pressed for time. You can fairly quickly interlink older content as well as create new links on the fly as you publish new content.
With Link Whisper you can adjust the hyperlink text and choose which suggested links to use. Basically, you gain quite a bit of control (but not the same level of control as if you do it yourself or hire a VA).
What about Yoast SEO plugin’s internal linking suggestions?
I find they are not very good. I get a lot of unrelated suggestions so I ignore them.
Ahrefs: Ahrefs now offers in the Site Audit section an Internal Linking Opportunities report and it’s amazing. I show you mine in the video above. It’s so good you could easily hand it off to a VA to build links.
The key, IMO, with internal linking is linking related articles, with “related” being the operative word. “Related” is relative.
For example, if you publish a pet site that covers every type of pet, interlinking all German Shepard dog articles makes sense.
However, if your site focuses on German Shepard dogs, you may interlink all articles related to “food for German Shepards”.
Another important factor with internal linking is that it’s a really good thing to do. Don’t worry too much about doing it perfectly. There is no perfect approach. Just do it in a way that makes sense. Erring on too much internal linking is a good thing.