What is an internal link?
Why are internal links important for SEO?
Example of internal link structures
Important definitions
What does a good internal link structure look like?
How can you see your internal link structure?
How to use Screaming Frog to assess your internal link structure
How to use SEMrush to assess your internal link structure
Links in Google Search Console
Why it matters that Google recognises the link weight
How to influence which pages Google view as having the most internal links
Why external links matter for your internal link structure
Ensuring you have the right anchor texts in your internal link structure
Finding your existing anchor texts
Using GSC performance data to select anchor texts
How you can automate internal linking
The caveat of this approach


Welcome to the world of SEO! If you’re new here or looking to enhance your website’s performance, understanding the role of internal links is crucial. Internal links are not just pathways within your site; they are powerful tools for boosting SEO. Let’s dive into what internal links are and how they can benefit your website.


What is an internal link?

Internal links are hyperlinks that connect one page of your website to another page within the same domain. Unlike external links, which lead to different websites, internal links navigate within your site, creating a network of interconnected content.

Simple Definition: An internal link is a type of hyperlink on a website that links to another page within the same website.

Analogy: Think of your website as a house with many rooms (web pages). Internal links are like doors inside your house that lead you from one room to another.

Appearance: An internal link usually appears as highlighted or underlined text (often in a different colour) that you can click on.

Example: If you’re reading a blog post about healthy recipes, you might see a clickable text saying “our beginner’s guide to healthy eating” that takes you to another page on the same website.


Why are internal links important for SEO?

Often overlooked, internal links are a critical component of a successful SEO strategy. Let’s explore why.

  1. Improves Website Navigation: Internal links guide users through your website, enhancing the user experience. A well-navigated site means a happy visitor, and a happy visitor is a return visitor.
  2. Spreads Link Equity: Search engines use links to determine the value and relevance of your content. Internal links distribute this ‘link equity’ throughout your site, boosting the SEO potential of individual pages.
  3. Enhances Page Authority: By linking to less visited pages from your higher authority pages, you pass on some of this authority, helping to elevate their standing in search engine results.
  4. Boosts Pageviews and Reduces Bounce Rate: Engaging internal links can lead visitors to more of your content, increasing pageviews and reducing the likelihood of them ‘bouncing’ away quickly.
  5. Helps with Website Crawling and Indexing: Search engines use links to crawl the web. Internal links help search engines find and index your pages, making sure they appear in search results.


Example of internal link structures

Here’s a simplified example of an internal link structure for a fictional e-commerce website that sells various products:

  1. Homepage
    • Links to: Category Pages, About Us, Contact, Blog
  2. Category Pages (e.g., Electronics, Clothing, Home Decor)
    • Links to: Subcategory Pages, Homepage, Related Blog Posts
    • Electronics Category Page
      • Links to: Smartphones, Laptops, Cameras (Subcategories), Related Blog Posts, Homepage
    • Clothing Category Page
      • Links to: Men’s Wear, Women’s Wear, Kid’s Wear (Subcategories), Related Blog Posts, Homepage
    • Home Decor Category Page
      • Links to: Furniture, Lighting, Wall Decor (Subcategories), Related Blog Posts, Homepage
  3. Subcategory Pages (e.g., Smartphones, Men’s Wear, Furniture)
    • Links to: Individual Product Pages, Parent Category Page, Related Blog Posts, Homepage
  4. Individual Product Pages
    • Links to: Related Products, Parent Subcategory Page, Parent Category Page, Blog Posts related to the product, Homepage
  5. Blog
    • Each post links to: Relevant Product or Category Pages, Other Related Blog Posts, Homepage
  6. About Us and Contact Pages
    • Links to: Homepage, Blog, Category Pages (if relevant)

This structure ensures that:

  • There’s a logical hierarchy and flow, making it easy for users and search engines to navigate.
  • Important pages like category and product pages are easily accessible.
  • Link equity is distributed effectively across the site.
  • It supports thematic relevance by linking related content together.


