TopHatRank Blogger SEO SEO Resources for Blogger and Publishers Your Guide to Internal Linking: SEO For Bloggers Episode #28

Your Guide to Internal Linking: SEO For Bloggers Episode #28

Recap, Q&A, + All the Resources

What kind of roundups should you be participating in? Do you have a clear category structure or way too many categories for users to choose from? What the heck is a taxonomy? If you’re even slightly confused by these questions, or simply just don’t know the right answer, this episode recap is for you.

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Q&A With The Panelists

These are each of the questions that were asked during the Q&A portion of the webinar. The answers are provided by the panelists. Have a question about this episode you'd like addressed? Reach out to info@tophatrank.com!

Question 1

I’m using the Feast plugin. If we have a list of related recipes above the recipe card (just 4 in an FSRI block), is it necessary to have the “Modern Previous + Next” feature turned on (puts another related recipe link after the recipe card)?

It’s not necessary. But this provides value to users AND is just another discoverability path for Google. I see no reason to remove it.

 

Casey

Question 2

How many internal links should we use on each recipe post?

Answered Live.

Question 3

On individual recipe posts, should there be breadcrumbs showing on that recipe post?

Absolutely. That’s a good discoverability path, and, it’s a visual rich snippet that users can use to find related content.

Question 4

Is it bad practice to backlink to the same page both in the context of the post content and then again in the FSRI block at the bottom?

No.

Question 5

Is it okay to use different phrasing on the hyperlink to the backlink? E.g. instead of “candy corn margarita,” say “batch cocktail” or “boozy beverage”?

 

Yes. But understand that the “more general” anchor text, the less change you have to rank. And, you won’t necessarily be providing internal context to the page.

Question 6

Does it hurt to link to a noindex post if there is relevant info there?

No. But don’t make a habit of it. You send that internal linking pagerank down a black hole.

Question 7

I heard that 3 internal links equal one backlink from an external source according to Google. Is that right? Do internal links help rankings?

That’s not how it works. Nobody, not even Google, knows how much any link is worth. There is no way to quantify any “strength” equivalence between internal and external links. At least, I’ve never seen it, and I read a lot of patents. That being said, as we said live, we have historically been able to improve rankings on sites by JUST optimizing internal linking. Internal links influence rankings.

Question 8

Should internal links be reciprocal or should they be forward linking? Like, Pork chop recipe links to potatoes as a side dish, and the potatoes side dish links back to the pork chops on the page…. or…. pork chops link to potatoes.. and then potatoes post links to a chicken recipe elsewhere on the blog? I hope this makes sense!!

Answered Live

Question 9

Should I link to the category or is that covered by breadcrumbs?

That is covered by breadcrumbs. But it’s absolutely just fine to link to categories as a “find more recipes in xx category” from various posts. Nothing wrong with that.

Question 10

What is the best way to find orphan links/pages?

Use the Link Whisper plugin. Or, upgrade to Yoast Premium and use their Orphaned Content filter. Or, if you have a SEM Rush membership, they have an Orphaned Content search filter.

Question 11

Is there a fast way to fix the “open in new tab” if I’ve been a dummy so far? 😬

Yes, your purchase the “Link Target Fix” from The Blog Fixer. Find the “fix” here: https://www.blogfixer.com/link-target-fix/

Question 12

Is there an easier way to quickly find the lousy link texts (click here), rather than going through every post manually?

You can use the Link Whisper plugin to find and view your anchor text at scale. Or, you can use auditing tools like SEM Rush, or Ahfrefs, or Sitebulb, or Screaming Frog, to also pull this information for review at scale.

Question 13

Question: how valuable are internal links vs external links?

 

 

It’s not quantifiable. But internal links are always more valuable than external links, which are not a ranking factor.

Question 14

I have too many long lists of related recipes at the bottom of come of my posts. I am interested in cleaning that up/listing them, but I don’t want to unintentionally penalize any of the posts I had been linking to. How do I remove them? Should I add them to another post?

Nope, when you remove links, you usually “replace those links” elsewhere. I wouldn’t worry to much about it. But always focus on “in-content” linking which is more natural and topically relevant. Long lists of related recipes have limited value for users and Google.

Question 15

If context matters, does that mean it when linking to sides to serve with a recipe it would be better to write in sentence form rather than just a list of recipes?

In-content links, tend to be MORE powerful and “contextually relevant” to users and Google, then just “link lists.” And, it’s pretty commonsense in most cases. But a “link is a link.” And all of them count.

Question 16

With the Feast plugin, if you use the FSRI block for related recipes, Yoast does not recognize that you have any internal links in the post. Can we assume that Google is smarter than this?

Yes. This is not a problem. All those links are crawlable. And, in the case of Yoast, if you find the links in the FSRI block do not have “forward slashes” adding those, tends to solve this problem.

Question 17

I see a lot of bloggers (myself included) putting links up high in the post for a  reasonable surfer model but I am wondering if it is actually a little spammy or bad for UX? Is it okay to do a block of related recipes higher up?

I think this ‘depends on the block.’ I think contextually relevant, in-content links, can be helpful. But a “block” of these links may seem busy or spammy. Heatmap modeling to see if those links are being INTERACTED WITH can answer this quickly.

Casey

Question 18

Is Tastylinks worth the investment (if we go back and reduce the number of excessive links)?

Yes. It’s a quality plugin. When not abused.

Casey

Question 19

I am assuming it’s ok to go back and rename old links to utilize better keywords???

Answered Live

Question 20

Is there an easy way to keep track of the anchor text we have used
(e.g. a plug-in)?

Link Whisper

Question 21

What’s the easiest way to see what links are coming IN to a post?

Answered Live

Question 22

Are internal links just as important for webstories like they are for regular blog posts? Should we be linking the webstories throughout posts as well?

We recommend you NOT link internally to your Web Stories. Not only do they lower RPM but they are a poor user experience for users on-site. Web Stories may be a great way to send traffic “to your site” but once on your site, sending them to a web story provides little in the way of positive returns.

Question 23

Casey mentioned “classes” of internal links? What are they?

– in-content
– navigational
– footer
– header

Casey

Question 24

Is linking to keywords in a paragraph good or bad practice? For example: you’re writing at the top of a recipe post “These cookies are so soft and chewy bla bla bla” and you link your cookie category to the word cookies.

That’s “in-content linking” and it’s absolutely fine and highly encouraged. Focus on linking naturally, from the top of the post to the bottom. And be specific in your use of anchor texts for that link. The more specific you are with internal anchor texts, the more helpful it is for users and for Google in understanding the topical architecture of your site.

Question 25

Does it hurt a post if you link out to a post that could be better optimized?

No. But if you know the post could be better optimized, and it’s on your site, optimize it.

Question 26

I’m always afraid to edit a post that’s ranking #1 on google. If I have a post that’s #1 that could benefit from me adding some links to related recipes in that realm, is that a good idea? Or should I not touch it?

Answered Live

Question 27

We have pages on our website with a video alongside a transcription of the video.

How would you approach internally linking the transcription content? Would it be similar to how you would a regular blog post?

Very much so. Adding a transcript to a video page is just a simple best practice. You have to give content Google can crawl and algorithmically score, and, it’s great for UX and accessibility purposes. You would just link to the video transcript as you would normally from any other page with a descriptive anchor text that tells the user “here is what’s at this link.”

Question 28

Is it better to put related recipes in a list format or in a paragram format. For example “More Soup Recipes” and then a bulleted list of three recipes. Or “More Soup Recipes” and then three sentences each with a keyword and link to other recipes.

