How to Do an Internal Linking Audit to Improve SEO

Prior to joining WebFX as a writer, Maria was a marketing professional and editor for B2B and B2C publications. Her work has been featured on Top Gear Philippines. When she's not immersed in digital marketing and writing, she's out running, swimming, or playing with her dogs.

Internal linking is an important element of your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. But how do you stay on top of your internal linking efforts and make sure you’re not linking your web pages to a deleted page? In addition, how do you know if your internal linking strategy is effective?

If you’d like to answer these questions, you’re in the right place. This blog post will further discuss internal linking, how to perform an internal linking audit, and more. Here’s a quick overview of the topics we’ll cover:

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What is internal linking?

Internal linking is the practice of linking a web page to another page on the same domain to improve your website’s navigation and user experience. It helps search engines like Google crawl your pages faster, so your pages will appear on search engine results pages (SERPs) sooner.

What are the benefits of internal linking?

Internal linking helps both your site visitors and search engines to your website, improving your site’s overall SEO. Here are the benefits of internal linking:

  • Internal linking helps site visitors find relevant content and navigate your website
  • Internal linking spreads link equity or link juice among your webpages
  • Internal linking helps search engines like Google find your pages
  • Internal linking provides search engines context about your pages by how they’re interconnected, so search engines understand your web pages better

Want to quickly check how many internal links you have on your page? Use our free Links Counter tool and get a breakdown of your internal and external links.

What is an internal link audit?

An internal linking audit examines how your webpages are interconnected through internal links. It also lets you:

How to perform an internal linking audit in four steps

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to perform an internal linking audit:

  1. Run your website through a web crawling tool
  2. Look for broken links
  3. Find redirects
  4. Identify internal linking opportunities for improvement

Let’s go through each step:

1. Run your website through a web crawling tool

First off, you want to know the status of your website’s internal links by running it through a crawling tool. Tools like Screaming Frog, Ahrefs, and SEMrush can crawl your site and provide an analysis of your site.

In this blog post, we’ll use Screaming Frog as an example. The licensed version of Screaming Frog will let you download your site report. Check the following parameters:

  • Inlinks: This data gives a page’s total number of internal links
  • Outlinks: This refers to the page’s total number of outgoing links to internal pages
  • Indexability: This parameter tells you whether a page is indexable or not. Non-indexable pages won’t appear in SERPs, so make sure the pages you want to rank are indexable!

2. Look for broken links

Now that you have your report, check for broken links. If you don’t have a licensed version of Screaming Frog yet, you can check directly from the app:

  • Click the tab Response Codes
  • In the dropdown filter, select Client Error (4xx) to check for 404s

Broken links shown on Screaming Frog

3. Find redirects

Sometimes URLs change during a redesign, and the internal links that lead to them are left unchanged.

Let’s say you have a page with the following URL: https://www.example.com/sample-page. During a redesign, its URL was changed to: https://www.example.com/folder/sample-page. You have redirected the old URL to a new one, so anytime a site visitor finds your old link, it redirects to the new URL.

However, too many redirects or 301s put extra load on your server and affect your site speed. So it’s best to update the internal links leading with an old URL and direct them to the new URL by performing an internal linking audit:

  • In Screaming Frog, click the tab Response Codes
  • In the dropdown filter, select Redirection (3xx) to check for 302s and 301s
  • Click the Inlinks. This will list down the pages that link to the old URL

301 shown on Screaming Frog

4. Identify internal linking opportunities for improvement

You’ve identified your broken links and pages linking to redirects. Now it’s time to look for ways to improve your website’s chances of ranking in SERPs and improve how you can pass link equity or link juice through your pages.

Here are some guide questions to help you get started:

  • Which potentially ranking pages — pages found on the second page of SERPs — have fewer links than other ranking pages?
  • Do you have orphan pages, which are pages that don’t have internal links pointing to them?
  • Do you have less important pages that have many incoming internal links?
  • Do you have important pages, say your “money” pages or pricing pages, with fewer incoming internal links?
  • Does your anchor text provide details about what a page is about?

Ready to start with your internal linking audit?

An internal linking audit can improve your website’s SEO and help you conquer the SERPs. If you need help with your internal linking audit, let WebFX help.

WebFX is a full-service digital marketing agency with 500+ SEO experts who helped generate over $3 billion in revenue for our clients. Our team is pumped to help you achieve your SEO goals and return on investment.

Contact us online or call us at 888-601-5359 to speak with a strategist about our SEO services!

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