10 Internal Linking Mistakes That Will Negatively Impact Your Content Strategy (2023)

Before we list the errors, let’s define internal linking better. We briefly illustrated the way linking works: you choose a link to match a word or a phrase of the article you’ll be posting. More specifically, an internal link is the address of a page on the same site. So, internal linking is a relatively easy process that most content creators follow to boost their articles.

But why is it so important?

You may think that just because the link never leaves your website, it may have no impact on your traffic, rankings, or search results. Well, studies show that it’s quite the opposite.

According to SearchEngineLand, Google uses links as one of the primary criteria to rank pages and suggest them to the users. In fact, when a Google user types in a query, the engine proceeds to:

  1. Find all existing websites (crawling).The engine verifies external links, URLs, and other elements to match the query.
  2. Learn the content of the web pages (indexing).The engine looks inside of the web pages to match the query. Here’s where internal links come into play as well as keywords.
  3. Rank the pages.Based on the last two steps, the engine places all the website links, with their titles and meta descriptions, on the results page for the user to choose.

So, as shown, internal linking is part of the success of a website. However, this isn’t anything new. SEO experts, content creators, and web owners leverage linking so much that they invest hundreds of dollars.

In a study by AIRA, nearly half of web owners spend more than $10,000 on links. Meanwhile, a consistent 22% invest about $2000 on link building. Of course, not all that capital goes to internal linking. Still, it’s impressive to see how much money is invested in this method.

Consequently, not using internal linking correctly has a terrible impact on your website’s success and budget. Hence, we’re dedicating an article correcting those mistakes or making sure that they never happen. After all, why waste money on incorrect link usage when you could use it to develop your webpage and business?

Furthermore, the first mistake of web marketers is to think that external linking (links from a site to another) is all that’s relevant for a website. These links, also known as outbounds, are important. Nonetheless, they can’t cover all the SEO needs of a well-functioning site. The same goes for inbound links (backlinks), meaning incoming links from other pages and websites.

With a proper definition out of the way, here’s the list.

1.Using SEO Too Much

If you’re reading this article, you’re probably interested in SEO practices that help your website development from a marketing stance point. Nevertheless, SEO methods aren’t always the answer, especially when it comes to the actual content of your website. More specifically, SEO strategies are not a formula or cheat code. SEO tools need to be used with caution. Otherwise, you might end up with the opposite of what you wished.

One of the first mistakes of content creators is selecting the internal links and SEO keywords before even developing their content. This method might seem smart; however, it’s incredibly damaging to your content quality and time.

Firstly, because of the imposed keywords and links, you might have trouble connecting the various elements of your article. As a result, the content may be low-quality and seem like you forced your keywords and links. Moreover, you might spend a lot of time making those keywords sound natural even though you have no clue where the article is going.

So, don’t try to over-use SEO techniques before actually creating content.

2.Not Using SEO Enough

Another crucial mistake is neglecting your SEO opportunities. For instance, writing a blog post without having a clue of what internal links you may add. Here, we’re on the other side of the spectrum: under-using SEO methods.

A remedy to that issue may be coming up with a high-quality content idea. Do some research about the trending demands of your audience and start from there. Then, you might check your stats and see what SEO elements you’re missing on your website. Lastly, consider a few keywords that might work for your article and the possible internal links to add.

After writing your post, you completed half of your work because you knew the useful keywords. The only thing left is to edit it and SEO-proof it.

3.Wrong Nofollow TagUse

The nofollow tag is an HTML command that you can add to your links. You can find it in the HTML set up in the form of:

<a href=” https://www.linktoproduct.com”rel=”nofollow”>product</a>.

This tag stops bots from following the link to the source. It helps prevent the user from accessing forms or other addresses. However, in building a page with internal links, the nofollow tag is useless and damaging.

For instance, if you’re trying to suggest another product or article on your site through an internal link, the nofollow tag will essentially make it useless. Not to mention that it’s counter-productive: you’re stopping the extra traffic on your site and potential sales. In addition, your page may start to rank lower because of all the useless nofollow tags.

Another reason webmasters abuse nofollow tags are that they try to prevent users from going to sketchy parts of the website, like spam comments. This highlights an important issue: why does the website have untrusted links or pages? The answer might be in the structure of the website and the quality that needs some improvement.

Nevertheless, to avoid affecting page ranking, you should use the tag for paid links. An even better alternative is deleting all the unsafe links altogether.

4.Wrong Use Of Redirects

Internal links have the purpose of directing the user towards another page of the same website. However, some web owners make mistakes when it comes to these redirecting links. If not linked correctly, redirects can form a dangerous and endless cycle that confuses the search engine, the user, and you, the webmaster who house-keeps the site. Moreover, your rankings may drop along with user experience.

This is an issue that usually concerns outbound and inbound links, so links from outside your website. Nonetheless, if you need to redirect pages, keep the number of redirects at a minimum and set the destination as close to the final page as possible. So, if you can’t link the exact page, link the closes one.

A good question could be, “How do I know if my website has loopy redirect links?”. The most faulty and repetitive redirects come from your website’s early days and, as stated, the external links. So, try to check the early pages, the old parts of your website, and the ones with many ads, sponsored links, and so forth.

Moreso, you may be indecisive about using permanent or temporary links. The user doesn’t understand the difference because the user experience is the same in both cases. For the search-bot, the difference is substantial.

The temporary links tell the bot to keep the original and temporary page versions indexed. The permanent only has one version. Obviously, the temporary link indicates the need to return to a permanent version.

Therefore, permanent links seem to be a good idea. But the issue is that the redirect links consume the crawling budget of your website, which is the maximum “attention” or “exposure” that Google can give you regarding the search results protocol. So, try to avoid redirects to preserve your website’s crawling budget, ranking, and future fluidity.

5.Excess Links And Keywords

Previously, we mentioned excessive SEO practices. Here’s another one: too many links and keywords on the same page.

If you add too many keywords and links on the same page, you’ll create a spam-like look for your website. As a result, both your rankings and user experience drop.

So, try to avoid using too many sub-keywords, long-tail keywords, and other sub-categories. The Google search engine likes simple pages with one keyword that’s well-distributed.

Links should be placed well, with a two or three paragraphs distance between, depending on the length of your post. Try to think like the user and ask yourself, “What would I like to access after reading this bit?”. For instance, if you talk about summer gardening tips, maybe your users would love to learn about gardening essentials.

Lastly, here’s extra advice: try to stay away from sites that use these excessive spam-like practices because those links may affect your website’s reputation and your rankings. Find properly edited websites, as they will ensure a better reputation and prevent you from losing your inbounds because of the Google strike algorithm.

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