How I Increased Traffic by 10x in 1 Year With Internal Linking

Link Whisper customer Kyle Kroeger provided the following case study.

Kyle is the owner of Black Bear Media . Black Bear Media is a boutique digital media business that owns and operates websites in the sustainability, travel, and personal finance industries.

Managing content requires a ton of work. Generally speaking, content is simple, but everything else that goes into it will require careful planning, execution, and, most importantly, time spent promoting your work. 

One way to create better content is to focus on ways to spend less time planning, executing, and, ultimately, time spent on all the other things. This way, you can focus on creating more high-quality content.

A must-have tool in my toolbox is Link Whisper, the ultimate internal linking tool

That is about an 11,000% increase in traffic! 

I believe that it’s one of the main reasons I’ve been able to scale up content and focus on the “other things” that can take your business to the next level.

As a digital publisher for my sites, The Impact Investor, and a handful of other smaller side project sites, I’m constantly focusing on ways that I can improve the reader experience while, at the same time, producing new content day in and day out. 

That requires a lot of time.

When you produce a lot of content, you want all your content to be seen by your readers. That creates a better, more fulfilling experience. 

In my opinion, that’s why an internal linking strategy is such an important part of the process with SEO. By internal linking, you are, in a way, showcasing your topical authority on any given subject.

When you run several sites, you need your focus solely on content production, ROI, and quality. Enter a tool like Link Whisper that allows me to spend more time focusing on those things and less time doing WordPress SEO, manually internally linking. 

For one of my main sites, we were able to grow from 100,000 sessions per month in January to a peak of 1.1 million sessions per month by August. That is about an 11,000% increase in traffic



How to Showcase Your Topical Authority with Internal Linking

Here’s how I believe you can showcase your authority, get more traffic, and drive more revenue to your online business.

Cover Your Topic in Thorough Detail

This step sounds easier than it is. It’s a bit more technical than you’d think it would be. 

First, you must determine what posts are standalone posts versus topics that could be covered in one main pillar post if you chop up what could be a pillar post into too many individual posts. 

In that case, you run the risk of ranking in position 7 to 15 for 100 different medium-to-low search volume keywords rather than ranking 1-3 for a high search volume keyword along with 100+ keywords in a single post.

I like using Surfer SEO to build topical content clusters about a cluster-driving parent keyword. You can do this by using their “Keyword Research” tool once you’ve drawn the line between what you believe needs to be an individual post versus a pillar post.

Start mapping out how each of those articles will interconnect through internal linking. To do this, with an example, let’s say you are writing an article about the “best investing apps.” 

You’d need to include an internal link to all your individual “reviews” of each app within the descriptions of your best-of list.

Ensure You Have the Right Link Whisper Settings

This step is super important, and I can’t emphasize this enough. Too many people get trigger-happy when it comes to using a new plugin. They download it and start using it without reading the best practices for using it. I’ll admit I’m one of those people.

However, since Link Whisper has been such an important tool, I realized quickly that having the most optimal settings can pinpoint your target keywords and placements with more precision.

To get started, navigate to the “Settings” section under the plugin title in WordPress. Once you’ve navigated there, in “General Settings”, I’d only recommend one small change to bump up the “Number of Sentences to Skip” to 5. No science behind this method. I like having more gaps between links, so it’s a bit more natural.

Next, navigate to “Content Ignoring” and exclude any administrative pages, including things like your team, about us, contact us, disclaimers, and privacy policy pages. This will allow your link suggestions to be made with less clutter.

In the “HTML Tags to Ignore from Linking” section, exclude span, ul, ol, blockquote, td, and th from internal linking. This will ensure that you don’t have links in things like FAQs, headers, tables, and bullet points. I like my links to be tightly done contextually.

Finally, navigate to “Advanced Settings” and make sure that you’ve connected your Google Search Console. This is incredibly helpful as you can then get links based on exact keyword data rather than guessing from other keyword data from another software.

You can tinker with the settings for your “Target Keyword Sources” sections to see how this impacts your site. Since all sites and strategies are different, you may have different needs depending on what you input into your SEO plugin and article titles. 

I use Rank Math data and Google Search Console data (which can be pulled in WordPress with Link Whisper) for my internal link suggestions.

Ensure You Internally Link Quickly

This step is easier than it sounds. See what I did there? No, but seriously. I know that I have a few sets of pillar posts that target very specific keywords. 

To do this, you can sleep peacefully by auto-linking with Link Whisper for very defined keywords for said pillar post. This will immediately scan your existing articles and automatically place your internal link.

If you manage a team of writers, you can ask them to include that keyword once naturally in their article, and then Link Whisper will automatically pick it up as an internal link right away.

If you have a ton of content that already exists on your site, auto-linking can help you play catch-up on your topical authority efforts. 

If you don’t have a lot of content, auto-linking still helps as you can continuously reinforce your topical authority on auto-pilot.

If you have a lot of content, ensure you use the bulk auto-linking tool here.

Once you’ve processed them in batches, you should be able to look at the key posts that were added to check to see if the internal links are done properly and are natural.

This is why deploying the correct settings from the get-go is so important. Without that, you could end up creating a lot of work for yourself by fixing old links.

Always Process New Outbound Internal Links and Inbound Internal Links to Revamped Content

If you are a publisher, revamping old content is likely a part of your content strategy. When you update an article, you must add outbound internal links from the article and scan other articles on your website for new inbound internal links.

It may seem like an obvious step, but this often goes unnoticed, especially if you have writers on your team. You should make it very clear in your processes that this needs to be completed.

There are a couple of reasons why this is so important:

  1. When you revamp an article, chances are that more text is being added to the article, which creates more internal linking opportunities. This further enhances your topical authority.
  2. The existing article likely has backlinks pointing to it already, so when you add internal links, you’ll pass along authority throughout your website.
  3. You’re likely revamping the article to increase traffic and your ranking positions. Well, you never know if the article will shoot up in rankings and, thus, more traffic. With more people on the site, you want to keep them on your site with internal linking.
  4. Also, once you revamp an article, you can add internal links from new articles on your site or even old articles on your site right after you’ve finished the revamp. This will help search engines recognize the revamp efforts quicker by crawling your site.
  5. Finally, other articles will likely have backlinks where you’ll pass more authority to the revamped article.

When processing link suggestions within posts and via the Link Report, ensure that you use the category section-only selector to have recommendations based solely on your categorical topics. 

This can make it cleaner to have a person on your staff manage the entire workflow of Link Whisper and internal linking.

These strategies have been deployed on all my sites and processes, which has made a tremendous difference in time management and execution of our content strategy.

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