Internal Link Building Strategy

Continuing with our link building strategies topic, today we are going to look at some basic internal linking techniques you can apply to your website or blog. Internal link building is one of the easiest ways to create incoming links to the pages of your website or blog. You have total control, unlike when someone links to a page on their own. Combine great content, internal linking and that will eventually lead to natural incoming links. There are 2 main sections of work your internal link building strategy can be broken down into:

We will start with how website construction can be done for improved internal link building.

Website Construction for Internal Link Building

How your site is constructed from the start will affect your internal link building.

Site Navigation

Site Navigation can be broken down into the main page navigation and a sub navigation. The main page navigation generally links to the main pages on the site. e.g. Home Page, About Us, Site Map, Contact Us

A sub navigation menu could include categories (for services, an ecommerce site or blog).

Whether you decide to have all your site navigation together in a dynamic menu or split up into a main navigation bar and sub menu there are some things you need to do to improve your internal link building and on-site search engine optimization.

  • Use text links instead of image links.

    Search engines do not read images (yet) and neither does assistive technology people use to read web pages to them. Your visitors that use a non graphical browser won’t see the image either. And what if you make the link names too small in the images and people can’t read them?

    Text navigation links will add a search engine optimization element to your pages, add accessibility and add usability.

  • Use a CSS dynamic menu instead of a Javascript driven menu.

    Although Google says it’s getting better at reading Javascript, that doesn’t mean the other search engines are.

    A CSS dynamic menu uses lists in the creatation of them. All the coding and links within the menu is within the actual web page, unlike some Javascript driven dynamic menus.

    With a CSS dynamic menu, you add search engine optimization, accessibility and usability by having the coding right in the page for screen readers and non graphical browser users plus the search bots will see the links

  • Provide breadcrumb navigation.

    Breadcrumb navigation contains links to the sections within the site the page is. It shows the path of how the user got there.

    The search engine bots will also see your breadcrumb navigation and that will lead them to the pages within the path to the page. e.g. An ecommerce site can add great usability and on-page search engine optimization by including a breadcrumb navigation. The visitor can trace the path back to related previous pages if they landed on a product page plus they can trace their steps back as to how they got to the page. The search engine bot will do
    this too.

  • Include a site map link.

    A traditional site map (one where you list all your pages on the site on a web page) is an important link. It adds usability to the site, especially if you have a large site, in that should a visitor get lost they can go to the site map and find where to start over. A site map is also great for those who don’t want to go through all the navigation to find what they want, the people who want to cut to the chase and get to where they want to get to now. The search engine bots will also visit that page, which will lead them to the other pages on the site.

  • Have your categories well organized and use keywords to describe them.

    Well organized categories will group like topic pages together. This in turn will interlink with pages of the same topic, which is good from a search engine optimization point of view and also makes them more useable.

    Any time linked text contains a keyword or phrase related to the page it links to it is a plus.

  • Have your home page link link to your domain name.

    Some people link their home link/button to the index page (home page) of their site. e.g. index.htm Yes, a visitor will reach the home page, so will the search engine bots. The both of them will also reach your home page if they type Why this works is a web server will look for the index page (your home page in this discussion) when someone types just your domain name. Web servers have a hierarchy of which pages are presented first when someone types your domain name. Whether you are to use index, default or another name is up to your web hosting, check their documentation and use the correct file name for your home page.

    Typing or present the same page, this is a problem because you are linking to your home page one way and all the incoming links that people are placing on their sites/blogs/social networking sites will use www.yourdomainname. The search bots will see these links as 2 different links. The more links that look exactly the same pointing to a page the more votes for the page. If you use the one with index.htm for your internal link building then the votes get reduced for the home page so link to the home page just like everyone outside your site does so all the votes go to the same version of the url.

  • Make a conscience choice about the file names of your pages.

    Search engine optimization is all about creating a theme of a topic. You select your web page file names, web page title tags and anchored text with that theme in mind.

    Instead of just having a services page, if it is a specific service, say dog walking, then a better choice of web page file name would be dog-walking-service.htm Put this together with proper use of the title tag, meta data, headings in the pages and related content and you are one more step to an overall well optimized site.

General Site Construction Internal Linking Tips

  • Use the same extension at the end of your links for all links.

    This is mainly applicable to static websites or maybe an ecommerce site that produces static HTML pages for you but you should check any type of site for this.

    services.htm and services.html are both the same page and yes, linking to either will work. But, as with absolute links they look different to the search engines. Pick one way to do the extension of your pages and be consistant throughout the site. It makes it easier to remember how to link to your pages.

  • Make your internal links absolute links.

    Absolute links are the exact path to the page on the web server. e.g. is the absolute link to your services page. If you are using a WYSWYG or online editor when creating your internal links, it will just put the relative path in the hyperlink. e.g. <a href="services.htm">Services</a> This is a carry over from developing your site offline and testing your internal links offline. Good for offline testing but bad for search engine optimization.

    Just like described above for your home page, the more links that look exactly the same pointing to the page, the better. When someone links to one of your individual pages or articles, they are going to link with the absolute link. You should too!

  • Include the title attribute in your links.

    This goes for all your links on your pages. The title attribute describes the page the visitor will be taken to. If your web page titles are done well, the link title attribute can be the title of the page they will be

    Once again, this technique adds to the on-page search engine optimization, usability and accessibility of your pages.

  • Include related pages/article links at the end of the page.

    This really good for ecommerce sites and blogs. If you provide a list of related pages or posts at the bottom page content,

    1. You entice your visitors to look at other pages on your site. On an eccomerce site they usually call this section You Might Also Like. On a blog, these are previous posts on the same subject.
    2. This will get the search bots to go visit those other pages.
    3. It will add to your internal link building for the page.
  • Use keywords/phrase for your linked text.

