You probably already know this but there are two ways to build links into your website when one is talking about SEO: internal linking and external linking.
Internal links are hyperlinks from a source that is pointing to another page in the same domain while external are from other compatible websites or domains. For example, an internal link can be a link into your main menu or an anchor text in one of your blog posts that points to a specific product in your online store. If I linked your website into the text of this post, I would be creating an external link because I am pointing my users to an outside site.
For the purposes of this article, I want to focus on internal links and why it is so important to identify new links opportunities to help expand your readership.
Why is Internal Link Building So Important?
Internal links help to spread the juice across your website. Internal linking is one of the biggest factors of influence for SEO and, in my opinion, one of the easiest to optimize since you have full control over it.
When I publish a new article or a new webpage on my website, I always the time to check out whether there are any opportunities to link my new content to another page in my site. It is important that every link you build, whether internal or external, is relevant to your audience and brings value to them. Otherwise, you’ll get a penalty from Penguin algorithm, Google’s spam algorithm.
You also need to be careful about the anchor text in the hyperlink. You shouldn’t use the same match type all over your website. While there isn’t an “official” ratio, I personally tend to use 33% of exact match, 33% of partial match, and 33% of other anchor text such as branded keywords like “Click Here” or other synonyms.
Examples of Internal Link Match Types
Let’s say you own an online store and that you sell diamond rings. You have a category of products that fall under the description “Engagement Rings” and the url is www.diamond-rings.com/engagement-rings/ (fictional website ;-). Your top-level keyword for this category is obviously “engagement rings.” Here is a few example of internal links match types:
- Engagement rings
- Gold engagement rings
- Platinum engagement rings
- Quality engagement rings
- Click here
- This category
- Those rings
How to Find Link Opportunities Within Your Website
If you have a blog that contains a few dozens articles, a small store with around 50 products, and a few static pages, it could be a real hassle to read every single page in order to find anchor text links.
For this, I’m personally using a tool called Screaming Frog. It’s a web crawler in an app and it will help you find mistakes would normally knock you down a few notches in the Google search results lists. The tool is not free, it costs around 200£, which is about $350 USD but it’s a great investment if you are serious about your website.
Create Your First Custom Rule
Within Screaming Frog, you can create a custom rule that searches each individual page for a certain string or group of words. In this example, I’ll search for “venture capital” within Gary Vaynerchuk’s website (www.garyvaynerchuk.com).
Go to Configuration, then Custom, and Search.
In Filter 1, enter “venture capital” and click OK.
Then, enter the website “http://www.garyvaynerchuk.com” and press start.
Let it crawl the entire website and then in the right sidebar, scroll down until you see the Custom node and click your filter 1 contains : venture capital.
On the right, you’ll have all the url that contains the phrase “venture capital” and where Gary Vaynerchuk could link to the page he’s looking to optimize for VC services.
Like I said before, you don’t want to create hundreds of internal links with exact match keywords because Google might find it spammy. Find a couple, add more variances like “VC experts”, more long-tail keywords like “venture capital firm in New York”, I’m sure you understand the impact of a Google penalty if you over-optimize your internal links.