What is Internal Link Building And When is it Best to Use it?

Internal link building is a VERY important component of a website if your intention is to rank it high organically because through doing so, you provide more exposure to your overall website to search engines and visitors. However, not every part of your website should utilize this technique because it can cause sales to decline in certain cases. But I will show you all of this.

What exactly does internal linking mean?

It’s just a way to link in between pages and posts on your website. Any link that leads to another page on your website is considered an internal link, whereas any link which leads to another website, be it an affiliate program, an information websites, ect… is an external link.

Why internally linking on your website enriches it’s quality:

Pretty much every website needs to have a lot of content that is spread across many different articles. However, in my experience most websites get a bulk of their traffic on just a few articles, while most of the others just aren’t as popular. 

There are many times that the articles which aren’t as popular may have very important information that improves your visitor’s experience but may not be noticed if it’s either not very highly ranked or there are no links provided on popular posts that lead them there.

For example:il1

Let us say that I have an article that covers 10 ways to fix common car problems (green box). It’s my most popular article and most people visit it. 

Now let us say that I have 10 other articles (red boxes) on my site which aren’t as popular, but in great detail cover each of the 10 ways to fix the car. In other words, each article is exclusively devoted to explaining each fix.

I have drawn these articles in red boxes and X‘s to show that they aren’t getting a lot of traffic and because of that, the quality of my overall website suffers. Maybe those articles didn’t chase any keywords, maybe they did but they were too competitive and maybe something happened that didn’t make as popular as the green one. It doesn’t matter, it can be fixed through interlinking!

If I were to interlink (another way of saying internally link) my main article to each corresponding article, I would drive the traffic coming to that one page to all these other pages, making them more popular. This would also tell Google these other pages are important too which they could then also rank higher which in the future could give me even more traffic. I could also link them both ways with each separate article linking back to my popular one:

internallinkingexample

The blue arrows represent links going to each article. Thus the traffic from the main one now floods into the other articles, making them active (green boxes now instead of red).

You can also try to imagine a garden which has different sections. If you take care of just one section, it will grow, while the others will not. If you focus on all sections, pour water (think of that as linking) into all the other areas, the whole garden will be better. 

Why not put all your content on 1 article? 

Most of the time, cramming all your content and topics into one article is not a good idea because giving people too much information on too many topics all at once ruins the experience and from an SEO standpoint, it’s much better to divide every sub topic into a new article.

Try to imagine an entire niche website which may have anywhere from 2 to an unlimited amount of topics all covered on one page or basically a book. There is no way a majority of people who ever see that page will stay on it for long. That is going to hurt conversion rates.

Furthermore in online marketing and SEO, keeping your topics separated and on different pages gives your site the ability to chase keyword better and get more visitors.

It also creates far more relevancy since if someone lands on a page that covers their topic, they will stay on it, rather than land on a long page that they will have to look through. When people find what they’re looking for right away, they will stay on your site longer and this will help bounce rates which is another benefit of interlinking.:

Just take a look at how many relevant links I have provided on this article alone to illustrate how to interlink on your website. When a visitor sees this page and sees new terms they are not familiar with (bounce rates, keywords, conversion rates, ect…) I have a link that goes to a new page which explains it.

How often should one interlink on each article?

On every article I write, I will generally not link over 1% of however many words there are on the article (Ex: 500 words = 5 links or less and it doesn’t matter if it’s internal/external). But another rule I also follow is to do it in places where it would give my visitors a better, more quality experience on my website. That is very important for them and for my organic rankings. 

When it’s best to interlink:

On websites that seek to get more SEO exposure or websites that seek to cross sell products of the same category (e-commerce sites generally). This is basically the only types of websites that should use it. 

Now on these websites, there are certain pages where you should interlink and they are informational pages. I generally do NOT provide internal links on pages where I have an affiliate product being sold. On those pages, I will want to keep all links external (only my affiliate link). 

Any internal links on those pages may cause traffic leakage and thus lost revenue. So don’t do it on pages that sell products, do it on pages that inform. 

Opt in forms such as pop ups. You can set up forms to show up on every page of your website to collect an email list. In these cases, exposing the audience to more of your website is beneficial. 

So if you have a website which has multiple pages, start doing this. You will see way better stats for your website.

17 thoughts on “What is Internal Link Building And When is it Best to Use it?”

  1. Hi. I have a question about internal linking, maybe you can help.

    On my website, I have a review of a product I promote – product X. I write many other reviews and link them all to product X, saying it’s a better alternative. The thing is that I add about 4-5 links to product X in a review (I have an image saying “this product isn’t as good as product X, so get it instead” – so all my links are on similar images).

    My question is could that hurt my SEO? I imagine Google doesn’t see it too well – especially because I have 5 links pointing to the same article (on every review I write).