Answered Live

Question 29

Does linking to related content actually help to show the breadth of your expertise on a subject? If so, and you have tons of related content, does it make sense to add a new CATEGORY? During the call on Categories/Tags you said you were not fans of ingredient categories, but would this be a time for an exception?

Answered Live

Question 30

You have to use “no follow” for the amazon affiliate program. Has that changed?

That is still the case. You should “nofollow” all affiliate links, and links to any sponsors, or anytime there is any kind of incentive (financial or otherwise) for you to include that link.

Andrew

Question 31

Should you create content for the express purpose of developing a related content/link building strategy?

Your first and foremost goal with ANY content you add to your site should be: is this helpful content that my users are going to actually be LOOKING for? Sure, sometimes we publish recipes and content that we just like ourselves, but this is a poor habit to adopt regularly if your goal is to turn your blog from a hobby to a business. Focus on adding related and supplemental content around existing content (side dishes to main dishes, seasonal dishes to holiday categories, etc) but your overwhelming focus is to make sure these recipes have “search volume”, are around related keywords you can RANK for, and which will be well-received by your target audience.

Question 32

Should we be linking to category pages as well?

If you have optimized your category pages to be useful for visitors, working as a “landing page” for posts in that category, then yep, that sounds like a good idea.

Question 33

Is it tacky from a user perspective to have a post sentence say ‘hey if you like this, serve it with bla bla link”

Offering dishes that pair well together isn’t tacky — as long as they’re actually a good combination!

Question 34

Really quick: I’d love to hear their opinion on backlinks vs internal links. How do they balance both? What creates the biggest lift?

Both have value. As discussed live, “links” are are still a huge part of the Google algorithm. It’s not a “one or the other.” You cannot rank competitively without both strong niche-related external links, and a clear understanding of internal linking best practices.

Question 35

Can you ‘overlink’ to a specific post as an internal link?

Google has said you CAN have excessive internal linking, but it’s rare. Citation here: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/google-cautions-against-using-too-many-internal-links/412553/#close

Question 36

I thought not modifying the date when making small changes (using that plugin) doesn’t trigger a crawl. Is that incorrect?

WordPress, by default, will actually “ping” search engines (via Ping-O-Matic) when you publish/update. The setting for this in Settings > Writing.

Resources & Links

Below are links to all tools, articles, and other resources mentioned in this webinar:

    1. Rich Results Testing: You can check the schema for a page on your site using the Rich Results Testing tool.
    2. Internal Linking Article on SEJournal: Article discussing the importance of internal linking.
    3. WP External Links plugin: “External Links – nofollow, noopener & new window” is open source software.
    4. Tasty Links Optimization: Help and support forum from Tasty Links.
    5. Google Cautions About Too Many Links: Article about excessive internal linking.
    6. No Optimal Number of Internal Links: Article about Google’s John Mueller explaining best internal link practices.

Transcript

Ashley Segura (00:00):
All right, well, today we’re going to be talking about internal links with everyone’s favorite SEO experts, Casey Markee, Arsen Rabinovich, and Andrew Wilder. And as always, there we go, I’m your host, Ashley Segura. We’re going to do Q&A at the end, since it’s being funky. Ask questions at any time. Drop them into the Q&A box. If you’re not sure where it is, it’s at the bottom of your Zoom box. If you hover over it, you’ll see a button that says Q&A. Go ahead and press that and drop your questions in there. Okay, so it’s all about internal links today. We’re going to go through beginning stages of internal links to some really technical stuff. But Andrew, can you first start us off by describing what internal links even are?

Andrew Wilder (00:45):
Sure. Internal links are really simply links from one URL or one page on your site to another page on your site. We call them internal because they’re all staying inside your own domain as opposed to an external domain where you’re looking out to a different website. That’s basically it.

Ashley Segura (01:02):
Yes. And different from external. Arsen, why is internal linking an important SEO strategy to begin with? How does it factor into optimizing content, and why is it important?

Arsen Rabinovich (01:12):
Right, so internal linking, not just for SEO strategy, internal linking is important for your users. There’s two ways to look at this. It’s important to the users because it helps users discover other content on your side, content that’s closely related to the topic that you’re covering on this post. It helps the users navigate. You have internal linking through your breadcrumbs, it helps users identify where content on similar topic is. So you have your categories in your backgrounds, and your category is breakfast recipes, and they’re looking at your scrambled egg recipe, they can click on that background and look at all of your breakfast recipes.

(01:56):
All of that internal linking between posts, the architectural information linking through the breadcrumbs, the navigational internal linking, all of that helps Google, on the other hand, really understand how things are structured on your website, how things are organized, its prioritization, where things appear, relationships between posts, relationships between posts and categories. Helps with discoverability. Google crawls the site, discovers new content, crawls through those links, picks up information. Helps with helping Google understand where the priorities are. Where is the parent content like your categories, where is the children content? There’s other secondary signals that come with internal linking as well in case [inaudible 00:02:47] on those in a second. But yeah, it serves both purposes, helps Google, and it helps users.

Casy Markee (02:54):
So yeah, just to build upon that, as Arsen said, internal linking, incredibly undervalued and underutilized tool in the SEO toolkit. Great for content discoverability, great for topical discoverability. We’ve listed a couple reasons in the webinar chat already. Improves user experience considerably. We always want to provide easy avenues for users to find related content so that we can discover and keep them on the site longer. Talked about the contextual relationships. He did a really good job in there about the talk discoverability. One thing this also does is influences the flow of patron through the site. The more avenues between the pages, the easier it is for Google to push that authority through the site easier. And of course, that’s going to help both the discoverability of the content and also how the content is going to rank algorithmically.

(03:45):
We also have little things like canonical content reinforcement. We want to make sure that if we have multiple versions of a page, by how we link to it and the anchor text we used on those links, it’s a strong internal and external signal to Google that, hey, even though I might have six or seven soup recipes, by how I’m linking internally to these soup recipes, I’m able to tell Google very clearly the differentiation between those posts, both granularly and at scale. And that’s very important both for both the long tail of search and for how those posts are going to rank on their own individually.

Ashley Segura (04:24):
Casey, do you have any examples of bloggers who do internal linking really well?

Casy Markee (04:29):
Yes. Everyone on the call who’s had an audit with me, you all have done internal linking incredibly well. Congratulations, you’re all doing very well. I will not call any out in scale, but yes, I will. David Leite is on the call, Leite’s Culinaria. They do a very good job with internal linking. I know our best friend Amy, Amy Veggie Save the Day, she does a very good job with internal linking.

(04:51):
The thing about internal linking is that we link when it makes sense to the user, but we link naturally. We link from the top of the post to the bottom of the post. We want to link in content. We want to link by means of related recipes. We want to link by means of both navigational and in-content linking. There’s various classes of internal links.

(05:13):
We always get the question about how much internal linking is enough. I would say that that’s just the wrong question to ask. A lot of people say, “Oh, you need to link three to five times internally on each post.” Not true at all, honestly. There is no number that is going to say that this is better than another number, so to speak. I know that people are always like, “Well, Casey, I’m putting this post together, and I have a template, so just tell me no, do I need to link three times, do I need to link five times?” I say, “No, it really doesn’t matter. That’s not how it works.” We will link when it’s contextually relevant to the user, we link when it makes sense. I don’t necessarily look at it as a mechanical template that I should start at the top, go down to the bottom and say, “Okay, I need to make sure that I have six internal links to these other pages whenever we can.”

