Links: Connecting Pages Improves Your SEO
What are Web Links?
A web link, also known as a hyperlink, is a reference to a specific web page or resource on the internet. It allows users to easily navigate from one page to another by clicking on the link.
Web links can be added to text, images, and other types of media, and they are a fundamental part of how the web works. By linking to other pages, websites can create a network of information that users can explore, making the web a vast and interconnected resource.
Links can be internal, meaning they point to another page within the same website, or they can be external, meaning they point from your website to a page on a different website, or they can be backlinks, meaning links from different websites that point back to your website.
This all matters because correct use of links is an important factor in search engine optimization (SEO), as they can help visitors, and search engines alike, understand the structure, layout, and content of a website. As the links help search engines understand your web site, they therefore help to increase a website’s visibility in search results.
What are Internal Links?
Let’s start with a definition. Internal links, also known as internal hyperlinks or interlinks, are links that connect one page on a website to another page within the same website. They provide a way for users and search engines to navigate the site and find related content.
Our article The ABC’s of Search Engine Indexing goes into more detail on how search engines index web site pages. Did you see what we did there?
The article name is an internal hyperlink, clicking it takes you straight to another page within our website, where – as suggested by the hyperlink anchor text (more about that later)you find an appropriate article that is likely to be of interest as it is closely related to the subject of this article. For example, if you have a blog post about a specific topic, you might use internal links to direct readers to other related posts on your site. Or, if you have a homepage with multiple sections, you might use internal links to help users quickly find the information they’re looking for.
Ok, so – internal links help improve the user experience by making it easier for users to find what they’re looking for on your site. They also help search engines understand the structure and hierarchy of your website, and this can impact your visibility in search results.
So, what about External Links and Backlinks?
What are External Links?
Let’s have another definition. External links, also known as outbound links or outgoing links, are links that point from your website to other websites. They provide a way for users to access additional information or resources related to the content on your site.
External links can help improve the user experience by providing more information and context for the content on your site. They can also demonstrate to search engines that you are a credible and authoritative source of information, which can help your site rank higher in search results.
However, it’s important to be selective about the external links you include on your site. You should only link to high-quality, relevant sites that are trusted and authoritative in your niche. Linking to low-quality or spammy sites can have a negative impact on your search engine rankings and damage your credibility with users.
What are Backlinks?
Let’s have one final definition. Backlinks, also known as inbound links or incoming links, are links from other websites that point to your website. They are considered a vote of confidence in the quality of your content and can be a strong factor in determining your search engine rankings.
Search engines use backlinks to assess the authority and relevance of your site. If a lot of other high-quality sites are linking to your site, search engines will view your site as a valuable resource and may rank it higher in search results.
There are two main types of backlinks: dofollow and nofollow. Dofollow links are links that pass along “link juice,” or authority and ranking power, to the linked site. Nofollow links, on the other hand, do not pass along any link juice and are generally used when a website owner does not want to endorse or vouch for the content of the linked site.
Building a strong backlink profile is an important part of a comprehensive SEO strategy. However, it’s also important to focus on building high-quality, relevant backlinks from trusted and authoritative sites, as search engines may penalize sites that engage in manipulative or spammy backlink practices.
The good news, that’s all the links defined. Let’s see how links help with SEO.
Can Internal Links Help with SEO?
Internal links can help with SEO, when done correctly, internal links can provide several benefits for SEO, including:
Improved website navigation: Internal links make it easier for users to find other relevant pages on your website, which can improve their experience and keep them on your site for longer.
Increased crawlability: Search engines use links to crawl and index the pages on your website. By including internal links, you’re helping search engines discover and index more of your pages, which can lead to better visibility in search results.
Reinforcement of content hierarchy: Internal links can help establish the content hierarchy of your website, making it easier for search engines to understand the importance of each page and its relationship to other pages.
Distribution of link equity: Link equity is the value that is passed from one page to another through links. By using internal links, you can distribute link equity to the pages that you want to promote, which can help them rank higher in search results.
Overall, internal linking is an important aspect of a comprehensive SEO strategy, and it can have a positive impact on your website’s visibility and ranking in search results.
Can Backlinks Help with SEO?