Important definitions


Link depth

“Link depth” refers to the number of clicks required to reach a specific page from the homepage of a website. It’s an important concept in SEO because it affects how easily a page can be found by both users and search engines.

For example, a page that is directly linked from the homepage has a link depth of 1, as it takes only one click to reach it. Conversely, if you have to click on a link from the homepage to reach another page, and then click on another link from there to reach the final page, this page has a link depth of 2.

In general, pages with lower link depth are easier for search engines to find and index, and they are often considered more important or relevant. This can influence their ranking in search results. Keeping important pages at a lower link depth can improve a site’s SEO performance.


Link equity

“Link equity,” often referred to as “link juice” in SEO, is a concept that describes the value or authority one web page passes to another through hyperlinks. Link equity is like a thumbs-up from one page to another, telling search engines, “Hey, this page is valuable and relevant!”

In relation to internal linking, link equity can be understood as the way in which authority and ranking power are distributed throughout a website via its internal links. Pages with more link equity are often seen as more authoritative and can rank higher in search engine results.


Anchor text

Anchor text, in the context of internal linking for SEO, refers to the clickable words or phrases used in a hyperlink within a website. It’s essentially the text part of a link that you can click on to be redirected to another page on the same website. This text is usually highlighted or underlined, and it’s different from the URL it leads to.

The anchor text is important for SEO because it helps search engines understand the content and context of the linked page, contributing to the site’s search engine rankings. By using descriptive and relevant anchor text, you can improve the user experience and help search engines better understand and rank your site’s pages.


Link diversity

“Link diversity” refers to the practice of creating a variety of internal links within a website that point to different pages. This concept emphasises the importance of not just linking to the same few pages repeatedly, but rather spreading links throughout the site to various relevant content. This approach ensures that:

  1. Different Pages Gain Exposure: By linking to a wide range of pages, it helps improve the visibility and accessibility of more content on the website.
  2. Natural User Navigation: It creates a more natural and useful experience for users, as they can easily navigate to a variety of related topics or sections.
  3. SEO Benefits: Search engines view a site with diverse internal linking as more valuable and informative, potentially improving its ranking.

In essence, link diversity in internal linking is about strategically distributing links to cover a wide spectrum of a website’s content, enhancing both user experience and search engine optimization.


What does a good internal link structure look like?

Here’s what a good internal link structure should encompass:

  • Logical Hierarchy and Navigation: Your website should have a clear and logical hierarchy. This means that the main categories are distinct and subcategories are logically organised under these. Internal links should help users navigate this structure intuitively.
  • Use of Relevant and Descriptive Anchor Text: Anchor text is the clickable text in a hyperlink. Good internal linking uses relevant and descriptive anchor texts that are concise and informative about the page they link to. Avoid over-optimization with keyword-rich anchors.
  • Linking Deep: The most common pages on your site (like the homepage) will naturally accumulate links. A good internal link strategy ensures deeper pages of the site that are less likely to be discovered are linked to. This means avoiding too many links to top-level pages and instead linking to content-rich, informative pages deeper within the site.
  • Use of Contextual Links: Links should be placed in the context of relevant content. This means linking from within your page’s content, not just from menus or lists. This not only helps with SEO but also with user engagement.
  • Reasonable Number of Links: Each page should have a reasonable number of internal links. Too many links on a page can be overwhelming and might be seen as spammy by search engines. It’s important to balance it out.
  • Linking to Important Pages: Make sure that important pages, such as those you want to rank higher in search engines, are internally linked more often. This doesn’t mean spamming links to these pages but rather ensuring they are integrated naturally within the site’s content.
  • Avoiding Broken Links: Regularly check for and fix broken links. Broken internal links can harm your site’s user experience and SEO.
  • Using a Breadth of Link Types: Don’t just rely on text links. Utilise a variety of link types such as image links, navigation links, footer links, etc., as long as they are relevant and improve user experience.
  • Consistent and Scalable Structure: As your website grows, your internal linking strategy should scale with it. This means maintaining a consistent approach to how and where you add links, ensuring that new content is appropriately integrated into the existing structure.
  • Auditing and Updating Regularly: An effective internal link structure is not a one-time task but a continuous process. Regularly auditing your site for link opportunities, removing or updating outdated links, and adjusting your strategy based on current SEO best practices is essential.

