Last updated on: January 4, 2024 at 4:41 pm

Why It’s Important to Audit Your Internal Links in SEO & What To Do

Audit Your Internal Links

Internal links serve as navigational threads, seamlessly connecting various pages within the same domain. They are the unsung heroes of website navigation, often overlooked yet crucial for a site’s cohesion and SEO performance.

In this article, we’ll explore the world of internal link analysis, delving into why auditing these links is essential for optimizing your website’s potential.

How to Create Your Website’s Internal Linking Architecture

The architecture of your internal linking should resemble a pyramid. Imagine your homepage as the apex, commanding the highest importance. Just below, you’ll find pivotal cornerstone or category pages. These pages serve as bridges, leading visitors to a treasure trove of relevant blog entries and product pages. Picture this: every page that’s a single click away from your home page is like a VIP in the eyes of search engines, commanding attention and significance.

Advantages of a Pyramid-Style Internal Linking

In this pyramid-style architecture, the most vital pages hold the highest ranks. Enhancing the visibility and accessibility of your valuable content on a larger scale is crucial. Internal link auditing tools like Linkilo can revolutionize this process. This ingenious system autonomously adapts and refines your internal link structure, simplifying the complexities of link management without the need for extensive development work.

The Critical Role of Internal Link Audits

Conducting a meticulous internal link analysis is akin to unearthing hidden treasures of insights. It’s not just about pinpointing prevalent errors; it’s a vital step in ensuring your internal link strategy genuinely enhances user experience and search engine performance. The efficacy of your internal links is the cornerstone of this strategy, and that’s precisely where the importance of an internal link audit becomes apparent.

How to Do Internal Link Audit & What Does It Include?

1. Detecting Broken or Ineffective Links

Understanding the Issue: Broken or ineffective links disrupt the user’s journey on your website. They lead to error pages, typically indicated by a 404 status, which negatively impacts user experience and site credibility.

Audit Process:

  • Step 1: Utilize tools like Google Analytics, Screaming Frog, or Ahrefs to scan your website for broken links. These tools crawl your site similar to search engine bots and identify links that lead to non-existent pages.
  • Step 2: Analyze the reports to pinpoint exact locations of these broken links. It’s crucial to identify both the source page and the destination of the broken link.
  • Step 3: Once identified, decide on the appropriate action for each broken link. This could be updating the link to point to a relevant existing page, removing the link if it’s no longer necessary, or creating content for a previously non-existent page if the link is deemed important.
  • Step 4: Implement the changes and re-run the audit tools to ensure all broken links have been effectively dealt with.

2. Identifying Internal 301/302 Redirects

Understanding the Issue: Internal redirects, particularly 301 (permanent) and 302 (temporary), can dilute link equity and complicate the site structure, potentially impacting SEO performance.

Audit Process:

  • Step 1: Use crawling tools to scan your site for 301 and 302 redirects. These tools can identify internal links that don’t directly lead to their intended destination but instead redirect to another page.
  • Step 2: Assess the necessity of each redirect. In some cases, redirects are used for valid reasons, like moving content to a new URL. However, unnecessary redirects should be minimized.
  • Step 3: For unnecessary redirects, directly link to the final page instead of routing through redirects. This ensures a smoother user experience and maintains link equity.
  • Step 4: Re-evaluate your site’s structure to prevent future unnecessary redirects. This includes planning content placement and URL structure more effectively.

3. Verifying ‘No Follow’ Links

Understanding the Issue: ‘No follow‘ links instruct search engines not to pass link equity to the linked page. Misuse of ‘no follow’ can lead to undervaluing important pages on your site.

Audit Process:

  • Step 1: Identify all ‘no follow’ links on your site using a crawling tool. These tools can filter and list out all links with the ‘no follow’ attribute.
  • Step 2: Review these links to ensure they are applied correctly. ‘No follow’ should typically be used for untrusted content or user-generated links where passing on link equity is not desired.
  • Step 3: For links that are incorrectly marked as ‘no follow’, change them to ‘do follow’ to allow link equity to pass through.
  • Step 4: Regularly monitor new content to ensure that ‘no follow’ is being used appropriately.

