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Common Mistakes to Avoid in Internal Linking

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Internal links are the cementing force that connects your domain pages together. They support site structure, enhance the user experience, and provide context to the search engines. A digital marketing professional cannot skip them in formulating a successful link-building plan.

common mistake to avoid in internal linking

One of the significant benefits of using internal links in your SEO strategy is that you have control over your internal links. It often shows the results quickly and passes the link juice to the pages you want to rank higher on SERPS. Also, you can easily diagnose problems and fix them. However, not all mistakes can be fixed, and it is better to avoid them by using a careful and thoughtful approach to internal linking.

To help you create a strong internal linking structure, here we have discussed the common mistakes to avoid when building an internal linking strategy and how to fix them:

mistakes to avoid during internal linking

Mistake 1: Using too many internal links

Links are placed in the content to guide visitors and take them to other relevant pages. Of course, they are important to boost your page rankings, but adding way too many links can drift away visitors rather than making them engage with your page. If you clutter your web page with too many links, it will neither look good nor be useful for visitors. It will also make it difficult for search engines to derive the value of the important links. For instance, in the screenshot given below, there are too many links on a page, which gives it a confusing and cluttered look.

Using too many internal links

Avoid building tons of internal links on a page simply because it has high domain authority. If you force too many links into a post or a web page, it will dilute the strength of each link. It can be overwhelming for readers as well. They may not like to read such a cluttered page that actually confuses them about which link to click.

How many internal links are too many?

In the past, Google’s guidelines recommended having fewer than 100 links. However, it didn’t force the webmaster to follow this link limit. But Google no longer has an explicit link limit and has even updated its guidelines to remove the previous link limit. In practice, it is important to use links reasonably on your web pages; otherwise, you may not be able to rank them.

As per Bing’s guidelines, webmasters should use a reasonable number of links per page. It has further clarified that pages should have no more than a few thousand links. Exceeding the limit would not make you get penalized, but Bing may restrict your website’s organic rankings for using too many links.

If search engine crawlers don’t follow the link to a web page, the page may not get indexed and eventually won’t rank in the search results. It will also not generate any search traffic. To encourage search engine crawlers to index all of your web pages, you should use a reasonable number of links per page. It will help you get more and more pages indexed by the search engines.

How to fix it

  • Be reasonable when placing links on a page or a post. Avoid using too many links.
  • Avoid using links to keywords that are irrelevant to the content of the page, as it may appear spammy to search engines.
  • Avoid using links to pages that are no longer active or that have been moved to a different URL. This can lead to broken links, which can frustrate users and damage your website’s SEO performance.
  • If you have a lot of links on a page, you can use categories and subcategories to organize them, so users can easily find the information they need.

Mistake 2: Using the wrong links

using the wrong links is biggest mistake

One of the biggest mistakes in formulating an internal linking strategy is not using the right links. When your website links send the visitor to a broken or unavailable link, it will not just increase the bounce rate but will also have a bad impact on the credibility of the website. Here are some common types of links that can have a bad impact on your internal linking structure:

  • Broken Links: A broken internal link points to a page on your website that doesn’t exist. Your website will have a broken internal link if it contains the wrong URL or links to a deleted page.
  • Redirect Chains: A redirect chain occurs when there are multiple URLs between the initial URL requested and the final destination. For instance, URL A redirects to URL B, which again redirects to URL C.

It will take the URL much longer to load and put the viewer in an endless loop of redirects. If you send your visitors from one page to another through a long route, it will frustrate the users, and they might bounce off.

Thus, one should avoid adding indirect links that redirect to pages other than the final destination URL to minimize the bounce rate.

  • Temporary Links: Just like broken links, temporary links also damage the overall linking structure of a website. These links usually end up giving a 404 error and conveying that your site is not fully functional. Temporary links should be replaced with the actual pages on your site.
  • Masked Links: Masked links are those that you don’t want your website visitors to see, so you hide them with another link. These links are considered deceptive as per Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, and using masked links can make your website banned or penalized. Some of the common reasons for masking internal links are
  • Hiding the affiliate links
  • Shortening links
  • Tracking clicks and other stats

One must avoid using masked links, as they may get your website penalized by Google. Besides, these links are not visible to visitors and will not fetch any good results.

How to fix it?

  • Perform your website audit regularly using the site audit tool. By checking your site’s XML sitemap and using a site audit tool, you can easily find and fix the wrong links on your site, such as broken links, redirects, no-follow links, etc.
  • A regular performance check will reveal the issues with your links, so you can fix them immediately.
  • Reinstate the pages for broken links or create a redirect for the broken links to an existing page.

Pro tip: Use ESL Ranks Pro to identify and fix broken or irrelevant internal links.

Mistake 3: Choosing the wrong pages for Internal linking

choosing the wrong pages for internal linking

One of the common mistakes in an internal linking strategy is choosing the wrong pages for linking. It happens when you link the content to pages irrelevant to it or when you link pages that are not important for your website.

For instance, if you have an e-commerce store dealing in a variety of products and you link your blog post about fashion clothes to the page that sells shoes, it will be irrelevant and misleading. Thus, it is important to be conscious that all your pages are logically linked and are not misleading the visitor. It will also hurt your rankings, as search engines may view your links as spam. 

Here are some tips for choosing the right pages for internal linking:

  • Link to the pages that are relevant to the page you are linking from.
  • Link to the pages that are important to your website, and you want your visitors to see them.
  • Avoid linking to irrelevant pages or pages you don’t want your visitors to see.
  • If you want pages with low visibility to be ranked, link them with pages with high authority and ranking.

By keeping the above points in mind, you can avoid choosing the wrong pages for linking and improve your internal linking strategy.

