What is internal linking or interlinking

Guillermo Gascón

Have you ever felt lost in a hospital?

It happens to me every time I go to one.

The number of corridors, waiting rooms, offices, floors, stairs, elevators... is so brutal that even with neons you often find the office or room you are looking for the first time.

So you're going to visit an admitted relative and he says “I'm in room 616B”.

“I'm looking for a map and I'm going”

Hospitals are like websites, we need a good system of corridors and signs to reach our destination.

In the case of websites, what allows us to reach the URLs we are looking for are internal links, the famous interlinking.

Today I become a warden to take you through the corridors of your website.

What is internal linking

First of all, we must go back to define what an internal link is.

An internal link is a link that connects two pages of the same domain. The typical hyperlink that we find on a website and that takes us from one URL of the page to another.

On the other hand, incoming external links are those that point from other domains to ours through a link. Nor should we confuse them with outbound links, which would be links that point from our domain to that of a third party.

With this obvious fact clarified, let's get to the heart of the matter.

Knowing a component, now yes, we can define what the system would be.

Internal linking is the set of internal links that define the link architecture of a website.

All the links that we find in a project and have as their origin and destination a URL of the same domain, would therefore be part of the internal link.

***Easy, isn't it? ***

Why internal linking is important on a website

**Let's go with the value of all this, which is a lot. **

First, internal linking responds to a fundamental need for usability for the site, which is that visitors can navigate between existing pages in an easy and accessible way.

Explain to me how you can get to a product sheet in an ecommerce if you don't have access to categories from the navigation and in turn, those categories don't list the products linked to their listings.

You can't, just like you won't be able to get to the doctor's office on the 3rd floor if you don't have an elevator or stairs.

Without a doubt, a website is not usable without a properly designed internal linking system.

And second, not least, we have the whole SEO theme.

Because internal linking is one of the most powerful search engine optimization we have.

And there are several causes:

  • Tracking: Damn crawling is the first to favor when we have an optimized internal linking system. Basically, search engines can quickly access the URLs you want to index.
  • Distribution of authority: Let it flow. The famous Page Rank flows through the internal links of your website. It is clear then that one management of the link and the other will distribute the link juice in one way or another.
  • Internal anchoring: As with external links, the anchor used in internal links is important in optimization. We can boost target KW if we shape the anchoring of our internal links.

Basically, we can enjoy many other SEO benefits thanks to linking, but these three previous points are where we will be able to apply the most weight with our optimizations in the area of internal linking.

Given the importance, we are going to give some thought to the topic in order to know how we are currently doing and what improvements we can apply.

Normally internal linking is usually minimally covered for the most basic UX functionalities, but sometimes its construction is not designed to also facilitate the tracking or optimization of certain KWs or pages.

Let's go in parts.

Before you begin, take a look at this and reflect on whether it's something you already have control over:

  • ** Do you have a correct web structure? ** Let's see if we're going to be creating a very curated network of internal links and then it turns out that you haven't built the website properly.
  • ** Have you identified which are the important pages? ** If you've done your homework, you'll have a list of the most interesting pages on your portal, either by volume, profitability... and you'll have to draw up a plan to boost your links.
  • ** What are your most powerful URLs? ** If your project has been running for some time, you probably have URLs with traffic, with inbound links... these URLs are very interesting as an internal link source. Don't let them out of your sight.
  • ** Do you already have the target KWs defined? ** With the KW research process, you should have the main keywords assigned to their URLs. This will allow you to control the anchoring of your internal link in a much more optimized way.

With that clear, it's time to audit our internal linking.

Internal Linked Analysis Points

Great, all under control then, let's start by reviewing some key aspects of internal linking that are common suspects in most medium or large projects.


This is undoubtedly the main problem caused by a bad internal link architecture.

Having orphan pages means URLs without internal links. Something that makes them inaccessible to users and doubtfully trackable for crawlers.

We can identify these types of URLs in different ways.

  • Exporting all the URLs generated by the site This list compared to the result of a crawling can give us information about which pages are orphans.
  • Using the old Analytics and Search Console URL tracking feature. Some crawlers allow you to crawl URLs that are stored in these tools even though they are not found through the crawler's own crawler. It's a way of identifying URLs that for some reason have stopped being linked.