4. Assessing the Quantity of Internal Links

Understanding the Issue: Excessive internal links on a page can overwhelm users and search engines, potentially leading to negative SEO implications.

Audit Process:

  • Step 1: Use SEO tools to identify pages with a high number of internal links. These tools can provide a count of internal links per page.
  • Step 2: Analyze pages with high link counts to determine if the number of links is justifiable by the page’s content and purpose.
  • Step 3: If the number of links is excessive, strategize on reducing them. This might involve removing less important links or restructuring the content to distribute links more evenly across the site.
  • Step 4: Implement the changes and monitor the impact on user behavior and page performance.

5. Pinpointing Pages Needing Enhanced Internal Linking

Understanding the Issue: Underlinked pages, including orphan pages, can be detrimental to both user experience and SEO as they remain isolated from the rest of the site.

Audit Process:

  • Step 1: Identify underlinked and orphan pages using SEO auditing tools. These are pages with few or no internal links pointing to them.
  • Step 2: Determine the importance of these pages in the context of your website’s content strategy. Decide if they should be integrated more closely into the site structure.
  • Step 3: Develop a plan to link to these pages from relevant sections of your site. This might involve adding links in relevant content, navigation menus, or footer sections.
  • Step 4: Implement the linking strategy and monitor the impact on the visibility and traffic of these pages.
Linkilo’s Summary Report can help easily identify any orphan pages, pages without internal links or external links, or if you used the same link twice on a page.

6. Unearthing Opportunities in Anchor Text Optimization

Understanding the Issue: Generic or irrelevant anchor text for internal links can miss opportunities to provide context for both users and search engines, affecting SEO performance.

Audit Process:

  • Step 1: Use SEO tools to analyze the anchor text profile of your internal links. Identify links with generic anchor texts like “click here” or “read more.”
  • Step 2: Review these links and the context in which they appear. Determine more descriptive and keyword-rich anchor texts that could replace the generic ones.
  • Step 3: Update the anchor texts to be more descriptive and relevant to the linked content. Ensure that the new anchor texts naturally fit into the content and add value to the user.
  • Step 4: Continuously monitor and update anchor texts as part of your regular SEO content updates.
Linkilo’s Anchor Text Analysis report can identify how many times you’ve used certain anchor texts, where you can identify generic text and replace it with keyword-rich ones

7. Analyzing Link Position and Visibility

Understanding the Issue: The placement of internal links on a page can significantly impact their effectiveness and click-through rates. Links buried at the bottom of a page or hidden in less visible sections may not perform as well as those placed prominently.

Audit Process:

  • Step 1: Review the positioning of links on key pages. This includes assessing whether links are above the fold (visible without scrolling) or buried deep in the content.
  • Step 2: Evaluate the visibility and accessibility of these links, considering factors like design, color contrast, and font size.
  • Step 3: Strategize to reposition important links for better visibility and accessibility, potentially increasing their effectiveness.
  • Step 4: Implement these changes and monitor how link placement affects user engagement and page performance.

8. Reviewing Link Diversity and Content Variety

Understanding the Issue: Over-reliance on a certain type of content (e.g., blog posts) for internal links can lead to a monotonous user experience and missed opportunities to showcase a diverse range of content.

Audit Process:

  • Step 1: Analyze the types of content that are most frequently linked internally (such as blog posts, product pages, FAQs).
  • Step 2: Identify content types that are underrepresented in your internal linking structure.
  • Step 3: Develop a plan to incorporate a broader range of content types in your internal linking, such as videos, infographics, case studies, or user guides.
  • Step 4: Implement the changes, aiming for a more balanced and diverse internal linking profile that enhances the user experience and showcases the variety of your site’s content.

