Website internal linking

Website internal linking: all you need to know in one place – types, strategy, best practices, examples

The internal linking strategy for a given site depends on the type of website, its business goals and structure, but some common patterns can still be observed.

As Google advises, it should be easy for users and bots to find the content and understand the relationship between various pages. Following some common SEO practices can help achieve that.

To be able to see easily the big picture, we can divide the internal links into two types: related to technical SEO and related to the content or as some sources prefer Structural Links & Contextual Links.

Site Building Internal Linking Checklist

  1. Determine the website structure according to the business goals.
  2. Have a list of recommendations, best practises to share with developers. (related information in different section of the document mentioned above)
  3. Plan and create Main navigation elements:
    • Create Primary navigations – Main Top and Bottom  
    • Secondary navigations – top, section, bottom;
    • Breadcrumbs
  4. Additional navigations – filtering, pagination
  5. Create contextual rules for different segments (type of pages, page templates, place in the user journey funnel). For example:
    • Table of content
    • Decide the number of internal links based on the copy length
    • Links to services/products
    • Links to related articles from same topic entity
    • Links to case studies
    • CTAs
  6. Automated internal link blocks. When create such elements pay attention on the semantical structure, for example, in elements that have title, image and description avoid using “read more” but create links from the title and the image adding appropriated alt text.  
  7. Grey area – adding links within <noscript> tags. For example, if you have button-based pagination or JS linking functionality, the destination links can be added to HTML structure inside <noscript> tags. As the functionality directs the user to the links, adding links hiddenly is relatively safe. In all the cases I have used this approach, I have not seen signs from Google treating it as cloaking. On the contrary, it has always helped the bots find more pages on the sites.
  8. Monitor and adjust performance
  9. Additional opportunities – use logfile analysis and put links to new content that want to be indexed on liked by the google bot pages
  10. List of things to avoid:
    • Orphan pages
    • Links to noindex
    • Links to 404
    • Links to redirects
    • Links to canonicalized pages
    • Nofolow internal links
    • Generic anchor texts
    • Buttons and JS for internal link purposes
    • Restrict the page dept to max 5 clicks

Here are some other interesting articles related to internal linking:

Marin Popov

Marin Popov – SEO Consultant with over 15 years of experience in the digital marketing industry. SEO Expert with exceptional analytical skills for interpreting data and making strategic decisions. Proven track record of delivering exceptional results for clients across diverse industries.


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