The result of these checks will have to be crossed with the previous reflections to **check if these orphaned URLs are really a usability and SEO problem or are they just a UX problem. **


** How many links do I have to cross to get to a URL? **

These links will mark the level of depth at which a page is located, and again, we found that this may bea UX problem, since the greater the number of clicks, the lower the likelihood of being found by the user, but it is also a worrying topic for SEO.

Crawlers have limited crawling for each project and those URLs that have higher levels of depth suffer from less crawl or even non-existent.

**A URL that is not crawled, as a general rule, is a URL that is not indexed, ranked or loses positions. **

Conclusion, not good.

Again, we can make use of crawlers to determine the depth of each of the URLs and make decisions.


If you had to say logically the most linked URLs in a web project, what would they be?

  • The Cover
  • Main categories or services
  • Blog Section
  • ** ... **

This doesn't always have to be the case, but most projects usually do.

So, **what happens if in the analysis we detect that the most linked URLs are the size guide, or a downloadable PDF, an internal access to a noindex URL... **

In these cases, and in many similar cases, the internal link is poorly distributed, giving more flow of links to uninteresting URLs that decompensate those that do have a positioning objective.

You can list URLs by their “number of inlinks” metric and simply ordering from highest to lowest you will find obvious problems if any.


We have seen that internal links are also very useful fortransferring information about the KW target of the destination URL.

If we are able to use optimized anchors in our internal links, we will be making much better use of all their qualities.

It is true that it is not always possible, but if we have the opportunity to do so, even partially, it is a highly recommended optimization.


A common mistake is to have active internal links that lead to inaccessible URLs.

We can find 404, something that offers a bad experience for both the user and the crawlers.

We can also see blocked URLs in the robots.txt file. This case is more tricky, because although users won't experience any problems, crawlers won't be able to access that page. This is seen a lot with the use of filters with parameters in ecommerce.

Nor is it a problem for the user that we link canonicalized URLs, noindex or with a redirect, but for robots things change.

Once again, this can be identified with a trace from your favorite crawling tool.

My tools for working with internal linking

It's clear that in order to audit all this, and as I've been telling you before, we need to use specific tools.

We start with the use of a crawler and then we can make use of other complementary tools.


It is one of the most used tools by the SEO community, due to its versatility and price.

For the internal linking topic this is a must. We need it to launch all the commented crawls.

**With these traces we will be able to obtain all the necessary data to audit the previous points and also easily exportable to Excel. **

Because it connects to the Search Console and Analytics APIs, we can also cross the line and accelerate the analysis process.

I leave you with several interesting links about this tool and its power to analyze internal linking:


On the other side, we have the tool par excellence in link analysis that also does a more than remarkable job of internal tracking projects.

In fact, thanks to Ahrefs we will be able to identify in one click the pages most internally linked to a domain and as an extra all the information related to the best URLs of the site based on external inbound links, positioned keywords, growth...

Now all you have to do is process the resulting data a little.

By the way, we can also use Ahrefs' own tool “Site Audit” which will give us information very similar to that of a Screaming scan, but with a focus already on detected errors and solutions.

Internal Linking Strategies

Let's move on to the final block where I'm going to tell you some strategies you can use tooptimize your internal linking and keep moving forward.

Remember that these are very general recommendations and that you're going to have to take them to your field, don't freak out thinking that simply by copying and pasting you're going to shoot yourself up in the SERPs.


We roll up our sleeves that this has chicha.

With this strategy, what is intended is to create new internal links that point to our most important pages.

It is essential that you already have this type of pages listed. I would differentiate two groups of TOP pages: TOP desired pages

Listed here are the URLs that we want to become important focuss of attracting traffic. It is possible that they already are, or that they have not scratched a single miserable visit. The important thing is that we have them identified.

There are a lot of motivations for including URLs in this list:

  • **By volume: ** there will be URLs that we know have a lot of potential in terms of SEO traffic, these are the most common on this list.
  • **By business: ** if we sell a product or service, we want those URLs to be well positioned to start generating interesting sales or contacts.
  • Opportunities: Sometimes we detect an opportunity for a URL that is worth strengthening and internal linking is a great tool.