Remember, the goal of a good internal link structure is to improve user experience and site navigation, which in turn helps search engines index your site more effectively, thereby improving your site’s SEO performance.


How can you see your internal link structure?

Here are a few tools that you can use to see you internal link structure:

  1. Use Website Crawling Tools: Tools like Screaming Frog, Ahrefs, or SEMrush offer comprehensive crawling capabilities. These tools can scan your entire website and provide detailed insights into your internal linking structure.
  2. Visualising the Link Structure:
    • Screaming Frog: It has a feature that allows you to visualise the link structure in the form of a crawl tree graph, which shows how pages are interconnected.
    • Ahrefs and SEMrush: These tools provide similar functionalities, showing internal links, their distribution, and the strength of these links.
  3. Google Search Console: Use the ‘Links’ report in Google Search Console. It shows the top linked pages internally, allowing you to see which pages are frequently linked within your site.
  4. Spreadsheets for Manual Analysis: Export the data from these tools into a spreadsheet. This lets you manually analyse the link structure, see patterns, and identify areas of improvement. You can create pivot tables or use conditional formatting to highlight key aspects of your link structure.


How to use Screaming Frog to assess your internal link structure

Step 1: Download and Install Screaming Frog SEO Spider

  • If you haven’t already, download Screaming Frog SEO Spider from the official website: 
  • Install the software on your computer. It’s available for Windows, MacOS, and Ubuntu.


Step 2: Enter Your Website URL

  • Open Screaming Frog.
  • In the main interface, enter your website’s URL in the “Enter URL to spider” box.
  • Click ‘Start’ to begin the crawl.


Step 3: Allow the Crawl to Complete

  • The tool will now crawl your website. Depending on the size of your website, this could take a few minutes to several hours.
  • Ensure the crawl is set to ‘Internal’ mode so it only looks at internal links.


Step 4: Analyse the Internal Links

  • Once the crawl is complete, go to the ‘Internal’ tab. This tab shows all internal URLs found during the crawl.
  • To specifically focus on internal links, you might want to filter the view. You can use the filter dropdown to select ‘HTML’ to view only web pages.


Step 5: Examine Link Details

  • Click on any URL in the list to view details about it.
  • Go to the ‘Inlinks’ tab at the bottom. This tab shows all internal URLs that link to the selected URL.
  • You can also check the ‘Outlinks’ tab to see where the selected URL links to internally.


Step 6: Export and Further Analyse Your Data

  • You can export this data by clicking on the ‘Export’ button. This will save the data in a .csv format, which you can open in Excel or Google Sheets for further analysis.
  • Analyse the data to understand how your pages are interconnected, identify orphan pages (pages with no internal links), and ensure that important pages receive sufficient internal link equity.


Step 7: Visualise Link Structure

  • For a visual representation, Screaming Frog offers crawl visualisations.
  • The crawl visualisations are hierarchical by crawl depth. The lines between URLs represent links between pages. 

Remember, Screaming Frog offers a free version with a limit on the number of URLs you can crawl (usually around 500), which is sufficient for small websites. For larger websites, you might need the paid version.

Using Screaming Frog to analyse your internal link structure is a powerful way to understand and improve your website’s SEO performance. Regular analysis and adjustments based on the findings can significantly enhance your site’s search engine rankings and user navigation experience.


How to use SEMrush to assess your internal link structure

Step 1: Log In to SEMrush

First, log into your SEMrush account. If you don’t have an account, you’ll need to create one. SEMrush offers various subscription plans, including some free capabilities.