    Most of my reviews are over 2000 words and rank pretty well, but I always get penalized when there’s an update. And my competitors with thinner content don’t.

    So after analyzing my website and theirs, that’s the only possible explanation I could find. But I can’t tell if it’s a real thing – if it really affects SEO or not; and if that’s the cause why I always get penalized. What do you think?

    My articles rank really well but I suffer after every major update and it’s so frustrating to see all my work being destroyed. Hope you can give me an advice, thanks.

    • Joseph hi, it sounds like you’re ONLY linking to the product X review, which means it’s only 1 type of internal link, and you need to add more internal links to other posts. This is what I would do, and after updating it that way, I’d update the date of the reviews you changed. This should help.

  2. Dude great article, there are so many small intricacies when it comes to search engine optimization, and link building is one of them. Keep it up with the informative articles and I’ll come back here when I need some more advice concerning search engine optimization knowledge. Where did you learn this stuff if you don’t mind me asking?

  3. Hi Vitally

    I’ve noticed that on sites that I’ve visited before, I would be reading one post I found interesting and click on something and it takes me to the another post that is on the same site.

    So is this a very important thing to do on my site? I’ve been doing it a bit but not taking it seriously.

    • What you’re mentioning about the site is exactly what internal link building is and it is important. It keeps people on your site and exploring it more while also improving your SEO.

  4. This article really helped me understand what you were saying about internal links.

    So in your example, you linked “10 ways to solve car problems” to each of the 1-10 posts. But is it okay is you also link each of the 1-10 posts back to “10 ways to solve car problems”? I once heard that it’s not okay to link 2 posts back to each other, but I’m not sure.

    I ask because I could have a product to sell on “10 ways to solve car problems” and the 1-10 posts could have a more informative purpose, like telling more to my readers about each way. So is it okay then to link the main posts to the 1-10 posts and then link those ones back to the main posts?

    And sorry for insisting with this kind of questions but I really want to know 🙂

    • It’s not a problem Christina, I am all for you asking as many questions as you like :). And to answer the one you asked, yes it is fine to link back to the original car post from your individual ones.

      Whenever you stumble on this question, ask yourself one question and that is, if by doing this type of internal linking, if you are helping your audience get a better quality experience on your site. If the answer is yes, then link away!

      You see the purpose of all this is to really help people gain the type of knowledge they seek. In the car example of 10 car problems I mentioned, they are basically snippets in that example, where I don’t give the full details but do provide a link to an article that does (and for all 10 for that matter).

      If on the individual posts, I provide a link that says, “besides this problem, here’s 9 more common problems” and link back to the top 10 one, it makes perfect sense because the person reading will stand to benefit from reading that content, and if they visit the top 10 page, they will be more exposed to the other internal linking I provided and as I mentioned before…benefit from the content.

      All this leads to better SEO results Christina. The ONLY thing I see being a problem here is if you used the SAME linked text on your articles to link back to the top 10 post, meaning the example I used about the “besides this problem…” above, I would not use the same text, but a different one for each time you link to that post.

      This leads me to ask, have you tried Wealthy Affiliate? This is where I learned internal linking and everything about online business. If you aren’t a member, I know you really benefit from that site.

  5. This is a really interesting subject!

    I had no idea that utilizing good internal linking can improve your SEO ranking.

    I’ve always previously used it just to get people to take a look at my review pages and pages with affiliate links.

    Would you say there is an ideal number of internal links per page?

    • It would depend on how many areas inside the page make sense to link to Nate. Usually I try to link 4-5 times within most articles I write.

  6. Very interesting article. I knew what internal link meant before but didn’t know how it affected Google ranking. Really useful information here that I can use for my website. I will go back to my articles and see where I can put in the links. Does the related posts widget help with ranking as well?

    • It doesn’t help with rankings directly Owain, but it can help your visitors see those posts, click on them and get those other posts more visitors and that can lead to better rankings, so it’s a bit backwards, but the answer is yes.

  7. This is a great advice! I’m about to implement this more now. I haven’t thought of this but this makes sense. I’m about to go back on all my posts and see which ones are popular and which ones are not and some how expose less popular ones to the popular ones. Learned something new!

    • Aim to link to posts which make sense to link to Joon, not just popular/unpopular ones. The goal is to create more relevancy.

  8. I have just finished writing three product reviews with a lot of internal links and thanks to your advice I will be removing them now. I didn’t know that it would cause traffic leakage. And thanks to this page, I am able to learn more about these terms. Very helpful!

    • You can interlink on those product pages Pitin and I actually do recommend you do it, but differentiate what the purpose of those links are:

      If you are promoting the product, do not include any links other than the actual affiliate link.

      If you are sending people to another product page, make any internal links going to other blog posts hyperlinked under very basic words, basically anything that doesn’t sound like a call to action, while any links going to the product page should be H2 or H3 in size.

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