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26 Feb 2020

How to Quickly do Internal Linking in Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, BigCommerce, or Shopify

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Derek Cummings

Table of ContentsWhat is Internal LinkingInternal Linking BenefitsBest Practices for Internal LinkingProblems to Avoid with Internal LinkingHow to set up Internal Links in WordPress Alternatives
While WordPress users have been long spoiled with SEO plugins such as Yoast Premium, which have built-in internal linking functionality, WordPress alternatives such as Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, BigCommerce, and Shopify have all been found wanting. Not to fear though, if you're on one of these platforms and you've been neglecting your internal linking, it's not too late to reap the benefits of a proper internal linking hierarchy. Today I'll be sharing with you a method that will allow you to both quickly and easily plan out your internal linking anchor text without breaking the bank. While other methods only find matches via text AI (lame), and if you're on a non-WordPress CMS like Wix then you're out of luck. Instead, my method uses Google's own relevance to find the optimal links and anchor text that will be sure to boost the SEO of all pages involved!

What is Internal Linking?

While external linking would describe linking out to a different domain, internal linking, on the contrary, would simply be linking inward to another page on your domain. For example, let's pretend you're selling protein bars online and your website has a blog about the healthiest protein bars of 2020. Then it would make sense to create a hyperlink to the page where your customers can buy your protein bars somewhere inside this text, this would be considered an internal link.

Internal Linking Benefits

Building upon the same example above, if the post about the healthiest protein bars of 2020 is getting a lot of traffic and a lot of backlinks, then by creating an internal link, it would pass some of that link juice (or authority in the eyes of Google) to the page you linked to. This can become especially handy if you're trying to rank a local page like "The Best Protein Bars in New York City," because those pages tend to have a much smaller exposer to potential linkers. As a whole, strategic internal linking can provide a real & permanent rankings jump, helping you pass on page authority from your better ranking pages to your lesser ones, plus they help establish an info hierarchy that Google loves to crawl!

Best Practices for Internal Linking

Although in some cases internal linking can provide an SEO benefit by way of passing on authority from your best pages to your most lacking, it's real intention is to establish a complete site architecture that not only spreads link equally but creates a useful trail of breadcrumbs that tells search engines like Google how pages are related. Anchor text plays a big role in this because Google understands things on a keyword basis. However, sometimes the keywords that Google finds relevant to your article are something you'd ever want to actually put inside a paragraph! An example you'll see later in the tutorial is "site similar search" which isn't proper English. A quick Google of "site similar search" reveals that Google believes this search query is related to tools that allow you to find similar sites and competitors. So if we were to include an internal link pointing to a page we have about finding similar sites using our tool, then we'd choose something like "similar site search," or even "find similar sites" as our anchor text instead. Why? Because our Google search showed that Google considers those keywords relevant to the "site similar search" query.
The point? Under no circumstances should anyone be keyword stuffing bad internal linking anchor text into perfectly written articles, even if it's suggested by an internal linking tool to do so. First, investigate the intent behind the suggested anchor text, and alter it to fit into your content where it makes sense. If it doesn't make sense, or it's going to involve altering too much content then just skip it. There will be many more internal linking opportunities than just one per page, so choose the ones that work best for your existing content.
This might seem like common sense but here are a few places that internal links are not suggested:
● Inside Javascript, I-Frames, Flash, Java Applets.● Pages with hundreds of links like resource pages.● Pages blocked by robots.txt.● Submission forms.

Problems to Avoid with Internal Linking

● All internal links should be do-follow tagged!● Avoid broken internal links and redirect chains (obviously?).● Avoid placing too many internal links, choose only the most relevant ones because just like external links, "link juice" is split between links.● Don't forget to interlink any useful orphaned pages, but remove those that are not from your sitemap.

How to set up Internal Links in WordPress Alternatives in 8 Steps

Expert? Focus on the bold text!

Here's what you'll need

First, you're going to need access to an SEO tool that will allow you to both: check all the keywords in the top 100 that each of your website's pages rank for, and finally, a rank tracker to discover what other pages rank higher than the original for each of those keywords. Some of the better keyword checking options are Moz, Semrush, and Serpstat because they all offer free trials. Even Scrapbox's RankTracker will work for the rank tracking portion. However, for the purpose of this demonstration, we'll be using Serpstat for its affordability, ease of use for this unique purpose, and the fact that many marketers have access to a legacy or LTD account. It's important to note however that you may use whatever combination of tools at your disposal to get the job done, but if you don't already own one of these tools, then I'd suggest you wait until the end of this tutorial before you go out and make a purchase.
The second thing you'll need is access to basic spreadsheet software. For the purpose of this demonstration, we'll be using Microsoft Excel because almost everyone knows how to use it, but something like Google Sheets should work given you understand how to translate the formulas I'll be providing later in the tutorial.

