Thoughts on Internal Linking Styles

JasonKhoo

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Joined
Sep 14, 2018
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67
Hey All!

Just curious, what are everyone's go to Internal linking strategy. For a while my team was pretty into the silo method by Bruce Clay, however in the last couple months we've started to distance away as we see more and more literature claiming it doesn't matter. I've recently just read about the hub and spoke internal linking method by Jimmy Daly and I think it looks like a less strict, reasonable internal linking strategy.

Thoughts?

Jason Khoo
 

JoyHawkins

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Jul 18, 2012
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We usually get some really awesome, quick wins for clients just by improving internal linking. My process is usually this:

1. Run the site through Ahref's top pages report.
2. Once I know which pages have the strongest authority on the site I know that links from these pages probably hold more value so I try to add a few more internal links from these pages to other pages on the site that I want to rank better.
3. Of course make sure the topical information around the internal link is relevant and the anchor text is solid.
4. Links coming in from the body copy on the homepage often have the most value.
5. I also often do a Google search for site:domain "part of keyword" to see what other pages reference that product/service that I can turn into an internal link. (I got this tactic from Marie Haynes' newsletter).
 
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JasonKhoo

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Sep 14, 2018
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67
Thanks Joy! Two questions:

1. Do you find yourself documenting the internal linking or having an organized sheet you do this? We tried to have a sheet where we organized our internal linking, but we found that it wasn't really worth the time, so we still build internal links but don't document it.

2. Also, do you ever find a site that you feel has internal linking you want to change. Before we use to get a lot of sites who didn't have internal linking so we could start from scratch, however, recently we've been getting more and more sites that have internal linking in place which I feel isn't strong, for example:
  • Linking to Home Page in Body Content
  • Linking to Other Navigation Menu Pages in Body Content
  • Occasional Spammy anchor text (though its internal linking)
I debate if I should blow it up and start over, or just leave it as is.

Thoughts?
 

Phil Rozek

Local Search Expert
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Jul 26, 2012
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@JasonKhoo, I'd suggest going pretty heavy on the internal linking, but wouldn't bother documenting it as you go, or thinking about it too much.

Joy's 5th point is crucial for when you do an initial link-up blast. It's easy to keep up with after that, though, because whenever you create a new page/post you can edit your existing pages/posts to include links to it. At least that's what I do.

Though laying down plenty of internal links does seem to help rankings (in my experience), I mostly do it because otherwise good/relevant info on the site is hard to find otherwise. I spend a lot of time studying where people click (courtesy of tools like MouseFlow). Generally, they don't go real deep in the nav. They do click on well-placed inline links that sound relevant before the click, and don't disappoint after the click.

In my view, many SEOs have gotten a little gun-shy about internal linking. As long as the anchor text (1) doesn't sound ridiculous and (2) rarely contains a city name in addition to an exact-match search term (e.g. "our air conditioning repair Dallas services"), you'd have to be trying to overdo it to overdo it.
 

JasonKhoo

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Sep 14, 2018
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Thanks for the input Phil! I'll get started on point #5 that Joy brought up to start the internal linking. I'll take your suggestion on not documenting, because it started to become too cumbersome anyways.

I'll have to look into the MouseFlow or other related tools. Right now it's all based on assumption.

I feel like internal linking has been an area of SEO that my team hasn't been truly harnessing, will continue to keep testing to see if we can find a strong way to incorporate!
 

Eric Rohrback

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Oct 3, 2012
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Two tools you need to buy (if you haven't already) is either Sitebulb or Screaming Frog. Screaming Frog just came out with a great update that has link visualizations, which makes it much easier to spot poor performers.

Connect SF with Google Analytics, GSC, and Ahrefs APIs and you can pull in all the data you need to make an internal linking decision. The recent updates Screaming Frog has made to their tool have been fantastic.
 
Joined
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I think another key is if you run into a page that you can't figure out where to link to it from, its probably a page you should just delete anyways as its probably out of context, lacks any value, and or copy's context and value from an extremely similar page so they just need to be consolidated to 1 per kw.
 

JasonKhoo

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Sep 14, 2018
Messages
67
Thanks for the suggestion Eric! I have been using Screaming Frog for a while, but have only used the free version and to be honest, I don't think I use it to its full potential. Do you have any tips or reports you typically run for internal linking?

@OneBlessedDude - thanks! yeah I think I have the normal reservation when it comes to deleting content, but I think in the moment I always forget that we can combine into one post!
 

AndySimpson

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Apr 6, 2016
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Two tools you need to buy (if you haven't already) is either Sitebulb or Screaming Frog. Screaming Frog just came out with a great update that has link visualizations, which makes it much easier to spot poor performers.

Connect SF with Google Analytics, GSC, and Ahrefs APIs and you can pull in all the data you need to make an internal linking decision. The recent updates Screaming Frog has made to their tool have been fantastic.

You beat me to it Eric, SF and Sitebulb are excellent tools to give you an idea of how good/bad your sites internal linking actually is.

Run the crawl before, after and during your internal linking update to keep checking you're crawl map just to check you're doing it correctly.

If you link up the tools to GA and GSC, they also tell you which pages are getting the most/least traffic from search... you might be surprised in the findings.
 
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Tim Colling

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Sep 3, 2014
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I will add to the SiteBulb recommendations here with my own experience. I used and paid for Screaming Frog for several years, and then when SiteBulb was introduced, I tested it and found that I preferred it. Now SiteBulb is my choice in that domain, and I have not renewed my annual subscription to Screaming Frog. SF is indeed finally adding features that are allowing it to begin catching up to SiteBulb, though. If you can afford both, and if you want both, then by all means go for both. If you can only afford one, my choice would be SiteBulb, but they truly are both great tools for this kind of work.
 

Rik Delta

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Dec 3, 2016
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I will add to the SiteBulb recommendations here with my own experience. I used and paid for Screaming Frog for several years, and then when SiteBulb was introduced, I tested it and found that I preferred it. Now SiteBulb is my choice in that domain, and I have not renewed my annual subscription to Screaming Frog. SF is indeed finally adding features that are allowing it to begin catching up to SiteBulb, though. If you can afford both, and if you want both, then by all means go for both. If you can only afford one, my choice would be SiteBulb, but they truly are both great tools for this kind of work.

Tim, I'm on SF but always open to better tools. Can't do both and renewal for SF is due this month. Do you happen to have a list of the gaps between SF and SB?
 

AndySimpson

Local Search Expert
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Apr 6, 2016
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Side note on internal linking, the new GSC provides a great report listing external, internal links along with top linking sites and top linking text.

Which you can then drill into more....where you suddenly see that your /video/ page is your second most linked to page and think why?? :unsure:

 

Eric Rohrback

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Oct 3, 2012
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@JoyHawkins - You need the paid version to do what I was suggesting. I used Sitebulb in their beta phase where they had a group of testers before they officially launched, and I liked what I saw. Pricing is about double where SF is at, and I'm used to the SF export layout at this point. Since SF came out with the new features in version 10, i'm all for sticking with it.

If you need the better visual layout, then go with Sitebulb. I never show clients that sort of stuff because it's too far over their heads. I use the data internally to fix issues.
 

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