Yes, backlinks also help with SEO in several ways:
Improving Search Engine Rankings: Backlinks are a key factor in determining search engine rankings. Search engines view backlinks as a “vote of confidence” in the quality and relevance of your site. The more high-quality, relevant backlinks you have pointing to your site, the more likely search engines are to view your site as authoritative and trustworthy, which can help boost your rankings in search results.
Increasing Referral Traffic: Backlinks can also drive referral traffic to your site. If users click on a backlink on another site and then visit your site, this can help increase the overall traffic to your site, which can be beneficial for both search engine rankings and user engagement.
Demonstrating Authority and Credibility: Backlinks demonstrate to search engines that other websites consider your content to be valuable and relevant. This can help establish your site as an authoritative and credible source of information, which can improve your visibility and credibility in search results.
Boosting Link Equity: Backlinks can help distribute link equity, or the ranking power of links, to your site. If high-quality, authoritative sites link to your site, this can help boost your overall ranking power and visibility in search results.
It’s important to focus on building high-quality, relevant backlinks from trusted and authoritative sites to ensure the best results. Avoid engaging in black hat link building practices, such as buying links or participating in link schemes, as this can result in penalties from search engines and harm your visibility in search results. Instead, focus on creating valuable and engaging content that other sites will naturally want to link to.
Can External Links Help with SEO?
Yes, external links also help with SEO, and in very much the same ways that backlinks help with SEO:
Demonstrating Authority and Credibility: External links demonstrate to search engines that your site is a credible source of information and that other websites consider your content to be valuable and relevant. This can help boost your visibility and credibility in search results.
Improving User Experience: External links provide users with additional information and context related to the content on your site. This can help improve the overall user experience and make your site more valuable and trustworthy in the eyes of both users and search engines.
Boosting Link Equity: External links can help distribute link equity, or the ranking power of links, to other sites. This can help boost the visibility and credibility of both your site and the linked sites, which can have a positive impact on search engine rankings.
Increasing Referral Traffic: External links can also drive referral traffic to your site. If users click on an external link on your site and then visit the linked site, they may also decide to visit your site if they find it relevant and valuable.
It’s important to keep in mind that not all external links are created equal. Search engines may penalize sites that link to low-quality or spammy sites, so it’s important to focus on building high-quality, relevant links from trusted and authoritative sites. Additionally, you should use descriptive and relevant anchor text that accurately reflects the content of the linked site to make it clear to both users and search engines what the link is about.
How to structure your website
While both internal, external, and back links are good for SEO, the only links you have total control over are your internal links. This is why internal links should be part of your overall SEO strategy. So, structuring your website is important. Let’s look at some best practices for structuring your website with internal links:
Plan Your Site Architecture: Start by planning your site’s architecture and organizing your content into clear categories and subcategories. This will make it easier to create internal links that help users navigate your site, in a natural or logical way, and more easily find what they’re looking for.
<p”>Use Descriptive Anchor Text: When linking to other pages within your site, use descriptive and relevant anchor text that accurately reflects the content of the linked page. This will make it easier for users and search engines to understand the purpose of the link.
Link to Relevant Pages: When linking to other pages within your site, make sure the links are relevant and provide useful additional context and information for the user. This will help improve the overall user experience and provide a clear structure for search engines to follow.
Avoid link “stuffing” – linking to non-relevant pages for the sake of having more links. While search engines may not punish you for having too many links, if they get confused when indexing your site, and can’t work out how your site is structured, they can’t return accurate search results to users and therefore this will adversely affect your websites ranking.Use a Hierarchical Structure: Use a hierarchical structure for your site, with your most important pages at the top and lower-priority pages linked to from there. Think of it as a pyramid structure:
- Home page at the top of the pyramid: This is the main entry point for the website, and it serves as a hub for all the other pages. It includes links to categories, popular products, and other important pages on the site.
- Category pages: Below the home page. Each category page is focused on a specific product category, such as clothing, electronics, or home goods. These pages include links to subcategories and individual product pages, as well as filters and sorting options to help users find the products they’re looking for.
- Subcategory pages: Below the category pages. These pages provide a more specific view of a product category, such as women’s clothing, laptops, or kitchen appliances. These pages include links to individual product pages and may also include additional filters and sorting options.
