To build a robust SEO strategy for your business, you need to understand the significance of external and internal links for SEO.
Using relevant external and internal links on your site increases the search visibility and rank of your website. Both the links contribute heavily to enhancing your SEO strategy.
In this post, we’ll cover:
- What are internal links and external links
- How both are important for SEO
Let’s dive right in:
What is an Internal Link?
Internal links are defined as hyperlinks pointing to pages on the same domain.
In other words, internal linking is the practice where you create a link from one page on your site to another page on your site.
Interestingly enough, internal links aid Google in finding, indexing, and understanding pages on your website.
Apart from helping search engines, internal links are helpful to users too. They create a hierarchy of importance for your pages, give the context of your content, and enhance the navigation of your website.
For any site wishing to rank higher in Google, internal linking is key.
As internal linking connects your content, this creates a contextual map of your site for Google and other search engines. Moreover, internal links create the hierarchy of your site by providing crucial pages with more link equity than less important pages, resulting in an increase in the SEO ranking potential for each linked page.
All said and done, it’s time we understand in detail how internal linking helps SEO (Search Engine Optimization). For those new to the term, SEO is the process where you undertake steps to help a content piece or site rank higher on Google.
How Are Internal Links Important for SEO?
So far, it’s safe to say that you can’t ignore internal links.
Let’s now head straight into how internal links are important for SEO:
- Helps Google in establishing a contextual index
With internal links, you can easily communicate to Google which pages you want to rank on a specific keyword. This is particularly important if you have multiple pages about the same topic that target similar keywords in page titles, texts, etc. Just build internal links with the appropriate anchor text and help Google differentiate which page fits which search intent.
- Internal link architecture works as a guide for search crawlers
As mentioned, internal links help search engines crawlers better understand your site. They also help crawlers identify which pages hold the most importance.
Now, when a larger number of links point to a particular page, it sends out a signal that the page holds importance. This, in turn, helps search engines determine which pages to return in search results.
- Provides a Good User Experience
It’s a known fact that people visit your website with personalized needs and intentions. For instance, some are looking for your service or product description, while others are looking for a means to contact you.
You can conveniently answer these needs and intentions with the help of internal links.
Build internal links to bring your readers to a relevant page so that they can gain more information. Provide them with a great user experience. Search engines appreciate sites that offer a good user experience, thus improving the site ranking.
- Keeps readers glued to your site for longer
When you retain visitors for a longer time on your site, it positively impacts your search rankings. Internal links result in visitors spending more time on your website, reducing your bounce rate.
Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors to a specific site who navigate away from the website after they view a single page.
Tip: For decreasing your bounce rate, present site visitors with a lot of content options that can interest them with the help of internal linking.
What is an External Link?
An external link is a link pointing from one domain to another.
If a site links to your site, it is called external linking.
Also, if your website links to another site, this is also known as external linking.
Now, when you talk of external links, here’s a simple terminology you need to understand:
When a hyperlink from a site links to your site, it is called a “backlink” or an “inbound link”. Whereas when you link to another website, it is called an “outbound link”.
If you further break down outbound links, it has two categories:
- Dofollow links
Dofollow links signal the search engine crawlers to follow the link and pass link juice or link equity to the linked website. This can help increase their rankings.
Link juice means the authority a page has based on the number of links pointing to it (whether that is an internal link or an external link).
- Nofollow links
Nofollow links indicate to the search engine crawlers not to follow the link and not to pass any link juice.
Now that you know the types of external links, let’s head straight into why they are important for SEO.
How are External Links Important for SEO?
External links may be a small factor in SEO, but they still are an important one. Because they are one of the toughest metrics to manipulate, search engines use them to know the reputation of your website and increase your ranking.
Here’s a closer look at how external links are important for SEO:
- Your piece gets rewarded with search rankings
The links you embed indicate the quality of your content to search engines. Think about it this way: the chances of low-quality sites linking to a greater number of low-quality pages are higher. Great content, on the other hand, usually links to other amazing sources. This makes search engines favor articles that have quality external links.
- Linking out can also mean more links for you
Once you link to other sites, chances are, they might link back to your site. It is a much more effective method than reaching out to other sites to link back to you via emails.
- Outbound links add value to the reader experience
We all want to offer a wide, well-informed picture of a certain topic.
Well, external linking can help you with this.
It can help you write a valuable, extremely thorough content piece. How?
External links are an amazing way to embed additional resources in the body of the article. With their help, you can include white papers, related articles, and case studies.
Here’s what we established through this post:
For Google to see the value of your pages, you need to carry out internal linking. This is because it will help the search engine in finding, categorizing, and determining the value of your pages.
When you talk of an external link, on the other hand, it is a link pointing from one domain to another. It is important for SEO because it helps you earn more links and adds value to a reader’s experience.
The bottom line? Both external and internal linking have many benefits for SEO. As per the latest statistics, 42% of SEO professionals dedicate equal time to building external and internal links. So, what are you waiting for? Get cracking and start focusing on these links today!