5 min read

Why SEO Takes Time and How to Accelerate Results (A Comprehensive Guide)

Written by
Hamse Nur
Published on
December 25, 2023
Last Updated
December 25, 2023

In SEO, there's a “hidden gem” that can skyrocket your website's rankings, without the traditional reliance on external backlinks. 

It's called internal linking—an artful strategy that guides users and search engines through your website. 

And in this blog post, we’ll be diving into the essence of internal linking, its types, and a step-by-step roadmap to craft a compelling internal linking strategy that will revolutionize your SEO game. (Plus a few bonus tips).

Let’s go …

What is internal linking and why is it important?

Internal linking is the practice of creating hyperlinks within your website's content that point to other pages within the same domain. 

These links connect different pages and provide pathways for both users and search engine crawlers to navigate your website effectively.

The 3 types of links you need to know about… 

1. Internal links - Internal links are links within your website that connect one page to another. These help search engines understand the structure and hierarchy of your site's content. 

Properly implemented internal linking can distribute link equity (ranking power) throughout your site, improving the ranking of important pages and enhancing user navigation.

2. (Backlinks) Inbound links - Backlinks are links from external websites that point to your website's pages. They are crucial for SEO because search engines like Google view them as "votes of confidence" in your site's content.

3. Outbound links - Outbound links are links from your website to external websites. While they may not directly impact your site's SEO in the same way that backlinks do, they’re still important.

Outbound links can provide additional context and credibility to your content by referencing authoritative sources. Plus, they improve the user experience by offering readers more information and resources related to the topic.

A simple (yet comprehensive) internal linking strategy:

In this section I’ll go over the following steps:

  1. Conducting a Content Audit
  2. Keyword Research
  3. Assessing Content Relevance
  4. Understanding User Intent
  5. The Power of Descriptive Anchor Text
  6. Creating Topic Clusters and Content Silos

Let’s dive in… 

  1. Conducting a content audit

What’s a content audit?

A content audit is the process of cataloging and analyzing all of the content on a website, including its performance

Online businesses who publish content and pursue an ongoing content marketing strategy can optimize their benefits by analyzing strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities to grow your content further.

To conduct a content audit we'll need to do the following:

Taking Inventory of Your Web Assets: Imagine your website as a library, and each page or post as a book. To begin, compile a meticulous inventory of all your web assets like images, videos UGC and any forms that you have.

Identifying Key SEO Pages: These are the virtual powerhouses that drive your SEO objectives forward. Think of your homepage, product/service pages, cornerstone content, and blog posts that have demonstrated SEO prowess. These pages are your focal points for strengthening internal links.

Performance Assessment: Delve deeper into the performance metrics of these key SEO pages. Tools such as Google Analytics will be your guides in this endeavor. Analyze which pages draw the most organic traffic, boast lower bounce rates, or exhibit promising rankings for critical keywords. These pages are ripe for strategic internal linking to maximize their SEO potential.

Keyword Alignment: Incorporate a keyword-centric perspective into your content audit. Align each key SEO page with its designated target keywords. This examination helps you ascertain whether the page is adequately optimized for its intended keywords and if it's effectively attracting the desired audience. By identifying keyword gaps and optimization opportunities, you can craft precise internal linking strategies to elevate your SEO game.

Content Relevance and Context: Beyond keywords, scrutinize the relevance and contextual fit of each page within your content ecosystem. Seek out related topics, subtopics, and themes within your content library. This discernment provides the framework for naturally weaving internal links between pages that share thematic connections. The result is a harmonious and user-friendly navigation experience that aligns perfectly with SEO objectives.

Strategic Planning for internal linking: With your content audit findings in hand, it's time to strategize. Determine which pages will benefit most from internal links and plan the anchor text carefully. Ensure that the flow of internal linking makes sense both for SEO and user navigation. Your content audit is the compass guiding you toward creating a structured and effective internal linking strategy that propels your website to new SEO heights.

  1. Keyword Research

Effective SEO begins with keyword research. 

You need to determine the target keywords for each of your pages—those that are most relevant and valuable to your website's goals. 

These keywords will be your guiding light in identifying where internal links can have the most impact.

Keyword research involves identifying the terms and phrases that your target audience is using when searching for information related to your industry or niche. 

I recommend using the following tools for this:

✅ Google Keyword Planner

✅ SEMrush

✅ Ahrefs

Overall, look for keywords that have a high search volume and align closely with the content of your high-priority pages.

By identifying these keywords, you'll be better equipped to create internal links that connect relevant pages and improve your website's overall SEO.

  1. Assessing Content Relevance

As you review your website's content, you'll want to consider related topics or subtopics within each page. 

This is where the magic of internal linking comes into play. 

Look for opportunities to naturally link to other pages on your site that provide additional information, context, or answers to questions that your readers might have.

Remember: Content relevance is crucial when it comes to internal linking. 

The links you create should make sense within the context of the content. And they should add value to the reader's experience by offering further insights or information on a related topic.

