SEO Linking Tips For Bloggers – Building Backlinks vs Interlinking To Your Own Content
Linkbuilding has always been vital to SEO, but high-quality links are more important than ever before. In some cases, it may be the reason that one page ranks higher than a competitor’s.
Everyone knows the importance of backlinking, but what about internal links? Internal linking is one of the simplest methods to boost your rankings and create a positive user experience, but they don’t get nearly as much attention as external links.
Linkbuilding and Internal Links Explained
Linkbuilding is the process of building links from authoritative websites back to your own. Search engines can crawl the links between the links on other websites and the pages on your own. A link to your site from another reputable, high-ranking site tells the search engine that your website is a quality resource for searchers.
The more backlinks you have, the more ranking potential you can earn from search engines – known as “link juice.”
So, where do internal links fit in? Internal links are links that direct visitors from one page to another on your site. Typically, these are found in the navigation menu on the homepage and direct visitors to the about page, the blog, the product pages, and more.
Which Pages Need Internal Links?
Every page you publish on your website should have a link to another page. If you find that some pages don’t have a logical spot to link to another, maybe it’s a sign that that page isn’t serving your business goals.
Think of internal linking as a way to map out your website and connect the dots for your visitors. Most websites have the highest number of internal links on the homepage, but other pages on your site are useful for helping search engines determine the value of your content.
A. Blog Posts
Blog posts are the easiest, and most common, way of incorporating internal links. After all, part of the intention with blog posts is to share information with your visitors that may connect to your products or services.
Consider opportunities to expand your internal links. If you have a blog post on a broad topic, link to more specific blog posts where appropriate. For example, if you had a blog post about common training problems in dogs and how to solve them, you could link to another post that goes into housebreaking issues specifically.
So, your general post about dog training may come up in a search, but then the visitor can find additional information about different dog training issues. This leads them to spend more time browsing your site, which a search engine interprets as an interested visitor finding relevant and valuable information.
B. Landing Pages
Landing pages are an excellent place for internal links. You can link landing pages to blog posts to give the visitors a direction to go for more information. For example, if you have a software solution for data management, you could link to blog posts about data analytics use cases or solutions to common problems for business owners.
C. Other Content
When you create new content, it should be anchored to the existing content on your site through an internal link to provide more information about the topic. This will also serve to drive more traffic to your old content and get it more attention.
Older content is more authoritative, so it can help your new content earn a higher ranking. If your old content already earned a high ranking, linking to it speeds up the search indexing process and shows the search engine how your site is mapped out.
Internal Links for SEO – Tips and Tricks
All the attention may be on backlinks, but internal links provide plenty of value for your SEO strategy.
Here are some benefits:
1. Faster Indexing and Ranking
Older content has established authority and likely earned some links from reputable sites. When you link new content to it, the new content is indexed faster and earns a higher ranking. As a result, you won’t need to work as hard to get a ton of backlinks for your new content.
2. More Time Spent on Your Site
Search engine ranking is influenced by the amount of time visitors spend on your site. Search engines consider how long a visitor spends on your site after a search and evaluate whether they found the answer they were looking for. Internal links encourage visitors to stay longer and check out different pages.
3. Establishing Site Structure
When you link all your content, it provides a sort of map or network of how your site is structured. Search engine crawlers can then evaluate the site and determine its ranking more accurately. It also provides insight into the topics you cover and whether you have authoritative information about your industry or niche.
4. Refreshing Old Content
You work hard for your content, so you don’t want it to fade into the background. In all likelihood, your content attracted a lot of traffic and attention when you first created it, but then it fell behind as new content emerged. Linking new pieces to these old, authoritative pieces can revive them and give you a better ranking.
Linkbuilding with Internal Links: Best Practices For Bloggers
While your link building strategy will vary according to your specific business and goals, here are some best practices to get started.
Post Valuable Content
Linkbuilding is a method that builds on your other methods – namely, content. Having a ton of internal links won’t matter if your content is low-quality and churned out constantly. On top of that, authoritative sites won’t want to link to subpar content.
Instead of linking ages together for the sake of it, start by developing valuable content that solves problems for your visitors. Don’t worry about getting a ton of content out initially – make sure you’re focusing on quality and not quantity. From there, you can link and provide something useful and relevant to your visitors.
Focus on the Visitor
Internal links should always flow naturally and guide the visitor through your site experience. Putting links in illogical places won’t do anything for your SEO – in fact, improper linking could hinder it.
When you’re linking, consider how a visitor will be using your website and connect topics to each other in a logical manner. It’s easy to get lost in technical aspects like anchor text or keywords, but linking is ultimately about providing an exceptional visitor experience and providing visitors with the information they seek.