Step 1.) Checking Your Website's Internal Linking Suitability

Before you commit to exploring this method any further, you need to check whether or not your website is a good candidate for this internal linking method. In short, if your website is ranking for hundreds of keywords then it's worthwhile to explore this further. Any well-established website with a blog or many various keyword-rich product pages will be great candidates for this internal linking method. The good news is that you can check your website's suitability using a free Serpstat account and navigating to the "Tree View" report for your domain, here's how:
On the left-hand menu click "Website Analysis" > "Domain Analysis" > "SEO Research" > "Tree-View," then at the top of the page change the grey drop-down menu from "With subdomains" to "Root domain," next, enter your domain in the white box above, and finally, click on the "Search" button. If you're in the right view then you'll see something like this:

internal linking suitability

What you're concerned with here is the number of result pages. Essentially, the more results you see here the more internal linking ideas you'll discover later on in the process. Note: your free account only allows you to see 10 results per page, which is why you only see your home page, so this doesn't mean there are only 10*600 results, in this case, there are at least 100*600 results found. Additionally, do not be concerned about what you see here because the first 10 results are from the non-https version of the home page, we'll need to dig further into the results pages and set up filters to get into the good stuff.
At this point in the tutorial, you'll need a premium Serpstat account to follow along. Once you've obtained premium access, repeat the first step to view the full report and move onto the second step.

Step 2.) How to properly filter and export the data

a.) In short, we'll be organizing our exports in order by search engine results page, up to SERP 10 to be exact. To do this you'll need to utilize the Tree view report's filter feature located directly above the keyword column. From there you'll see a drop-down menu labeled "Filter" where you'll need to select the following: "Domain's position for a keyword" > "Between" > 1 | 10, this will give us the results for the 1st SERP.
IMPORTANT note: At the very bottom right of the screen you'll notice you can display up to 500 results per page, but depending on your plan this will differ. I understand that many of you might still be using a legacy or LTD account, so be aware that you'll only be able to export 100 results. If this describes you, then what you need to know is that additional filtering may be necessary in order to ensure no results are skipped upon export. If you notice that the "Pos" column is only showing position 1, then this is an indication that there are likely more results for position 1 that are hidden from your view on the 2nd results page. To remedy this, you can set the filter to 1|5, then 6|10, or even 0|1, then 2|3, etc. Of course, this type of aggressive filtering will eat away at your credits but it's necessary if you want to use your LTD. 
b.) Next, you'll need to export the data for SERP 1. For this, I'd recommend setting up a nice clean folder on your desktop and label it something like "Internal Linking for Website Name." Now, although Serpstat retains your exports for future download, I recommend you download load them one at a time after each export and rename each file by SERP as you go along. Why? Because of the fact that Serpstat's reports do not contain any identifiable filename information, it's very possible that you could lose track of what SERP you've downloaded. This will become even more evident if you're using an account with limited results per page as previously discussed, so don't say I didn't warn you! Anyway, to export the data simply click on the "Export" drop-down menu on the top right-hand side across from the "Filter" menu, and select "CSV." On the next screen, you only need to select the "URL," "Volume," and "Keyword Difficulty" checkboxes as these are the most useful for the purpose of internal link building (these settings will remain). Next, when you see the grey bar popup you may click the white download link, or alternatively, click on the green download icon just to the right of your profile picture. If you choose the latter, you'll need to download the query nearest to the top of the list.
c.) Repeat steps a-b for the next SERP. For example, to obtain the data for SERP 2 you'll want to set the same filter but with the range of 11-20. For SERP 3 you'll use 21-30, and so on and so forth until you've downloaded all 10 SERPs.

Step 3.) How to combine your data

Now that you have your internal linking folder full of various csv files, you'll want to head on over to merge-csv.com to merge them into just one csv. To do so, you can simply drag and drop all of the files into Merge CSV at once, but make sure you keep the setting "Keep header (index) only in first file" checked. Next, click on the grey button "Merge CSV-files" to merge and download your combined csv file. Note: you may need to go through your final csv file and delete some of the header text and blank lines if they were not removed properly during the merge. In the end you should be left with a single csv file with only headers in row 1.
At this point, I'd recommend saving the file as an Excel Workbook because this will allow us to retain our formatting moving forward.

