For a long time blue underlined words in an article meant to stay away. If you saw an articled covered in blue, you would immediately think spam. Unfortunately, many of these “covered in blue” websites offer great information that is being missed simply because they are linking incorrectly. In fact, link building has since been under the microscope thanks to this article explaining that linking has to be relevant to the user and not for SEO purposes. It’s great advice and an excellent reminder, but that only makes it all the more complicated for beginners.
Even if you’re a veteran Webmaster, link building, both internal and external, is changing. It’s important to constantly go over the basics and review these changes so that your website can use the blue underlined words, or links, to help instead of hurt.
First, a Note about Anchor Text
Before jumping into the different types of linking and the best practices, it’s important to understand anchor text. Anchor text is the actual text that is used for the link. For example, if I were to say “check out this article” for more information, the anchor text would be “this article.”
The example above is the perfect usage of anchor text. In the past it was encouraged to use keywords as your anchor text, both internally and externally, but in 2015 this is going to be a red flag to Google bots as well as Internet searchers (who are becoming more and more informed of SEO each day).
Today, anchor text should be as natural as possible, and keyword-rich anchor text just isn’t natural. It seems too much like the link is there for SEO purposes and not for readers. For example, if I were to say, “ SEO services are an excellent way to improve your rankings,” I would be using a phrase simply for SEO. A better way to say that would be, “SEO services are an excellent way to improve your rankings, which you can learn more about here.”
Internal Linking Benefits and How to Use Them Correctly
Internal linking simply means linking between web pages of your website. For example, if someone is reading an article on your site about how important it is to work with other companies, you may want to link to the “guidelines for guest posting” page you have on your site. In this particular case, an internal link would be only the links that are linking back to SEOagency.com. You can see an example in the quick tip later in the article.
Consider a few of the benefits of internal linking:
They make it easy to navigate.
Users may find a specific page on your website that answers their questions pretty well, but there is a chance you have another, more specific webpage that answers their questions even better. By linking to other pages within your website, visitors will be able to find exactly what they are looking for faster and easier while still staying on your website (which should be your ultimate goal). I recommend having the internal link open a new window so readers can easily go back to a webpage if they wish.
Indexed more effectively.
Search engines can file your site more accurately and more conveniently if you have a lot of internal links. This will ultimately help potential customers find your site easier on search engines (even if you’re not ranked number one), and it will get your content out there as fast as possible.
It improves PageRank.
This one almost didn’t make the list because PageRank isn’t overly important anymore, but it does still exist. The more links on quality pages you have linking to a specific page, the higher page rank for that specific page because the search engine bots realize that internal links are helpful to a reader, particularly for navigation. It’s worth mentioning that major search engines might look at this PageRank to determine where your website will rank on their search engine pages. This still has not been confirmed, but it can’t hurt to have a high number to know that you’re doing something right.
Overall, internal linking is something that benefits everyone. Linking is as easy as right clicking a word or group of words, scrolling down to hyperlink, and inserting the URL for the page you wish to link to. This same process can be done when you are looking to use the second type of linking—external linking.
External Linking Benefits and Tips for 2015
External linking refers to links that come from one website and direct you to another. This can go one of two ways: One, another site can link to your site (making you the external link), or two, you can link back to another site from your website.
This type of linking has also changed over the last few years. In the past, the larger variety of links you had pointing to your website coming from other related websites, the better. This showed search engines that a lot of people were mentioning you in their content. Unfortunately, too many black hat SEO tactics started taking place, and so Google (as well as the other search engines) changed the game completely. This was discussed in this article, also mentioned above in the introduction, but the main takeaway is this: You should only have a few external links pointing to your site on other websites, and you should only link to a few websites when writing your articles. Most of all—they have to be authoritative.
Quick Tip: Part of making this happen is establishing relationships with others in your industry. Visit this link for more information about making it happen.
With that said, there are a few different benefits to taking advantage of these two ways to use an external link that still hold true today:
They can help establish credibility.
External linking is a great way to establish credibility. On the one hand, if you are going to quote another website’s article, then you can simply link back to that article within the piece that you are writing. This lets readers know where you are getting your information and avoids plagiarism issues. Even if you’re just going to reference another article, showing readers where they can go to learn more or how to get to the source of your idea shows you can be trusted.
On the other hand, if a quality site is linking back to your website, you will be given instant credibility if the website is authoritative. This shows that your content is worth mentioning and provides great information.
Note: If you don’t like a website that is linking back to you, you can try to get the link removed by following several steps and then using the Google Disavow Links tool. Learn more here.
Increased traffic opportunities.
If other quality websites are linking back to your website, customers from those other websites will begin to recognize your company. In other words, you will be potentially gaining a good number of customers from every website that links back to your pages.
External links will help grow your PageRank in the same way that internal links do. The more quality pages linking back to your site, the better your site will look to major search engines.
In the end, understanding the basics of linking is the first step in understanding SEO and webpage optimization. Linking will help major search engines make their decisions; customers make their decisions, and you make money.
Do you have any questions about linking internally and externally? Anything to add to the list? Let us know in the comment section below.