Internal linking is one of the most valuable SEO strategies and unfortunately it is often ignored by business owners (and yes, even most marketers!) Building out an internal linking strategy isn’t sexy… which might explain why it’s so often put on the back burner.

Despite the meticulousness of internal linking, it is one of the best ways to increase your organic search results through sites like Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yandex, etc. And seriously – it’s not as much work as you think it is.

Before we dive in any further, let’s define “what is internal linking?”

What is internal linking?

Internal links are any link on a website that point to that same website. Imagine your website homepage. The main menu in the navigation has links to the most important pages on your website. This helps users easily find the information they’re looking for. Internal links also allow you to point users towards another piece of related content that they may be interested in.

Not only that, but internal linking gives search engines a map of your website which helps them locate and index your pages.

Here’s an example of an internal link: Website Design in Hamilton. <– see that link right there? It links back to our web design service page. If you click that link, you’ll be redirected to that page. That’s internal linking! It’s as simple as that!

internal linking graphic

5 reasons internal linking is good for SEO

Internal linking is an extremely important strategy in search engine optimization. Let’s take a look at 5 reasons why internal linking is great for SEO.

It provides value to your website visitors

Internal links, when implemented correctly, can provide a ton of value to your website visitors. You can augment your content by linking to related content that the visitor may be interested in on your own website. For example, you’re reading a post about internal linking, but you may also be interested in our post about Alt-Text.

It helps Google index your site

Google’s algorithm crawls every website in the world so that it can index those links in their search results; internal linking makes it easier for them to do so. By including several relevant internal links on every page of your site, you’re allowing Google to crawl your website more efficiently, and in return, your pages will get indexed much quicker.

orphaned pages graphic

It prevents orphaned content

When a page on your website has no other pages linking to it, that is what we call “orphaned content.” Orphaned pages are likely never going to be indexed because search engines cannot find them. Why don’t you show those pages some love and link to them from a page or two? Huh!?

Internal Linking with Optimized Anchor Text Is Good for SEO

Anchor text is a word or phrase that is used to describe a link. An example of anchor text is: How To Do Keyword Research <– those words are the anchor text for our page about keyword research.

Anchor text increases the relevancy of a URL by defining what that page is about using descriptive words. If you have a ton of pages on your site describing one page as “Local SEO Services” then that sends signals to Google, that your page is, in fact, about Local SEO Services.

anchor text graphic

Internal linking spreads the strength of the site to other internal pages

When you get a backlink from another site, let’s say to your page about Digital Marketing Services, that increases the overall “trust” search engines have for that specific page.

If you have one page that has a lot of backlinks to it, you can “share” that “link juice” with other pages on your website by linking to them from that page. In this case, the trust flows from your highly trusted content, to another page on your website that has less trust, which will eventually increase the trust of that page as well.

Related: How often should you update your website?

The 5 areas you can use internal linking

Similar to back linking, some types of internal linking can also be more valuable than others. I’ve broken down the types here that are the most (and least) useful and how they can be helpful to increase your search rankings.

Body content links (editorial links)

It is important for your SEO strategy to include internal links that both give context as well as authority to your content. Think of your blog post or article as a research study. No, it doesn’t need to be technical, but you should always include sources for the information in your post. In the olden days, they use to put an asterisk, number, or some other kind of identifier to reference more information in the footnote. Today, you can do that with an internal link.

Body content links may be the most valuable links as they give context to your content, and to the content that you’re referencing in your anchor text.

Related: User Generated Content For SEO


Breadcrumbs help users navigate a website by showing them where they are relative to the home page. The term comes from the Hansel and Gretel fairy tale where the kids use breadcrumbs to find their way back home.

Breadcrumbs are an important part of internal linking – there’s a whole section for them in Google Search Console; which means they’re important to include.

Sidebar links

Sidebar links, like you’ll find on most blogs, are intended to be more navigational and include links like: related posts, categories, or archives. These are internal links that are basically on autopilot because they’re likely the exact same on every blog page.

Sidebar links are great for crawlability, but they also may include links to old irrelevant pages, which may hurt your overall search strategy.

Main navigation links

Your website’s most crucial external links can be found in your navigational main menu. This is permanently attached inside the header of your website and communicates with the user which pages are most important to your business. Usually these are organized into a particular categories or services, your main blog page, contact page, and about us page.

The links in your main nav should be thought of as a highway to get to any page of your site quickly.

Footer links

Similar to navigation links, footer links retain consistent positioning throughout your site pages. You may often see contact info, support, frequently asked queries or related resources linked to your website’s footer.

Why are internal links important for SEO?

Algorithms are always learning and do not work perfectly. They need context to know what a page is about and its relationship to other pages. Internal links are a part of your website architecture, and help both users and search engine crawlers find relevant content on your site By giving search engine crawlers context, you’re helping curve their learning about your specific website. How could that NOT be good for increasing your rankings?

website architecture graphic

Internal linking best practices

SEO requires regular evaluation and continuously working on your internal linking strategy. Think of it as going to the gym for your website; you need to do it regularly and consistently to see results. Let’s take a look at some internal linking best practices.

How many internal links should I include per post?