(06:01):
Your goal is just to be useful in everything that you do. We start at the top, we work our way down to the bottom. If we’re doing a Thanksgiving post and I’m doing a gravy post or a dressing post or something like that, as I’m making my way down the page, if there are other related recipes that would be appropriate, I’m going to link to them. But the goal is, of course, is just to be useful. Try to link from the top of the post to the bottom. Make it easy for Google end users to discover related content. That’s honestly the best advice we could ever give you.

Arsen Rabinovich (06:37):
Casey just answered all the questions in the webinar.

Casy Markee (06:38):
We’re done by the way. It’s done, pick up your-

Arsen Rabinovich (06:40):
Everyone, go home.

Ashley Segura (06:42):
Enjoy your candy corn, everyone. No, there is a technical question that he missed in there, and so [inaudible 00:06:48].

Casy Markee (06:47):
No, give it to Arsen.

Ashley Segura (06:52):
Okay, well, Arsen, does internal linking replace structured data?

Arsen Rabinovich (06:56):
No, they’re two different things. I mean, look, yeah, maybe, okay, in breadcrumbs. Well, not even in breadcrumbs, they’re two different things. You want to mark up certain linking, like internal linking, like your breadcrumbs, you want to provide markup. And [inaudible 00:07:16] does that for you, you don’t have to do any of it. Don’t stress, don’t start googling how to do this, it’s already there. Hopefully, it’s already there.

(07:25):
But no, completely two different things. Internal linking helps Google, again, create relationships, understand where things are organized on your site. A lot of times if you’ve had an audit with me or Casey, we’ll find orphan pages on your site. It’s a post that’s published and there’s like no links to it. Google will have a hard time discovering. Or if all of the posts on your website have a decent amount of links and then you have one post that only has one link pointing to it, Google’s going to see that, “Okay, that’s not as high priority of a piece of content as the rest of these posts that do have a lot of links.”

(07:52):
And then that organizational and internal linking also helps Google understand which pages are important. But no, those are two different things. Schema takes the information, and it’s a micro language that all major search engines decided to use, and now I think Facebook uses Schema as well. The way it works is it takes the information that’s on your page about topics, about entities, whatever that is on your page, you’re writing about a recipe, you’re writing about a law firm, you’re writing about an event, there’s schema for that. And that schema, that micro language essentially helps Google and other search engines understand what’s on that page. It takes the words on your page and turns it into explicit.

(08:36):
So once Google picks up that information, it can look at that micro data, whichever way you presented, JSON-LD or whichever way, and it can understand, “Oh this is a recipe page because it has a recipe card on it. Here’s all the information for this recipe.” So whichever way Google processes that information, it takes that page and files it, “Okay, this is with all the recipes.” That’s why a lot of times you’ll also hear Casey and I say that you shouldn’t be marking up stuff that’s not there. So if it’s not a recipe page, you should not have recipe markup on there because it confuses Google. Google still goes and processes that information, the implicit information, the words on the page, and tries to understand what the page is about. But the Schema part helps Google get there much faster. And then, obviously, helps with all the cool stuff and the rich search results, so your thumbnails and star ratings and all that good stuff, but two different things.

Ashley Segura (09:27):
I think everything that you just said in there went from really technical and then you gave a concrete example. So for those watching right now and those who are going to watch the replay, just rewind and listen to that again because there was a lot in there that was extremely valuable. Thank you for that, Arsen.

Arsen Rabinovich (09:44):
Thank you.

Ashley Segura (09:45):
Andrew, let’s take it back a few steps from the technical stance, and can you simply walk us through the steps of adding internal link to a post? What should you do? What should you definitely not do when it comes to the basics?

Andrew Wilder (09:57):
Sure. So adding an internal link is the same as adding an external link. It’s just a regular link, it just happens to be something on your own site, your own content. There’s a couple of things you just want to watch out for. Some of it is basic link practices. For example, you want to make sure that the clickable part of the link, the actual link text, is relevant. So if you’re linking to a chocolate chip cookie recipe and you want to make sure chocolate chip cookie is the part that people click on, you don’t want to say, “For my chocolate chip cookie recipe, click here,” and make Click Here the linking part. That’s actually an accessibility violation as well, because the Click Here doesn’t really tell people what they’re getting to.

(10:36):
The search engines use that. The linkable text or the part that’s clickable, has extra weight. Google’s looking around the text, they understand context now, but it’s still, if that’s the link, that’s the most important thing, but that’s also just a user first metric. The other thing I want to mention is when you do internal links, don’t open them in a new tab or a new window. That’s a really bad user experience. There’s very few exceptions to that. But if you’re linking from one post on your site to another, don’t open a new tab. The only place you might have an exception is in a checkout flow where you have to open up the terms of service, you’d want to open that a new tab so you don’t interrupt the checkout flow and people lose their place. It’s got to be a very specific reason to open a new tab.

(11:18):
If you’re not careful, people end up with 15 tabs, and on mobile, that’s a nightmare to try… You can’t find anything, you can’t use the back button if you’re in a new tab, so people lose their place easily. If that’s your one takeaway from anything I say today, don’t open internal links in new tabs. I should say it again maybe. Also, when you’re creating the URL, I recommend you don’t type it in manually. I think it’s best to actually open whatever article you want to link to, open that in a new tab while you’re working, and copy and paste the full URL and paste that in for the link. That helps avoid you making a typo by accident. We see issues sometimes where people leave off the last trailing slash and that causes some confusion with canonical tags.

(12:00):
Also, if you do a relative link where you do just the forward slash and the slug without your domain name, that will work. But if you ever change your domain or need to do something there, it makes us search and replace more tricky. So I just recommend doing the full canonical URL. Whatever that official URL is, whatever you’re linking to, use that.

(12:21):
And then I think if you can link to a sub content, if you’re linking to another post, a section of a post, and you’ve got what are called anchor links, the same way a table of contents will link you down to the middle of the post, you can link to that. The link will have the URL and then it’ll have the pound sign and then whatever the anchor link is. So if you go to your other post, click the table of contents, the URL will update and you can paste that in so that way you can actually link to the exact spot you want somebody to get to on the next page. Did that cover all the internal linking things?

Ashley Segura (12:51):
Yes. I actually want to dive into one of the things that you said, user violation. Hearing the words violations like big red flags. Does that mean penalty, Google penalty or how do you mean?

Andrew Wilder (13:01):
For Click Here?

Ashley Segura (13:02):
Yes. Yes.

Andrew Wilder (13:03):
That’s an accessibility violation. Google won’t directly penalize you. As far as I know, accessibility violations aren’t a ranking factor yet, but usability issues collectively can be. But you don’t want to have Click Here be your link everywhere because that’s saying to Google, “Hey, my keyword that I’m targeting is click here,” which probably isn’t really the case. So really, it’s helping your visitors and Google understand it. So it’s just the best practice all around. And also-

Casy Markee (13:31):
Yeah, like you said, you’re destroying your topical discoverability-

Andrew Wilder (13:35):
Right.

Casy Markee (13:35):
… if you’re using click here or here or this recipe or that recipe, there’s just no value to doing that on a site. Not only is it a poor experience for someone using a screen reader because they have no idea where they’re going, but it’s poor from a bottom line algorithmic standpoint because we’ve lost the ability to tell Google where we’re going on the site. The crawler is not going to provide us much value. I mean, if I want to rank better for my Salisbury steak recipe, I’m going to link my Salisbury steak or click here for my Salisbury steak recipe. I’m never going to just say, “Here’s the recipe, that recipe or here or click here.” No value doing that.