Mistake 4: Using links with no-follow attributes

There are two kinds of link attributes: follow and no-follow. The ‘follow’ attribute allows the search engines to crawl through the linked page, while the no-follow attribute tells the search engine not to follow a link. In other words, a no-follow attribute means you are asking the search engines to ignore the given link.

When internal links contain the rel=nofollow attribute, it means you are willingly stopping search engine bots from discovering your page. This will naturally hamper your website’s authority as well as prevent new pages from ranking in search results.

How to detect no-follow links?

Right-click anywhere on your site to check for no-follow links.

Select “View page source in the options.

Press CTRL + F to search “no-follow” to find the links with this attribute.

using links with no-follow attributes

How to fix it?

Here are some examples when one must avoid using nofollow attributes on internal links:

  • Linking to important pages on your website, such as your homepage, product pages, or blog posts.
  • Linking to pages that you want to rank well in search results
  • Linking to pages that you want users to be able to find easily.

If you are not sure whether or not to use no-follow attributes on a particular internal link, it is better not to use them. It is recommended to evaluate the content on every page and link only to the relevant page on the basis of it.

Mistake 5: Overlooking the orphaned pages

A page on your site is orphaned if it is not linked to any page on the website. For instance, if there is a product no longer in stock, it is now orphaned and has no links pointing to it. Similarly, if you migrate your site to a new platform and do not redirect all the pages from the old site to the new site, then some of your pages may get orphaned. As these pages have low visibility and it is difficult to find them, search engine bots are automatically discouraged from crawling them.

These links can cause users to get lost on your site as they lead nowhere. People won’t like to come back to your site if there are orphaned links or if they don’t find what they are looking for due to an orphaned link.

orphan pages what are they and how to fix them

How do I fix it?

  • Create a list of all the pages on your website.
  • Review pages with zero inbound links
  • Use any site audit tool like ESL Ranks Pro and a periodic audit to identify and remove them.
  • Once you have identified orphaned pages, you can remove, update, or redirect them to the relevant pages.

Mistake 6: Using anchor texts without keyword research

Anchor text is one of the important elements of link building. Anchor text is a clickable text link that points to another page. The ideal anchor text will provide you with comprehensive information about the Connect website. It appears blue most of the time; however, it is customizable, and you can optimize website link colors and styles using HTML or CSS. Anchor texts are an important part of building both internal and external links. One must use significant and expressive keywords to show the context of the page.

Using anchor texts without keyword research is a mistake

 How to fix it?

  • Avoid over-optimizing your anchor text, as it can do more harm than good. It may appear spammy to the search engines.
  • Avoid linking to multiple different pages or posts with the same anchor text.
  • Select a set of well-researched buyer intent keywords for which you wish to rank.

Mistake 7: : Inadequate crawl depth for key pages

Using anchor texts without keyword research

Crawl depth is the number of clicks it takes to move to any page from the home page. The higher the crawl depth, the less significant the page will be considered by the search engine bots. For instance, if you keep your most important page, say the product page, 5–10 clicks away from the homepage, then crawlers will take it as less significant and may not rank it. However, if your site’s main service page has a crawl depth of 1 or 2, search engines will automatically consider it an important page.

How to fix it?

Create a logical site structure with your key pages located near the top of the hierarchy. This will make it easier for search engine crawlers to find and index your pages. Also, use internal links to connect to each other and to other relevant pages on your site. It will help crawlers better understand the relationship between your pages and find and index them.

Mistake 8: Not building links for images properly

Not building links for images properly it can be prove bad for your SEO health.

Research has shown that the human brain is 60,000 times faster than text, and 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual. Images are an essential component of any website in order to connect with visitors. When images are used in the right way for internal linking, they can help your page get quality backlinks and leads. However, if they are not handled properly in internal linking strategy, it can prove bad for your SEO health.

When you insert an image into a web page, you should always include a link to the image source. This link is called an image tag. The image tag should include an alt attribute, which is a text description of the image. If you do not include a link to the image, it will not be linked to any other pages on your site. This can make it difficult for search engines to crawl and index the image.

Apart from that, if you do not include an alt attribute, the image will not be accessible to users who are blind or visually impaired. They rely on screen readers to read the text on web pages. If there is no alt attribute for an image, the screen reader will not be able to read the image description.

Here are some tips for building links for images properly:

  • Always include a link to the image source when you insert an image into a web page.
  • Make info-graphics to provide brief yet detailed insights on the topic.
  • Use the alt attribute to provide a text description of the image.
  • Make sure that the attribute is descriptive and informative.
  • Avoid using generic attributes, such as “image” or “picture.”
  • Use consistent file naming conventions for your image files.
  • Optimize your image files for web delivery.

Mistake 9: Not creating the right navigational links

Navigational links help users navigate the entire website. They create the menu for all the pages of the site, making it easy and quick for users to find what they are looking for on the site. Though the navigation bar is an important component of a website, marketers often forget to include it in their internal linking strategy. A common mistake is to include too many links to the navigation bar, while another is to leave out some of the connections.

 How to fix it?          

  • Follow a parent-only design to construct a navigation menu with your internal linking goals in mind.
  • Create a simple navigation bar.

Conclusion

Scoring top rankings on search engines requires a solid SEO and link strategy. A well-planned internal linking strategy helps improve the user experience, gain visibility, and build the authority of your site. A site audit tool can make it easy and quick to identify and fix errors in your internal linking structure. It can help you identify pages with broken links, irrelevant links, and even those pages that need more links. If you are building your internal link-building strategy, avoid the above-mentioned mistakes. Moreover, try to create a logical and intuitive internal linking structure for your website to reap the maximum benefits from it.

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