A Simple Guide to Content Linking
Boosting your SEO and getting yourself noticed online can often seem like an uphill battle. When it comes to organic search engine ranking, it’s far too easy to get caught up in the myriad of SEO tricks and strategies that are constantly being heralded as the newest and best way of increasing your online visibility. Amidst the noise, the fundamentals of SEO marketing can often get overlooked. One of these fundamental elements is linking. From internal links to backlinking and paid link opportunities, these little hyperlinks can be some of the simplest and cheapest ways of boosting the authority and credibility of your content and organically boosting your SEO. In this blog, we’re going to briefly outline a couple of the different types of links you can incorporate into your content, as well as the benefits of each.
• Internal Links
In a nutshell, Internal linking is the process of connecting a particular page on your domain to another page within your domain.
This type of link is invaluable to both your site and your reader. For your reader, it makes your site much easier to navigate by establishing a clear connection between your content, as well as providing them with further, more in depth information and context at points where they may need it. With regards to how internal links raise the profile of your website, they are priceless. Firstly, Internal links lead to people spending more time on your site and decreasing your bounce rate. As people navigate across your site, an informational hierarchy is created, meaning weight is added to each page that is linked to, spreading link equity across your site. This structure is then also an easier way for Google search crawlers to index your sites content. A web of internal links also allows for increased and consistent visibility of older content, preventing it from stagnating in the back pages of your blog. This is the basis of what is referred to as the Pillar & Cluster strategy, whereby the authority of all your pages is raised by linking back and forth between them. Neglecting internal linking will cheat you out of essential traffic, engagement, and online shares. You should be consciously crafting your content as a foundation with which you can link back to your other content.
• External Links
In short, anytime you link to a site outside of your own web domain, this is an external link.
An external link could be a link to a relevant article or a relevant study that you have referenced in your blog/piece of content, or a link through to a particular product or service you are promoting. Either way, linking to authoritative (i.e. high quality and well trusted) external sites will increase your digital fingerprint and, as explained by SEO expert Rand Fishkin, external links will increase “the potential to attract important, relevant, valuable eyeballs” .
You are essentially building a repertoire of links between your site and more established ones, which will potentially help you to build relationships and expand your reach. If people successfully use these links, these authoritative sites may notice the new influx of traffic coming from your site and reach out to you, perhaps linking to your site when appropriate, or otherwise beginning a mutually beneficial connection. As with internal linking, this all benefits your reader as you’re providing them with the resources they really want and need to fully explore the topic. It must be said, however, you should limit your external linking because at the end of the day, they are exit portals where your users can drop off – you don’t want to entirely lose your readers attention.
• Inbound Links (or ‘Backlinks’)
Backlinks, also referred to as "inbound links" or "incoming links," are created when another website links back to your domain from their content.
Backlinks are one of the most effectual types of link for your SEO, because they represent a "vote of confidence". In essence, backlinks to your website signal to search engines that others (ideally more authoritative sites) vouch for your content. If more than one site links to the same webpage or website, search engines will deduce that that content and that domain is highly relevant and therefore worth surfacing on a SERP. So, earning these backlinks will have an advantageous effect on a site's organic ranking position and search visibility. That said some backlinks are intrinsically more valuable than others. Popular, high-authority sites are the most worthwhile backlinks to earn, as opposed to low-authority spammy sites which can actually be detrimental for your SEO. Earning backlinks is an essential component of off-site SEO, and are worth investing into depending on the credibility of the host site.
• Followed vs. Nofollow Links
A condition of linking is whether it is a ‘follow’ or ‘nofollow’ link. This determines whether link equity is passed from one site to another.
With a followed link, a site owner will have specifically allowed search engines to pass link equity from their site, as mentioned previously; they are passing a “vote of confidence”. A ‘nofollow’ link, on the other hand, has no relevance or SEO power in the eyes of the search engine. Whilst this does hold some relevance, it doesn’t discount the value of nofollow links. Just being mentioned on high-quality websites will promote your brand and bring web traffic. For instance, having your site linked to by Yell, a highly authoritative directory website, is directly beneficial to your brands visibility despite it being a nofollow link.
Drop Us a Line, Just Follow the Link
In the big, confusing world of SEO and SERPS, take it back to basics and make sure you are taking advantage of one of the most important and accessible content marketing tools – linking. Links act a lot like real-life reputation does. They indicate who is trustworthy, they show you are valued, they show you are relevant and how popular you are in the eyes of search engines. If you need help with link-building and incorporating it into your SEO and content marketing strategy, please don’t hesitate to get in touch today, and we can discuss your options.