WordPress SEO: How to Interlink Your Articles the Right Way

by Derek Halpern · 33 comments

WordPress SEO

WordPress SEO isn’t hard…

You just need to know what to do, where to do it, and how to implement it.

That’s why DIYthemes is launching this new SEO training series.

It’s called WordPress SEO for Everybody, and you’ll learn the latest SEO strategies that work.

Now let’s proceed to the first tip.

How to Interlink Your WordPress Blog Posts the Right Way

If you want your WordPress site to rank higher in search engines, in addition to tweaking your WordPress category pages, you need to link your new articles to your older, relevant articles.

But how should you link them? What posts should you link? What anchor text should you use?

Well, first, you can link your articles using anchor text you’d like to rank for.

However, that won’t propel you to top rankings by itself, and that’s where this quick tip comes into play.

Instead of focusing on what you want to rank for, look at what you’re already ranking for.

I’ll explain.

Take a second, and load up your Google Analytics.

Look at your current keywords, and see the articles that already rank in search engines.

If you’re not ranking #1 for any of the keywords that send you traffic, make sure you link those articles from your new stuff.

It’s easier to improve your existing rankings, than it is to rank for something completely new.

Before You Interlink, Consider These Two SEO Nuances:

What do I mean by nuances?

They’re not secrets, they’re just the way many top SEOs believe search engines work.

As you know, search engine optimization is often an inexact Science, despite there being several search engine optimization best practices.

That being said, here are the two tips:

1. Links higher in the HTML pass more search juice

Here’s the deal:

When you link articles higher in the HTML—towards the beginning of your content—it passes more juice.

It makes sense, too.

If a link is above-the-fold, it’s probably more important than a link buried in the footer.

So, when interlinking pages that are important, make sure you keep it as close to the fold as possible.

2. Search engines only follow, and use the first instance of a link

Interesting, right?

If you link the same older, relevant article from within the same new post, search engines supposedly only use the first instance of a link in their algorithm.

Again, it makes sense.

Why would search engines give preferential treatment to someone who often links only one article, with varying anchor text?

Yes, you can do that when it’s coming from different new posts, but from within the same post?

It sounds awfully like spamming, and it’s no wonder it doesn’t work.

So, the key takeaway is, only interlink the same page ONE time.

What Next?

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{ 33 comments }

Chris

+1′d – Thanks for the useful tip Derek.

FYI,
“However, these this tip is widely accepted amongst many top SEOs.”

=]

Derek Halpern

Whoops, it slipped through the editing phase.

Fixed it, and thanks!

Rob @ Atlanta Real Estate

Great stuff, as always.

This is a good way to acquire links. Tapping the juice off of your own existing pages. Also, if done really smartly, you don’t even need to add new text to existing posts, you just find the KWs already in the posts and hyperlynk them.

Bret Phillips

Great tip!

I personally think it’s always better to manually create your own links.

That said, I am curious what your take is on something like the WP plugin SEO Smart Links that automatically will create links to other posts in your site.

Worth using? Or would you recommend either going back and manually creating links in older posts, or just leave them alone.

B

Derek Halpern

Eh, I’d recommend doing it manually, too.

Yes, automating it sounds nice, but does that plugin know your data?

Nope.

Martyn Chamberlin

So you’re saying ScribeSEO is kind of a bad idea? It’s better to hunt links out manually?

(I’m curious because I’m thinking about getting Scribe eventually).

Or is this a conversation we need to be having offline? :)

Derek Halpern

Where did I say Scribe is a bad idea?

You always do that.

You read one thing I say, and take it to the extreme. It’s almost like you can’t even read. :-P

I didn’t even mention Scribe in my article. But on to your point… Scribe recommends where and what you can link. But it doesn’t automatically generate it… or so I thought.

Here’s what I’m saying:

I’m saying that you should fine tune your SEO based on the data, and your existing rankings.

If you do it automatically, you may miss out on opportunity.

(you know I like you Martyn, but sometimes you drive me crazy :-)

Martyn Chamberlin

Lol sorry dude. I guess I read something, do some thinking on it, and start writing where my thinking left off. It comes across as…confusing.

You’re right, you didn’t say anything about Scribe. :) If you’d plainly said Scribe was a bad idea, I wouldn’t have asked in the first place haha.

Okay, here’s a different question. You said not to link to the same thing in the same article. But that wouldn’t hurt SEO would it – it just wouldn’t make it any better? From a marketing standpoint, wouldn’t you say it’s sometimes helpful to link to the same thing more than once on a page?

Derek Halpern

I didn’t say it would hurt.

I’m saying that search engines, as I recall, only calculate the first instance of a link.