Step 2: Go to Site Audit

Once logged in, navigate to the ‘Site Audit’ feature. This is located within the ‘SEO’ dashboard on the left-hand side panel.


Step 3: Set Up a Site Audit

If you haven’t already set up a project for your website, you’ll need to do so. Click on the ‘Add New Project’ button, enter your domain name, and give your project a name.


Step 4: Configure Site Audit Settings 

In the project dashboard, click on ‘Set up’ under Site Audit. Here, you can adjust settings like the number of pages to crawl, crawl source, and other parameters. Ensure that the ‘Check Internal Links’ option is enabled to analyse your internal link structure.


Step 5: Run the Site Audit

Once you have configured the settings, start the site audit. SEMrush will crawl your website, which can take some time depending on the size of your site.


Step 6: View the Audit Results 

After the crawl is complete, go to the Site Audit overview. Here, you’ll see a summary of your site’s health, including issues related to internal linking such as broken links, orphaned pages (pages with no internal links), and others.


Step 7: Analyse Internal Linking 

To dive deeper into your internal link structure, look for the ‘Internal Linking’ report in the Site Audit results. This section provides detailed insights into how your pages are interconnected.


Step 8: Review Link Distribution 

Within the internal linking report, check the distribution of internal links. Look for pages that might be hoarding link value (having too many internal links) and pages that are under-linked.


Step 9: Identify and Fix Issues 

The report will also highlight potential issues like broken internal links or orphan pages. Use this information to make necessary corrections, such as fixing or removing broken links and adding internal links to orphan pages.


Step 10: Export the Data for Further Analysis 

If you want to analyse the data more deeply or keep a record, you can export the internal links report to a CSV or Excel file.

By following these steps, you can effectively use SEMrush to view and optimise your website’s internal link structure. This will not only help improve your site’s SEO performance but also enhance the user experience for your visitors.


Links in Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a tool provided by Google that helps website owners understand how their site is performing in Google Search. It provides a variety of reports and data to help you optimise your website for better search engine ranking and visibility.

One of the essential components of this tool is the ‘Links’ report. Here’s a breakdown of what it is and why it’s important:

Overview of the ‘Links’ Report: The ‘Links’ report in Google Search Console provides information about the links to your website. These links are essentially like votes or referrals from other websites. In the world of SEO, links are crucial because they are a key factor that Google uses to determine the quality and relevance of your site. The more high-quality links you have from other reputable sites, the more likely your site is seen as valuable and authoritative.

  • External Links: These are links from other websites that lead to your site. The report shows which websites link to you the most, as well as the specific pages on your site that are linked to the most.
  • Internal Links: These are links that go from one page on your site to another page on your site. This section shows which pages on your site have the most internal links.
  • Top Linking Sites: This part lists the websites that link to you the most. It’s a great way to see which external sites are providing the most ‘backlinks’ to your site.
  • Top Linked Pages: This shows which pages on your site are getting the most links from other sites. It’s useful for understanding which content on your site is the most popular or valued by others.


Why it matters that Google recognises the link weight

Link weight is a term used in SEO to describe the value or importance Google assigns to a link. Think of it as a “vote of confidence” from one page to another, telling Google that the content is valuable and relevant.

  • Navigation: It helps users navigate your website. If Google sees that your internal links are well-organised and helpful, it’s a good sign that users will have a positive experience on your site.
  • Information Hierarchy: By using internal links wisely, you can show Google which pages on your site are the most important. This is like highlighting the main chapters in a book, making it easier for Google to understand what your site is about.
  • Page Authority Distribution: Every website has a certain amount of ‘authority’ in Google’s eyes, based on factors like quality content and external links. Through internal linking, you can spread this authority across your pages, similar to watering all plants in a garden equally.
  • Keyword Optimization: By using relevant keywords in your internal links, you can reinforce to Google what each page is about. It’s like putting clear labels on those doors inside your house.