- Product pages: Below the subcategory pages. Each product page provides detailed information about a single product, including images, descriptions, specifications, and customer reviews. These pages also include a “add to cart” button, and may link to related products or other pages on the site.
This will help distribute link equity effectively and make it easier for users to find what they’re looking for.
Avoid Linking to Dead-End Pages: Avoid linking to pages that are “dead-ends” with no links to other pages on your site. This will help ensure that users can easily find related content and that search engines can effectively crawl and index your site.Monitor and Adjust Your Structure: Regularly monitor and adjust your site structure as needed to ensure that it remains organized and effective for both users and search engines. This may include adding new internal links or removing old links that are no longer relevant.
Spread Link Equity: When linking to other pages within your site, make sure to distribute link equity evenly across your site. This will help ensure that all pages on your site have a chance to rank well in search results.
Remember, by following structuring your website with internal links, you can improve the user experience, increase visibility in search results, and ensure that your site is effectively organized for both users and search engines.
What is Link Equity?
Ok, we slipped in a couple of new terms there, link equity and anchor text. Maybe a couple more definitions needed as we will often hear these phrases when working with SEO and links. So, what is link equity?
Link equity is a term used to describe the value or strength of a link from one website to another. It’s a way of measuring how much “authority” or “ranking power” a link can pass on to the linked page.
Think of it like a vote of confidence. When a high-authority website links to another website, it’s like casting a vote of confidence in that site’s content. The more votes of confidence a site receives (in the form of links), the stronger it becomes, and the higher it is likely to rank in search results.
Link equity can be influenced by several factors, including the quality and relevance of the linking site, the relevance of the content on the linked page, and the anchor text used in the link. By creating high-quality internal and external links to your website, you can build and distribute link equity, which can help improve your visibility in search results.
For example, imagine that you run a website about photography, and you have two pages on your site:
- A page about Canon cameras
- A page about Nikon cameras
If the Canon page is linked to from many high-authority websites in the photography industry, it will likely have a lot of link equity and rank well in search results for queries related to Canon cameras.
However, if the Nikon page is only linked to from a few low-authority websites, it may not have as much link equity and may not rank as well in search results.
To help the Nikon page rank better, you could create internal links from your Canon page to the Nikon page, effectively sharing some of the Canon page’s link equity with the Nikon page. This would help improve the Nikon page’s visibility in search results and make it easier for users to find information about Nikon cameras on your site.
This is just a simple example, but it demonstrates how link equity can be used to influence the visibility of different pages in search results. By building and distributing link equity across your site, you can help improve your visibility in search results and reach a wider audience.
What is Anchor Text?
Anchor text is simply the visible, clickable text in a hyperlink that is used to link one web page to another. It’s called “anchor text” because it serves as the anchor or link that users click on to navigate to another page.
A simple example will help here. Imagine you have a blog about photography, and you want to link to a website that sells camera equipment. You could write a sentence like this:
“If you’re looking for quality camera cases, check out the website <a href=”https://www.cameracases.com”>Camera Case Store</a>.”
When someone views the blog, they will see the words “Camera Case Store” as the anchor text, not the actual URL “https://www.cameracases.com”. The URL is only visible when you hover over the link or when you inspect the HTML code. The purpose of the anchor text is to provide a descriptive and clickable label for the link that is easily understandable by both users and search engines.
We mention this now because, when adding internal and external links to your site, it’s good practice to use descriptive and relevant anchor text that accurately reflects the content of the linked page or site. This makes it clear to both users and search engines what the link is about and what the linked site offers.
Can We Help?
Now you know how the humble link, or hyperlink, can be so important for your website SEO. A good start would be a Website SEO audit, we have the following article that might help – Should I carry out a website SEO audit?
There is a lot to take in and it can often become overwhelming, even for the more technically minded, so you may be looking for some help. The articles published on the social:definition website are about everyday subjects that we deal with. We’ve done all the hard work, read the documents, and put everything into practice. We’ve learned a lot ourselves through continued research, our own development and practical experience. All this experience goes into the work we carry out for our clients, so, if we can help, we’d be only too happy to.
You can contact us directly through the form on this page or using any of the details throughout our website.