Andrew Wilder (14:12):
The other thing I want to add is don’t open internal links in new tabs.

Ashley Segura (14:19):
That’s a good tip, a new one. Definitely haven’t heard that one before. No, that’s really a fantastic tip.

Casy Markee (14:25):
It’s amazing how often we still see this in audits. I don’t know if this is just something that people have picked up in a course, but pull out your phone. Nobody wants to close 25 windows on a mobile device when navigating your site during the holidays. People are going to use that Back button, but we don’t need to be closing all these new windows. Internal links absolutely should always open up in the same tab. That’s the best practice.

Andrew Wilder (14:50):
And generally also, I think external links should open up in the same tab as well. That can be argued either way-

Arsen Rabinovich (14:55):
Blasphemy.

Andrew Wilder (14:56):
Casey.

Casy Markee (14:57):
No, I don’t agree. That’s fine. I like Andrew still.

Andrew Wilder (15:01):
But from an accessibility standpoint, if you’re going to open external links in a new tab, you actually should indicate that to the visitor. There’s some plugins that can add like a little Open New Tab.

Casy Markee (15:08):
A hint. Yeah, a little hint to it.

Andrew Wilder (15:08):
And so that’s-

Casy Markee (15:08):
Warning clicks on beep, beep, beep, opening up a new tab.

Andrew Wilder (15:17):
Exactly.

Casy Markee (15:18):
Good times. Good times.

Andrew Wilder (15:21):
[inaudible 00:15:21] over that one.

Ashley Segura (15:22):
Is there ever an instance where it makes sense to link to the same page twice? So say you have one blog post and you’re talking about Teriyaki chicken twice [inaudible 00:15:31] teriyake chicken both times you mentioned the word?

Arsen Rabinovich (15:34):
As long as one link opens in the new tab and the other link doesn’t, that should be a strong… No, I’m just kidding.

Casy Markee (15:39):
He’s definitely kidding.

Arsen Rabinovich (15:44):
From the same post, it won’t do much. That one link will be enough for Google. Keep in mind, and Andrew covered this already, one of the biggest values from an SEO perspective of the internal link is the anchor text, because that’s the contextual signal. The second most important thing is the content around that link text, proximity of content, or Casey, I think in the patents they call the co-citation, right?

Casy Markee (16:18):
Correct.

Arsen Rabinovich (16:18):
Right. The proximity of content around that link, what that content and how relevant and contextually relevant that content is to the page that you’re linking to, because Google wants to make sure that for the user there’s context. It’s okay, again, for the user, if you want to do a block of links Other Recipes You May Enjoy, those are purely navigational. That’s to keep people on your site, to show them more ads, to get them to click around more. From an SEO perspective, you’re probably not getting so much value out of that block of links because Google is looking at it and saying, “Okay, this is a block of links. There’s very little context around it.” The links that are coming from inside the post from paragraphs is where you’re going to get the most value. And again, we’re assuming this based on that reasonable surfer model where Google said that it grades or assigns value to links differently based on where the link appears.

(17:17):
The reasonable surfer model, links in your footer are less likely to get clicked than links in the body of your post. Or if they open the new tab. Just kidding. Or the links in your sidebar are less likely to get clicked. So Google’s going to deprioritize the value that it passes. It will still use that information and apply it in whichever way Google applies it, but what we’re looking for the signal is from in content. So if you have a link or two links on a page, one of the links, the important link, should be from within a paragraph within that piece of content, within that recipe, should be contextually relevant. You probably should not link from your ceviche recipe to your breakfast pancakes, not very relevant for those two. But if you have breakfast waffles and breakfast pancakes, those are relevant. You can link, and that’s going to make sense.

(18:13):
So you can have two links, it’s just the second one, the one that’s not really relevant is not going to do much from an SEO perspective. I know Casey’s going to chime in on this, John did come around and say stuff and I’ll let Casey take it, but make sure that if you are going to do two, that one is within content within a paragraph and is optimized to contextually be relevant to the post where you’re linking to in the new tab.

Ashley Segura (18:38):
Before we move on, can you clarify, if you’re going to do two internal links, as in to two different posts?

Arsen Rabinovich (18:45):
Oh, I thought the question was, can you link twice from the same post to another one?

Ashley Segura (18:53):
Can you link to the same post within the post?

Arsen Rabinovich (18:55):
Yeah, absolutely, from different posts on your site, link as many times.

Ashley Segura (18:59):
Okay. Okay.

Arsen Rabinovich (18:59):
As long as it makes sense. As long as it contextually makes sense. So again, if you’re linking from recipes or posts that are relevant to the post that you’re linking to, yes it makes sense to do it as many times. Keep in mind, diversifying that anchor text is going to be your best friend. You do want to focus on your primary keyword, the title of the post, but diversifying does help. We’ve done this plenty of times. We still do this for our Blog Growth clients. We provide recommendations for internal linking every time we do page URL recommendations. It’s one of the strongest signals, because it helps Google, it contextualizes the page. The anchor text is what this page is about. So yeah, from different posts, yeah. From one post, so you want to link from your teriyaki chicken to your teriyaki beef twice from teriyaki chicken, make sure that one of them is an optimized link, it’s not in a block of other recipes you may like.

Casy Markee (19:53):
Yeah, and I think that is just a confusing question there because the question can be read, as you said, Ashley, whether it’s okay to link to the same page more than once. Obviously it is. We want to link whenever we can when it’s relevant to the user, and that’s why we always track internal links whenever possible. There is no optimal number for that. When we do an internal link analysis, if we find that some pages don’t have any links, those are your orphan pages, that’s clearly a problem. But we wouldn’t say, “Okay, every page on the site needs three links from every other page.” That’s just not how it works, we link when it makes sense.

(20:24):
Now that being said, let’s say we’re on one page and we have three links to the same page, we have three internal links to another page, how does Google handle that? What if we vary the anchor text? What if they’re all the same? Well, in that case, Google says a link is a link, they count them all. But the problem is that you’re probably not going to get a lot of benefit from linking three times in a banana pudding recipe to banana bread three times. Google is going to follow those links, but are they really going to count all of those links and provide you any sort of a relevance boost for that? Probably not. We tend to find that they consolidate those signals down if at all.

(21:01):
Now, one of the things we’ve been seeing a lot in audits lately is an abuse of the use of the Tasty Links plugin so I want to very briefly talk about that. The Tasty Links plugin is one where you buy it, you add specific affiliate links tied to keywords, and it will literally go through the post and link every instance of that affiliate link in a post. So you can imagine how annoying it is to have 15 examples of colander or some cooking utensil all linked on the same page and three times in the same paragraph. Please, for those of you on the call using Tasty Links, and probably about 30% of you are, understand that you have to go back after you publish the post and remove those excessive links. You cannot leave the default. It is never a good idea to publish a post with 20 or 30 in-content affiliate links and those are split between three or four anchor texts.

(21:56):
It’s very unnatural. It’s a very poor experience for users. That’s where we’re getting into some of the external links stuff we’re going to talk about in a little bit. There is no penalty for having too many affiliate links. Google said that many times, but it just looks bad, and it’s a very poor experience for users. So please, you are not ever going to make enough income to overcome spamming Tasty Links in your post, so please dial that back.

