How To Get Natural, Internal Links To Your WordPress Site

Research a keyword, write the content, optimize it, publish.

This seems like a good on-page SEO process but it’s missing one critical step… after you publish the content you’re not done optimizing it until you’ve built a few internal links to it. This is the easiest way to get links to your site and you’re going to miss out? Not anymore…

Links to a page are about 20% of how it ranks and what better way to build them than to use existing content you’ve already written. All you have to do is find related content on your website/blog and link to that new page. This can improve the page’s ranking and helps it get indexed faster in search engines. And the best part is… it only takes about 3 minutes to do.

So next time you publish a page or post, don’t stop there. Read this article then spend the extra 3 minutes to build some internal links. Your pages could start ranking 20% higher…

Page Level Link Features
Google Ranking Factors – Moz

 

Link From Relevant Pages/Posts

Search WordPress – search your existing pages/posts for relevant content about the topic. You may not find everything (WordPress only shows content that includes the exact keyword), but it’s a good start. Go to those pages and find the section where you mention the topic, then create an internal link to your new page. You can probably think of a few pages and posts off the top of your head IF you have enough content… just don’t cram the page with links since it only gives off a certain amount of link juice. Here I use Yoast as the topic:

WordPress Search

Search Google – search Google for: site:yourwebsite.com “your keyword” and you will see pages on your site related to that keyword. This is one of the best ways to find a more extensive list of relevant content where you can get internal links from.

Search Google For Internal Links

Use Google Search Console – if you want links from your highest authority pages, head to Google Search Console and go to Search Traffic –> Links To Your Website. Go to your “most linked to content” (you’ll see this on the right-hand side) and look through any relevant pages you can get a link from. Pages that have more links tend to have more link authority.

Most LinkedIn To Pages - Google Search Console

 

Internal Linking Best Practices

Now that you where where to get internal links, here’s how to do it…

Diversify Your Anchor Text – multiple internal links that point to the same page should have varying anchor text (the link’s displayed text) so do not use the same anchor text over and over again. Each anchor text should be unique, descriptive, and NOT keyword rich. Linking to the same page with repetitive keyword-rich anchor text links used to work, but since Google Penguin this looks spammy and could risk a penalty. Make it long and descriptive.

Use Deep Links – instead of linking to your home or contact page, linking to deeper (not so obvious) pages will help readers find more specific information about certain topics, plus these are the pages that need links the most. You want you link juice to be spread out… think of your website as an ecosystem where everything needs to be linked together.

Know The Best Structure – a “perfect” internal link structure does exist, but take it with a grain of salt. It’s unrealistic every website would follow this but knowing the concept helps.

Internal Linking Structure

Avoid Automatic Internal Linking Plugins – when you use a certain keyword, these plugins will trigger an internal link to be created to a specific page which you set. Sounds like a good shortcut but these are not as personalized as if you were to insert the links manually. Plus many of these plugins do not allow varying anchor text (like I mentioned earlier) so they could also risk a penalty. “Related Post” plugins aren’t personalized either. Just avoid these.

 

Conclusion

As I write this article I’m in the middle of a large internal linking project for a client which prompted me to write this. It definitely IS worth spending some time on especially if you already have hundreds of articles which you can add internal links to. If you only have 20 or so pages you may need to create more content to do it effectively, but I would start now so you can get in the habit of internal linking and optimizing your content.

Many SEO tasks take a lot of time, but internal links don’t compared to how much value you get out of them. So if you haven’t done this yet, either go back and add them to your existing content or at least start next time you write your next piece. Seriously, it only takes 3 minutes. As always, leave me a comment if you have any questions – I’m here to help out!

Cheers,

Tom Signature

Stop Using Automatic WordPress Internal Linking Plugins

SEO Internal Links

I get it… internal links are good for SEO.

They’re a natural way to build links to your website while providing helpful resources.

