Link building is a part of an SEO strategy, however, we often see link building being referred to as external links directing and recommending your website. In this case, the spotlight is placed on internal link building and how it can easily help your site be useful to users.
Internal links work by connecting pages and resources within the same domain, and although they’re not given as much attention as they deserve in the general SEO conversation, internal link building mistakes can lead to you wasting your crawl budget - the limit to which a search engine bot will crawl through your site - and leave important parts of your site unindexed.
A recent study performed and published by SEMrush took a look at the most common internal link building mistakes websites make, so for the sake of this blog post and your site’s rankings, we’ve decided to explain them and inform you how to fix and avoid them.
One of the most common and easily fixable internal link building mistakes comes from broken internal links. To search engine bots, the presence of these signals your website as a low quality one, producing a negative effect on user experience and the flow of link equity throughout your site, therefore potentially lowering your rankings.
In order to fix the situation, you should check the URLs and update them if necessary, removing all links that lead to an error webpage and replacing them with a working link.
Just as with internal links, a broken external link affects your site’s credibility for both users and search engines. Since an external link serves to pass on the authority of your page to the linked website, when the link isn’t working, this resource is being wasted. The best thing to do in this case would be to check if the URL is correct and if it is, but the page returns an error, contact the owner of the website so that they can do something about it. If this is not possible, simply change the link to one that works or remove it entirely. While you can’t control other people’s webpages, you can definitely control what your site links to and the validity of it.
Another common link building mistake comes from getting too enthusiastic about page links. In the eyes of Google, an excess of on page links may flag as spam, and the more links there are on your page, the less SEO value each of them may provide.
No-follow tags serve as a signal to search bots to not go to a certain link, which can be useful in the case that it leads to a registration form or paid link. However, when it comes to internal links there’s generally no reason to use these tags.
Crawl depth refers to the number of clicks needed to reach a certain page from the homepage, meaning the more clicks a user or a bot has to go through, the less likely it is for both of them to reach said page, so for both user experience and crawlability it’s possibly important to make sure that important pages on your site are no more than three clicks away from the home.
A page with no incoming internal links is called an orphaned page in SEO language. Usually, these type of pages have no valuable content, so including them as part of your sitemap may just be a waste of crawl budget.
If that’s not the case and the page in question does have worthy content in it, avoid this common internal link building mistake by interlinking it with other relevant pages on your site. In the case that it really doesn’t require internal linking because of a specific purpose its serving, ask yourself if there’s really a need for it to be indexed and if it doesn’t, consider removing it from your sitemap.
The more incoming internal links a page has, the more visible it may be for both users and search bots, since once high authority pages on your site link to it, its value is increased. Make sure that there’s enough relevant incoming internal links in your site pointing to pages with valuable, important content.
Link building in general can be a boost to your site’s SEO. While the kind that goes on within your site is usually where the lesser focus is placed, avoiding these internal link building mistakes is a quick way to make the most out of your SEO efforts and may enjoy tangible results in the form of rankings, better search engine indexation and more precise navigation for your visitors.