Link To Similar Pages
Linking pages to each other won’t help SEO if they don’t make sense. Only use links if they’re relevant and directly related to your original content. You want the visitor to use the link to find out more information, but few things are as frustrating as being directed to an irrelevant page by an internal link.
Also, remember that links can keep a visitor on your site as they learn more about what you have to offer, and this is interpreted as value and relevance by search engines.
Use Keywords as Anchor Text
Anchor text is the text that’s shown for your link. Essentially, your anchor text tells the visitor what to expect if they click the link, so it should always be relevant to the page it links to. For example, if you have a link to a statistic, it should link to the source and not to a product page.
To give you an example of the importance of internal links let me use Hiperwall as an example. When our team was strategizing for Hiperwall’s video wall page, we noticed the lack of internal links was holding back the webpage. Our team decided to research and compiled a list of all the pages that mention any video wall and then link it directly to that video wall basic informational page.
As the image shown above, you will notice that rankings increased. Of course, this is a rare occasion as usually clients experience a steady rank increase overtime.
So what is the key takeaway from this example?
If possible, make keywords your anchor text. This is one of the few opportunities you have to control the keywords and anchor text with linking, so use it to your advantage. Make sure to conduct thorough research and use competitive keywords for your anchor text as much as you can.
Keep in mind, however, that it is possible to overdo it with keywords. Avoid stuffing your content with keywords or using keywords as anchors when it may not be relevant. Back to the original point – anchor text should direct your visitor to the next page and tell them what to expect. Overusing keywords and mismatching them to internal links is just as bad as using mismatched anchor text.
Link to Diverse Pages
Many sites use internal links on the homepage, contact page, or about page. You have plenty of options beyond these core pages, however. Consider where you can use internal links to connect product pages, product category pages, blog posts, or other content. These pages not only provide more value to your visitor than a contact page, but they direct them to other useful content and keep them on your site longer.
Most visitors know how to find the about page or contact page, so don’t worry about including them in your content all the time.
Put Links on the High-Value Pages
Links that lead from information pages should direct visitors to the moneymaking pages, such as your product or service page, whenever possible. If your content is directed toward your ideal customer and solving their problem with your product or service, you should find plenty of opportunities for internal linking to these pages.
Informational pages have incredible value, of course. They provide answers to common problems for your customers, attract backlinks, and drive organic traffic. The difference with these pages is that this traffic can bounce or come to an end once the visitor has the information they sought.
Use Internal Links to Revive Old Pages
Internal links are part of the foundation of your website and show search engines how your site is structured. When they crawl your site, they use internal links to see how your content relates to other content on your page.
Your linking structure should be like a pyramid. Instead of linking a bunch of equal pages to each other, think of your homepage as the peak of the pyramid, or the most important page on your site. The lower you go, the less value each page has. Then, focus all your linking attention on the high-value, important content near the top of the pyramid.
Plan Your Internal Links with Your Content
You may find ample opportunity to build internal links with your existing content, but you have another option – consider internal links while you’re creating your content strategy. You may find that you have more natural and logical places to include links and some forethought in how you can connect the dots on your topics.
Begin with keywords. Once you have your target keywords mapped out, identify other related keywords and let them guide your topics. For example, if you were targeting “bridal shower supplies” and came up with “bridal shower outfit inspiration” or “bridal shower etiquette” as related keywords, you could plan content like what to expect at a bridal shower, top bridal shower themes, and how to plan a bridal shower.
You can also consider intent in your planning. Back to the example of “bridal shower supplies,” you could target people planning a bridal shower with themes and ideas, rather than general bridal shower topics. The latter is less likely to be looking to purchase supplies.
Code Your Nofollow and Dofollow Links Appropriately
Internal links should always have coding that passes link equity to the linked page, giving it some of its authority and value. These are “dofollow” links and help to boost ranking.
Nofollow links, on the other hand, do not pass the authority on to the linked page. These links have no value or benefit for your SEO, so you’d be wasting your time with internal linking that includes nofollow links. This small step can go a long way in making sure you’re getting the most return for your linkbuilding efforts.
Maximize SEO with Internal Links
All the SEO attention may be on backlinks, but internal links offer a lot of value and benefits for your SEO strategy. Best of all, internal links don’t require any pitching or networking to earn – you can get them up and running on your site right now.
Follow these tips and best practices to add internal linking to your strategy, show your value to search engines, boost your organic traffic, and promote positive, enjoyable experiences for your site’s visitors.
Jason started freelancing in SEO back in college, sold his first agency, and now is founder of Zupo, which is an Orange County based SEO consulting agency helping construct powerful long term SEO strategies for our clients.
Jason also enjoys multiple cups of tea a day, hiding away on weekends, catching up on reading, and rewatching The Simpsons for the 20th time.
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