Arsen Rabinovich (22:23):
Sorry, sorry, really quickly, on some of the audits that I’ve reviewed recently, so if you’re going to refocus your piece of content or let’s say as an example you have chicken and potato soup recipe and you’re going to refocus it to just be potato soup without chicken, reoptimize it or refocus it. Bad example, but quick example, you want to make sure that you go back in and you fix the internal links that say that this is a chicken potato soup and change it to potato soup, because that will still show Google that this is a chicken potato soup recipe. Internal links send a very strong contextual signal, so be mindful of if you are going to be changing your recipe around, you’re going to be reoptimizing it, you’re going to refocus around different. Slow cooker to crockpot, you’re going to refocus around that, you might want to adjust those links to really zero in on that topical focus for that post.

Ashley Segura (23:28):
Yeah, it’s just screaming how important internal links are when you’re optimizing your content. This is all such valuable info. Casey, you did address this a little bit in the beginning, but I’m going to ask you it in a little bit different of a way because it was the most asked question upon registration from everyone, it’s how many links are supposed to be in a post. Let’s break this down to something that we can really picture. Say we have a 1,000-word blog post, how many links would be a bare minimum… internal links, excuse me, should be a bare minimum in a 1,000-word blog post.

Casy Markee (24:03):
So this is going to be a-

Ashley Segura (24:07):
We need the formula.

Casy Markee (24:07):
It’s going to be an-

Ashley Segura (24:08):
We need the ratio.

(24:10):
So it’s an a square times the root value of the X constant over two divided by the square root of pi. I mean, basically, that’s how it comes down to. But no, very simply, this is a it depends answer. You link when it makes sense. No two 1000-word documents are ever going to look the same with regards to linking. It’s not going to happen. Sometimes it makes sense to link out more to explain concepts you’ve referenced in the post. Sometimes it makes sense to link internally to some supporting evidence to provide more relevance to whatever concepts or information you’re presenting in the post. Usually, it used to be in the good old days, they would say, “You should have one link for every 150 words on a page.” That kind of stuff is just outdated. It’s nonsense.

(25:02):
We just had someone ask a question here about, “Is it true, I was told that three internal links is equal to one external link?” I was like, “I don’t know where you read that, but that’s not how it works. There is no such thing. There is no math or crazy math that allows you to make those determinations. Those are just guesses.” Google has come out in many cases and said they don’t even know what links they use for their algorithmic calculations. They don’t know. They certainly can’t tell you the strength of an internal link versus an external link except in the most general of terms, and it would never be a ratio like a three to one or something like that. Folks, whenever you hear stuff like that on the call, I would immediately just raise your left eye a little bit and realize that if it sounds like nonsense, it probably is.

(25:57):
The goal with your internal linking is always to be useful. If that means that you link a little bit towards the top because you’re providing a lot of information, great. I publish a lot of information. I’ve been publishing some articles on search engine land, and I find that I tend to link more at the beginning of the article because it’s necessary to define concepts and lay groundwork for the other concepts that I’m going to be presenting later in the article. And sometimes that’s very common in a recipe. If I have techniques or something that I’m referencing at the top of the post or related recipes that go with the theme of the recipe that I’m currently writing, I might have more links in the top one third of the page and then I might have less links as I go down to the post until after I’ve got through this step by step. And then as we get into the expert tips and the Q&As, that’s when I might find reason or opportunity to link internally or externally again.

(26:53):
So please understand that there is no such thing as an optimal formula here. There is no, “Hey, this is the secret sauce.” You link when it makes sense. If you’re looking at a post and it looks like too much, it’s probably too much. If I’m looking at a post and I notice, “Gosh, I just got all the way down to your related recipes post and I only saw one in-content link,” that would probably stand out to me. I would go back up and say, “Okay, are there any other opportunities here where I can link internally to provide more topical discoverability for this post and also maybe define a concept or link to something that’s related?”

(27:28):
But this is unfortunately an it depends question. No two 1,000-word articles are ever going to have the same amount of links, nor should they. We link when it makes sense. We don’t say, “Okay, I need to make sure that I have three internal links and five external links in every post.” That’s just a nonsense. That’s not how it works. We link when it makes sense to our users, and we link out when we can provide a contextual relationship or provide more information to provide a better experience for our users. That’s it.

(28:00):
I think that’s probably one of the most frustrating things about external links, there aren’t formulas and there’s so many it depends scenarios and it’s just specific to your brand or to that query. But thanks for still trying to break that down, Casey. Arsen, say a post is ranking, it’s ranking well. You just watched this webinar and you’re like, “Oh, I hardly have any internal links on it and I just published a recipe that would be great to link to, but it’s already ranking really well.” Is it okay to go back to a post that’s ranking well and add a link to it or add two links to it that are relevant and make sense as far as content?

Arsen Rabinovich (28:39):
In my opinion, I don’t think that this is a big deal, as long as it makes sense. You’re not changing anything on that post. You’re not changing the headings. You’re not changing the titles. You’re not touching anything there that’s going to change the focus around the topic and the keywords that that post is already benefiting from. At the same time, if it’s making money, don’t touch it kind of a thing, right? I’m sure there’s another post that you can find on your site that’s relevant that you can get a link from.

(29:13):
Having said that, there are plugins that help you with that. There are different ways of doing this. I like to use the old-school method, and I teach this to my coaching clients, clients that I do coaching on how to do this stuff, this is how I teach my team internally when we’re doing PLRs, and that’s to use the site colon I’m going to show you here, yourwebsite.com and then keyword. If you put this into Chrome or into Google, site colon then yourwebsite.com, and let’s say you wrote a post about potato soup and you want to find other recipes on your site that are relevant to potato soup, so I would put in site colon yourwebsite.com and then the word potato. It’s going to use Google’s search results to show you which posts on your site are relevant to the word potato. It’s already going to organize it for you, from what we understand, in the matter of at the top the most relevant to that topic to the least relevant.

(30:22):
That’s how you identify the best possibilities for internal linking. It’s clumsy, it takes time, but it’s a really easy and quick way of figuring out what… 22 times, potato to mentioned 22 times on top of rank. For potato soup, I would do site colon, my website, potato, and then another one, site colon, potato soup, and then maybe just soup. Play around with relevant keywords to the topic.

Ashley Segura (30:59):
A little bit more of a complicated question, but Casey, you touched on this a little bit so I’ll direct it over to you, today’s about internal linking, but how do you find the balance? Other than what makes sense for the user, what’s a more concrete example of finding the balance between internal and external links? It sounds like internal is going to be better from an optimization standpoint, but occasionally you need to do an externally link because it just makes sense for the content, so when should you choose internal versus external?

Casy Markee (31:31):
Yeah, I don’t think it should be a struggle. Internal and external links are completely different things. I have a lot of people who literally know, follow all their external links, and it’s incredibly bad SEO for you to do that. Not only does it provide a black hole in the link graph, but it also makes it very strange to crawlers as to why you’re not linking out to relevant information or why you, for some reason, are no following links to NASA or government agencies or other bloggers. When you use a no follow, understand that the reason that no follow came up initially was because it was a way for you to show trust. It was a way for you to say, “I’m no following my link to you because I do not trust you.” You’re basically saying that when you’re no following all of your external links, you’re not trusting any of these external sites.

(32:17):
There’s just no reason to ever do that. We had an audit just a couple days ago where the blogger had a plugin and was no following all of our external links. It’s just not how the world works. We’re good neighbors, we link out when it makes sense to users, we link out to more information. It’s also a topical discoverability issue. It’s anecdotal, absolutely, but we’ve removed the blanket no follow from sites and clearly seen improved benefits. So understand that maybe that does help with topical discoverability on the [inaudible 00:32:48], so I would never recommend that it.

