Does Internal Linking for SEO always work?

You think so? I suggest you think again !If you go to Google search engine and type ‘Internal Linking’, you will see many search results stating ‘Internal Linking best practices for SEO’ or ‘7 commandments of Internal Linking’ that boosts SEO’ and similar results that talk about the two.

If you are an inbound marketer, you would know that Search Engine Optimization is a very critical part of your inbound marketing activities and anything that gives it a boost has always been welcomed. Being an inbound marketer, I was very curious and excited to try my hand at internal linking for my client’s account. My team at Inbound Mantra had success with internal linking earlier, so I decided to implement it on my new client but to my dismay! It didn’t work out that well.

If you are also trying your hand at internal linking for SEO, I would love to share my experiences and learnings with you.

Let’s start from the scratch.What is Internal Linking all about? To put it in a simple way, it is a way of assigning greater authority to a page for a particular keyword.

Practically, it is a method of building links from one page to another page on the same domain. Needless to say, all the sites have links on their pages for navigating from one page to another. But in internal linking, the links are inserted within the content. It does not build the overall authority of the website like external links, but definitely, increases the page authority. Just think of it as a bunch of people putting in their energy altogether to push a car up the hill. Yeah! now you got it.

How is Internal Linking done?

Before you learn how to do internal linking, you must know how Google attributes value to your particular site page. Your site page is considered of higher value based on the number of links that points to a particular site page, and the authority of pages in which the links are incorporated. For example, if your home page and other pages point to a particular blog page, Google will definitely associate it with higher authority.

So basically, you have to select a site page whose ranking you want to improve and then build a structure of other pages linking to that site page for a specific keyword. Wikipedia is the best example of Internal Linking done at its best. This reminds me that you could also use Wikipedia as a means to boost your SEO.In my case, I was implementing internal linking to optimize my client’s website which offers a Key Account Management product. I began by selecting a page offering a downloadable on my client’s website, which was ranking for the keyword – ‘ Key Account Management’. I made a linking structure on the basis of traffic on the site pages of my client’s website. So, the page with the lowest traffic was linked to the page with higher traffic. Also, a link to the page offering a downloadable was provided by incorporating and hyper-texting the keyword ‘Key Account Management’. Similarly, other pages were linked to the pages with higher traffic and a link to the product feature page was given. Hence, a clean linking structure was executed for boosting the SEO of the product feature page.

What results did I derive after executing Internal Linking?

In our previous experience, we observed that once the internal linking for SEO was executed, the ranking for the targeted page first dropped and then rose gradually after a week or two. Therefore, two weeks later, when I checked the output of the Internal Linking done for my client’s account, I was surprised to find out that the ranking of the product feature page had increased only by few numbers. In fact, the page ranked higher for the keyword ‘ Key Account Management process’ compared to ‘Key Account Management’ i.e 35 compared to 42 respectively.

I couldn’t figure out why it happened and began finding answers on the internet. Some of my findings concluded that Google algorithm of ranking pages has become more intelligent and smarter than before. To enhance user experience and provide search results of greater value, it has improved its ranking algorithm. It adds value to a page based upon the overall context of writing rather than just the amount of links or keywords inserted in the page. It pretty much justified the answer I was looking for but I still have doubts for there are websites which have achieved great SEO boosts after doing internal linking. The scenario might be changing with time because of the advancement in Google algorithms. Who knows?So the question is, does internal linking always work? Or it works only in a case where it is more natural and contextual. I will certainly try doing internal linking in a more natural and context based manner next time to see if the results come out to be any different. Meanwhile, I would love to hear about your experiences if ever you tried internal linking for SEO. Your comments are welcome.

Rajagopalan Chandrashekar
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