Internal linking

Internal linking refers to the process of incorporating links within a website that refer to other pages on the same domain. These links are essential for navigation on the website and help users and search engines to find and index content easily.

Difference between internal and external links

Feature Internal links External links
Goal Links to pages of the same domain Links to pages of another domain
SEO influence Distribution of link strength within the website Influence on the domain authority
User guidance Improve navigation within the website Redirect users to other websites

Importance of internal linking for SEO

Internal linking plays a decisive role in search engine optimization (SEO). Effective internal links allow search engines to better understand the relevance and relationships between the pages of a website. They also help to build the website hierarchy and distribute the so-called “link juice” efficiently, which can improve the visibility of important pages.

Advantages of optimized internal linking

Carefully planned internal linking helps to create a clear and intuitive website structure. This allows users to navigate the website easily, which significantly improves the user experience (UX).

Increase the length of stay and reduce the bounce rate

Internal links encourage users to stay longer on the website by leading them to other relevant content. This can reduce the bounce rate as visitors spend more time on the page and delve deeper into the offer.

Facilitating indexing by search engines

Internal links make it easier for search engines such as Google to crawl and index websites. A well-networked site is indexed faster and more efficiently by search engines, which increases the likelihood that all pages of the website will appear in the search index.

Best practices for internal linking

Anchor texts are the clickable texts of a link. For effective SEO, these texts should precisely describe the topic of the target page. Avoid generic texts such as “click here”, and instead choose descriptive terms that reflect the content of the linked page.

Use of thematically appropriate links in the content

It is important that the internal links match the content of the page. This not only increases the relevance of the links for search engines, but also improves the user experience by providing users with relevant additional information.

Avoiding too many links on one page

Too many internal links on a single page can confuse both users and search engines. Therefore, keep the number of links within reasonable limits in order to maintain the quality of the page and the strength of each individual link.

Ensuring a flat hierarchy and short click paths

A flat website hierarchy ensures that no page is more than a few clicks away from the homepage. This makes it easier for users and search engines to find content and improves the general accessibility of the website.

Regular checking and updating of internal links

Regular checks of a website’s link structure are crucial to ensure that all links are up-to-date and that there are nobroken links. This increases the credibility of the website and supports continuous indexing by search engines.

Special use cases and tips

In e-commerce websites, it is particularly important to link products and categories effectively in order to optimize the user experience and guide the customer quickly to the purchase. Special emphasis should be placed on linking similar products, accessories or related categories to maximize cross-selling opportunities.

Use of breadcrumbs to improve the linking structure

Breadcrumbs are a form of secondary navigation that allows users to easily recognize and navigate their position within the website hierarchy. They not only improve the UX, but also strengthen SEO by providing a clear path structure for search engines.

Use of sitemap and HTML sitemaps for better linking

Sitemaps, both in XML and HTML format, are crucial for effective SEO. They help search engines to understand the structure of the website and to crawl and index all pages efficiently.

Avoidance of duplicate content through correct internal linking

A clear and well thought out internal linking strategy can help avoid duplicate content by providing clear, unambiguous paths to each page. This is particularly important in large websites where several pages may have similar content.

Useful tools for analyzing and optimizing internal linking

Screaming Frog is a comprehensive tool that makes it possible to crawl the website for links, images, CSS, scripts and apps in order to check and optimize the SEO elements. It is particularly useful for identifying problems such as broken links or poorly implemented redirects.

Google Search Console for the identification of crawling errors

The Google Search Console provides insights into Google’s crawling activities on your website. You can see which pages are indexed and whether there are any problems with indexing that could be caused by internal linking errors.

Ahrefs or Semrush to analyze the internal link profile

Tools such as Ahrefs or Semrush offer detailed analyses of a website’s internal link profile. These tools can help to visualize and optimize the distribution of link juice in order to improve the SEO performance of the most important pages.

WordPress plugins such as Link Whisper or Internal Link Juicer

For websites that run on WordPress, there are special plugins such as Link Whisper or Internal Link Juicer that help to manage internal links intelligently and efficiently. These tools make it much easier to add and check internal links and thus improve the internal link structure.

Conclusion and summary

Internal linking is a critical aspect of on-page optimization that is often underestimated. A well thought-out linking strategy can contribute significantly to SEO, to improving the user experience and ultimately to increasing conversion rates.

So if you want to write SEO texts, you need to know what the best practices for internal links are.