(32:49):
But internal links are a completely different beast. An internal link is where we’re telling users and telling Google and crawlers that, “Hey, this is my most important content. I’m providing increased channels for you to crawl and topically understand and index all the somatic relationships on my site.” There is no way, in my opinion, you can have too many internal links in most instances. I’m sure that there are examples out there that may define logic, but I have yet to see those. We just want to link when it makes sense. You also have to understand that links have to be useful. Is it useful for your users to have the same link to the same post five times on one page? The answer to that is probably no. And that should always refine how you approach your internal linking.

(33:41):
So if you take a course or you hear some guru say, “I want you to make sure that you’re linking to this recipe on every page or you always want to make sure that you have this many links per every 100 words,” that’s the kind of nonsense that’s probably not going to provide you any long-term benefit, okay? It’s not dynamic enough. It’s not natural enough. It’s not relevant to the viewing or the content choices that are on that page itself. So we link when it makes sense, and we don’t necessarily try to link to a number. It’s usually for the best there.

Ashley Segura (34:13):
Perfect. So linking always when it’s best for users and when it actually describes a user flow, if that makes sense. Andrew, for everyone that’s watching, they’re probably going to be like, “Okay, I need to go figure out how many internal links I have and how many I need to add and what’s happening with my content there.” Do you have any recommendations for any tools or other plugins out there that can tell you how many links you have per post?

Andrew Wilder (34:37):
Yeah, there’s nothing built into WordPress that takes care of this for you, unfortunately. The first place you can go is Search Console. If you go into your Search Console, on the very bottom left of the left-hand menu, there’s a link that says Links, and on there, it’ll show you your external links, your internal links. External links in this case means other sites linking to you, cause those are external from them or external incoming links. And they also list the top linking domains. You’re going to see a lot of links there. You’re going to see also the count of top link pages. And under the internal link section, there’s a little more link, and you can click on that.

(35:12):
You’re going to see your homepage linked a lot because the links in your menu also count, or any sidebar or footer links. I just went to my site and I’ve got 5,225 links to my homepage across my site. Not quite sure how that happened, but that’s not unnatural, right? It’s normal because you’re going to have a link to the homepage at least one on every page of your site. My About page is the next one. So that can give you an idea of what has the most links on your site that, that’s a quick overview. If you use Yoast SEO Premium, that has a lot of linking tools. It has a link counter. I’m going to paste in two articles from Yoast about the text link counter. And then there’s also an internal linking tool where we’ll help you determine what to link to and help you track those links. That is just a tool. Like all the Yoast stuff, you have to use your brain, it’s just a guideline thing, but it can help you track those things.

(36:10):
There are a few other tools like Semrush, Link Whisper, [inaudible 00:36:14], or Sitebulb or DeepCrawl. There’s also Clarity, which is brought to you from-

Arsen Rabinovich (36:21):
I was going to mention Clariti. Clariti does a good job.

Andrew Wilder (36:24):
Yep, Clariti. Clariti with an I, like Claritin without an N, I guess. I think it’s clariti.com, let me double check. Yep. And this is brought to you from TinyBit, who is the crew behind Tasty Recipes and Food Blogger Pro. It’s the same team, that’s Barracks company. So Clariti is a good way for tracking things like that as well. Did I miss any tools from there?

Arsen Rabinovich (36:53):
Maybe we should include a few screenshots from the presentation I did at TasteMaker in March of this year. I did step-by-step instructions on how to do this with Screaming Frog. That I guess leads to the next question, so I’ll just be quiet.

Ashley Segura (37:11):
It’s okay. Before we go to that one though, there’s definitely some confusion in the chat, and so I want to clarify this now before you move on. Andrew, we got a question for you about the no follow and affiliate links. “Can you please clarify the no following affiliate links or sponsoring?”

Andrew Wilder (37:27):
Yes. Yes. Any link that has some financial relationship or quid pro quo or anything like that, you do want to use no follow or sponsored, either one is fine. So affiliate links, if you’re doing a sponsored post and you’re linking out to the sponsor, that should definitely be no follow or sponsored. The whole reason is to say, “Hey, I’m not trying to game the system Google, I’m being a good citizen of the internet. I’m not trying to do anything shady here.” And so that says to Google, “Okay, you’re a legit actor here. You’re not trying to game the system.” What Casey was saying is you don’t want to just indiscriminately no follow all your external links, because that’s actually, on the other side, being too conservative and not being a good neighbor. You want to link to good stuff, but if you’re being paid or there’s some other incentive for you to link besides just linking, then that’s when you want to use the no follow tag. So I hope that clarifies.

Ashley Segura (38:20):
Definitely. Thank you for digging into that Arsen. Okay, so what you’re about to get into was kind of auditing your links. Andrew shared tools to do it, but how often should you audit your link profile?

Arsen Rabinovich (38:35):
I don’t think it’s something that bloggers should be really actively concerned about. With anything that we recommend that’s outside of your regular processes for publishing and updating content, unless you’re noticing declines or there’s some a reason for you to go digging, you probably shouldn’t. It’s not a good use of your time. You can always get in touch with Casey or I, you can shoot us an email if there’s something that’s really weird and you can’t figure it out. We’ll take a look and we’ll tell you if we can figure it out or we’ll charge you for an audit or a review. But I wouldn’t actively go looking on how to improve my internal linking unless you’re either not growing, you’re declining in positions, the keywords that you used to rank for are dropping off. It should be a part of your review process, but not a standalone.

(39:29):
We don’t necessarily do internal linking audits unless it’s a part of information architecture. So if we’re restructuring somebody’s categories and somebody’s website, we want to make sure that the architecture and topology and the breadcrumb structure and the relationships that we’re creating are not going against or are not competing with the signals that internal links are creating for Google. Because these are signals, so when you’re linking, you’re creating a web for Google to crawl and understand different things.

(39:59):
I definitely wouldn’t say that you should audit your links X amount of times a year. If you notice that things are not working the way they used to, definitely should be a part of your evaluation. But it should be a broader evaluation. You shouldn’t just say, “This is the links, the problem is the links.”

(40:17):
As you’re working through your content, you’re updating or creating new content and you’re going through the steps of finding other relevant pages on your website that could be good hosts for that internal link to the other piece of content, you can quickly take a look and see, “Oh, what else am I linking out to?” And that’s typically what I do. So with Screaming Frog, and we’ll try to include that in the recap, I’ll publish the presentation, but it’s really simple. Screaming Frog let’s you crawl 500 pages for free. I think that’s more than enough for majority of the bloggers that are on this call with us… This call.

(40:55):
You can call your site and then they show you steps on how to see which links are pointing to which page. And you got to keep in mind that you have all kinds of links. You have the links that are coming from your sidebar, like a popular post, and those links appear on every page of your site. You have links coming from category pages, those are navigational. What we’re looking for is links in content, and I show you in some screenshots on how to do it. That could be enough for an average recipe publisher to be able to just quickly evaluate the links. I know at that conference, Casey mentioned that there is a plugin that will show you this as well.

Ashley Segura (41:35):
Perfect. Okay, well, we are about to go into Q&A. We just have one more question. So if you haven’t put your question into the Q&A box, go ahead and do it now and we will get to as many as we can. But before we head into Q&A, Casey, I have one last question for you. So say you go through the audit process or you’re taking a look at your internal links and you have come to the conclusion that you need to add internal links to your content. How much of a priority should it be in terms of all of the other things within SEO to add internal links to your content?