Current TOP pages

If your website has been running for months, surely you will already have data on the behavior of the users on it and their main sources of traffic.

If you handle information like this, we can extract another list of interesting URLs to work with internal linking:

  • **By conversion: ** it's very obvious, if you have URLs that convert better than others, it will be interesting to consider if we can enhance them through internal links.
  • **By user response metrics: ** Another interesting way is to analyze page time and see what URLs make your audience “stuck”. Encouraging linking to these URLs is a great idea from my point of view.
  • **Traffic sources: ** Nothing crazy, simply by reviewing where you are currently capturing traffic, regardless of the channel, you will have a list of TOP pages for your project right now.
  • **For inbound links: ** identify which URLs receive the most external links in your URLs. Surely they will also be URLs that are worth considering when optimizing your internal link.
  • **By keywords: ** this is one of my favorites. Include the URLs that attract the most keywords, you can do this from Ahrefs or also from Search Console. Improving internal linking on these pages usually has amazing results due to the increase in authority they receive.

When you have the complete lists, the decision-making work begins on what type of links are most appropriate for each of these types.

  • **Navigational: ** links that are placed in navigation areas such as menus, sidebars, footers...
  • **Contextual: ** links that are placed within the body of text of the different pages.

Both options have their pros and cons. It is important that you fully adapt this theme to the characteristics of your project.

** “Navigational” links have more serious implications at the site architecture and UX** levels, so they deserve a more in-depth analysis.

However, contextual links are easier to fit and have a more localized impact within the web.

If you have been following the process, we already have the URLs that we want to promote, we also have the type of internal link selected.

Now it's time to see what the source URLs of those links are.

In the case of “navigational” internal links, it doesn't make sense to think about the source URL, **since they are placed in navigation areas that are present in almost all URLs. **

Then let's evaluate the origin of the internal link **contextual type: **

By Semantics

This is always my first choice when choosing a source. I'm trying to find other URLs on the site that have a semantic relationship with the one we want to power. They can mention the keyword, talk about a related topic, list alternative resources... it's a very valuable link.

To find these URLs you have two options:

  • By command [site:mydomain.com “target kw”] with which all the URLs of your project that Google relates to that KW will appear.
  • Using the Ahrefs “link opportunities” tool. After launching a crawl with this tool, it allows us to find semantic linking opportunities at a glance. Brutal.

By Authority

Another interesting option isto enhance contextual internal linking with a focus on the transmission of authority.

If we have URLs with external links, we can use them as a transfusion of authority through internal links to our TOP target pages.

In this case, we go back to Ahrefs and extract the best URLs by links. Two clicks and you're done.


Breadcrumbs are a widely-used resource in terms of UX that allow users to click back to the top level of the URL they are browsing.

At the SEO level, it has multiple implications.

It is known that if we perform structured data markup on these links, Google can offer variations in the appearance of our URLs in search results.

But today we are not focusing on that topic.

The importance today we will give to the fact that **breadcrumbs generate an internal link structure that has a significant impact on the whole.

We could think of them as “navigational” links because of their UX approach, but at the SEO level it differs a lot since they have a dynamic character and may vary in one URL or another.

Having said all of the above, the breadcrumb links make up an interesting silo structure.

Before continuing, let me tell you what these links should be so that they make a little sense and are well optimized.

First of all, and this is a common mistake, they should not link to the URL we are browsing. That is, if I am on the “Nike AirJordan” product sheet, the route described by the breadcrumbs should only have links to the higher categories and Home, never a self-reference link.

Nike> Air Jordan Shoes> XXX Jordan Model

Nike> Air Jordan Shoes> Model XXX Jordan ✔️

Another common mistake islosing the opportunity to optimize the link to the home, including an icon or a generic word like “home” as an anchor.

Home>Air Jordan Shoes> Model XXX Jordan ❌

Nike> Air Jordan Shoes> Model XXX Jordan ✔️

*** What are the benefits of working with breadcrumbs? ***

Basically, we are ensuring that at each level of depth we link to the previous, automatically generating more links for the higher levels that are the ones we usually want to position (categorizations)

This optimization has more impact on projects that manage multiple levels of categorization and a large volume of products, but we have to be aware that sometimes an optimal link is not achieved.

