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7 Internal Linking Best Practices That Everyone Should Follow


Internal linking often doesn’t get the attention that it deserves. Internal links deliver immense value, whether it comes to establishing site architecture, reducing bounce rate, or making sure that the site has link equity. They are like inter-city bridges they connect different parts of your site and provide passage for link equity and traffic to flow through the content. It’s important that you adopt the internal linking best practices to ensure that your site is optimized to drive link equity.

Before we deep dive into internal linking best practices, let start with a quick refresher on the basics of internal linking.

Why Internal Linking Matters?

Internal Links are hyperlinks that point to one page on a domain to a different page on the same domain. They are considered to be important as they help with the following:

  • They help users to navigate your website.
  • They provide a hierarchy to the information listed on the website.
  • They spread the link equity around the website.

Internal linking helps Google crawlers to determine the relationship between the content. This allows Google crawlers to establish the relationship between various pages, posts, and categories. Internal linking became more critical after Google defined semantic closeness as a ranking signal.

Semantic closeness helps Google to decide how relevant a page is for certain search queries entered into a search engine’s search box. While ranking your page for a search query Google also checks whether your website ranks for related search terms. For instance, if your page appears in search results for the term ‘Saturn’ it will be equally relevant terms like Saturn Mass, Saturn Volume, and Saturn Rotation.

7 Internal Linking Best Practices

With a linking strategy that follows internal linking best practices, you can ensure that your site has a proper internal link flow and your mid and low-value keywords rank higher and more high ranking keywords translate into traffic.

1. Create copy that persuades

If you get the users on your site to click on other articles on your website you can keep them on your site for longer. But most marketers struggle when it comes to getting viewers to click on their internal links. To get users to click on your link you have to tell them the following:

  • Where the link is going to take them
  • Give them a reason to click on the link

In theory, your users can move the mouse over the link which tells them where the link is going to take them. But people don’t do that in practice, and on mobile, it doesn’t work. Secondly, you have to give them a compelling, enticing reason to click the link.

In the example mentioned below, we have highlighted how you can create a copy that persuades the user to click the link. In the first copy that just lists the link, you will find that the user doesn’t know where they are going and doesn’t tell the user why they should click it. The second version clearly tells the user that you have written the article and persuades the user to click by demonstrating the fact that it is a well-research article.

copy that persuades users to click

2. Deciding the Anchor Text Keyword

Anchor text refers to a clickable word used to link one page to another. Google uses anchor text to understand what your page is about and also for which keywords it should rank for. Exact match anchor text includes the precise keyword the page you are linking to is targeting.

Internal linking code

Before 2012, marketers used a lot of exact match anchor keywords. Google finally caught the deceptive practice and release the first of its penguin update in April 2012, which targeted anchor text specifically. Today, using only the exact match anchors is a well-known taboo in the SEO community.

Relevance is the key when it comes to determining the anchor text keyword. When deciding on anchor text, embrace randomness. Google still pays close attention to anchor words to assess the content on your website, but if you are trying to manipulate Google algorithm with anchors, you could land into trouble. Keep your anchors relevant, avoid over-optimizing, and focus on creating a positive experience for your website visitors.

3. Internal Linking Structure

Internal links also establish your site architecture and link equity. It’s critical to make sure that you don’t hide or bury important links in the main link navigation. The optimal site structure resembles a pyramid. This ensures that the link equity flows through the entire website. Almost every high performing website that you might have visited follows this structure.

Site Link Structure

As your site grows in size managing the site architecture becomes difficult. HubSpot, for instance, had over 22,000 blog posts on its website. To streamline their content & SEO strategy they introduced a new technique called Topic Cluster. The topic cluster approach focuses on improving the internal link structure by connecting the pillar content with the staple and response posts in a more cohesive manner.

Further research conducted by Hubspot proves that the more interlinking they did, their placement in search engine result pages improved. The number of impressions for each link also increased as a result.

Internal links and serp impressions

The interlinked cluster makes it easier for the Google crawler to index your site for relevant terms. The approach makes it easier to arrive at the semantic relationship between the cluster and pillar content.

4. Add links to both old and newer content

Make sure you add sufficient internal links to every piece of content that you create. This will help you to spread the link equity and will enable users to navigate your website.

The deeper the link goes, the better. Consider going back to some of your older blog posts and internally links to some of your newer blog posts. This can give your newer blog posts a nice boost in terms of search engine rankings. Linking to older content is certainly a best practice that often doesn’t rank high in the marketer’s priority list.

5. Location on the page

When it comes to internal linking, the location of the link on the page matters a lot. Some on-page links matter more and carry more weight than other kinds. 

In-Content links matter more than navigational links, and that shouldn’t come as a surprise. 

Links in the footer often get devalued. As a general rule, don’t place any content links in the footer. It’s safe to place links to pages like contact details, privacy policy, testimonials, etc.

Text links perform better and carry more weight than image links with alt attributes. Let’s say, for instance, you have an image on the page with an alt attribute that links to a page. Below the image, you have a caption with keyword-rich anchors. Google, however, treat this as a single link and consider the alt attribute of the image as the anchor text.

6. Place links high up on the page

Placing links high up on your page can reduce the bounce rate and improve dwell time. When a user spends a lot of time on your website, it tells Google that the site is valuable.

Inbound Links higher up on the page
Including internal links high up on the page

Brian Dean from Backlinko recommends that you shouldn’t be afraid to add one or two internal links at the beginning of your article when it makes sense.

7. Audit your inbound links

If you haven’t been keeping track of your internal links, then you should start by checking the internal links report on Google Search Console. If you aren’t familiar with Google Search Console, we recommend you check our detailed post on reporting using Google Search Console.

Note that this report also includes your navigational or sitewide links as well. If you want a particular page or piece of content to rank well, this is undoubtedly the place you should start with.


Content and links are the cornerstones of SEO. With the internal linking best practices listed above, we believe that you will make sure that internal linking opportunities won’t be ignored in the future. To make sure that you succeed at internal linking, you will need to invest your time and effort as the resulting benefits only appear over time.

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