Editor's note: Guy Siverson is a web consultant with ViralTNTeam who specializes in SEO. Today he's shared an article with us about using internal backlinks to optimize a website.
Those clickable links that hold the Web together.
They come in two major varieties:
- Internal (Within your own domain)
- External (Outside your domain, pointing to you)
Both are very important, and ordinary external backlinks are essential for bringing more sales to your online business. But when you publish a blog post or article, you should also be linking to it somewhere on your website. And, if done correctly, this will increase your SEO rankings, get your readers to explore your content, and ultimately bring in more visitors. In this article, we will be delving into the intricate details of exactly how you should be tapping into the power of internal backlinks.
I guarantee that this is stuff very few other people are doing, which means there is exponential value should you tap into these principles.
Unlocking Internal Link Building Secrets
HOT TIP: You are about to find out my own personal favorite method and exactly how to make it work for you. I guarantee that this is super simple, yet painfully few webmasters are doing it.
Internal backlinks connect one post or page to another. This can be done by linking textual or image content as the connecting source. Creating hyperlinks via words is more common than using images because it flows more naturally within the context of an article.
Increasing Value Within Anchor Text
When creating internal links, webmasters often link directly to key phrases. So for instance, an apple pie recipe might be linked to the phrase ‘apple pie recipe.’ This is known as “exact match anchor text link building” and it is a bad method for several reasons.
Two other options that are commonly seen include:
- Naked URL – Slapping down an entire URL in the body of your text without attaching it to words or images.
- Untargeted Anchor Text Internal Link Building – Works the same way as the exact match concept, but without targeted keywords to the page being linked. If you’ve ever made a “click here,” or “see more” link, then you’ve done this before.
Which of these three do I recommend?
Google wants everything to be natural. These approaches look manipulated and cheap. As a reader, you’re unlikely to click on a small series of targeted words or a completely naked URL. A much better option is an integrated approach that I’m about to explain.
Let’s say you have a sentence in your document that goes something like:
“healthy Granny Smith apple pie recipe instructions”
Don’t make “apple pie” into a hyperlink, and don’t put the link somewhere else (“Click here to see it”). Instead, why not link the entire phrase?
This way you:
- Are using the exact match words without specifically targeting a single phrase.
- Decrease the possibility that a duplicate link will ever appear on your website (Google does not like duplicate links)
- Increase link diversity within the project you are building.
- Increase the relevance of the linked content to your readers, thereby increasing the likelihood that they’ll check it out.
- Appeal to Google’s desire that everything in your design process is unique and organic.
For many people, this a new thought when it comes to link building. Others intuitively realize the effectiveness of this strategy, and use it without being told.
But there’s another key to unlocking the power of internal links. Let’s continue.
Link Wheels in Motion
If you've been building on the Web for any length of time, you've probably heard of Google’s tremendous dislike for external link wheels. So why bring up the concept at all?
Because the link wheels I’m telling you about aren’t external - they exist entirely on your website.
This method will build the interconnectedness of your site, reduce bounce rates, and keep your visitors around. Let’s get into it!
HOT TIP: I recommend capturing all links on a notepad to make this process easier to implement. I personally create a private file within WordPress which contains a map so that I keep reference notes together. This makes for easy processing and accessibility when I need the document.
Here’s how a link wheel works internally.
- Post 1 links to Post 2
- Post 2 links to Post 3
- Post 3 links to Post 1
Did you see the difference with post 3?
It connected everything together.
I typically build these wheels in sets of 5 based on how many items have been added to a given category. You have a lot of flexibility to create whatever structures make sense to you; the point is that visitors can navigate away from a page, and end up right back where they started.
Here’s another point: in the above examples, I’ve used the word ‘post’. But if you’re running a WordPress site, you can create internal link wheels using pages as well as blog posts. Does this matter at all?
Yes, but before I reveal the reason, let’s have a brief word about posts and pages.
Posts Versus Pages
What’s the difference between blog posts and pages?
Typically speaking, posts form the constantly updated blogroll of a website, while pages are more static. You may update your pages, but in general, they stay in the same place. The advantages of each and how exactly to implement them within your own project is often debated.
The model I follow is to use pages for focal content.
For example, the 3 main services I offer include:
- Public Speaking
And these pages are all located in the category of ‘Marketing’.
For the rest of my content, I use posts. The posts come together to form link wheels while the pages are brought in as tiers.
Integrating Tiered Link Building Strategies
So the primary content of a good site is built on pages, which become the top level tiers. I recommend between 3 to 5 such documents. Think about the main services or products of your site, and dedicate a big page to each one.
Once I have links to each of these tiers, I make sure that every other page of my website points to at least one of them. Thus, the power of the internal link wheel structure is fed up to your most critical content.
As your project grows, Google will see this and reward those pages accordingly.
This is what is known as “tiered link wheels” and they are powerful. That’s why they are my own personal favorite way to build links internally.
If you haven’t started already, there’s no time like the present! Follow the advice in this article to raise your SEO, lower your bounce rates, keep visitors on your site, and ultimately bring in more sales.
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