Your website will benefit from improved SEO performance including:

  • Better Ranking: Proper internal linking can lead to better rankings in search results because Google has a clearer understanding of your site structure and content importance.
  • Enhanced User Experience: If visitors find it easy to navigate your site and discover relevant content, they’re more likely to stay longer and visit more pages, which Google sees as a positive signal.
  • Increases Pageviews: More internal links (when done right) can lead to more pageviews, as visitors are guided to other relevant pages on your site.

It not only helps Google understand and rank your site better but also enhances the user experience, which is ultimately what Google aims to reward.


How to influence which pages Google view as having the most internal links

Now, let’s talk about how you can influence Google’s perception of your internal links:

  1. Strategic Planning:
    • Identify Key Pages: Determine which pages you want to be viewed as most important. These could be your product pages, contact information, or valuable blog posts.
    • Map Your Site: Visualise your website’s structure. Understand how each page is connected.
  2. High-Quality Content:
    • Google values quality. Ensure your key pages have high-quality, relevant content. This makes them more link-worthy.
  3. Link Placement:
    • Main Navigation: Include your key pages in the main navigation menu.
    • Footer Links: Though less impactful, footer can also be a place for internal links, but use them wisely and don’t overcrowd.
    • Contextual Links: Within your content, naturally incorporate links to your key pages. For example, if you have a blog post about “Healthy Eating,” you could link the phrase “best organic foods” to your organic product page.
  4. Anchor Text:
    • Use descriptive, keyword-rich anchor text. This tells Google what the linked page is about. Avoid overusing exact-match keywords to prevent being flagged as spammy.
  5. Link Quantity and Quality:
    • Balance: More links pointing to a page can signal its importance, but balance is key. Too many can appear spammy.
    • Diverse Sources: Get internal links from various pages, not just one or two.
  6. Regular Audits:
    • Periodically check your internal links. Make sure they’re not broken and still relevant.
  7. Avoid Over-Optimization:
    • Google might penalise sites that appear to manipulate links. Keep it natural and user-focused.
  8. Update Old Content:
    • Include links to your key pages in your older, high-performing content.
  9. Use Tools for Insights:
    • Tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console can provide insights into how your internal links are performing.
  10. Mobile-Friendly Links:
    • Ensure your links are easily clickable on mobile devices. Mobile usability is a significant factor in Google’s rankings.

By strategically placing internal links, focusing on high-quality content, and ensuring a user-friendly website structure, you can influence which pages Google views as having the most internal links.


Why external links matter for your internal link structure

Think of your website as a city, and the internal and external links as roads leading in and out of it.

  1. Boosting Relevance and Authority: External links are like bridges connecting your city (website) to other important cities (websites). When a well-known and respected city links to yours, it’s like saying your city is also important. This helps search engines like Google understand that your website is valuable and should be shown to more people.
  2. Enhancing User Experience: Good external links are like convenient roads leading to places of interest outside your city. If visitors to your city (users on your website) find these roads useful, they’ll think better of your city. This means they’re more likely to visit again or recommend it to others.
  3. Improving Visibility and Discoverability: When other cities link to yours, people travelling those routes might decide to visit your city. In the online world, this means when other websites link to yours, their visitors might click on these links and land on your site, increasing your traffic.
  4. Supporting Your Website’s Internal Links: Think of your website’s internal link structure as the street system within your city. External links bring people to your city, but once they’re there, your internal streets (internal links) guide them to various destinations (pages). A good mix of both types of links ensures visitors not only arrive at your site but also easily navigate and find the information they need.
  5. Diversifying Traffic Sources: Relying on just one type of link is like having only one road leading into your city. If that road closes, you’re in trouble. Having both internal and external links means you have multiple ways for traffic to reach and move around your site. This diversification can protect your website from fluctuations in search engine algorithms.

