Guide to internal linking for SEO to achieve better results.

Internal Links For SEO: What, Why, and How (2024)

Lilit Yeranyan

Table of Contents

It is completely true that backlinks play a significant role in your website’s great performance. But you must know how important internal linking for SEO is in reaching that goal as well.

In fact, 51% of SEOs say content writers should include two to three internal links in articles, while 36% say they should add three to five.

So don’t go anywhere to find an answer to this question and learn with us how to build a winning internal linking strategy.

But wait, maybe we should start discussing what internal links are anyway.

What are internal links?

Internal links are hyperlinks from your webpage that direct readers to another page of your website. Those links guide readers to find content on your website and help search engines navigate through your website.

We all know how important backlinks are in improving your SERP rankings and boosting visibility, but what about the huge role of internal linking in SEO?

A well-designed internal linking strategy is one of the key steps to improve your on-site SEO efforts.

Without it, you can’t successfully SEO-optimize your content and ensure it gets discovered. So, along with building a powerful backlink portfolio, you should definitely put your efforts into internal link building.

But let’s talk about the benefits of internal links later and continue to define them in comparison to external links.

Internal links vs. external links

We already know internal links connect one webpage to another page. But external links refer to links from pages on your website to other domains.

The goals of these two link building techniques are different: external links give additional information from other websites and, as a result, build credibility and authority. Meanwhile, internal linking for SEO improves user experience, website navigation, and structure.

What is awesome about internal links is that you fully control where to place the link or what anchor text to use.

When comparing internal vs external links, remember both strategies are equally important. So you need to dedicate your efforts to both to ensure your website’s success.

Now, let’s finally discuss the advantages of having an internal linking strategy that makes it so important.

Why do you need an internal linking strategy?

One of the important things you should keep in mind is that Google considers internal linking, particularly link architecture, as one of the main factors for indexing by search engines.

So now let’s speak about other reasons you should really put effort into creating a strong internal linking strategy:

✓ Improves your site navigation and structure
First of all, a well-designed internal linking for SEO will help your audience and search engines navigate through your site more easily.

✓ Boosts user engagement
You want your website, visitors to stay longer, right? So, you need to follow the best practices for internal links. First, you can provide a positive user experience by helping them discover new information and resources that interest them.

You can increase engagement as well, as with the help of internal links, readers should spend more time on your website to explore your new offers or products.

✓ Helps search engines to index your site
By adding internal links, you help Google and other search engines find your new content. On top of this, they understand the context of your pages and the connection of different pages.

✓ Makes content more authoritative
Let’s say you have linkable assets that organically attract backlinks. Adding those links to your other blog posts improves their authority and overall credibility.

Although those benefits of internal linking improve on-site SEO strategy, the main goal of your internal link building should be to provide value to your readers.

Now, you may wonder what types of internal links are there that can benefit your website performance.

Different Types of Internal Links

You are sure you can’t go further without a well-thought-out internal linking strategy and want to learn more about them. If yes, then it’s time to discuss the main types of internal links that you may need to add to your website:

✓ Navigational links
These are some of the most essential and popular internal link types because they make up your site’s main navigational structure. You place them on your main menu or sidebar. They cover product categories, services, or main content topics.

Let’s see this example from HubSpot, where the Software section guides readers to check its different marketing, sales of customer service internal pages.

Checking the navigational links on HubSpot website.

Navigational links have their own types. First, there are footer links that appear on every page of your site but at the bottom of the page instead of the top. They help users quickly find the information they are looking for.

Contact Us, About Us, and FAQ are the most common examples of footer links.

✓ Contextual links

These are another type of internal links that direct visitors to relevant content and help them find more information easily while reading. Typically, you need to use those links in blog posts and articles to provide additional and relevant information to your readers. Basically, contextual links help search engines understand how your pages relate to each other.

Internal Linking For SEO: 7 Steps to Follow

What is interesting to note is that Google shares that one of the ways that this search engine discovers links is by following a link from a known page to a new one. So, it’s time to finally discuss internal links best practices to ensure that Google understands your website’s structure.

Find your pillar pages and create topic clusters

Your blog is probably rich with pillar pages that are designed around broad topics and target high-volume keywords.

If yes, it’s time to create topic clusters, which are types of content about specific topics.

For example, if your pillar page was about “link building tips,” your clusters might include “Link Building Outreach Tips,” “Content Creation Tips for Link Building,” or “Link building tactics you can avoid.” And it will be smart to internally link back to the pillar page to showcase topical relevance. This way, you can improve your site architecture as well.

Let’s give another example: SayNine’s blog has articles about both backlink and competitor backlink analysis. So, we can consider backlink analysis as a pillar page and competitor backlink analysis as a topic cluster. And it will be smart to internally link back to the pillar page to showcase topical relevance. This way, you can improve your site architecture as well.

Prioritize relevancy and deliver value

Relevance is key to almost every aspect of SEO because search engines love and prioritize relevant content. Internal linking for SEO isn’t an exception. So, when adding internal links it’s important to prioritize relevancy and try to naturally fit within the flow of the text.

