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Internal Linking Strategy: Its Objective and Importance

Par
le Monday 04 February 2019 - Mise à jour Sunday 03 March 2024
La stratégie de maillage interne
Temps de lecture : 12 minutes

To fully understand the importance of internal linking strategy for your organic search ranking, let's examine together how to optimize the structure of your internal links through internal linking strategies. Internal linking has many benefits and helps maximize the effectiveness of an online marketing strategy.

🚀 Quick Read: What you will learn in this article

  • The 3 benefits of internal linking:
    1. control your link juice between each of your pages;
    2. share power with the important pages of your website;
    3. stimulate performance indicators.
  • How to master PageRank distribution with 3 types of internal linking strategies:
    1. flat linking
    2. loop linking
    3. hierarchical linking
  • The relationship between internal linking and keyword clustering.
  • The pitfalls to avoid when doing internal linking.
  • How to implement a good internal linking strategy?

Happy reading 😊

📊3 Benefits of Internal Linking

Before we begin, here are three major benefits of this approach.

### 1. Internal links allow you to control the page and link juice

Not all pages on your site are equal. Indeed, some are more important to you, while others are considered more useful by your customers, and finally, some are more important within the structure of your website.

Internal links allow you to transfer the reputation from one page to another. The main pages of your site are called "content pillars." Generally, content pillars are associated with money pages, i.e., pages generating significant traffic and revenue. This term will be used several times in this article.

### 2. Internal linking allows you to share link juice with related pages

You can share the reputation of certain pages with your content pillars and thus improve their ranking.

Internal linking also allows Google and other search engines to better understand the topic of a page. It also improves the user experience. When a page or post points to other pages or posts, it adds value to your visitors.

Instead of designing standalone pages without internal links, write posts that will direct users to other pages (including your content pillars) to extend your reader's learning experience.

### 3. A good internal linking strategy helps boost performance indicators

Performance indicators such as time spent on content, the number of pages visited by a user, and the bounce rate have an impact on how Google perceives the power and value of your website.

Many people tend to neglect these indicators, yet they have a significant impact on how Google indexes your site. This is particularly true for time spent on content, the number of views, the number of sessions, and the number of recurring users.

Keep in mind that the worse your performance in these user-related data, the less your pages will be indexed by search engines. Improving an SEO marketing strategy requires knowing how to control the power of pages, improving the user experience, and successfully stimulating the performance indicators of the entire site.

To help you improve your website's online presence, we will analyze together different internal linking strategies.

## Internal PageRank Distribution at the Heart of Your Linking Strategy

### Flat Linking

Case of a "flat" site without content hierarchy. Here, all content is listed from the homepage. Dilemma for the search engine and the user: which content is most important?

Flat site structure

To simulate, visit the PageRank test tool

Note

PRi stands for Internal PageRank. It is the weight/importance evaluated using the PageRank algorithm. This is a "simplified" representation of internal PageRank, with some parameters removed to simplify the demonstration (consideration of incoming and outgoing links in the calculation, reasonable surfer model,...)

### Loop Linking

Why is it important to care about internal linking and internal PageRank? Let's take this example.

Loop site structure

To simulate, visit the PageRank test tool

The internal PageRank is distributed evenly (flat) between the different pages. Adding an external link to a site (here Page E) from our website's Page D:

Loop site structure external link

To simulate, visit the PageRank test tool

DISASTER!

The reputation of Page D has been divided equally between this page and the link to the external site. We are now valuing the external site equally with our Page C... good for the external site but rather bad for us!

In this case, how to keep your PageRank? The answer: by linking the pages more strongly to each other.

To simulate, visit the PageRank test tool

Now Page "D" has retained three-quarters of its reputation, unlike the previous example where it gave up half of its reputation for the external site! Keeping this additional fraction of reputation has also had a very positive effect on all internal pages.

Good to know

When pages may contain outbound links, increase the number of internal links to retain as much PR as possible (yes, it's needed!).

When a group of pages does not contain outbound links, the number of internal links on the site has no effect on the site's average PR.

### Hierarchical Linking

If a particular page is very important, use a hierarchical structure with the important page at the top to allow for accumulation of internal PageRank. Be careful, I'm talking about a page here, not necessarily the homepage.