For example: If you have a blog post about "10 Tips for Healthy Eating," you might naturally link to other articles on your site that delve deeper into specific aspects of healthy eating, such as "The Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet" or "How to Choose Nutrient-Rich Foods." 

These internal links enhance the user's journey through your website and provide a more comprehensive resource.

  1. Understanding User Intent

Understanding user intent is a fundamental aspect of SEO. 

When users visit your website, they typically have specific goals in mind, whether it's gathering information, making a purchase, or finding solutions to their problems. 

So by anticipating and addressing these intents through internal linking, you can improve the user experience and keep visitors engaged on your site.

For this, you’ll need to put yourself in your users' shoes. 


What are their intentions when navigating your website? 

What questions might they have while reading a particular page? 

Internal links can serve as signposts, guiding them to the answers or related content they seek.

For instance, if you run an e-commerce site selling electronics…  a user reading a product description for a smartphone may also be interested in related accessories like headphones or phone cases. 

By strategically placing internal links to these accessory product pages, you cater to the user's intent and potentially increase more sales.

  1. Using Descriptive Anchor Text

When you create internal links, remember the golden rule: 

Use descriptive anchor text. 

Avoid vague phrases like "click here" or "read more." Instead, choose anchor text that includes keywords related to the linked page's content. 

This not only enhances the user experience but also sends a clear signal to search engines about the relevance of the linked content.

For example: If you're linking to a page about "digital marketing strategies," use anchor text like "effective digital marketing strategies" or "learn about digital marketing tactics."

Effective anchor text not only improves the user experience by providing clear information but also contributes to the overall SEO of your website. 

(Search engines use anchor text as a valuable signal to determine the topic and relevance of a linked page).

  1. Creating Topic Clusters and Content Silos

To take your internal linking strategy to the next level, consider implementing topic clusters and content silos

A topic cluster involves a pillar page or main topic page that links to related subtopic pages. This not only aids internal linking but also showcases the depth and breadth of your content on a particular subject.

The pillar page serves as the cornerstone, covering the main topic comprehensively, while the subtopic pages dive deeper into specific aspects related to the main topic.

For example: If your website focuses on fitness…  your pillar page could be "The Ultimate Guide to Fitness," and your subtopic pages could cover areas like "Strength Training," "Cardio Workouts," and "Nutrition for Fitness." Each subtopic page links back to the pillar page, creating a network of interlinked content that not only benefits users but also strengthens your website's SEO.

Content silos involve grouping related content together in a hierarchical structure. 

This approach ensures that content is organized logically and that internal links flow seamlessly from one piece of content to another within the same silo.

For instance…  if you run a blog about travel…  you might have content silos for different destinations, such as "Europe Travel," "Asia Travel," and "Adventure Travel." 

Each silo contains articles related to that specific category, making it easy for users to navigate and find relevant information.

4 tips for Internal Linking

Now let's talk about 4 tips to keep in mind when executing your internal linking strategy… 

Use Descriptive Anchor Text: When creating anchor text for your internal links, be descriptive and use keywords relevant to the linked page. Avoid generic phrases like "click here" or "read more."

Link to Relevant Content: Ensure that your internal links point to content that is genuinely relevant to the topic of the current page. This enhances user experience and keeps visitors engaged.

Balance the Number of Internal Links: While it's essential to include internal links, don't overdo it. Too many internal links on a single page can be distracting and dilute the impact of each link. Aim for a natural and balanced approach.

Contextual and Natural Linking: Internal links should feel natural within the content. They should provide additional value to readers and not disrupt the flow of the article. Contextual linking ensures that users find the links helpful rather than intrusive.

Internal linking mistakes to AVOID… 

Now that you know what you should do when executing your internal linking strategy, let's break down what you should AVOID… 

Linking irrelevant pages: Ideally, all relevant pages should be connected in a way that makes sense for the user experience. This is why not linking to product or service pages from blog posts is also a common mistake.

Using Inadequate Links: Not using the right links is perhaps the biggest mistake you can make. By sending the reader to a broken or unavailable link, you inevitably increase the bounce rate and lose credibility for your website. Overall, various kinds of wrong links can hamper your link structure.

Using Links With No-Follow Attributes: There are two attributes for a link - follow and no-follow. In simple terms, the ‘follow’ attribute allows the search engines to crawl through the linked page while the no-follow attribute suggests otherwise. A no-follow attribute essentially means you are asking the search engines to ignore the given link which is obviously a big NO NO

How to measure the effectiveness of your internal linking strategy… 

Use website analytics tools like Google Analytics to track relevant metrics. 

Here are some key metrics you want monitor:

  • Page Views: Check if the internal links are leading visitors to other pages on your website.
  • Bounce Rate: See if internal links help in reducing bounce rates by encouraging users to explore more pages.
  • Time on Page: Observe if internal links result in increased time spent on your website.
  • Conversion Rate: Measure if internal links are contributing to conversions or specific goals on your site.
  • Click-Through Rate (CTR): Track the CTR of internal links to see which ones are most effective.
  • Exit Pages: Identify if users are exiting your site after clicking on internal links and if that's the intended behavior.

I hope you found this blog valuable.

-Hamse Nur

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