How to Better Understand Your SEO Links
There are two types of SEO Links that we need to discuss.
There are internal links, and there are external links. Internal links are links to other pages and posts within your website. External links are links to other websites.
While the two types of links target entirely different destinations, they share a common factor in search engine optimization.
Summing up in a short explanation: Both types of links need to be great.
But for a better explanation, I’ve written this article to help you make the best decisions for choosing what SEO links you add that will benefit your content and website.
SEO Links: Internal Links
Internal links are SEO links that lead to an internal destination.
They go to another page or post on the domain name that you’re linking them to. The most common use of internal links is to link to other internal content related to the content you’re adding a link to.
That’s actually one of the most factors in using internal links. You must ensure the internal link matches the words being turned into a link. And it’s best if your internal links relate to the content you’re adding them as links to.
The content you link to might be internal, but it must also be correct for link intent. If you create a link from the words “blueberry muffin recipe,” then the link needs to go to a recipe for blueberry muffins. It also needs to be of the best possible quality. You want to answer the question that the link is leading to.
Another reason to use internal links is to help get more traffic to pages and posts that lack the traffic it needs to perform well on search engines. When you create a page and never link it anywhere, it becomes an orphan link and typically doesn’t rank well on search.
Internal links can help guide your users to see your best cornerstone content and convert them to perform desired actions like buying something or subscribing to your mailing list.
Every page and post you make should include some internal links as long as they’re relevant and useful to your readers.
Not adding any of these SEO links wastes many opportunities for more traffic and better search engine rankings.
SEO Links: External Links
External links are SEO links that go to another website that isn’t the same that you’re creating the link on.
These links typically go to websites that you don’t own. You’ll link to words on your content that relate directly to the website you’re linking to. For example, you might make “blueberry muffin ingredients” and go to a pin on Pinterest all about how to make blueberry muffins. That would be an example of an external link.
But external links are important to inspect before you add them.
The content they link to needs to be quality content. If the website has bad SEO practices or misleading content and you link to it, it can hurt your ranking on search engines. That’s because you’re linking to a website that has trust issues.
You should reserve external links only for the best off-site content out there. Website owners love backlinks; linking to them when relevant can get them backlinks. But most of the time, you might want to add the “no follow” attribute to external links unless you really trust their content.
It’s important to include external links in your content. Just ensure the links are of the best quality and relevant to the content you’re linking them to.
Best Practices for Links
There are a few best practices for SEO links for internal and external types.
- Ensure your anchor text (the words you’re turning into a link) explains the link. The classic “click here” isn’t a good practice.
- There is no limit on the number of links to add, but adding too many can look spammy. I typically keep my link numbers under 10 for larger articles and less for smaller ones.
- Try to make your first and internal links. Remember, an external link will take people away from your site. The first link is internal will keep them on your site.
- Make links open in new tabs. This will keep people on the original page or post so they can return and finish exploring it.
- Check your links periodically. Remove links that don’t work anymore or change them to directly related quality content that does work.
- Add the “No Follow” attribute to good links you’re unsure about being the best quality or practicing the best SEO practices.
- Try not to link too many links to other websites you run on the same server. This can sometimes be seen as link networks which can harm your ranking.
- Make sure all links on a page are directly relevant to what words are being linked. Try to keep links relevant to the content on the page, too.
SEO links are an important factor for Google search engine ranking. You can use the advice above to ensure your links are of good quality and follow the best practices. If you’ve enjoyed this article, be sure to follow me on Twitter for more related resources.
About the Author
Shawn Gossman has created content, blogged, ran online communities, and shared a passion for digital marketing for over twenty years. Shawn believes the best way to help content creators, businesses, brands, and marketers is to give away more than you sell. The same advice is recommended for the readers that follow this blog. Shawn also offers a variety of services for extra help in the area of content creation, blogging, forums, and digital marketing. Learn more about Shawn Gossman by clicking here.
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