Internal linking consists in adding links to the content of a webpage. Usually, those links appear as colorful, clickable, and bold words that redirect the user onto another page of the same website.
Web owners and content creators use these internal links to suggest articles from their site and thus encouraging users to spend more time on it. So, internal links seem to be quite significant for an online business, a blog, or a news page. Nonetheless, most creators make a lot of mistakes regarding internal linking, which negatively impact their websites. In this article, we’ll analyze ten internal linking errors that set websites back.
Internal Linking: An SEO Pillar
Before we list the errors, let’s define internal linking better. We briefly illustrated the way linking works: you choose a link to match a word or a phrase of the article you’ll be posting. More specifically, an internal link is the address of a page on the same site. So, internal linking is a relatively easy process that most content creators follow to boost their articles.
But why is it so important?
You may think that just because the link never leaves your website, it may have no impact on your traffic, rankings, or search results. Well, studies show that it’s quite the opposite.
According to SearchEngineLand, Google uses links as one of the primary criteria to rank pages and suggest them to the users. In fact, when a Google user types in a query, the engine proceeds to:
- Find all existing websites (crawling). The engine verifies external links, URLs, and other elements to match the query.
- Learn the content of the web pages (indexing). The engine looks inside of the web pages to match the query. Here’s where internal links come into play as well as keywords.
- Rank the pages. Based on the last two steps, the engine places all the website links, with their titles and meta descriptions, on the results page for the user to choose.
So, as shown, internal linking is part of the success of a website. However, this isn’t anything new. SEO experts, content creators, and web owners leverage linking so much that they invest hundreds of dollars.
In a study by AIRA, nearly half of web owners spend more than $10,000 on links. Meanwhile, a consistent 22% invest about $2000 on link building. Of course, not all that capital goes to internal linking. Still, it’s impressive to see how much money is invested in this method.
Consequently, not using internal linking correctly has a terrible impact on your website’s success and budget. Hence, we’re dedicating an article correcting those mistakes or making sure that they never happen. After all, why waste money on incorrect link usage when you could use it to develop your webpage and business?
Furthermore, the first mistake of web marketers is to think that external linking (links from a site to another) is all that’s relevant for a website. These links, also known as outbounds, are important. Nonetheless, they can’t cover all the SEO needs of a well-functioning site. The same goes for inbound links (backlinks), meaning incoming links from other pages and websites.
With a proper definition out of the way, here’s the list.
1. Using SEO Too Much
If you’re reading this article, you’re probably interested in SEO practices that help your website development from a marketing stance point. Nevertheless, SEO methods aren’t always the answer, especially when it comes to the actual content of your website. More specifically, SEO strategies are not a formula or cheat code. SEO tools need to be used with caution. Otherwise, you might end up with the opposite of what you wished.
One of the first mistakes of content creators is selecting the internal links and SEO keywords before even developing their content. This method might seem smart; however, it’s incredibly damaging to your content quality and time.
Firstly, because of the imposed keywords and links, you might have trouble connecting the various elements of your article. As a result, the content may be low-quality and seem like you forced your keywords and links. Moreover, you might spend a lot of time making those keywords sound natural even though you have no clue where the article is going.
So, don’t try to over-use SEO techniques before actually creating content.
2. Not Using SEO Enough
Another crucial mistake is neglecting your SEO opportunities. For instance, writing a blog post without having a clue of what internal links you may add. Here, we’re on the other side of the spectrum: under-using SEO methods.
A remedy to that issue may be coming up with a high-quality content idea. Do some research about the trending demands of your audience and start from there. Then, you might check your stats and see what SEO elements you’re missing on your website. Lastly, consider a few keywords that might work for your article and the possible internal links to add.
After writing your post, you completed half of your work because you knew the useful keywords. The only thing left is to edit it and SEO-proof it.
3. Wrong Nofollow Tag Use
The nofollow tag is an HTML command that you can add to your links. You can find it in the HTML set up in the form of:
<a href=” https://www.linktoproduct.com” rel=”nofollow”>product</a>.