    These keywords or phrases must relate to the topic of the page you are linking from and the topic of the page you are linking to.

    You are trying to create a theme here. The themed anchored text has a title attribute with a similar theme, the file name is a related theme, the linked to page is a related theme, they all go together on the same theme.

    You Keep Mentioning Votes for the Page..

    Votes was the easiest way to explain the very complex topic of Google’s PageRank and how it is determined.

    As Larry said long ago, we want to give you back “exactly what you want.” When Google was founded, one key innovation was PageRank, a technology that determined the “importance” of a webpage by looking at what other pages link to it, as well as other data. Today we use more than 200 signals, including PageRank, to order websites, and we update these algorithms on a weekly basis.

    Technology overview – Google

    In the most simpliest terms related to this article, each internal link you have and how many times a page on your site links to it affects the “vote” for the page.

    The topic of PageRank is for another post but if you really want to know right now about it read Wikipedia’s PageRank article.

Internal Link Building within Content

You can build your internal link building by linking your page content to related pages on the site or blog.

Smart internal linking tightens content structure and tells the search engines which keyword phrases are related to your pages.

Internal linking also gives some of your lesser-known pages an ‘endorsement’ from your more successful pages.

Read more: Two Simple and Effective SEO Plays that Increased My Rankings [SEO Starters]

Notice the first paragraph in this article. It has what is called an in-content anchored text link which links to another post on this site. Not only does this introduce why this article was written it has the same benefits as the related articles/posts/ You Might Like list at the end of your page:

  1. You entice your visitors to look at other pages on your site. On an eccomerce site they usually call this section You Might Also Like. On a blog, these are previous posts on the same subject.
  2. This will get the search bots to go visit those other pages.
  3. It will add to your internal link building for the page.

The principles of in-content internal link building are the same as previously discussed for your site construction:

  • Use text links, not linked images.
  • Link to your domain name when you want to link to your home page.
  • Use absolute links, not relative links.
  • Include the title attribute in your links.
  • Use keywords/phrase for your linked text.

Proper Internal Link Building Has Many Facetts

Generally when people think of link building they think of getting other people to link to them and placing links places. With internal link building you have a head start on getting those visitors and the search bots to your other pages. A person or the search bots can arrive at your site or blog on any of your pages, they don’t always arrive on your home page. Anything that you do to make your site more search engine friendly, accessible and usable is good. They all feed off each other. Hope you got that reading this article.

Internal link building and incoming links are only part of the equation when working on the search engine optimization of your site. You still have to work on the content of your site so once you get the people there, they stay and check out the rest of your site. All that is for more posts in the future.

Just remember internal link building is just as important as external link building. Be careful to not go overboard by linking every keyword of your content. This makes it really hard for people to read and makes your content look spammy.

Further Reading on Internal Linking

Anatomy of an Internal Link

Internal Linking: The Benefits Of Great Information Architecture For SEO

URL Structure for Usability and SEO

Why In-Page Navigation Links Matter More Than Menus

The Power of Internal Links

WordPress SEO: How to Maximize Your Internal Link Strategy

12 Timeless Link Building Tips for Business Blogs

Everything You Need To Know About SEO Web Structure & Internal Links

How to Use Internal Linking to Improve Your Website’s SEO

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18 Responses to Internal Link Building Strategy

  1. Web Design Cairns Says:

    Are you sure we should be using absolute links for internal linking? That seems strange to me. Surely Google is smart enough to determine this.

    There are logistical problems with doing absolute links if you change your domain name. Personally, I would advise against it (although I am not an SEO guru). If any one else has any information on this I would appreciate any comments.

  2. Web Page Mistakes Says:

    Yes, using absolute links for internal linking does present a problem if you changed your domain name (doesn’t happen often) but SEO is more important than the chance of that happening. You can do a search and replace if you changed domain names. (smiles)

    Absolute URLs for internal interlinking:
    Example: <a href="">About
    SEJ </a>

    -are better when handling canonicalization issues;
    -are safer when talking about site hijacking;
    -are safer when switching to a new CMS;
    -will save you in cases when your content is stolen and the thief does not take time changing the internal references;
    -are a better choice if your content is distributed via email (you do want your readers to click the internal links and actually get to the page, don’t you?);
    -might be easier for search engines to follow as they resolve all relative URLs to absolute ones before following them.

    SEO & Internal Interlinking: Relative vs Absolute URLs – Search Engine Journal

  3. Cheap under£1000 Says:

    Hi really good reading.
    I will admit I came on to your blog looking for link building help. But after reading your post I realise I have to go back and make the content that I have put on my site. The best it can be before I continue to try and rank it.

    So thanks again you have been very helpful

  4. Adobe Photoshop Elements Says:

    Great teaching,actually. I always come to your blog with doubt and mistakes in web tech. And i say one more thing, that you simply resolve my problems. That is the great boon of yours. I will definitely use absolute links and i know you sure about it. cause of my fear is,social sites is perfectly maintain the links,they are quite enough too. So,i use the steps that you gave above…

  5. Robert McCulloch Says:

    I work at a large hosting provider and you would be surprised at some of the simple mistakes people make when building a webs pages.

    These tips may seem like they go without saying, but they don’t always. So here are a few more simple tips for building webpages.

    For consistency, always use lowercase when writing html code.

    A valid URL can have no spaces in it. A web server replaces a space them with ‘%20’. This makes for ugly URL and can make an otherwise clean URL confusing. So do not use spaces in directory names.names.

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