  • **Lower-level target categories: ** sometimes our important category is not at a higher level of the web structure, which means that you will receive fewer links than you may need.
  • **Categories with little product or lower levels: ** if we have a very important category that only has 3 products, be careful because the internal links that come to us for breadcrumbs are 3. They may be much less than a supposed sister category that has 20 products but their SEO interest is lower.

For all of the above, without a doubt **I recommend working the breadcrumbs on all projects that have several levels and list elements in categories, but always being aware that it is not an automatic solution and that the framework will have to be reviewed and improved more manually.


We entered swampy terrain, but I didn't want to miss one of the usual techniques we find to sculpt the framework of internal link architecture.

Obfuscate is a verb that became very fashionable in the SEO sector a few years ago and that comes to say*** “hide for Google” *** certain information while users can continue to access it.

That said, it seems that we are dealing with a “cloaking” technique, but the truth is that its use is quite common and the intention with which it is used is not as obscure as the term I refer to.

On a technical level, involves generating a link between two URLs but avoiding the use of the classic `` tag and using JS-like alternatives.

** [I'll leave you a post where they explain this beautifully.] (https://www.mecagoenlos.com/Posicionamiento/ofuscando-enlaces-para-mejorar.php) **

We have commented that internal links in navigation areas are vital for UX, but there are occasions that are unnecessary for SEO.

These *** “Disposable SEO” links*** are repeated in all URLs consuming tracking resources and absorbing a portion of the valuable link juice so they are not good business.

Faced with this situation, it is proposed to obfuscate these links, preventing Google from taking them into account both for its crawling and for the transfer of authority, while users will continue to make regular use of these links.

I'm a big supporter of this technique and I use it when there's an occasion that really deserves it, it's not something you always do.

I usually apply it on the following occases:

  • Recurrent links to internal management pages: many portals have a user area that links internally in a multitude of locations. What I usually propose is to leave one of them as a normal link and the rest to obfuscate them.
  • **Navigational links to URLs that are not indexable or blocked by robots.txt: ** If we are stating that a URL should not be crawled or indexed, limiting internal linking is crucial to meet those objectives.
  • **Product filters: ** Many ecommerce product listings can be filtered using parameters. As we mentioned in the previous point, if these parameters are blocked by robots.txt, obfuscating them is a very intelligent solution to avoid tracking them.

These are the most common options, I repeat that each project is a world and there will be times when indexing certain filters will be premeditated, or even the use of obfuscation doesn't fit the SEO team's work style... it's a technique that works for me and I'll apply it precisely when I see fit.


The last of the strategies, this one has a component more aimed at improving the CTR of search results than a modification of authority or tracking.

You already know that there is the possibility of placing internal links that take you directly to a specific section of the content of a page.

They are used a lot in the content indexes that we see at the beginning of the posts (this is an improvement that we are about to implement in theBakery) and that allow us to jump directly to the information you want to consume.

*** What makes it especially interesting for SEO? ***

The use of these links can cause the search results for that URL to **expand their information by showing these “anchor” links directly in the SERPs ** and that is very attractive and above all useful for users.

**And so far the blow goes. **

In this post, I have scraped 1% of the information that exists around the internal link, I highly recommend that you continue to investigate, do tests and analyze how others do it to draw your own conclusions and strategies.

As always, if you have any questions, I urge you to post your question on [Twitter] (https://twitter.com/guitermo) and let's start discussing.

And if what you need is for us to directly give you a cable with your link architecture, below you have a form where you can contact us immediately.

Portada del autor

Soy cofundador de TheCookies Agency, empresa de desarrollo web especializada en proyectos de captación de leads, donde doy servicios de consultoría SEO, optimización Web y optimización para motores de búsqueda, liderando el equipo de este área.

Gestionando clientes desde 2015, me declaro un apasionado del marketing digital y vivo con entusiasmo los proyectos en los que trabajamos.

Autor de uno de los primeros podcast sobre SEO "holaseo" y creador de contenido en diferentes canales como YouTube o Twitter.

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