Internal links, external links & linkbuilding

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You are likely going to have some links dotted around your website, some going to other pages of your website and some linking to other peoples pages. Both of these are definitely good things to have on your pages, they increase user experience and engagement and help with SEO. Here is a little bit more information to help you get your head around using links on your website and how to get the most out of them. If you need help with how to add a link to your page, you can find that in our Best Practice When Blogging guide

Put simply, internal links are hyperlinks on one of your pages that link to another one of your pages. They are called ‘internal’ because they never take the user away from your website. They can be handy to help users navigate around the different pages of your website and help to stop them from bouncing away. 

A good example of when to use an internal link is at the end of a blog post. Your user has just finished reading a captivating article written by you, what next? 

If there is nothing there for that user to engage with at the end of your post, they might simply drift away from your website, never to return. However, if there is a link to another one of your highly useful and interesting articles at the bottom…they might as well just read one more.

The point is that you always want to be guiding your users through your website in a way that makes sense to them. So they aren’t left lost and confused. The same goes for Google, they use internal links to help their crawlers navigate your website. So if there are good internal links dotted throughout, it makes their jobs easier. This means that it’s easier for Google to get an understanding of what your website is about, and they are more likely to rank it higher. 

External links work pretty much the same as internal links. The only difference really is that they are taking you away from your page and onto another website entirely. This can be used when you want to reference a particular article to back up a point you’re making, or it might be redirecting your customers to an off-page booking website? 

An external link, can also be when another website links to your page (AKA backlinks) but more on this later…

This is another way to improve your users’ experience as they are interacting with your website, by giving them access to other useful resources that they might find useful or allowing them to streamline their booking process with a 3rd party application. But, there are a few important things to remember when using external links on your website.

Make sure when you are linking to another website that you set it to open up in a different tab in their browser, this is to keep the users on your website. If they are taken to the new page in the same tab then they are pulled away from your website, and we don’t want that! 

Apart from that, just make sure that the pages that you are linking to are trustworthy and have good/useful content for your users. If you are linking to rubbish pages, then your users aren’t going to trust your opinion but if you show them really helpful and interesting pages then you’ll be in the good books! Google will also look at how reliable a page is and give it a score from 1-100, but again, more on this later when we look at backlinks.

Anchor text

What is anchor text? 

Anchor text is the text that you click on when using a link. Usually, it appears in a different colour to the rest of the text and is underlined. Here is some anchor text that would take you to the THB homepage. Anchor text is useful for a few reasons, firstly, it tells your users where that hyperlink is going to take them. You knew from the anchor text that you were going to end up on the THB homepage before you even clicked. You want your anchor text to be clear and describe simply where it goes. 

Using anchor text for SEO

Anchor text can also help tell Google about the different links on your website and how relevant they are to your content. If all of your anchor text and hyperlinks are on topic, this is a good sign for Google and they will push you up the rankings. Try to avoid using anchor text like ‘click here’ or ‘find out more’ if you can, as they are too generic and wont help boost your SEO.

If you can get a keyword into your anchor text then even better! But as always when using keywords, make sure they aren’t just being thrown in for the sake of it. 

Sometimes you may get an error message that you have broken links on your website. Sounds pretty scary right? Well, it’s not really and it’s a pretty easy fix. Firstly, you need to find which link it is that’s broken, shouldn’t be too hard just have a look through the page and find which link isn’t taking you to the right place. If it’s an external link, there is a chance that the webpage has been taken down so you are best off just removing this link or trying to find the updated page to relink to. If it is an internal link, then that means you have changed the URL on one of your pages and forgotten to update this particular link. Update it so it’s going to your new URL and you should be good to go!

You should try and fix broken links ASAP as they negatively affect your SEO score and can knock your page down Google’s rankings.

Finally, backlinks…a backlink is when another, external website has linked to your page. This can be for a number of reasons, they might be referencing one of your amazing blog posts or recommending your stand-out services to their followers. Ideally you want to try and build up as many backlinks as possible as this makes your website look more credible in the eyes of Google. Or most of the time it does…

Domain authority

Not all backlinks are the same. You might think to yourself ‘a link is a link, right?’ – nope. Some links are definitely better than others.

If a well-known and trusted website has a link to yours then great! There is a good chance that loads of people will see that link and find your page and because its from a reliable source then even better. But what if there are other, less trusted pages that are linking to yours as well? Maybe they look a bit spammy or scammy? It can be hard to tell sometimes. But there is a way to get an idea of how reliable (or unreliable) a website is, it’s known as domain authority.

Domain authority is a scale that ranks websites on a scale of 1-100 based on how likely they are to rank well on a search engine results page (SERP). Put simply, a higher domain authority score means that a website is probably more likely to rank highly on Google and be a credible source of information. However, a website with a low domain authority score is likely to be less credible and less highly ranked. However, take these ratings with a grain of salt because they aren’t the only factor in whether a website is ‘good or bad’.

Anyway, backlinks from websites with a higher domain authority score are much more valuable than links from those with a low score. In fact, some links can actually be detrimental to your website’s overall SEO health. Here is a great article on 5 types of bad backlinks that you don’t want – if you want to learn more about bad backlinks.

Having a network of backlinks is beneficial for a variety of reasons. Firstly, it can drive traffic directly to your website when people follow that link. Secondly, if you have a collection of strong (and relevant) backlinks it will make Google look at your website more favourably as an expert in your field and then start to push it up the rankings. 

Building backlinks can be hard and the methods can vary depending on your industry. A good place to start is getting your website listed on relevant directories, they are usually free and only take a few minutes to set up each one. If you are stuck and trying to boost the number of backlinks your website has – Backlinko have a great guide to link building that you should check out if you are struggling to get started.

Need a helping hand with your SEO?

Getting your links in order is a great place to get started when it comes to your SEO. If you need a regular reminder to keep on top of your SEO strategy, or if you would like a helping hand – find out more about our new SEO newsletter, SEOyourself here. You will get us in your inbox twice each month with our best advice for how to get the most out of your SEO strategy and also fresh blog content ideas so that you always have fresh content to be writing, even when you’ve got a creative block.

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