9. Ensuring Consistent and Logical Linking Patterns

Understanding the Issue: Inconsistent or illogical internal linking can confuse users and search engines, potentially harming the site’s usability and SEO.

Audit Process:

  • Step 1: Evaluate the logical flow of internal links across your site, ensuring they follow a consistent and intuitive pattern.
  • Step 2: Look for any anomalies or irregularities in linking patterns that might disrupt the user’s navigation flow.
  • Step 3: Rectify any inconsistencies, creating a more predictable and user-friendly internal linking structure.
  • Step 4: Regularly review and update the linking patterns as your site evolves to maintain consistency and logic.

10. Integrating Internal Links with User Intent

Understanding the Issue: Internal links should align with the user’s intent and the stage of their journey on your website. Links that don’t match user expectations can lead to frustration and increased bounce rates.

Audit Process:

  • Step 1: Identify the user intent behind key pages on your site (informational, transactional, navigational).
  • Step 2: Analyze whether the internal links on these pages align with the identified user intent.
  • Step 3: Adjust the internal links to better match the user’s journey and expectations, enhancing the overall user experience.
  • Step 4: Continuously adapt your linking strategy to evolving user behaviors and preferences.

11. Link Flow and Page Hierarchy Analysis

Understanding the Issue: The way link equity is distributed across your site can impact your page rankings. Analyzing the flow of links and their impact on page hierarchy can reveal insights into how link equity is being distributed.

Audit Process:

  • Step 1: Use tools to analyze the flow of link equity throughout your site.
  • Step 2: Identify pages receiving disproportionate link equity and pages that are under-supported.
  • Step 3: Adjust your internal linking strategy to distribute link equity more evenly, especially to high-value pages that might be currently under-represented.

12. Seasonal and Campaign-Specific Link Auditing

Understanding the Issue: For websites that run seasonal campaigns or have time-sensitive content, it’s crucial to adjust internal linking strategies to reflect these changes.

Audit Process:

  • Step 1: Identify pages related to seasonal campaigns or temporary promotions.
  • Step 2: During the campaign, adjust internal links to give more visibility to these pages.
  • Step 3: Post-campaign, revert or adjust these internal links to maintain the relevance and freshness of your site’s content.

13. Cross-Device Link Performance Analysis

Understanding the Issue: User experience can vary significantly across different devices. Ensuring that internal links perform well on all devices is key to maintaining a positive user experience.

Audit Process:

  • Step 1: Test your website’s internal links on various devices (mobile, tablet, desktop) for usability and performance.
  • Step 2: Identify any device-specific issues with internal links, such as links too close together on mobile screens.
  • Step 3: Optimize the placement and functionality of links for each device type.

14. Internal Linking and Site Architecture Optimization

Understanding the Issue: The overall architecture of your site can influence the effectiveness of your internal linking strategy. A well-structured website can enhance both user experience and SEO.

Audit Process:

  • Step 1: Review the overall structure of your website, including navigation menus, category pages, and hierarchy.
  • Step 2: Ensure that your internal linking strategy supports and enhances this structure, facilitating easy navigation and logical user pathways.
  • Step 3: Make adjustments to your site architecture if necessary to support a more coherent internal linking strategy.

Concluding Insights

It’s easy to overlook internal linking, with backlinks often stealing the spotlight. Yet, internal linking is not just a supporting actor; it’s a star player of SEO and in bolstering your site’s overall performance. It’s about creating a web of connections that is not just functional but intuitive and user-friendly.

By fine-tuning these connections, you create a seamless journey for both your audience and search engines, ultimately enhancing the value and reach of your site.

nv-author-image

jay kang

An entrepreneur and SEO expert, is the driving force behind innovative platforms like linkilo.co, productreview.tools and more. Committed to empowering marketers, Jay continues to make a positive impact in the digital marketing space.

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