As a link building specialist, I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve never done as good of a job with internal linking as I should have. I know it is important for SEO reasons. Matt Cutts says so. Rand Fishkin says so. Even Larry and Sergey say so.
The problem with internal linking, though, is that it can be a huge pain. I’ve worked in WordPress sites with nearly 1000 published stories, dozens of categories and seemingly unlimited keywords. It can also be time consuming to review a lengthy article or blog post and insert a half-dozen hyperlinks to different pages on your site. Scalability and time were always the two biggest issues I have had with internal linking.
Then I started using SEO Smart Links and both of my problems were solved.
SEO Smart Links is a WordPress plugin that automates internal linking and makes it a snap. I don’t have to remember to link to category pages, older posts, etc — it takes care of almost everything. On our WebFX blog, we set up a custom list of keywords and URLs that we wanted to automatically link to from our blog posts. These links were pointing to other areas of interest on the site (SEO plans, social media info, etc) and were often links that myself and the rest of our bloggers would forget to manually place into posts.
While the idea behind SEO Smart Links is simple, the team over at Prelovac has done a remarkable job of thinking of additional features and building them into the plugin. For example, there is an option to reduce database load by only inserting the links on single posts and archived pages (not on the homepage, for example). There is also an option to exclude all heading tags. Little features like this show that the plugin wasn’t thrown together overnight. You have tons of options and power to customize your internal linking structure.
The plugin works right out of the box and crawls your posts finding the most suitable URLs and keywords to use for interlinking. It’s super easy to use for beginners, but still has tons of advanced options for SEO gurus or picky bloggers like myself.
Here’s a decent video guide on installing and setting up the plugin:
From an SEO perspective, this is obviously a powerful plugin to have in your WordPress toolbox. We’ve been using it on our own blog as well as in WordPress installs on clients sites. SEO aside, there are plenty of other benefits. Proper internal linking throughout a blog is going to lower bounce rate and drive visitors to relevant pages.
I thought of a couple specific applications where this would be useful:
Blogs on large ecommerce sites Blogs on huge ecommerce sites tend to get a lot of search traffic coming into them and are generally pretty powerful. SEO Smart Links would let the company blogger link to category pages, product pages and guides quickly and easily. Since the visitors are already reading a related post, the conversion rate would be higher than more general traffic coming from search engines.
Newspapers and blogs with tons of content These types of sites usually have lots of posts in different categories or tags, both great candidates to link to internally. There often are specific pages for other keywords that show up frequently articles: names of newsmakers, locations, sports teams, special features. Lots of news organizations would make their site much more user friendly by having a proper link structure in their articles.
Basically, any site running on WordPress that is producing a large amount of content should look into SEO Smart Links. It will save you time, get your website in front of more eyeballs and help search engines rank your domain higher in results. Since we started using it, I’ve been able to focus my attention on my writing instead of worrying about which pages on the domain I ought to be linking to.