There is no steadfast rule when it comes to internal linking, however we recommend 5 – 10 internal links in your body content per 2,000 words.

Adding internal links to new blog posts

When writing a new post, you should consider mentioning related topics/posts that would be useful to visitors. If you’re a dentist writing a post about proper gum care, you will likely mention are things like gingivitis, tooth decay, etc. To keep your new post centred around one topic, you shouldn’t go into a lot of detail on gingivitis or tooth decay. Instead, you can have detailed posts about those individual subjects that you can internal link to from your brand new post about proper gum care.

Internal linking new pages on your website

When you publish a new piece of content, you should be able to add 3 – 5 internal links pointing to your new page from existing posts. The way we do this at HeyTony is to search the site for any posts that mention your new topic. This shouldn’t be an issue if your website is centred around one main topic. Ex. All of our content is about digital marketing, so we have plenty of posts mentioning relevant topics that we can internal link to and from.

Crawl depth

We’ll eventually have an entire post about crawl depth, but in summary, crawl depth is how many clicks from your home page it takes to get to any piece of content. If you look at your home page as page zero, every additional click from there is +1. So if it takes you 10 clicks to get to a specific blog post, that is not good.

You should be able to access any page on your site with 3 clicks or less. This is where a good internal linking strategy comes into play.

To find out your website’s crawl depth (or crawlability) you can use SEMRush’s Site Audit tool.

Internal Linking Practices to Avoid

Let’s look at some common internal linking mistakes that should not be used.

Too many links on one page

Too many links aren’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s not a good thing either. Originally, Google stated that it would not index a page with over 100 links. Now it’s very common to have pages with more than 100 links, as this rule takes into account any header and footer links, which if you have a bigger “mega menu” you’ll be severely limited to how many links you can include in your content.

Don’t link to different pages with the same anchor text

A fundamental rule of SEO is that every page on your site should rank for a different keyword or topic. Of course each page will rank for multiple keyword variations, but they will all be focused around that one topic.

We should use this principal when it comes to anchor text as well. Do not use the same anchor text to link to two different pages. This will dilute your rankings.

Keyword stuffing your anchor text

The insertion of keywords in anchor text is another internal link-building habit to be conscious of. Of course you want to use relevant keywords to link to related content on your site, but including keywords in your content for the sake of internal linking is bad practice.

Hiding links on your page

This tactic worked when Google was young and dumb, but they quickly caught onto the “hidden links” scheme.

Hidden links are when you have a link on your page that users can’t see. For example, if you have a white background with a white coloured link on it, users won’t be able to see that. Search engines are all over this, so don’t even try it.

Internal linking tools and plugins

This internal linking guide wouldn’t be complete without providing you with some internal linking tools that you can use to analyze and improve your site architecture!

Google Search Console

When it comes to anything SEO, if it’s showing up in your search console dashboard, it’s important.

To find your internal links, head over to the “links” section on your dashboard. You can see where this is in the screenshot below.

google search console internal links

Typically the pages with the most internal links are the most important. If you have a page that doesn’t appear on this list, you need to add some more internal links. Note** Google doesn’t update this data instantly or even daily. It may take a week or two or three for your changes to show up in Google Search Console!

Yoast SEO Premium

Yoast is our go-to on page SEO plugin. Yoast is currently available for both WordPress and Shopify users.

When writing optimizing any individual page or post, Yoast provides a checklist to determine how optimized your content is. It even gives you suggestions on how to improve your content!

yoast seo analysis results

With Yoast Premium, you get access to their internal linking tool, which scans your content and recommends related pages to link to from your post. This can save you a TON of time trying to find relevant content to link to. See the screenshot below for an example.

internal linking strategy - yoast


Ahrefs is a great tool for visually showing you how many internal links are on each individual page. They show you what your page authority is, how many referring domains you have to that page, and all the internal links on that specific page. This is extremely useful for your internal linking strategy to best direct your “link juice.”

ahrefs internal linking report


We absolutely love using SEMRush for our website audits. Their tool is second to none.

Take a look at their internal linking dashboard below. Not only do they tell you if you have any internal link issues, warnings, or notices, but they also analyze your page crawl depth. Every page in the screenshot below can be accessed within 1 or 2 clicks, giving this site an internal link score of 93%!

semrush internal linking

Internal links vs external links vs backlinks

Internal links:

Internal links are links on your own website linking back to your own website. For example, you’re interested in learning more about internal linking, so you may also be interested in our post about how to do keyword research.

External links:

External links look exactly the same to the end user, but these links will take the user to another website. You’ll want to include external links to show both users and search engines that you’re sourcing your content, and not pulling this information out of your butt!

For example, if I were to tell you that Google is the biggest search engine in the world, I would include a link to a trusted source who reported on that information. See what I did just there?

backlink graphic


Backlinks are the opposite from external links. It’s when another website links to your content as a trusted source! What happens when other websites reference you as a trusted source? It will help increase your overall trust score with Google, which is also referred to as domain authority.

The higher your domain authority, the better and quicker you will rank for your desired keywords.


Internal linking is a vital part of any SEO strategy and it should not be ignored. If you’ve never run an internal link report, this is your sign to DO IT NOW!

Originally published . Last updated .


Don’t forget to share this post!