Linking plays an essential role in search engine optimization. There are two types of linking – internal and external. While years ago everyone paid attention to the external alternative, the truth is that internal linking is just as handy in boosting a website through search engine result pages.
- 1 The Concept of Internal Linking
- 2 The Concept of Outbound Linking
- 3 Conclusion
The Concept of Internal Linking
Internal linking refers to linking pages throughout the same website. To help you get an example, you can use suggested similar posts on a blog, but you might as well anchor informative links to certain keywords that can direct your guests to relevant information.
What Internal Links Are
Internal links are self-explanatory. You practically link one page to another. You can do it through a word, a whole paragraph, a picture and so on – literally every element on your page can become an anchor. It is essential to use internal linking responsibly. The page you link to must be relevant to the keyword or content or your guests will be redirected to something that they are not interested in.
Internal links work in two different directions. They help you send guests to more relevant information about one thing or another – just like the buttons on your main menu. The only difference is that such links target other elements and not just buttons.
On the other hand, internal linking is just as handy for search engine optimization. It helps search engines establish the website architecture, not to mention spreading link equity. Search engines used crawlers to establish the structure of your website, hence the necessity of these links.
Apart from establishing website structure, the purpose of internal linking also affects the link value. For example, search engines divide link value once all the links on your website have been checked. The homepage often has more links than other pages, so it becomes the most valuable page. The next page will also have some links, so the value divides further on.
On the same note, internal linking establishes a relationship between content.
Internal links represent basic hyperlinks targeting the same domain. The code structure is fairly simple:
<a href=”http://www.your-domain.com/” title=”Keyword”>Keyword</a>
You can use a code if you are an experienced coder, yet many web building platforms and softwares give you the option to highlight the keyword and press a button to add a hyperlink.
The anchor text must be relevant to the page you link to. For example, if you run a pet store, you do not want to link the page describing a certain species of fish to dog food because they are not related. When it comes to the title, it should also follow the same rule.
Some coders simply choose the exact same text for both values – the title and the anchor text. The only difference is that the title is written in a more professional way – first capital letter, for example.
The anchor text gives you some freedom. You can basically choose anything as an anchor. You can choose a certain keyword in the middle of the sentence, but you can also use a whole sentence or paragraph. Obviously, most coders avoid linking whole paragraphs because it simply does not look professional. Plus, there are too many keywords, so guests and search engines will not be sure what kind of connection to make.
The anchor can also be a button or a picture, for instance.
When it comes to internal linking, relevance is your main focus. The link target must be relevant to the keyword or the whole plan falls apart.
The Concept of Outbound Linking
Outbound linking (also referred to as external linking) is similar to internal linking, only you will link towards other websites or domains.
What Outbound Linking Means
Simply put, outbound linking implies taking visitors and search engines elsewhere – a different domain. Pretty much every website out there has some outbound links. They come with multiple benefits and they help you reach some authority altogether.
The Importance of Outbound Links
Outbound links are extremely important. It might look like you advertise for someone else, but this is wrong. As long as you link to high authority websites, you basically help search engines understand your niche and category.
At the same time, both search engines and your visitors will gain more trust. It is, however, important to link to relevant and famous websites if you want to gain quality.
Just like all kings in web development, outbound links can be enhanced with all kinds of texts and attributes. A basic code sample for outbound links looks like this:
<a href=”http://samplewebsite.com”>Sample website</a>
The link is mentioned in the attributes, while the anchor text can be the website address, name or even a relevant keyword for both you and that website.
The anchor text must be fully descriptive and has to reflect the exact same subject or keywords. This is the main rule. Random linking will take you nowhere, but it will also confuse guests and search engines.
You do not have to stick to the same keyword all the time as you might look like a spammer. It is actually fairly simple to come up with all kinds of alternatives and relevant keywords.
NoFollow Versus DoFollow
Using rel=”nofollow” right after the link address tells search engines to avoid counting the link. It is considered spammy at times and it had something to do with Google’s page rank, which is now gone. The attribute is still helpful for visitors.
Replacing nofollow with dofollow is irrelevant. You might as well leave it blank, as default links have the dofollow attribute. It gives other websites backlinks and helps with your credibility in SEO.
Do These Attributes Matter for SEO?
Simply put, yes. They represent a way to communicate with search engines and visitors as long as they are used correctly.
In conclusion, linking plays a major role in search engine optimization and each of its options – internal and outbound – has its own uses and specifications.