Step 4.) Sorting and preparing the spreadsheet

a.) First, highlight row 1, click "Data," and "Filter" as shown here:

sorting and preparing the spreadsheet for internal linking data

Next, click the drop-down arrow for the "URL" column located at cell C1, then choose the first option labeled "Sort A-Z." If you've done this correctly then you'll see a little upward arrow in-which I've boxed in red.
Lastly, you'll need to hover your mouse over column A until you see a black downward arrow, once you see it, left-click your mouse to select the entire column. With the column still selected, select the "Remove Duplicates" icon with the little red "x" located in the "Data Tools" section of that same the Data menu as shown here:

removing duplicates from a spreadsheet

Leave "Expand the selection" checked, click the "Remove Duplicates" button, but make sure only the "Keywords" column is selected and click "OK."

Step 5.) Download our spreadsheet template

Both the format and the formulas required to make this work are very precise and a bit complicated for the novice Excel user. So instead of dedicating another 2000 words to excel tutorial, I thought it'd be best to give you free access to the latest version of our pre-made internal linking template from our Downloads area below:


Step 6.) Paste in your data

We'll be copying the data below into its corresponding place on our spreadsheet template. First, copy the entirety of the data in column C, and paste it into cell A9 on the template. Next, copy the entirety of the data in columns A-B, and paste it into cell C9 on the template. Finally, copy the entirety of the data in column D, and paste it into cell E9 on the template. Note: be sure you do not copy and paste the header text in row 1.

copying internal linking data
pasting internal linking data

Don't worry about column B of the template for now, after we complete the next couple steps this field will auto-populate with our internal linking ideas!

Step 7.) Rank checking the keywords

Essentially what we need is to find the highest-ranking internal page for each of the keywords in column C of our template file. We do this because the highest-ranking pages have the highest keyword relevancy in the eyes of Google, thus it would make sense from an SEO standpoint to use Google's suggestions as our internal links. There are at least two ways you can accomplish with this with little to no expense:
First, Serpstat has it's own rank tracker that works great for this, but if you're running into the issue of not having enough rank tracking allowance, then you might opt to use something like Scrapebox's Premium RankTracker Plugin. I'll be providing a tutorial for both solutions, but I'll start with Serpstat's Rank Tracker first.
Click here to skip to Scrapebox's RankTracker

Serpstat

a.) First, you'll need to click on "List of Projects" at the top of the main menu. Then click "+ Add new project," fill in the domain and required fields, and click "Create."This will bring you back to your projects view where you'll see a button to the very right under "Keywords" labeled "Start Tracking," you'll want to click this.
On the next screen, you may opt to select your time zone, but keep everything else default. Click the "Search Regions" tab at the top under "Settings." In order from top to bottom choose the following search region settings: Google > Desktop Organic > Your Country > All > All > Your Language, then click "Add."
Next, you'll need to click (you guessed it) on the "Keyword" tab. Under "My keywords," you'll need to copy and paste the keywords from column C in our template file and click the blue "Add" button below.
To view your keyword rankings, on the left-hand menu, under "Rank Tracker," select "URLs." Note: depending on how many keywords you're checking, it can take up to 6 hours to see results, but normally it's relatively quick.
Finally, you'll want to export your rankings data so we can format it, and paste it into the appropriate columns of our template. On this same screen, click on the middle blue upward-arrow button just above the "URLs are different" count. If you don't see the normal download popup do not fear, simply click on your profile picture and navigate to "Latest reports" and download your rankings report from there.
b.) Once you have your rankings spreadsheet open, go ahead and immediately delete column F. To do this, highlight the entire column as you've done before, right-click, and select "Delete." Next, you'll want to copy and paste the entirety of the "Keyword" and "URLs in SERP" columns into cell F9 of the internal linking template as shown below:

copying ranking urls
pasting ranking urls

Do not worry if the rankings data doesn't fill in the entirety of columns F and G. The reason why the data doesn't match is that not all of the keywords have rankings pages. It's also important to mention that Serpstat's keyword database will likely lag behind its rankings data by at least a month, and with large domains like Ahrefs, they can drop in and out of ranking for thousands of different keywords per page on a regular basis. For the purpose of internal link building however, this increase in keyword or anchor text possibilities is actually an advantage.
Tip: I'd recommend hiding columns F and G, this way you don't accidentally alter the rankings data. To do this, simply highlight the entirety of both columns using the technique you used before, but this time holding left-click and dragging the highlight until it covers both columns.
To skip to the next step click here. Otherwise, continue reading if your interested in how you can use Scrapebox's RankTracker for step 7.

