5 SEO Internal Linking Errors to Avoid

We all know the value of external links from other websites, but what about the power of internal links for SEO or how they impact ranking algorithms to determine which pages serve what function within a website?

Internal Linking Errors

5 Internal Linking Errors to Avoid

Below are 5 common on page SEO boo-boos to avoid when optimizing your websites internal link structure that can sap your websites performance.

1) The Open Loop / Lack of internal links

The metric which determines the amount of link flow a page has a direct correlation to how many internal links are supporting a page. While you can assume that a search engine will simply “know” where your pages are and “what” they mean; without taking the time to cultivate the internal links, then each link not placed strategically is a lost opportunity to rank a preferred landing page.

In other words, if you have 10 pages which could all be consolidated through a common keyword to link to a preferred landing page (the one that ranks for that keyword), then you should have all 10 pages linking to the page in question from a contextual (editorial) region with an optimal keyword “anchor text” on the page (preferably above the fold as location implies importance) to the ideal landing page.

Consider this your web pages lifeline or irrigation system which allows link flow to be shared and directed. Without this, pages can suffer from link attrition or lack importance within the entire site schema.

2) Too Many Outbound Links on a Page

This is the easiest way to suppress ranking factor within a website. Having too many links on a page (over 100) is like having a bucket with 100 holes in it. Regardless of how much water you pour into it, all the water still ends up on the floor.

This falls under the category of template optimization and site architecture, but the internal link structure is part of this process for segmenting the user experience while allowing the site to appear for the keywords the page was commercially crafted to appear for.

You can do 2 things to minimize this (1) determine which links are absolutely necessary and either consolidate links from an entire segment to a new page (like instead of having 50 links on a page, link to a new page that has 50 links on it as a hub page) or (2) remove them and instill a more segmented user experience and sort the site into make, model, brand or categories that are more conducive to a proper SEO structure “instead of mixed fruit” place the apples in the apple bin, peaches in peaches, bananas in the banana bin, etc.

3) Wrong Anchor Text

When it comes down to one of the worst things you can do for internal linking is to use generic keywords like “click here” or using entire sentences or groups of words as links. The impact only diffuses the target pages ability to rank for any specific keyword.

Remember, search engines are constantly asking you (a) what does the page mean to you and (b) how should I rank or emphasize it? If you have not thought out your keyword link allocation for on page SEO, then how can you mirror those fundamental choices will deep links (links from other websites) later.

If you ignore this vital process, you can spend more time making up for the inefficiencies of the site architecture and require far more links than an optimal allocation of consistent on page and off page anchor text via selection.

4) Different Anchor Text Linking to Same Page

Another common mistake is over optimization of pages or linking to the same page from multiple keywords on the page. While there are some situations where this is unavoidable, ideally, you should have a clear road map of which pages are intended to rank for which keywords. If you do not, then picking a champion page that serves as the primary landing page is your first step.

Once you decide which primary keyword a page it designed to rank for, there is no problem using keyword variations as internal links on multiple pages (as long as they are semantically related or relevant). The real consideration is not to have more than one link on a page (contextually) if you can avoid it (overlap in navigation regions aside).

5) Orphaned Pages

If you want a page to rank, then don’t be stingy with your links. Think of link flow as a cascading flow of water (like a waterfall) and the 10 champagne glasses all of them being filled from the overflow of champagne poured from the top glass.

Orphaned pages never get out of the gate or get filled enough with link-flow to resonate their worth back to the sounding board of the rest of the pages within a site. A page needs to be linked from at least 5 locations within a site to carry any significant weight and the quality, strength and market focus (topicality) of the page providing the link also has great impact on the amount of link equity transferred to the new target page.

The idea is (1) to keep the hops for competitive keywords (the two word competitive mid-tail key phrases) close to the root folder of at least one sub folder away and (2) make sure the pages are linked from pages higher in the hierarchy or serve as hub pages (category pages with sufficient internal or inbound links) which can supplement ranking factor for pages that may not have enough link flow or deep links.

In closing, keep yourself out of the penalty box and ranking strong by using the 5 SEO tips for optimal internal linking above.

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  1. John
    Posted November 18, 2010 at 5:28 am | Permalink

    Thanks for showing us the type of internal errors to avoid during SEO. I am familiar with some of your points like:
    2) Too Many Outbound Links on a Page
    4) Different Anchor Text Linking to Same Page.
    These points will help me immensely.

  2. http://www.ausnetit.com.au
    Posted November 18, 2010 at 9:53 pm | Permalink


    This is very informative and detail. i like it. But if we have a CMS system how easy to remove all the linking errors?


  3. loga
    Posted November 20, 2010 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    thanks for sharing great information it is very use full to all keep posting

  4. ayushi
    Posted November 20, 2010 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    nice great this tips are really awesome for seo beginners thanks for posting this blogs keep posting

  5. David
    Posted December 9, 2010 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Link popularity increases organically as your site becomes more popular. You have to start somewhere.

    I hope to build some links to my site though competing with the established sites with 1000′s of links will be very hard if not impossible.


  6. Oncelot Directory
    Posted May 9, 2011 at 1:52 am | Permalink

    thanks for this informative detail about Internal Linking Errors to Avoid by the SEO’s…it adds ideas to us.

  7. Valpo
    Posted May 24, 2011 at 1:43 am | Permalink

    Great article, very insightful for me given one of my pages happens to have too many outgoing links. I was not sure of this would impact me, but your metaphor has answered my question. I will now cover the bucket to keep the water out of the floor.

  8. sam
    Posted August 2, 2011 at 3:22 am | Permalink

    how many contextual links in an article are allowed?

  9. Jeffrey Smith
    Posted August 2, 2011 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    I usually try to limit it to one internal link per 100 words to keep it natural. The more links, the less juice they carry, so, for more competitive keywords, cap the links even more and go 1 link for every 200 words to make those powerful internal links.

  10. Byron
    Posted December 28, 2012 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Hello! I realize this is kind of off-topic but I had
    to ask. Does managing a well-established blog such as yours take a large amount of work?
    I’m completely new to blogging however I do write in my diary on a daily basis. I’d like to start a blog so I can easily share my
    personal experience and feelings online. Please let me know if you have any kind of ideas or tips for
    new aspiring bloggers. Appreciate it!

  11. Jeffrey_Smith
    Posted January 3, 2013 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Hi Byron:

    If you love what you do, then it’s no problem. I used to write a whitepaper a day every morning about 6:30 which I find is the easiest time to be productive, but is marginal work.


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