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What is an Internal Linking Audit?

Internal linking is a subtle yet powerful tool to enhance a website's visibility and user experience.
Internal linking audit

Internal linking is a subtle yet powerful tool for enhancing a website’s visibility and user experience. An internal linking audit, an often underestimated process, holds the key to unravelling the potential of these links within your website.

We delve into the depths of internal linking and how to conduct an effective internal linking audit to boost your website’s SEO performance.

What Do You Mean by Internal Linking?

At its core, internal linking refers to connecting one website page to another using hyperlinks. These links enable users to navigate through various pages within a domain.

Think of it as a map that guides users and search engines through your website’s intricate pathways. Each link serves as a signpost, leading visitors to related or relevant content and enhancing their journey on your site.

Why is Internal Linking Important?

Enhancing User Experience and Engagement

Internal links allow users to explore more content that aligns with their interests. When readers find information that resonates with them, they’re more likely to stay on your site longer, reducing bounce rates and increasing engagement.

 

The longer users stay on your site, the higher the chance of converting them into loyal followers or customers.

 

Sharing Link Equity

Search engines, like Google, analyse your website’s structure to determine its importance and relevance. Internal links facilitate the flow of “link equity” or “link juice” throughout your site.

 

When you link from a high-authority page to another page, you pass on some of that authority, potentially boosting the linked page’s search ranking.

 

Boosting Organic Ranking

An organised internal linking structure helps search engine crawlers understand the hierarchy and relationship between your web pages. This clarity improves indexation and helps search engines rank your pages more accurately.

 

When users search for a topic related to your content, strategically placed internal links can guide them to relevant pages.

 

Showcasing Content Relevance

Internal linking showcases the interconnectedness of your content. When you link to related articles or pages, you signal to search engines that your content covers a specific topic. This can result in search engines ranking your site higher for relevant keywords, expanding your organic reach.

How to Find Internal Linking Opportunities?

Begin by conducting a thorough link audit. Evaluate your existing articles, blog posts, and other content pieces. Identify key topics and concepts that recur throughout your content.

 

These recurring themes serve as potential linking opportunities. For instance, if you have a blog post about “10 Tips for Effective Content Writing” and another post about “SEO Strategies,” consider linking from relevant sections.

 

Identify Pillar and Cluster Content

Organise your content into pillar and cluster topics. Pillar content addresses broad topics in-depth, while cluster content delves into specific aspects.

 

Link from cluster content to pillar content and vice versa. This creates a web of interconnected information valuable to users and search engines.

 

Leverage Anchor Texts

Anchor texts are the clickable words or phrases within a hyperlink. Instead of generic anchor texts like “click here,” opt for descriptive texts that provide context.

 

For instance, if you’re linking to a guide on “On-Page SEO Techniques,” use anchor text like “Explore these effective On-Page SEO techniques” to give users a clear idea of what to expect.

 

Implement Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs are navigational aids that show users the path they’ve taken to reach a specific page. These enhance user experience and provide an additional internal linking opportunity. Users can click on any step in the breadcrumb trail to navigate to a higher-level page.

 

Monitor User Behaviour

Utilise tools like Google Analytics to monitor user behaviour and identify popular pages on your site. Once these pages are complete, strategically link them to other important pages that need a visibility boost.

What Goes Into an Internal Linking Audit?

Let’s examine what an internal linking audit includes and how it can improve your site’s SEO performance.

 

1. Initial Analysis and Goal Setting

Begin by setting clear objectives for your internal linking audit. Are you aiming to improve user experience, boost specific pages’ rankings, or enhance overall SEO performance? Define your goals, as they will shape the direction of your audit.

 

2. Crawl and Indexation Analysis

Leverage crawling tools to gain insights into how search engines navigate your site. This helps identify pages with few internal links or needing more attention. Evaluate indexation to ensure that crucial pages are being properly indexed.

 

3. Identify Orphaned Pages

Orphaned pages lack internal links, so they often go unnoticed by search engines and users alike. Your audit should unearth these hidden gems and strategically link them to relevant pages within your site.

 

4. Assess Link Relevance and Context

Not all internal links are created equal. Consider the relevance and context of existing links. Do they enhance the user’s journey? Are they aligned with the content’s intent? Adjust or add links as needed to ensure a cohesive and informative linking structure.

 

5. Check for Broken Links

A crucial aspect of an internal linking audit is identifying and rectifying broken links. These broken pathways can frustrate users and negatively impact SEO. Regularly monitor and fix broken links to maintain a seamless browsing experience.

 

6. Utilise Tools for Data Insights

Employ tools like Google Search Console and Google Analytics to gather data on user behaviour. Identify which pages receive the most traffic and engagement. Use this information to add internal links to lesser-known but relevant pages strategically.

7. Establish Hierarchical Structure

Ensure that your internal linking strategy reflects the hierarchy of your content. Link from lower-level pages to higher-level pillar content and vice versa. This strategy guides users through your content and communicates each page’s importance to search engines.

8. Monitor and Iterate

An internal linking audit isn’t a one-time task; it’s an ongoing process. Regularly monitor the impact of your changes and adapt your strategy based on the evolving needs of your site, user behaviour, and search engine algorithms.

Running an internal linking audit can improve your website’s visibility. By uncovering hidden linking opportunities and crafting a strategic internal linking structure, you’re not just optimising for search engines but also providing a seamless experience for your audience.

Picture of Nikki Halliwell

Nikki Halliwell

Based in Manchester, UK, Nikki is a freelance Technical SEO Consultant. She has worked at several agencies and in-house and has worked across the health, hospitality and fashion industries and more. Nikki enjoys working with eCommerce websites and beyond to ensure that websites are easy to find, load quickly and work efficiently. 
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