Scrapebox

This tutorial operates under the assumption you know how to operate Scrapebox's RankTracker, if you don't I suggest you watch Loopline's tutorial. In an effort to save time and space I'm not going to into as much detail with this, but I feel like I need to include this because of the unlimited potential of the tool. Note: Although the rank tracking will vary due to your location, or the location of your proxies, for the purpose of my internal linking method it still works correctly 90% of the time. In the end, using Scrapebox's RankTracker can even be more accurate for our purpose because it will give us ALL the ranking pages in the top 100 for each of our anchor keywords. Why? Because occasionally more then one internal page will rank for a keyword, if the highest-ranking page is the same as the Origin page, we'll have the opportunity to use the lower ranking page as our internal link. With Serpstat on the other hand, it would show up as "N/A" or no internal link found because they only provide us with the highest-ranking page. I hope that makes sense...
RankTracker:
● "Export keywords and URL's (Excel), only ranking URL"● "Google"
Excel:
● Delete columns B and C● Paste the remaining data into Cell F9 of the template● Browse through column F looking for duplicate keywords, if the corresponding URL's are the same, then skip it, else search for the same keyword in column C. Look at its corresponding URL. Delete the URL in column G that matches F. In short, we are trying to leave only different URL's for each keyword. Note: if two different URL's are left, only leave the first one (i.e the upper-one).

Step 8.) Evaluating the internal linking suggestions

If you haven't noticed already, column B has been updated with your internal linking suggestions. The spreadsheet reads from left to right where the "Origin Page" is the page in which you'll be placing the internal link on, the "Internal Link Suggestion" is the destination for that link, and the "Anchor Text Suggestion" is the suggested anchor text for that link (the clickable text).

understanding internal linking suggestions and anchor text ideas

The first one was ignored for the simple reason that the Origin Page was nothing more than the non-https version of the Internal Link Suggestion, so obviously this isn't what we're looking for. It's rare, but occasionally a few irrelevant Internal Linking Suggestions could be made in the case of http/https, redirects, & certain pagination circumstances.
The second one is a page about Ahref's Rank Tracker. In this case, if we check Ahefs.com we'll see the following:

internal linking example

You'll notice that they've already linked to our Internal Linking Suggestion via the anchor text "Rank Tracker tool ->" so that's nice, but what about our suggested anchor text? While there may be an SEO benefit to using the anchor text "SERP tracker online free," it wouldn't be appropriate here for a number of reasons from professionalism to business strategy. For example, Ahrefs isn't even offering free basic accounts anymore, so why would they want to advertise that their tracker was free to get started. 
As you can probably tell by now, internal linking from the home page can be a little more tricky. In the case of Internal Linking Suggestions that are blogs, normally the latest blog posts will be rotated in and out regularly on home pages, thus it wouldn't make sense to suggest a random blog post from inside the home page content. Anyway, these are the kind of evaluations you're going to need to be making as you move down your own list of internal linking suggestions.
Remember, no one knows your content better than you do; since these internal links and their corresponding anchor text are suggestions based on machine data from Google, they're going to need to be reviewed by the human eye. Blindly re-writing entire articles, keyword stuffing, placing these links in footer areas, or forcing anything into a page is never recommended. While it's true that these internal links will all make sense in the eyes of Google, the same can not be said about your users and their experience matters! While one can opt to use strategic keyword modifiers at any time during your evaluation, the Anchor Text Suggestion in the above example, despite being relevant according to a quick Google search of the keyword, happens to be one of those keywords that you can't modify appropriately. In this case, I'd be happy that there was already an internal link to our suggested page and I'd simply chose to ignore the anchor text suggestion.
I know this tutorial is long, and the process might seem intimidating at first, but I know if you give it a try you'll be pleasantly surprised how well it goes. While our Ahrefs example was an exceptionally challenging case, and maybe not the best example to display this internal linking method's potential, I thought there was value in showcasing how important it is to avoid altering good content around a desire for internal links. So now that you don't need to go out and convert to WordPress just to apply sound internal linking, how excited are you? Its time now to go out there and uncover those missing internal linking opportunities! Don't expect immediate results, but within a couple of weeks to a month, you should see a drastic improvement in your rankings if you've been neglecting this aspect of your SEO. Either way, please let me know in the comments how it goes!

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