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Improve Your Internal Links with Google Search Console

May 3, 2021
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In this video, we talk about Search Console and how we can leverage it to improve our internal linking strategy. Internal links help crawlers find information on your website and allow users to also more effectively continue their journey. 

 

Video Transcript: 

In this video, we're going to be looking at how we can leverage Search Console to improve our internal linking strategy.

Search Console is one of the best tools that SEOs have at their disposal. It gives us real data from Google search that we can use to inform our strategy, make better decisions, and also see how we're performing when it comes to SEO and the results that we're trying to get. Internal linking is extremely important. I know a lot of times we talk about backlinks in SEO and the value there. I've mentioned a couple of times on this channel about how backlinks have lost a lot of their steam, mainly due to the fact that one, they've been abused. And second, that search engines are becoming more semantic. They're much smarter than they've ever been, and they understand context better now that they have machine-readable information that we can supply.

In this video, we're going to talk about internal links and the value that they present. Internal links help crawlers find information. They also help users continue their journey on our website. Again, this is an area that will benefit user experience, as well as the search engines when it comes to our strategy.

Using Search Console to Add Internal Links

In Search Console, there's a section down here called links. We can click that and you see it's got external links and pages that are getting links. It will tell us some of the top linking websites and it will show us internal links. These are the links within our sites from one page to another. If you click more, it's going to have a list of all your internal links and the pages with the most links and also the pages that are missing out on those opportunities.

You can filter here and see the internal links or your target pages. And you can also change this right here, where you can see which of your pages have a  low number of internal links. I like to take this information and work off of spreadsheets. You can export this to Google Sheets, which I've already done over here. And then I've added a filter and flipped it up. So again, we see the pages here that are missing out on some of these internal linking opportunities. What you can start with is going through this list and looking at content. Maybe you're trying to work on a specific niche of content on your website or a specific section or topic, and you want to improve the topic authority; you want to see how your content in that area is currently performing and where you could possibly improve the performance with the help of internal links.

Right here is a page. Let's say I'm working on creating more visibility for helping business owners find their niche online. I'm going to highlight this. And then I'm also going to go over to this page because I want to see it in real-time as well. If I open up a new tab and put this up, you'll see this page is about helping business owners find a niche for themselves online to help define that and go a little bit deeper into the topic. As you can see, this is a well-written article, but we're not seeing a lot of internal links even from this page, not until we get down here to the bottom. And we've got some links to other pages on our site, as well as the sites that we're citing within the content. But this site or this page itself only has one page linking to it.

We want to change that. But we want to know what pages should we link to it because you don't want to just put internal links there; they need to have the right context. Google looks at content and topics in groups. We talked about having topic authority and how that's important. When you have topic authority, it improves through the keywords and the other variants are you're ranking for.

Make Sure Internal Links are Contextually Relevant

We don't just want to add internal links to anything. We want to make sure that they are contextually relevant. Once again, we can go back to Search Console. And right now I'm in the search results section "Underperformance." You see we can have data here for up to 16 months at our disposal. You can hit apply and you've got a ton of search data right here.

Now, if we go in here, we can take that target keyword. And for this case, I'm actually going to just use the word, niche. And I'm going to look at other pages that are also ranking around this concept, or have some sort of search visibility for this concept. One Search Console does its magic. You're going to start seeing some other pages show up here.

We've got an article or a page called, The Importance of Finding Your Niche. Well, that's important. Here's the article that we're working on right now. Some of these are about digital marketing tools or link building. We're going to ignore those because we're talking more from a business perspective. These backlinks and linking videos or pieces of content might not be super important. And as you notice here, we've got 17 pieces of content showing up in this filter.

Let's see all of them on one screen. We've got one that talks about copywriting. This is one that's ranking for a featured snippet. That's why we have that little hash there. Awesome. We've got some pieces of content that we can work with.

What to Do Once You Find Links

What do we do? We take these pieces of content and we start copying the URLs. Now, you can use this same sheet here and you can say, "All right, we're going to be targeting niche and we're going to have our target URL and our internal links."

We'll go back to this page here and we'll grab our target URL, the one that we're focused on right now. And then we're going to put this here and we're going to start adding all of those other relevant links that we've uncovered here to this sheet as well. You go through and copy these. And then from here, you can start to create your plan of how you're actually going to add these links to the site. Let me fill this sheet out. And then we'll talk about how we add them into our page.

Now we've got all of these articles here. As a result of that research, we've got five articles and all of these articles really talk about finding that audience you want to talk to that's very narrow and focused around your business goals.

What we would then do is go to these articles here that we've just found, and we'd start to look for opportunities to add in a link for business owners. We want a copy of those articles, and we want to look at these pieces of content and see where a link might make sense. We want to talk about how we could leverage it a little bit deeper, and how we could add internal links in here and link back to this other piece of content. Then we want to look at this piece and see if there are opportunities to link to these articles.

Creating Topic Authority Within Your Site

What we're starting to do is create topic authority within our site. We're internally linking all these relevant pieces of content. It's going to enrich how the crawlers understand these different topics on our website. It's going to improve how quickly or how easily they can find the content on our site. And it may improve the visibility and how easily these pieces of content are showing up in search, now that we have this defined topic of expertise within our site that's all connected and making sense.

Internal linking is extremely important. Search Console is a great way to help us find and uncover opportunities to create better internal linking on our website and see how we can add links naturally. You don't want to stuff them in. You don't want to make it look funky, but you want to add them as naturally as possible. And that may mean making a slight update to some of your content to work it in a little bit more naturally.

I hope this video was helpful. Get into Search Console, start digging around, and find better ways to create a better internal linking strategy. Make that content that you've been spending so much time and effort on more discoverable and easier for your users to engage with.

Thanks a lot for watching. If you've got any questions, comment below, and until next time, Happy Marketing.

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Ryan Shelley, CPBI

By Ryan Shelley, CPBI

Ryan is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, the largest and most popular SEO news site on the web. His works have also been featured on the HubSpot Blog, Business2Community and by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.

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