Improve Internal Linking Using Google Webmaster Tools

One of the services provided within Google Webmaster Tools is a report of the internal links Google has found while visiting your site. Internal link building is important to any site. Not only does it drive visitors to other pages within the site/blog but also guides the search engine bots to those pages also.

Internal Link Report

This information can be found under Your Site on the Web >> Internal Links.

The Internal Link screen gives you valuable information on which pages within your site need some internal link loving. Each link pointing to a page within your site or blog counts as a vote for the page besides the benefit of driving visitors and search bots to them. The more links pointing to a page, the better if related.

The list of pages is in the order of internal links pointing to them from highest to lowest. This is a great opportunity to bring some of the old posts on your blog or neglected pages on your website back to the forefront by going through your existing content and finding places to add a link pointing to another page on the site. With a blog particularly, sometimes we forget what we have written about previously that is related to the current article we are writing or have written inbetween the start of the site and now.

Use Google Webmaster Tools to Improve Internal Linking

To use Google Webmaster Tools Internal Link report as a guide of which pages need some incoming internal links you will need:

  1. A Google account if you don’t have one yet.
  2. To have verified ownership of the site/blog long enough ago that Google has had a chance to have visited your site and indexed at least some of the pages on the site.
  3. Be logged into your Google Webmaster Tools account and have the Internal Links report open.

    If you don’t like working between tabs or windows within your browser you could print out the report to use as a checklist of which pages you worked on or if you want to keep a record or some kind of stats, you could copy the list into a spreadsheet. There are download links at the end of the report to download the table or links if you prefer.

  4. Your site or blog open in another browser tab or window.
  5. Open up the find function in your browser.

    In Internet Explorer it is under Edit >> Find on this page in the menu bar.

    If you are using Firefox it is also under Edit >> Find.

  6. A search function on the site/blog would be helpful so you can search for keywords related to the neglected pages. A site map will do if there is no search function available on the site.

With all the above ready we can begin.

  1. Find Pages with Low Internal Links in the Google Webmaster Tools Internal Links Report

    Scroll down the report to the end of it. Remember the list is from highest to lowest and we are looking for pages needing some incoming internal links.

    Note: Google never tells it all that it knows about our sites. They want to keep some information close to their chest so their search results are not manipulated. We just have to work with what they are willing to tell us sometimes. But that’s ok, a little info is better than none.

    Pick a page at the end of the list needing some incoming internal links. We’ll use this one to find some other pages on the site that could link to it.

  2. Find Related Pages on Your Site or Blog

    Switch over to the tab/window with your site or blog in it.

    Go to the search function (or site map if that’s the method you are using).

    Conduct a search for a keyword or phrase related to the page that needs the internal incoming link help. You now have a list of potential related pages/articles that can link back to another page on the site.

  3. Go Through Existing Pages and Find Opportunities to Link to Other Pages on the Site

    Go through each of the search results you have and read the page in the search result.

    Find a keyword or phrase within the page that could link to the page needing the incoming link. Don’t pick any word or phrase. It has to be related to the page being linked to and beneficial to the reader to jump over there and read that page while concentrating on the original topic they were reading.

    To make this go a bit faster use the Find function you have opened in your browser. The find function will highlight and jump to the instance of the keyword/phrase you entered to find.

  4. Add a Link to the Low Internal Linked Page

    Edit the suitable page content to include a link to the page you want to improve internal linking for.

  5. Improve Internal Linking for All Pages

    Repeat the process above for all the pages that need internal links pointing to them.

Looking through the Internal Link report at Google Webmaster Tools is something you should do every once in while. As time progresses we forget about older pages as we create new content for our sites.

Remember that each link pointing to a page is a vote for it whether the link is from within the site or an external one. Internal link building is one of the easiest search engine optimization things you can do yourself and have total control over.

Try this out then come back and let us know how this technique improved the performance of your pages.

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3 Responses to “ Improve Internal Linking Using Google Webmaster Tools ”

  1. Derek says:

    Very good blog post. Many people use webmaster tools but don’t actually use every tool that is provided.

  2. Hannah says:

    Thanks for the post, I use this method often but sometimes even if the internal linking is improved you don’t see the URL appear higher in the list. There is a definate time lag on this data, I would hazzard a guess at a 2 week lag.

  3. Peter says:

    I use so many of Googles services but I haven’t tried Google Webmaster Tools yet but I can see how it can greatly benefit my websites. Much appreciated.

Leave a Reply to Peter