In the SEO world, when we talk about “links”, we often think of backlinks that we generate from external websites. However, links are of two types: external and internal. Internal links also play an important role in search engine optimisation. They also require a thorough strategy. Unfortunately, not many content marketers and SEO professionals pay attention to internal links. Consequently, they fail to realise the true search engine ranking potential of their web pages.
In this blog post, we highlight a few big internal linking mistakes. Avoid these mistakes to make sure you are giving your web pages and site the best chance to rank higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
1. Broken internal links
According to SEMRush, 0.27 percent of all links on the Internet are broken. There could be multiple reasons for a broken internal link. For example:
- A malformed URL
- A web page that does not exist anymore
There are three major disadvantages of a broken link:
- It sends Google the signal that your website is of low quality and does not care about user experience.
- It upsets your audience and negatively affects your credibility and authority.
- It negatively affects certain metrics, e.g., bounce rate and dwell time.
2. Not having any internal links
You will be surprised to know how many blog posts do not have any internal links. That is probably the biggest mistake you can make when it comes to creating internal links, i.e., not having any on your individual web pages. Internal links pass SEO juice among web pages on your site, and they also help retain visitors for longer, therefore having a positive effect on bounce rate and other engagement metrics that Google considers while ranking websites in the SERPs.
3. Too many internal links on a web page
But you can also go overboard quite easily. While it is important to have relevant and important internal links on a web page, it is also equally important not to have too many. SEMRush did a study in which they found out that 12 percent web pages on a typical website may have too many on-page links. As a general guideline, a typical blog post should not have more than 100 links.
4. Not diversifying anchor text
You may want to create internal links to a certain web page with a specific anchor text. This technique is used to help optimise a web page for that keyword or keyword phrase. But as search engines have evolved, this technique has somewhat lost its effectiveness.
While it may still help, it is more important to keep your link profile natural. Frequently used over-optimised anchor text is the opposite of that. Instead of forcefully using a certain set of keywords as the anchor text, make the anchor text more natural and contextual. Search engines will eventually reward the natural link profile. On the other hand, over-optimised anchor texts may lead to a search engine penalty.
5. Unnecessary redirect chains
Redirects can be useful in certain situations. However, redirect chains is never a good idea and should be removed as soon as possible. A redirect chain refers to when a redirect leads to another redirect, thus creating a chain that hogs resources, frustrates users as well as search engines, and slows down your website.
Make sure that all your internal links lead users straight to the destination page. In case of redirects, redirect users directly to the final page. While you are at it, review all your 302-redirects and see if there is a temporary redirect that can be removed now. If not, make sure to use the proper 301-redirect.
6. Using the nofollow attribute
The nofollow attribute is used to tell search engine bots not to follow specific links. While users can jump to that link, search engine bots won’t pass any SEO juice to it. The nofollow attribute is mostly used on certain types of external web pages. Since you want to pass the SEO juice to all your internally linked web pages, there is no point in using the nofollow attribute here. Therefore, make sure that all your internal links do not have the nofollow attribute.
It is easy to neglect the importance of internal links. However, if you want to give your web pages the best possible chance in the SERPs, you will need every tool in your armoury. Make sure that you are not making any of the above-mentioned mistakes related to internal links.