This tag stops bots from following the link to the source. It helps prevent the user from accessing forms or other addresses. However, in building a page with internal links, the nofollow tag is useless and damaging.
For instance, if you’re trying to suggest another product or article on your site through an internal link, the nofollow tag will essentially make it useless. Not to mention that it’s counter-productive: you’re stopping the extra traffic on your site and potential sales. In addition, your page may start to rank lower because of all the useless nofollow tags.
Another reason webmasters abuse nofollow tags are that they try to prevent users from going to sketchy parts of the website, like spam comments. This highlights an important issue: why does the website have untrusted links or pages? The answer might be in the structure of the website and the quality that needs some improvement.
Nevertheless, to avoid affecting page ranking, you should use the tag for paid links. An even better alternative is deleting all the unsafe links altogether.
4. Wrong Use Of Redirects
Internal links have the purpose of directing the user towards another page of the same website. However, some web owners make mistakes when it comes to these redirecting links. If not linked correctly, redirects can form a dangerous and endless cycle that confuses the search engine, the user, and you, the webmaster who house-keeps the site. Moreover, your rankings may drop along with user experience.
This is an issue that usually concerns outbound and inbound links, so links from outside your website. Nonetheless, if you need to redirect pages, keep the number of redirects at a minimum and set the destination as close to the final page as possible. So, if you can’t link the exact page, link the closes one.
A good question could be, “How do I know if my website has loopy redirect links?”. The most faulty and repetitive redirects come from your website’s early days and, as stated, the external links. So, try to check the early pages, the old parts of your website, and the ones with many ads, sponsored links, and so forth.
Moreso, you may be indecisive about using permanent or temporary links. The user doesn’t understand the difference because the user experience is the same in both cases. For the search-bot, the difference is substantial.
The temporary links tell the bot to keep the original and temporary page versions indexed. The permanent only has one version. Obviously, the temporary link indicates the need to return to a permanent version.
Therefore, permanent links seem to be a good idea. But the issue is that the redirect links consume the crawling budget of your website, which is the maximum “attention” or “exposure” that Google can give you regarding the search results protocol. So, try to avoid redirects to preserve your website’s crawling budget, ranking, and future fluidity.
5. Excess Links And Keywords
Previously, we mentioned excessive SEO practices. Here’s another one: too many links and keywords on the same page.
If you add too many keywords and links on the same page, you’ll create a spam-like look for your website. As a result, both your rankings and user experience drop.
So, try to avoid using too many sub-keywords, long-tail keywords, and other sub-categories. The Google search engine likes simple pages with one keyword that’s well-distributed.
Links should be placed well, with a two or three paragraphs distance between, depending on the length of your post. Try to think like the user and ask yourself, “What would I like to access after reading this bit?”. For instance, if you talk about summer gardening tips, maybe your users would love to learn about gardening essentials.
Lastly, here’s extra advice: try to stay away from sites that use these excessive spam-like practices because those links may affect your website’s reputation and your rankings. Find properly edited websites, as they will ensure a better reputation and prevent you from losing your inbounds because of the Google strike algorithm.
6. Using Irrelevant Links And Low-Quality Guests
In the past, even the shortest articles could get reliable links. Today, however, content creators and web admins need to put in the work.
Famous websites that have the power to promote your webpage status look for two things: high-quality and coherency. So, having good content is the key to a website’s success, as this is the only way to get links from authority sites. Also, when it comes to internal links, coherency is still a concept to keep in mind. Don’t try to link irrelevant pages that have nothing to do with your article. The theme and quality need to match.
For example, if you wrote a well-made article about the newest high-tech gadgets, don’t link an old page from your early days about something that wasn’t relevant then and even less now. Moreso, don’t link an article about Instagram posing tricks, which don’t match the theme.
In addition, if you plan on adding guest posts, proofread and try to stay away from sketchy webpages. Make sure that the content your guest presents is top quality, in-depth, original, and coherent to your site. Then, insist on internal links that connect best with the post.
