Want a quick and easy way to boost rankings for your target keywords while also improving user experience on your site? Look no further than an internal link audit centered around low-hanging fruit opportunities.
I’m going to cut out all the bells and whistles and show you how to do this quickly and efficiently. Make a copy of this templated spreadsheet that will help you as we go through the process.
There are four very simple steps to this low-hanging fruit internal link audit
- Determine your focus keywords
- Identify which page is ranking for each of those focus keywords
- Find internal link opportunities using those keywords
- Get specific
- Implement the changes
- See the results
Determine your focus keywords
What are your bread and butter keywords? Which high search volume keywords do you already rank highly for? Hopefully you can quickly determine your few biggest opportunity keywords. If you can’t, there are a number of tools available that will help you to figure this out. The one we love to use at 97th Floor is called Ahrefs. It’s a tool that allows you to see a detailed list of all of the keywords for which any page on your site ranks in Google search. You can go through this process with as many keywords as you’d like, but I recommend starting with your highest volume, most relevant keyword. Type that keyword in the tab on the spreadsheet that says “Keyword 1.”
Identify the pages that are ranking for your focus keywords
With a tool like Ahrefs, you can quickly discover which page is ranking for a given keyword. Find the page that is ranking for your highest volume and most relevant keyword and keep track of it. This will be the target page of all the internal links you’re about to build. List it in column F of the spreadsheet.
Find internal link opportunities
Now that you’ve identified the keyword and the target page, you’ll need to crawl your whole site to identify existing (but untapped) opportunities to internally link back to that page. There is a simple way to do this: a Google power search. Here’s what you’ll type into Google in order to search your site for these opportunities. Where it says “example.com” you’ll place the name of your site. Where it says “keyword” you’ll put your focus keyword.
Performing this search in Google will give you a list of the all of the pages on your site that include an exact match of the focus keyword (assuming they have been indexed by Google). Now that you have that list, you’ll want to copy and paste each page title and URL into a spreadsheet. I like to use a free Chrome extension called Linkclump to quickly do this. Place them in columns A+B on the spreadsheet.
Some of the instances of your focus keyword may already link to your desired target page. In this case, no further action is needed. Others, however, may link to a different page on your site than the one you’d like to target. If this is the case, change the link to go instead to your target page (make a note in column G of the spreadsheet). The goal is to send clear signals to Google regarding what different pages on your site are about and which ones you’d like to rank for certain keywords. You’ll likely find many instances of your keywords that don’t link to any other pages. Bravo! These are opportunities to implement an internal link to quickly and easily send some authority to your target page.
If you’d like to find other, broader match keyword variations, feel free to grab a list of those as well. If you opt to do that, you may find it more effective to remove the quotation marks around the keyword.
Once you’ve identified the pages where you will add internal links, quickly list out the sentence in which the internal link will be placed and determine the anchor text that will be used. You can find the sentence by doing a simple “command-F” or “ctrl-F” for the keyword. List the sentence in column C of the spreadsheet. If you’ve identified words that are close to your keyword but need to be changed slightly, list the new suggested sentence in column D of the spreadsheet. Otherwise, just put an N/A in that column.
Implement the changes
If you have access to the backend of your site, go ahead and implement the changes. If not, you can send the detailed spreadsheet to your developer to guide them in the implementation process.
See the results
Implementing internal links is a quick way to send signals to Google about what your pages are talking about and which keywords they should rank for. So many people focus on gaining backlinks before they take advantage of the simple opportunities right on their own site. Backlinks are still a critical part of SEO, but internal links also play a role, so it’s best to start there. Try this simple internal link audit to see what quick keyword boosts may be available.