Casy Markee (42:13):
That’s a good question. The answer unfortunately is a little complicated. If you don’t remember anything else, remember this today, we can move mountains with internal linkings. Not kidding. There are very few things in the SEO world that provide a bigger bottom line impact and fast than correct and competent internal linking. Arsen and I both have had examples where literally all we’ve done is go in and change internal linking on specific posts and we’ve had noticeable traffic improvements. And this is just common for competent SEO work.

(42:44):
With regards to internal links, your question should always be, “If I’m updating a post, I should immediately be going back and finding three to five related posts on the site, going into those posts that are already published, putting a link to the new post that I’ve just updated or republished and giving it a boost out of the gate.” Little bit of an algorithmic head start, so to speak. And so that’s just something that we’ve talked about previously in other webinars that I’m again going to talk about again today. You want to make sure that you’re providing fresh signals into content, even old legacy content that you’re just now revisiting.

(43:18):
For those of you on the call who’ve been following our webinars and have gone and looked at our last webinar which we did on seasonal content, I think it was two webinars ago, we did on seasonal content, your goal should be revisiting all of the top posts basically from November 1st to December the 27th from 2021, going into those posts, making sure that they’re relevant, and possibly sending some new fresh links into those posts from your current content when at all possible, provide new avenues for Google end users to find that new content, and that will give it a boost out of the gate. That’s how important internal linking is. That is probably the biggest pro tip we can give you, is always focus on driving new links to content, even if it’s just a post that you’re revisiting with an update or it’s seasonally appropriate.

Andrew Wilder (44:10):
Before we jump into the Q&A, because I know [inaudible 00:44:13] running low on time, I do want to mention, we’re a week away from Thanksgiving, so I know we’re talking about going back and editing links and doing all this stuff. I don’t want all of you to jump in and start changing lots of content right now, please.

Arsen Rabinovich (44:26):
Don’t do it. Don’t do it.

Andrew Wilder (44:27):
Don’t do it. This is the biggest traffic week of the year for most of you…

Casy Markee (44:33):
Actually, the biggest traffic week of the year starts next Tuesday. I would disagree with Andrew and say that, yes, if you know that you’ve got some Thanksgiving low hanging fruit right now that you can revisit between now and Saturday, absolutely, you should be revisiting it. We’re getting sites getting reindexed in a matter of minutes. Had a site today that we had changes that went live in seven minutes. Google’s doing pretty good at revisiting crawl rates. There are no I’m making a change now and the post’s not going to be revisited till the weekend. No, that’s not happening for the average blogger. You can go in and make changes to low hanging fruit. Just like we’ve always said though, we don’t touch unicorn posts. If your post is in the top three and we know that it’s doing pretty well and even though we know we could probably make some improvements for it, maybe we don’t, maybe we hold off on.

Arsen Rabinovich (45:22):
That’s what Andrew was talking about. The post that are making you money and are ranking highly, don’t go to those posts and build links to other posts. Correct.

Casy Markee (45:31):
But again, if you’ve got Thanksgiving related posts, it is Wednesday, you have got plenty of time, try to get into those posts. Look at your top 10 performing posts from last Thanksgiving and let’s go ahead and make a final push between now and Saturday. If we can get those posts updated and have those updates live, you’ve got plenty of time. I don’t know about you, but we literally did not even start our Thanksgiving prep until the Wednesday before Thanksgiving last year. Maybe we’re in the minority, but I don’t it.

Andrew Wilder (46:01):
Okay, Casey, so after this Saturday then, that’s your deadline. But my point is, this is high traffic time, this is high RPM time, and I don’t want you guys breaking your sites because you’re just like, “I want to get this-

Casy Markee (46:11):
Oh, I see. What Andrew’s saying is he doesn’t want more work between now and Thanksgiving, so he doesn’t want you necessarily to make-

Andrew Wilder (46:17):
I want everybody to make all their money right now. The other thing I want to say is, every time you update content on your site, your systems will clear the cache automatically. So if it is a very high traffic time, your server is going to flush the cache and it’s going to 0have to rebuild that content. One or two posts, not a big deal, but I’ve had things on the day before Thanksgiving where someone’s VA is like, “I’ve got quiet time. I’m going to update 150 posts for January.” They didn’t realize it, and they’re going through and updating a post every 10 minutes, and every 10 minutes the cache is cleared and the server just gets bogged down.

Casy Markee (46:47):
Totally valid. That’s why we would never say-

Andrew Wilder (46:50):
Thank you.

Casy Markee (46:50):
… touch content the day before Thanksgiving, which no one has ever said, we don’t want to do that. But I would say, have your VA go crazy between now and Saturday and you’re probably okay.

Ashley Segura (47:00):
I want to step in and as a woman, completely disagree with that, I already have all of my Thanksgiving recipe [inaudible 00:47:06] so totally going to disagree with that. We only have minutes left.

Casy Markee (47:12):
Oh man.

Ashley Segura (47:13):
First question is, Joanne, “Should internal links be reciprocal or should they be forward linking like pork chop recipe links and potatoes as a side dish and the potatoes side dish links back to the pork chops on the page? Or pork chops linked to potatoes and then potato post links to a chicken recipe,” it’s a lot of food, “elsewhere on the blog. I hope this makes sense.” Thank yo,u Joanne. Anyone want to take that question?

Arsen Rabinovich (47:39):
I don’t think it’s a big deal. Don’t treat internal links like back links. They’re two completely separate beasts. Those internal links, even if they’re reciprocal, it makes sense because you’re showing Google that these two posts have a relationship. When you link to one, you can link to another, and then that one back, but don’t think about it too much. Link where it’s contextually relevant. It’s not a big deal at all.

Ashley Segura (48:10):
Perfect. Okay, next question from Marissa, “Thinking about Arsen’s note about context and diversifying anchor text. How do lists such as check out these other pancake recipes fair followed by three to four other similar recipes?”

Arsen Rabinovich (48:25):
Again, that’s what I was referring to when I say block of links. That to Google will seem like a block of links. Now, you’re not going to get much value out of that from an SEO perspective. Might be useful to a user like, “Oh, cool, I like her recipes, she has other recipes that are within that same category that I’m looking now, let’s take a look.” When we say in-content, we mean within a paragraph. The paragraph is relevant to the page or words or parts of that paragraph are relevant to the page that you’re internally linking to.

Casy Markee (48:55):
I think it’s confusing to users, very quickly for clarification’s sake. A link is a link, those links count. Google’s not going to worry about those links. It’s just contextually they’re not as relevant as say, as Arsen said, and in-content link. So if you’ve got, “Hey, if you love my pancake recipe,” then I got a paragraph right below it, “then you’re going to love my Dutch apple pancakes, my blueberry pancakes and my caramelized apple with candy corn pancakes.” Those links contextually might be more relevant to Google and users than just having a list of links. But guys, don’t worry about using things like the FSRI block, the Feast Simple Recipe Index Block for related recipes. Not only do those Styley look great, those are valid links. They’re counting.

Arsen Rabinovich (49:39):
They’re not harming you. They’re not harming.

Casy Markee (49:41):
They’re crawled. They’re being recognized. They’re valid links. They’re fine. They’re not harming you. You’re good.

Arsen Rabinovich (49:47):
Right.

Ashley Segura (49:49):
Next question from Wendy, “Is it better to put related recipes in a list format or in a pair paragraph format? For example, more soup recipes and then a bulleted list of three recipes or more soup recipes and then three sentences each with the keyword linked to other recipes?”