7. Orphaned Pages
Orphan pages are the pages on your site that have no internal inbounds. This means that there are no links to this page on other pages. Unfortunately, when it happens, the page tends to end at the bottom of your articles because, with time, everyone forgets about it, and no link suggests it. But why does that happen? Here are some reasons why your page may be orphaned (and how to fix it):
- Not enough content. In this case, the content is not enough to make it worth linking. You probably thought it was not worth your crawling budget. So, start by developing it more using maybe new sources.
- Not high-quality content. Here, the quality of the post didn’t convince you to spend crawling budget on it. So, you may need to revise it. Maybe you can correct the incoherencies and the superficial paragraphs, the wording issues, and so on.
- Irrelevant subject. In this case, you need to spice it up or simply change the subject.
- The subject doesn’t mix well with other articles. Here you might need to change the whole article because it just doesn’t mix with other content. It’s probably out of the central theme of your website, so you have no hook to it.
- You simply forgot to add internal links. Here you just need to add the links and perhaps revamp it.
- You added its temporary or defective link on other pages. In this case, you need to fix the URL or make it permanent.
- You used the nofollow tag when linking it on other pages. As we said previously, avoid nofollow tags, specifically for internal links, and delete the tag where you already have it.
8. Dead Pages
Alongside orphaned pages, dead pages are also a serious mistake that web admins make.
Imagine being an internet user reading an article. At some point, you wish to access the hyperlink that you found in the text, but it’s not working, or it leads you to a dead page. You’d probably get a little confused and think that the site isn’t taken care of properly.
Dead pages and broken links are a terrible party breaker, and they decrease your user experience level and ranking. It’s not just the user getting a little disappointed; it’s the algorithm too. But what can you do to correct it?
The key to fixing dead pages and broken URLs is constant website maintenance. You might want to periodically check every page and ensure that it successfully leads the user where you want. It’s a quick job that anyone can do. If you don’t have time for this activity, you can ask friends and family to help you by checking your site out, then clicking on every hyperlink to see if it works. Lastly, they can note the ones that don’t work. This tip is efficient in many cases. It allows you to receive direct feedback from your close ones about their user experience since webmasters can have trouble switching perspectives.
9. User Experience Errors
User experience, as noted, is quintessential for the success of your website. Users need to feel attracted to your pages and topics, both intellectually and aesthetically. They want to feel like the page is trying to help them in the navigation of the website. Moreover, they love a website that makes them feel safe while browsing.
On the other hand, potential clients hate when the site pressures them with ads, pop-ups, and other invasive marketing strategies. It makes them feel like they’re pushed into a scam. So, try to avoid flashy publicity and intrusive ads.
Specifically, don’t point hyperlinks to ads or other intense marketing pages. Remember to use a few meaningful internal links that are coherent to the article’s subject.
Another vital user experience improvement that you can work on is load time. When it takes way too long to load a page or redirect, the user slowly loses interest, just like the algorithm. So, make sure that your links are easy and quick to access, thus focusing on improving the loading time.
Pay close attention to the loading time as it can indicate deeper problems within your website’s foundation, such as:
- Complicated website structure.
- Loops and chains of redirects.
- Broken links and excessive nofollow tags.
- Dead or orphaned pages.
- All of the above issues combined.
10. Lazy Linking
Last but not least, another linking mistake could be lazy linking. More specifically, for internal linking, it’s important to switch things up. This means that you should avoid using the same articles as links for your hypertext.
For example, you have a cooking blog and always add your top 10 cooking essentials as an internal link. Even if it’s coherent, you should try to add other links to your pages, so you increase traffic in all areas of your website. The result is better ranking and user experience.
Also, generally avoid repetitive methods like:
- Using the same external links again and again.
- Having always the same companies and guests over.
- Placing the links in the same spots and the same number.
- Talking about the same issues over and over.
- Using the same formatting and image placement.
With the help of correct internal linking, you might see significant improvements in your SEO score, Google rankings, and user traffic. Just remember to avoid nofollow tags, dead and broken pages. Use redirects wisely and don’t abuse keywords and internal links. Also, keep your content high-quality and coherent to your website’s theme.