Which is exactly why you shouldn’t be using an automatic WordPress internal linking plugin… you don’t want your link strategy to be automated. While these plugins do create internal links, your links are suppose to be helpful, personalized resources and should ideally be inserted manually. Most of these plugins also cause your internal links to have repetitive anchor text for set keywords. Plus many of these plugins consume high CPU (makes your website slower) which is why companies like Godaddy blacklist most related post plugins.

What Are Internal Linking Plugins?
Whenever you use a specified keyword in your content, the internal linking plugin will automatically link to a set page or post. Other internal linking plugins will create a “related posts” section at the bottom of your articles which is meant to keep your readers reading.

Here’s why you shouldn’t use them…

 

They Can Hurt Your SEO

Repetitive Anchor Text – let’s say the plugin creates 10 internal links to the same page. That means all 10 links will have the same anchor text (the displayed text). Since Google’s Penguin update you do NOT want to do this. Your link’s anchor text should be unique, descriptive, and diverse. If the anchor text is all the same it could make your links look spammy and risks a Google penalty. Some plugins do allow variation, but most don’t.

Not Personalized – where you link to should be dependent on the context of a topic you’re writing about. You can link to an article every time you mention a certain keyword, but that fails to consider the context. I’ve written multiple articles on Yoast’s WordPress SEO Plugin… instead of linking the word “Yoast” to the same article every time, I have Yoast settings, Yoast focus keywords, and Yoast content optimization. They’re 3 separate articles and my “Yoast internal links” should reflect that if I want them to be relevant.

Slower Load Times – all WordPress plugins slow down your load times even if it’s only for a split second. The value of an internal linking plugin vs. your load time… it’s just not worth it.

 

Take The Extra 2 Minutes To Insert Links Manually

Internal Links in WordPressInternal linking plugins are a shortcut, and just like any shortcut you risk some consequences. Sure they save you a couple minutes on each page/post, but I know you’re not that lazy! Take the extra 2 minutes and insert them manually. It’s better for readers and you won’t risk a Google penalty.

 

Internal Linking Best Practices

  • Link when there are topics that need clarification
  • Write a custom link title (hover text)
  • Linking out is good too
  • Add a list of resources if you think it’s necessary
  • Open external links in new tabs to keep users on your site

That’s all I got! Leave me a comment below if you have any questions.

Tom Signature

How To Improve SEO Through Sitewide Optimizations (Things That Affect The Performance Of Your Entire Site)

Sitewide Optimizations SEO

Sitewide optimizations are factors that improve SEO for every page/post on your website.

They can be especially helpful for large websites, for example, improving your page load time by 3 seconds (for 100 pages) can cause a noticeable traffic increase in your Google Analytics. These are basically scalable ways you can improve your website and search engine rankings.

I listed helpful links and resources for each item but if you have any questions, I’m glad to answer them in the comments. I hope you find my list helpful and please share if you did!

 

1. Website Speed
Website speed is both a ranking factor in Google and it improves conversions. It’s a great way to hit 2 birds with 1 stone. Some speed optimizations are sitewide, some only help individual pages load faster. Below are the speed optimizations that are sitewide. For full instructions on making your WordPress site load faster, see my speed optimization guide.

  • Upgrade to faster hosting (I use SiteGround)
  • Configure the W3 Total Cache plugin with Cloudflare + MaxCDN
  • Bulk image optimization
  • Optimize images that appear on multiple pages
  • Clean up database using WP-Optimize
  • Delete unused plugins
  • Find and delete largest plugins using P3 Plugin Performance Profiler

 

2. Mobile Responsiveness
If your theme isn’t responsive, it’s probably time to find a new one since Google’s recent Mobilegeddon update now uses responsiveness as a ranking factor. Your site can still have mobile issues even IF you’re using a responsive theme. That’s why it’s a good idea to run your site through Google’s mobile test as well as check your website on major devices.