Casy Markee (50:05):
We just answered that. So yes. I mean, they’re all links, they all count, but whenever you can contextualize the recipes in a paragraph, that’s totally fine. But I wouldn’t start replacing all of your FSRI blocks with a paragraph of links, there’s no value to that.

Ashley Segura (50:23):
Gotcha. And bullets don’t necessarily matter, it’s more just testing a safety user likes it

Casy Markee (50:27):
More. Yeah. Nothing, no benefit. No detriment at all.

Andrew Wilder (50:32):
Doesn’t help you, doesn’t harm you. Do what’s better for your readers. If they’re there looking for lots of different recipes, a bullet format might be easier for them to skim, right? So that might sway it one way or the other.

Ashley Segura (50:45):
Gotcha. Question from Marjorie, “What’s the easiest way to see what links are coming into a post?”

Arsen Rabinovich (50:51):
Those plugins that we mentioned earlier.

Casy Markee (50:55):
Yeah, you can use the Link Whisper for plugin, I highly recommend it. The free version of the Link Whisper per plugin will allows you to see all the internal links to a specific post. You can break that down. I believe that you can also go in and use your internal links report in Search Console. Go in there, look at the link, and it’ll show you all the internal links to that post on the site.

Ashley Segura (51:16):
Okay. This is a great question, definitely something worth clarifying from [inaudible 00:51:23] Cassidy. Sorry if I booked that, “I’m assuming it’s okay to go back and rename old links to utilize better keywords, aka changing the anchor text.”

Arsen Rabinovich (51:31):
Right. You should do it.

Casy Markee (51:33):
Absolutely. We don’t want to have Click Here, this recipe, that recipe or here. I know a lot of you are doing roundups. If there’s a way for you to go back to a lot of your old roundups and change those eoundup labels to something that’s a little bit more descriptive, that’s an SEO quick one as well for topic discoverability.

Arsen Rabinovich (51:53):
But also, look, the whole roundup thing, you can have a button Click Here. If the roundup is structured properly, if the post title, the heading is a link to the post, the image is a link to the post, there’s all tags on that image, you can have a third link. You can have that button say Click Here because it’s just navigational. It’s for the user to click to see the post. You’re already sending all those signals with all of the others. Yes, Andrew.

Andrew Wilder (52:19):
But it has to be done in a way that doesn’t cause an accessibility violation. So that Click Here would actually have to be hidden from a screen reader. Because if you’ve got 10 links and they also Click Here, Click Here, Click Here, it’s very easy for someone using a screen reader to not have any context to know what’s going on. So if your roundup tool is built properly, and I believe the WPR recipe makers roundups do this correctly, it actually hides those from a screen reader. But still, you don’t ever want to just be typing Click Here and make that a link.

Arsen Rabinovich (52:47):
Right. Right. It’s like a button.

Ashley Segura (52:51):
That makes sense. Katie just messaged something over to host panelists that I think is definitely worth mentioning when you’re making those changes to not modify the date if it is a tiny change. Is that something that we agree with?

Arsen Rabinovich (53:02):
Yes.

Casy Markee (53:03):
And that’s now built into fees. For all of you on the call that are using the FE plugin, skyline introduced intelligent post edits.

Arsen Rabinovich (53:10):
There was something else that he did right? There was another update. He chatted me about it.

Casy Markee (53:18):
Yeah, I’m not sure if he is. He can tell you about it, but the one I’m referring to is called Intelligent post edits and basically it just won’t update the post date if you do these little small changes like that.

Ashley Segura (53:26):
Perfect. Our final question before we wrap up is from Katie, “Does linking to related content actually help to show the breadth of your expertise on a subject?” Great question. “If so, and you have tons of related content, does it make sense to add a new category? During the call on categories and tags, you said we’re not fans of ingredient categories, but would this be a time for an exception?” Amazing question, Katie. Who’s taking it?

Arsen Rabinovich (53:55):
I wasn’t listening. I was looking for the Skylar.

Casy Markee (53:57):
Where is it on the-

Ashley Segura (53:58):
It is… Of course, I just pressed answered live, so if you got to answer, scroll to the top. Actually not to the top. Where did it go?

Casy Markee (54:09):
Answered, most recent?

Arsen Rabinovich (54:12):
Yeah. So while they’re doing this, so I just posted a link for Skylar’s FSRI blog. There’s now internal linking based on ingredient, which I think is awesome.

Casy Markee (54:25):
Okay.

Ashley Segura (54:27):
Okay. And I got the question.

Arsen Rabinovich (54:30):
Oh, there it is, right. “Does linking to related-”

Ashley Segura (54:31):
Like Katie, “Does linking to related content actually help to show the breadth of your expertise on a subject? If so, and you have tons of related content, does it make sense to add a new category? Because during the webinar and categories and tags, you said we’re not fans of in greeny categories, but would this be a time for exceptions?”

Arsen Rabinovich (54:49):
I’m raising my hand. Yes. If you have content around a specific topic and you have a lot of that content, definitely create a category for it. Topical depth or topical authority, whichever you want to call it, Google does understand that based on how your website is structured. Internal links do help with that if they’re properly organized to reinforce that signal. Again, with our information architecture audits, this is what we focus on. We focus on understanding topics that people are actually searching for, and then organizing your content into those topical categories. So your categories should not only be organizational, they should also be queries that support [inaudible 00:55:33] so like all of my air fryer, chicken dinner recipes, right? Here’s all of them. And that’s also something that people search for. It’s a broader query, but we talk about that on our information architecture and categories webinars.

Ashley Segura (55:47):
Perfect. Well, that wraps us up for today. Thank you everyone for joining us. Next week we’ll be publishing the blog post that has the video replay, all of the links, all the resources mentioned. We’ll get that screenshot from Arsen as well. But thank you guys so much for joining us and we won’t see you next week. So have a great Thanksgiving.

Casy Markee (56:05):
Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Be safe out there.

Arsen Rabinovich (56:07):
Bye.

 

About The Panelists

Andrew Wilder

Andrew Wilder is the founder of NerdPress, a digital agency that provides WordPress maintenance and support services for publishers and small businesses, placing an emphasis on site speed, stability, and security. He has been building, fixing, and maintaining websites since 1998, and has spoken on a wide variety of technical topics (in plain English!) at conferences such as WordCamp LAX, the International Association of Culinary Professionals, Food & Wine, Techmunch, BlogHer, BlogHer Food, and Mediavine.

Andrew on Twitter >>

Ashley Segura

International speaker and content marketing expert, Ashley is the VP of Operations at TopHatRank and the CoFounder of TopHatSocial and TopHatContent. Ashley is also an author of the best-selling book, The Better Business Book, and writes regularly for Semrush and Search Engine Journal.

Ashley on Twitter >>

Arsen Rabinovich

Digital Marketer, SEO, International Speaker, 2X Interactive Marketing Award Winner, Search Engine Land Award Winner. Founder @TopHatRank, a Los Angeles based marketing agency that specializes in innovative digital marketing techniques for modern brands of all sizes.

Arsen on Twitter >>

Casey Markee

Speaker, writer, and trainer, Casey Markee has been doing SEO for 20+ years, has conducted over 1000+ site audits, and has trained SEO teams on five continents through his consultancy Media Wyse. He believes bacon should be its own food group and likes long walks to the kitchen and back while under home quarantine.

Casey on Twitter >>

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