internal_linking_strategyIn this post I’m going to talk about how to develop a clear internal linking strategy for your site. By ‘linking strategy’ I’m referring to developing an interconnected network of internal links, not trying to build an external network of back links.

After writing a new post, there are 3 Steps I go through to ensure I’m meeting my linking objectives.

Step 1: Identify Link Opportunities

The first step of this process is actually the hardest. After I write a new post, I go through and read the post with an eye towards what topic areas could be further developed.

Once your site gets to be a certain size, chances are you’ve already written on some of these topics. If I’ve already written on the topic, I find 1-2 relevant pages that could provide more information. If I haven’t already written on the topic, I make a note of the topic idea for a future post, and a note that it relates back to my current post, so I can update a link later.

Step 2: Consider the Flow of Traffic

Once I have a list of potential links to include on the site, I want to think about which links are the most important for generating a good traffic flow. Just because a sentence includes a keyword phrase doesn’t mean that i should link to a related post on that phrase.

In this step, trying to follow a reader’s train of thought and answer any subsequent questions is the primary aim, but I also consider how the link fits into my conversion goals, and what type and level of page I’m linking to.

Step 3: Determine the Number and Spacing of Links

Finally, the last step in the process of adding internal links to a post is to determine the number and spacing of those links.

Some blog posts will naturally have more link opportunities than others, so I might need to be a little more picky in selecting which other posts I’m linking to, and it’s usually a good idea to think about the spacing of those links. You also want to think about having a balance of affiliate and information links across your site.

For example, imagine a blog post that has a list of 5-6 elements, with only a brief phrase about each. Each of those elements probably is (or could be) detailed further in a separate post, so it would make sense to link to one post per element, and not to crowd all of the links into one or two sentences and neglect to provide further information for some of the topics.

I hope these steps give you a little more clarity about how I think about interlinking my blog. Ultimately there is no one correct answer or method for interlinking, so the important thing is to find a strategy that works for you and your topic.