When it comes to improving your site’s SEO, making sure that search engines view you as authoritative is key. And once you have some of that authority, it is important that you share that authority throughout your site. The best way to do that is through both internal and external links.
At BizIQ, we view a site’s linking strategy as a central piece of every good SEO strategy, just as important as content. Without a solid linking strategy, don’t expect much movement for your keyword rankings.
There are ultimately two types of links that will help you create a winning strategy for your digital marketing campaign: internal links and external links.
What Are Internal Links?
Internal links connect pages on your website to each other. These links connect your pages together and both help you to direct site traffic, but also help you signal to search engines the relation that your pages have to each other.
Internal Links Help Users Navigate Your Website
Sometimes, your visitors may be ready to act. On the other hand, if they do not know what action you would like them to take, they may not take the desired action. You can avoid this situation by using internal links and strong calls-to-action.
For example, let’s say your business provides pottery classes. You may have a blog post named 5 Easy Pottery Creations for Beginners. You would probably want to place an internal link on that post leading traffic to your pottery class registration page so that users interested in learning pottery can go from simply reading about it to taking your course.
But while internal links are valuable because they can move users through your site efficiently and help them take the actions you are wanting them to take, they are even more important because of what they tell Google.
Internal Links Help You Communicate with Search Engines
Internal links are crucial when it comes to search engines. On the one hand, Google uses internal links to crawl your site and document what pages you have. This allows Google and other search engines to know which pages to display in search.
When you connect one page on your site to another through an internal link, you tell search engines that there is a connection between those pages. That connection is made even clearer by what text you use to link the pages (what we call anchor text).
There is another major benefit to internal links as well. This will help search bots find other web pages on your site as well. If the webpage is easy to navigate, usually through internal links, it’ll be easier for search engines to index it properly. This means that your webpages can be added to other pages on the search engine’s list, allowing your site to be found easily.
What Are External Links?
An external link (often known as a backlink) is a link from another site that leads to a page on your site. These links send traffic from that site to your site and puts those users into your site’s conversion funnel. Additionally, these links effectively act as votes of confidence for Google, indicating that the information that you provide is accurate, trustworthy, and what searchers are looking for.
External Links Bring Traffic To Your Site
External links that point to your website increase traffic to your site. As users follow external links to your site, that increase in traffic creates new opportunities for qualified leads.
External Links Boost Your Rankings on Google
As previously mentioned, external links don’t just bring traffic, but they work as a vote of confidence in the content on your site. Let’s use our pottery site example again:
We have our blog post about 5 Easy Pottery Creations for Beginners that we’ve posted on our pottery class website. Now let’s say that a crafts website finds our blog post about pottery for beginners and links to it in their blog post about 25 Crafts to Do at Home. That link communicates quite a bit to Google.
First, since a crafts website is linking to us on a craft-focused blog, it tells Google that our blog post is crafts-related, so we may see some improvement in craft-related keywords like “pottery crafts” or “pottery at home”.
Second, that link tells Google that our blog post is viewed by at least one site as an authority on pottery. The more sites that link to our blog post, the more “votes” it gets. With an increase in the amount of links to our page Google says, “Hey, everyone keeps recommending this page for pottery-related keywords. Let’s rank it higher.” And up the rankings go.
How to Use Internal and External Links to Win SEO
Now that we’ve talked about internal and external links, how should you be using these links to win when it comes to SEO?
Create Valuable Content
First and foremost, you need to create valuable content worth linking to both internally and externally. Whether it’s improved product and service pages, city and location pages, or even blog content, valuable, unique content that answers questions is central to every link strategy.
Find Opportunities for Internal Links
Now that you have valuable content on your site, it’s time to connect your pages. Your home page and service pages should be getting the most internal links from your content with blog posts and other content getting internal links as applicable. The more internal links that a page has, the more you signal to Google about the importance of that page.
Build External Links
Now that we have this great content that we are using in our site through internal linking, we want to get some external links. Whether through reaching out to blogs and other websites or through other sites naturally finding and linking to yours, external links are key to a long-lasting link strategy to improve keyword rankings.
Let the Professionals at BizIQ Help with Your Site’s SEO
If you are looking for assistance improving your website’s link strategy or overall SEO, we are here to help. Our SEO staff has years of experience developing strategies for clients of all sizes.