In summary, external links to your website are crucial because they help increase your site’s visibility, authority, and user experience. They complement your internal link structure by bringing in new visitors and helping existing visitors navigate your site more effectively. Think of it as building a well-connected city with a robust network of roads leading in and out, as well as a well-planned internal street system.


Ensuring you have the right anchor texts in your internal link structure

Knowing what anchor texts you have used is crucial. It helps you:

  1. Understand Your Link Profile: See how your site is perceived by search engines.
  2. Improve SEO Strategy: Adjust anchor texts for better relevance and diversity.
  3. Avoid Over-Optimization: Too many identical anchor texts can look spammy to search engines.


Finding your existing anchor texts

Here are a couple of ways that you can find your existing anchor texts:

Use a Website Crawler Tool

  • Tools like Screaming Frog SEO Spider can crawl your website and provide a list of all internal links with their respective anchor texts.
  • These tools can generate reports that show you exactly what anchor texts you’re using for each internal link.


Manual Checking

  • This can be done by inspecting the HTML code of your web pages.
  • Right-click on your webpage and select “View Page Source” or “Inspect”.
  • Search (Ctrl + F) for <a href=, which will show you all the hyperlinks. Next to it, you’ll find the anchor text.


Using GSC performance data to select anchor texts

Google Search Console provides valuable insights into how users find your site and interact with your content. By using this data to inform your internal linking strategy, specifically the selection of anchor texts, you can improve the relevance and authority of your pages, leading to better SEO performance.

  • Step 1: Analyse Top Queries and Pages: In GSC, look at the ‘Queries’ and ‘Pages’ sections to understand what search terms are driving traffic to your pages and which pages are getting the most traffic.


  • Step 2: Identify Relevant Keywords: From these top queries, identify relevant keywords that are closely related to the content of your other pages.


  • Step 3: Matching Keywords with Pages: For each keyword, find a page on your site that best matches the topic of that keyword. This page will serve as the target for your internal links.


  • Step 4: Crafting Anchor Texts: Use variations of your identified keywords as anchor texts for internal links. These texts should be natural and contextually relevant to the content they are embedded in.
  • Ship a package 
  • Dispatch a package
  • Mail a package
  • Post a parcel


  • Step 5: Implement and Monitor: Place these anchor text links in relevant content throughout your site. After implementation, monitor the performance of these pages in GSC to see if there’s an improvement in impressions, clicks, or positions.


How you can automate internal linking

  1. The Goal of Automation:
    • Why Automate: Manually adding internal links is time-consuming, especially for large websites. Automation streamlines the process, ensuring consistency and efficiency.
  1. Tools for Automation:
    • CMS Plugins: If you’re using a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, there are plugins that can automate internal linking by suggesting relevant links as you write content.
    • SEO Software: There are specialised SEO tools that can crawl your website, analyse content, and suggest optimal internal linking opportunities.
    • AI-Powered Tools: Some advanced tools use AI to understand your content and automatically suggest relevant internal links.
  1. Setting Up Automation:
    • Keyword Matching: The tool scans your content for specific keywords and phrases. When it finds a match, it suggests or automatically adds a link to a relevant page on your site.

See example using Internal Link Juicer:


Scroll down to the plugin on the page you have selected and enter the keyword you would like to be link

Once saved all pages with this keyword will automatically be linked to the page. This can result in multiple links on one page. If you are wanting to restrict the number of internal links on a page see instructions below. 

  • Relevance and Context: Advanced tools use AI to understand the context of your content, ensuring that the suggested links are relevant and useful.


The caveat of this approach

  • Balance Automation with Human Oversight: While automation can greatly help with internal linking, it’s important to have human oversight to ensure quality and relevance.

Remember, the goal of internal linking is not just to improve SEO, but also to provide value to your users by guiding them to relevant and useful content on your site. Automation can help achieve this goal more efficiently, but it should be used thoughtfully and in balance with manual oversight.



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