How to Fix Internal Link Problems on a Website

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Internal linking. You’ve heard this subject discussed before. And, at first glance, it’s a pretty basic concept. Link to other articles on your site. If you’re not doing it, go do it.

But what happens when you “do it”… but you do it wrong? While internal linking is a simple concept, you can actually make a pretty big mess of it.

I speak from experience on that one…

Later, I’ll share with you the three kinds of BAD internal links (and what to do about it). But first, let me explain how I arrived there.

I learned a lot about internal linking in my Niche Pursuits podcast interview with Cyrus Shepard. He studied something like 23 million internal links, and found some really interesting data:

Graphic illustration of the various internal links data and insights

Did you notice all the sections I bolded? SO much of internal linking is not JUST about how many you have pointed at a page, but in the varied anchor text that you use.

My Internal Linking Problem

One of my sites was hit hard by the May 2022 Update. I’ve talked about this site before (it has since rebounded)! I’ve been working hard to improve it. I immediately went to audit it after the Update… and I realized two things about internal links:

  • I had a lot of irrelevant internal links. My internal linking wasn’t “tight” enough.
  • My anchor text was all over the map.

I had been letting a VA do the internal linking as a part of the publishing process. And they weren’t terrible. But after listening to Cyrus for an hour, I knew this was NOT something to sleep on.

I needed to delete 818 internal links. And change out thousands of anchor text on the internal links that were staying. 

Here is how I evaluated that, and how I did it:

3 Types of Bad Internal Links

1. Non Related URLs

Internal links are best when they come from related content. Inside of the same topical silo is best.

Non-related topics rarely provide good internal linking opportunities.

Occasionally, you’ll mention A over in topical silo B, and the odd internal link back and forth isn’t bad. No worries there (in my book).

But I had WAY too many of these. Often, they were making up too high of a percentage of the total internal links pointing to a URL. No bueno.

These got deleted.

2. Non-Relevant Anchor Text

Anchor text is huge for internal links. It helps Google better understand the article, while also helping you rank better for those terms.

I found tons of random, nonsensical internal link anchor text. Words that gave no context to the article.

These got fixed.

3. Generic Anchor Text

Similar to #2, but a bit different. I found a lot of single word anchor text internal links. This can be bad.

Example: a website about ovens (mine is not) – it will have lots of articles about different ovens, info content about using ovens, etc

If you use the anchor “oven” to reference a variety of your different oven articles, you are confusing Google.

You need to be more specific. An article on small ovens needs to have specific anchor text and not use generic “oven” text.

I had this problem a lot as well.

How to Fix Internal Link Problems

I had work to do! Many of the internal links were great, but many needed removing. And, a lot of anchor texts needed editing.

Now, here’s where the WordPress plugin Link Whisper comes in.

Most use Link Whisper to ADD internal links to articles, which is a great idea.

But did you know Link Whisper makes deleting internal links easy?

I ended up deleting 818 internal links, and Link Whisper made it easy.

You can easily see what articles link to the URL, and the anchor text. Delete by checking the box, or adjust anchor text.

Deleting internal links through Link Whisper

Link Whisper gives you the capability to delete internal links FAST, along with adjusting anchor text. THAT was even more powerful for me – I could get an overview in WordPress of the anchor texts used, and then adjust to better match what I needed.

Editing anchor text for internal linking through Link Whisper

Great news. I got you $20 off Link Whisper for newsletter readers! Use code “WEEKENDGROWTH” if you want to give the plugin a shot. (I was one of the first beta testers of this plugin!!).

I also released my Link Whisper Tutorial video on YouTube. Mark my words, this is the MOST comprehensive training video you will see – it comes in at exactly 1 hour long. 

If you want to see how to do internal linking at my agency, I’ve spent an hour showing you exactly how.

Link Whisper Internal Linking Plugin [The MOST In-Depth Tutorial & Review]

Either way, give your internal links an audit!

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Jared Bauman

Jared Bauman is the Co-Founder of 201 Creative, and is a 20+ year entrepreneur who has started and sold several companies. He is the host of the popular Niche Pursuits podcast and a contributing author to Search Engine Land.

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