From a marketing standpoint, if you want people to click to a certain page, absolutely, link to it several times. :-P

Vivek Parmar

The best thing i like about interlinking is that it helps you to interlink all your old post and if there are new readers then will easily get to know about those post. One more thing is that it helps you to decrease bounce rate of your blog.

Derek Halpern

You’re right, it does decrease bounce rate.

And that helps with SEO slightly too.

Less bounces back to the search results, the better.

Chuck Jones

Very useful tip. Was not aware of #2. Thanks.

How about an article on how to convert from the old default article URL to a more SEO friendly URL (permalinks) when you have several hundred articles with the old default structure. Is there a good way to do this?

Derek Halpern

Most people overlook that one for sure. Even people who “sell” seo services sometimes forget about it, heh.

Salman

Very useful tips, I like your points especially “It’s easier to improve your existing rankings, than it is to rank for something completely new” :-)

Derek Halpern

Too many people focus on the next best thing. They forget that they’re already ranking well for some keywords. Might as well take them to the top.

Kishore Mylavarapu

Good tip.Thank you.Looking for more SEO Stuff.

Patty Jones

Derek, Thanks for this post! It helped me to explain some things to my partner.

Joshua Dorkin

Great tips, Derek! Thanks. These 2 points are relatively unknown to the “amateur” seo . . . good job helping to spread the word!

Neese

can you elaborate further on “Links higher in the HTML pass more search juice” i’m not sure if I understood what you were saying correctly. Did you mean placing anchor links at the beginning of every post? like at the first sentence of the introductory paragraph?

Derek Halpern

I’m saying a link higher in the html, as in in the introductory paragraph, is believed to pass more search juice than a link in the conclusion.

Greg Gerdes

By way of illustration, as I understand “first link authority”, if your nav has the link text “home” or an image link and it is before the desired link text in the html the juice that passes will carry “home” as as authority or in the case of an image only juice will pass.

So, get your nav lower in the html and use css to display it where it fits in your design.

Has anyone tested this lately?

Safa

You can use open hook plugin to put a link before the header to increase “first link authority”, i did not test this before, usually i put a single link to footer using the same plugin. I will start testing, I like the idea of seo smat links though, good for auto blogs.

Kunal

Hey Derek,
Do you think it is advisable to link articles from different categories? Also does it matter if two articles link each other?
Interlinking articles have helped a lot for my site and I could see the Avg time on site has increased.
Thanks for the wonderful tips!!!

Regards,
Kunal

Ileane

Hi Derek, this is a great article and I like the term “interlinking” better than “deep linking”. When I hear deep linking I always think of something complicated like “deep thoughts” LOL!

I do have a couple of questions. You mention linking new posts back to old posts, but doesn’t it also help SEO wise to go back and add links in old posts to the new ones?

When you talk about “above the fold” that makes sense to people when they’re on your blog but how do search engines know what’s “above the fold” on my blog? There’s lots of factors to consider like font size, screen resolution and so on right? I would think that linking within the first 3 or 4 sentences might be a better rule of thumb.

Also, you said “If you’re not ranking #1 for any of the keywords that send you traffic, make sure you link those articles from your new stuff.” without giving us any guidance on how to find out ranking. Google Analytics doesn’t tell you ranking, so what tools are you using?

Thanks for the advice and I’m looking forward to reading more in this series.

Nica - The Virtual Assistant

Great tips! Link above the fold and only once in article.

Question: What plugin do you recommend for internal link building? I am using one.

Vijay Sharma

+1′d the post Derek. You always give very useful tips which helps people a lot.
Thank you

David

Great tips. I was putting the interlink on the bottom of the post because it seems like a logical ‘next step’ for the viewer, to give them more information and keep them on the site.

But it makes sense that interlinks that are above-the-fold appear to be more important. Thanks!

Rob - @formerfatguy

holy crap. I just learned something new. I’ve been in this biz since 1995 and I did not know that.

mathan

Very useful tips, it ‘s really a great SEO everyone to takeaway :) Thanks!

Josh Sarz

Thanks for the tips. I think the second advice is just common sense, because as you said it looks so much like spamming.

Mansi Bharat

I am newbie and learning SEO.Thanks Derik for the article.
I have three questions
1.how to get a good pagerank?
2.does keywords play a role in search engine?
3.if i use some wordpress framwork like genesis or thesis, will these frameworks help us in getting top in google search?

Happy New Year…

Thanks in advance
Mansi

fas

So only one link per article gets the most juice, the one at the top?

Bobby

What about interlinking to categories in your posts? Is that not a good idea? Will over doing it hurt your ranking?