Most business owners who have even an elementary understanding of content online know that linking is important. However, what many do not realize is that there are many different kinds of linking, all of which have different benefits and different pitfalls. The two most basic (but important) types of linking to understand is internal and external linking. This then begs the inevitable question: Do they differences really matter when it comes to SEO?
Internal Linking 101
When someone says “internal linking” they simply mean a link that navigates between different webpages of your website. This is a great way to keep people on your site as long as possible and gives you the opportunity to help them learn more about a given topic by looking through your site as opposed to heading somewhere else. It’s hard to get all the information you need in one article, so linking internally is a huge help. Consider some of the other benefits:
- PageRank – Linking internally can help your page rank. This will help you move up to the top of search engine pages, so it can make a big difference when it comes to trying to improve the visibility of your brand. Although this doesn’t hold as much weight in terms of PageRank as someone else linking to your webpages, it doesn’t hurt.
- Navigation – As discussed above, having internal links can help your customers navigate your webpage. Most experts recommend having the page open on the existing page so that people will stay on your site longer, but as a reader I always prefer when an internal link opens a new webpage. You could also consider installing breadcrumbs on your website for even easier navigation.
- Index – Lots of internal links will help search engines classify your site quicker and more accurately. This could help readers find your site easier on search engines because it will help ensure that your site is indexed in the proper places.
The Know-Hows of External Linking
External links take readers from your website to another website. Although this may seem like a terrible idea, it can potentially have many benefits for both your company and your readers:
- Credibility – Chances are your website does not gather its own data and facts. For this reason, you will want to link to websites in order to give them credit for the information you are using. This will help readers see where you get your facts; thus improving your credibility.
- PageRank – Although linking to another site within your article will not help your PageRank, external linking will help if it is done to you. In other words, if another site is linking to your website, your PageRank will improve. Many websites utilize guest posting on other blogs—they offer free articles in exchange for what would be an external link back to their site.
- Traffic – Your traffic will certainly increase if you have reputable sites linking back to your site. Not only will you show up more on a Google search page because of your PageRank, but you will have new sets of eyes looking at your website.
The most important thing to remember about linking is that the links should be relevant. Linking just for the sake of linking will not fools readers, and it will most certainly not fool Google. As long as you can link, both internally and externally, in a natural way, you will find that linking is a small way to make a huge difference.
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