Powerful Internal Linking Strategies – Case Study (Live Example And Results)
Internal linking is one of the most effective ways to increase your rankings without spending a dime.
It’s an incredibly simple but effective way to utilise all the power from an existing backlink profile and direct it to the page(s) you want to rank.
When done correctly, you can see massive gains without investing in any additional backlinks.
Do you see why I’m such a big fan?
What is an internal link?
An Internal link connects one page on your website to another hence the name “Internal”. Here’s an example of an internal link to our homepage.
Internal linking helps spread the authority and power from one page on your site to another, they can also help improve the indexation rate of your new inner pages.
Check out the diagram for an over-simplistic explanation of how you can optimise internal links to help push link juice to the pages you want to rank.
The Client Site In Question
We always carry out internal linking in the first month of taking on a new client, this ensures we are effectively utilising all the power the site already possess. To be precise, its something we actually implement on the third day of every campaign we start and is built into our agency SOPs.
We took on MadeSimpleMedia as a client back in Feb earlier this year. MadeSimpleMedia is a web design company based in Horsham, as a result, the main keyword we targeted was “web design Horsham”. For the data-driven readers, I’ll save you the time.. this keyword has a monthly search volume of 200 and has a respective KD of 34 putting it in Ahrefs “hard” category.
As always, we carried out our internal link process on the third day into the campaign.
We typically have 2 processes we follow for internal linking, each with a slightly different goal.
The main goal for our first method is to find existing internal link opportunities whilst the second is to find the most linked to pages on a site and then create an internal link opportunity.
We recommend using a mix of both to get the best results.
The Process – Method One
Step 1 – Enter the clients site into google using the below string:
site:clientsite.com + “main keyword”.
For MadeSimpleMedia it was site:madesimplemedia.co.uk “web design Horsham”.
Once entered, you’ll now see all the pages Google deems to be relevant to the keyword or specific phrase.
Step 2 – Use Ahrefs toolbar and download all the results (make sure you have your google settings to show 100 listings per page to get all the results).
Step 3 – Once downloaded, open the spreadsheet and sort the data by URL rating.
Note: URL is the best option to use as it only takes into consideration do-follow backlinks.
You now have a list of pages on the clients site (in order of power) which you can log into and add an internal link.
4 – Once you made all the changes, resubmit the sitemap to Google.
ProTip: Repeat Step 1 but use an LSI keyword instead. Make sure you also repeat using single phrases of the keyword too like “web design” and “Horsham” etc.
The Process – Method Two (My Fav)
Whilst the above process is good, it doesn’t allow you to make the most effective use of the existing backlink profile. For example, a client may have the majority of their backlinks pointing to a page on their site that doesn’t include any elements of the main keyword.. this is where method 2 comes into play.
Goal: Find the most linked to pages on the clients site and update the content to create an internal link opportunity.
Step 1 – Enter the clients site into Ahrefs and click “Best by links” under pages. This will show you the most linked to pages on the site.
Step 2 – Filter the list by UR rating.
It’s unlikely that a lot of these pages will have an existing internal link opportunity already on the page. That’s not to say we can’t use them, we can easily go into the page and edit the content naturally to create one.
Example: https://www.madesimplemedia.co.uk/web-design was the 3rd highest linked to page on the site. As a result, we logged into that specific page and updated the first paragraph to include a link to the page we’re trying to rank, which in this case was the homepage.
You can see the link we added below.
In total, we added 4 internal links from 4 different pages. There is no need to go overboard with this, like anything in SEO, you’ll see better results by focusing on quality and not quantity.
Step 3 – Resubmit the sitemap to Google once you’ve made all the changes.
2 weeks into the campaign and MadeSimpleMedia was up 61 positions across the board.
Not bad if I say so myself.
What’s better is that the client messaged me 2 weeks into the campaign to let me know that he has already received an inbound enquiry from a company based in Horsham.
Fast forward to June and we’ve carried out a custom link building plan and we’re now in position 1 for the Horsham based keywords. We’ve recently allocated our resources to the West Sussex page so watch this space.
I hope this highlights how powerful internal linking can be and gives you a reason to include it in your SOPs. If you ever want to view a website that has perfect internal links then check out the business blog website by Business Cobra, they’re onpage SEO is literally perfect. However, if you’re a local business owner and would like help optimising your internal links, feel free to get in touch with us today and we’ll be more than happy to help.