SEO hierarchical structure

To simulate, visit the PageRank test tool

This looks good, most links seem to point to Page A (4 incoming links), so we should have a good PR. Well, no! What happened? Pages C and D have such weak incoming links that they are of no help to Page A!

What to do?

Siloing structure

To simulate, visit the PageRank test tool

Simply create links between C, D, and E to the page you want to highlight... And here, we touch on the principle of siloing or keyword clustering, an internal linking strategy.

To remember

Trying to predict internal PageRank is more difficult than you think.

## The Benefits of Cooperation between Internal Linking and Keyword Clustering on Your Strategy

Keyword clustering aims to group your site's content around content pillars (in a way, the sections). These pages with a common topic are linked to each other and not to unrelated topics. Keyword clustering takes up the "compartmentalization" principle of siloing (another strategy) while extending its operating principle, especially with the search intent of the user.

In short, keep in mind that internal linking and keyword clustering are linked. Thus, all links must point to their respective keyword clusters.

In the examples above, we have seen together how to ensure that parent pages direct to child pages or other parent pages. This is very important because the different content must be properly organized so that Google and readers easily understand the topic of a post.

Here are several rules that I advise you to pay attention to.

- First, child pages should never point to content belonging to a different keyword cluster. To quote the example already used, content related to tennis rackets should not point to those dealing with tennis shoes.
- When building a quality internal linking strategy, make sure that content and pages are organized as well as possible. On the other hand, only parent pages can point to other parent pages.
- Internal links are distributed following a horizontal and vertical hierarchy. Understanding a website in terms of vertical and horizontal hierarchy is an essential component of understanding internal linking.
- Horizontal distribution must be done only between parent pages.

## Internal Linking Strategy: Pitfalls to Avoid

Below is an example of a virtuous relationship between keyword clustering and internal linking. This structure is interesting because it allows you to redirect your readers and indexing robots horizontally to several parent pages and then vertically to all child pages.

This flow of information allows you to associate similar content with each other while showing Google that parent pages are linked at another level.

Siloing

Thus, the main page "Tennis" points to several child pages. The yellow page ("Racket") redirects the reader to the following pages: Racket Size, Racket Tensions, and Handle. These pages are linked to each other. Indeed, the page dealing with racket sizes redirects readers to the "tennis handle" page as well as the page dedicated to racket string tension and vice versa. They can all point to each other, but it is important that this remains horizontal so that the structure is effective.

Structure your website's semantics logically if you want it to be well indexed. Favor a well-organized linking structure over independent content linked together. Thanks to the structure presented in the diagram above, you will succeed in strengthening conversion through writing and improving your overall SEO strategy.

## 🥇 Best Practices for Creating Your Internal Linking Strategy

By reading this article, you have understood the importance of an internal linking strategy to improve the thematic relevance of your site. But to properly optimize this ranking criterion, there are key methods to implement!

1. Link internal pages only within the same keyword cluster.
2. Push the content pillar and parent pages by making reciprocal links.
3. When using the same internal link multiple times in the same text, optimize the first link anchor perfectly and consider using navigational variations.
4. Even if you can always use the same anchor, vary them to expand the possibilities of positioning your page on a set of keywords.
5. Avoid putting internal links in "nofollow".
6. Regularly check your site to track dead links.
7. Do not place more than 100 internal links per page (Google has specified that indexing robots only crawl 100 links per page).
8. Control and optimize your site's internal linking strategy with our semantic crawler tool.

## 🎬 Conclusion

Whether for Google or your reader, you want to offer a relevant site. To do this, you organize its structure using silos and set up keyword clusters. Your internal linking strategy then allows you to push the authority of the most important pages while improving the user experience.

You have little (or no) control over the links pointing to your site (backlinks). However, you have control over internal links! And you absolutely must use this technique if you want to be good at SEO! You can thus really influence the words that will make your site visible on Google.

So now it's your turn to play. You can start by cleaning up unnecessary links and grouping each of your themes appropriately. Then follow the list of 8 best practices for internal linking to optimize your strategy and skyrocket your visibility on search engines.

## 🙏 Sources used for writing this article

- https://www.searchenginejournal.com/internal-linking-critical-for-seo/441381/
- https://fr.semrush.com/blog/bonnes-pratiques-maillage-interne/
- https://moz.com/learn/seo/internal-link

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