Relevant keywords or phrases guide search engines to understand the connection between the linked pages.

Don’t force anything and add internal links only when it’s relevant and ensure they provide users with any kind of value. Remember, strategic link placement helps visitors navigate your website more easily and makes it more accessible.

Ensure your anchor text is right and keyword-rich

Another key factor for a successful internal link strategy is relevant and optimized anchor text. It is a key signal for search engines about link insertion relevancy.

It goes without saying when doing internal linking for SEO, you shouldn’t use generic anchor texts such as “click here” or “read more,” in any case. They don’t add value to your internal link building and can even be a reason for a poor experience. Instead, try to optimize them as much as possible.

First, ensure that the descriptions accurately talk about the linked page’s content. Keep a balance between descriptive and concise anchor text, ensuring it flows naturally within the surrounding content.

Make anchor texts keyword-rich as well. Include your main keywords in your anchor text to improve the visibility of your internal links.

Let’s speak by example. We should refer again to the SayNine article that discusses competitor backlink analysis. So when we link to this article in our other blog posts, we have decided to use the anchor text competitor backlink analysis as it has good metrics.

But you should stay away from overusing keywords as it violates search engine guidelines.

Last but not least, don’t use the same anchor text for links, and try to ensure variety.

Prioritize High-Performing Pages In Your Internal Linking Strategy

Hopefully, you have high-value pages or high-performing content on your website. These are blog posts that bring huge organic traffic and attract many backlinks. So you can add internal links to direct readers to these pages.

Basically, thanks to internal linking for SEO, you can use authority and great metrics of these pages to improve the visibility of other pages.

The rule to make link insertion as natural and relevant as possible works in this case.

Boost Your New Content

Most probably, you regularly create fresh content. If not, you need to come up with blog topic ideas and enrich your blog with new content.

You expect this content to perform better, so you should find internal linking opportunities for it. Many other things you can do is make fresh blog posts more authoritative and credible with the help of internal links.

You can do a simple Google search on this formula with your keyword/search term. This way, you find articles that are about to mention this page’s target keyword.

Let’s say you have a new article about content assets and want to find internal linking opportunities. By doing a Google search with the mentioned formula, we can see a few articles that we can internally link to a new article.

Another way to find new internal linking opportunities is using Ahrefs. Here are the steps you should follow.

Step 1.
Enter your Ahrefs account.

Step 2.
In the Site Explorer section, add the website’s domain (

Step 3.
Click on the “Opportunities” part from the Overview section.

Step 4.
In the Links part click “Internal link opportunities” and see the suggestions.

In this case, we see that our article “Duplicate Meta Descriptions: How Bad Are They?” talks about keyword stuffing as well. Our blog has an article about keyword staffing as well, so this opens new internal linking opportunities for us.

Lastly, you may also wonder what is the right number for adding internal linking for SEO to your new article. The answer is to try to include at least two or three internal links.

Regularly Analyze Your Internal Links

There is always room for improvement. The same goes for the process of creating successful internal linking for SEO. You need to regularly audit all your internal links.

First, check for broken links because neither Google nor readers appreciate those kinds of experiences. So find and replace them with live ones.

In the next stage, monitor engagement metrics to find out whether your internal linking structure is effective and your link guides users to content that’s relevant and interesting to them.

Examine the anchor text to ensure they are optimized enough. Noticing any kind of problem, like keyword stuffing or unnaturality, fix them quickly.

After that, make sure the number of internal links is reasonable. During this process, you should definitely find and fix orphan pages that have no links.

Thanks to this internal linking audit, you can find areas for improvement and basically create better website performance.

To sum up

In the end, we should mention that there isn’t any “beef” between backlink tactics and internal linking strategy. In fact, you need to work on both aspects regularly and at the same time for great results.

Combining the internal links best practices with effective backlink techniques, you can՛t have a successful and high-performing website.

When it comes to internal linking for SEO, we hope our tips will guide you in building winning internal link building strategies.

Good luck in reaching that goal.

Until then, stay tuned for more fresh and helpful content.

FAQ about internal linking for SEO

Can too many internal links hurt SEO?

Too many links can make your page seem spammy and cluttered, which can overwhelm your users. Overdoing links also makes it harder for search engines to understand your site structure and index your site.

How many internal links per 1,000 words?

There’s no fixed rule, but try to use 2-5 internal links per 1000 words of content.

Are backlinks the same as internal links?

An internal link is a page from one of your pages to another one of your pages. A backlink is a link from somebody else’s page coming into your page.

How to fix broken internal links?

There are three ways to fix broken internal links: you can redirect, update or remove the link.

How to find internal linking opportunities?

To find internal linking opportunities, start manually by checking your website thoroughly. Also, use keyword tools to find phrases you can link within your content to other relevant pages on your site.


Receive the latest Saynine Newsletter updates.

Next to the SEO-related results, outsourcing will save you costs, time, resources, and headaches.