Anyone who follows me on Twitter (here) will probably see me talking about internal links… A lot!
The reason for this is that I have spent the last couple of years testing & fine-tuning different ways to see how best to make these work for Google, and for you.
The main idea, at a very high level, is that you create your hub pages, and then give Google the signals it needs in order to rank those pages. Of course, that isn’t all there is too it.
The image below is a recent example of how this can work. Nothing else was done other than:
- Identify strong content pages
- Define the hub pages
- ‘SEO’ the hub pages
- Add internal links from content pages
OK, perhaps that is a very simplistic approach, but I will go into more detail of the various ways to do this.
Very recently, I appeared on a SEMrush webinar where I spoke about internal links and the ways these can work for you. If you’re interested, here it is (sorry for the video stuttering):
The process I use
There are a number of ways you can build internal links and the process below is just the one that works best for me.
I have used this with a lot of clients now and always get good results – hopefully you will get something useful from this as well.
Tools to use when building internal links
It isn’t just a case of adding text links to every possible page and hoping for the best – you need to know which pages you are going to use, the best keywords to use and setting your hub pages up.
To help with this, there are a number of tools that will help you gather this information.
1 – Ahrefs
A very useful feature called Best by Links is a great place to start and gather information about which are some of the strongest pages on your site.
If you find that none of your content / internal pages have links coming in to them, don’t worry because you can use the ‘UR’ (URL Rating) to help gauge the ones you can use.
Tip: Also look at the Top Content report to gather information on the number of referring domains, social shares and social power score.
2 – Search Console
The Internal Links report in Search Console will tell you exactly how many internal links are pointing to each page on your site.
If there was ever any question about how important this is to Google, then this excerpt was taken directly from Google’s Search Console help pages (https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/138752?hl=en).
Once you head into Search Console, navigate to the internal Links report.
From here you want to export all of the data into a spreadsheet. You will need all of this later on to work out the pages you want to use.
3 – Google Analytics
The next data set you will want is from Google Analytics.
Head to Behaviour > Site Content > All Pages…
While this step isn’t absolutely necessary, I much prefer to have more data to work with. You will probably find pages that are more heavily used than you realise and could miss out because another report has failed to pick it up.
Set a custom date range (I use 3 months) to get a better idea of how your pages are used over time.
Export the data to be used later.