Google Mobile Test

 

3. Security Issues
If you’re signed up for Google Search Console they would have already sent you a message informing you of security issues. You can double check this by running your site through Sucuri. WordPress sites have become a major target for malware so it’s a good idea to at least get the basics down. Change the generic “Admin” username, use a strong password, and install the iThemes Security Plugin to run the one-click security optimization button.

Sucuri Website Security Checker

 

4. Google Search Console Optimizations
When you first sign up for Google Search Console they provide you with a list of sitewide optimizations (numbers 1, 2, 3, 5). Find instructions for each Search Console item below…

Google Search Console Recommendations

Add all your website versions – you’ll want to verify both your www and non-www version, as well as the HTTPs version if applicable. You’ll want to do numbers 2-5 for each version.

Select your preferred version – choose whether you want the www to appear in your domain, or not. This is preference and it doesn’t matter for SEO, just make sure the version you set in Google Search Console is the same version as the one set in WordPress (find this under Settings –> General –> “WordPress Address URL” and “Site Address URL”).

Select target country – if your website is targeted to a specific country, set that here.

Submit a sitemap file – Yoast automatically generates a sitemap for you, but you’ll still need to submit it to Google. In WordPress go to SEO –> XML Sitemaps. Click the XML Sitemap button and copy the last part of the URL (https://x7r6b9v3.rocketcdn.me/sitemap_index.xml). Paste into Google Search Console, test, and submit. If you see errors, check Yoast’s post on common sitemap errors.

 

5. SEO Plugin Settings
I assume you’re using the Yoast SEO Plugin since it’s the best out there, but have you gone through it’s different SEO tabs on the left of your dashboard? These are where you configure sitewide SEO settings by filling out information about your website. There’s a lot to it, but you can use my Yoast tutorial to download the same settings I use and import them to your Yoast plugin, or use the instructions from my tutorial to learn how each field affects SEO.

Yoast SEO Settings

 

6. HTTPS + SSL
HTTPS should be used for all websites (I’m currently in the middle of doing this for my site) which makes the communication between a website and a browser secure through encryption. SSL should be used for all eCommerce websites. Both HTTPS and SSL are used as ranking factors in Google, and you can use this tutorial by WP Beginner to setup each one.

 

7. Permalink Structure
Permalinks (URLs) should be used to organize content. Here are some common ways to setup a “pretty” permalink structure which not only helps people navigate your content, but helps search engines learn the architecture of your website (site architecture affects SEO)…

  • website.com/services/web-design/
  • website.com/products/skateboards/
  • website.com/locations/chicago/
  • website.com/team/tom-dupuis/
  • website.com/reviews/macbook-pro/

 

8. Keyword List
The content on your website (and blog) should align with keywords people are searching in Google. While keyword research isn’t an “optimization” it does help you build out your site with those phrases in mind – making keyword research a critical part of sitewide SEO.

I like to start by writing down each product, service, and topic I want to rank for. Use Google Autocomplete to learn what people are actually searching. If you’re a Chicago Photographer you might have Chicago wedding photography, Chicago newborn photography, etc. You would simply research a keyword and create a page for each photography service you offer.

Google Autocomplete Keywords

 

Other “Kind Of” Sitewide Optimizations
Rich snippets – this is what gets videos, review stars, and other “extra information” appearing in search results. This can make you stand out in Google and get more click-throughs and traffic. You can add rich snippets with All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets (free) or WP Rich Snippets (premium plugin but has more customization and design options). View my tutorial on adding rich snippets to WordPress for the premium method.

Internal links – when writing your content, it’s a good idea to link to related pages/posts you have already written. This is a natural way to build links while at the same time, providing helpful resources for readers who want more information about a specific topic. Just remember to use descriptive anchor text for your link text… never use “click here.”

 

That’s all I got for now! If you have questions about sitewide SEO or SEO in general, leave me a comment – I’m here to help. And if you thought this was useful, please share.

Cheers,

Tom Signature