Let’s talk about links. More specifically, about links you can add on your website to interconnect your pages and about links that lead from your website to others. What are the benefits of that? What should you be mindful of?
First, we’ll divide links on your website into two categories – internal links and outbound links.
Internal links, that is the links that connect different pages on a same website, serve two purposes: They make navigation easier for your visitors and help with the indexing of your website by search engines.
The most essential navigation element on your website is definitely the main menu. You might, however, want to help your visitors reach desired pages faster and more intuitively. Internal links can help in these cases:
- Do you have a content-heavy website and long pages full of information where visitors can easily get lost? We recommend adding links into your pages that will interconnect them with other parts of your website. You can then provide additional information or further explore some ideas without making the content on the original page unbearably long.
- Do you own an e-shop? Adding links to pages with similar products or related accessories might persuade customers to purchase more items and boost your sales.
- Do you want to naturally navigate your visitors to pages with the most important content? If you want people to download an e-book, for example, link to it from other pages when it makes sense to do so.
Where to put your links
Into text – We are all used to seeing links in texts and we know what happens when we click on them. Ideally, the text where you place your link should be directly related to the content of the linked page. If a completely unrelated page opens up, it might simply scare off your visitors.
Into pictures – although images are visually more attractive, using them as links has its disadvantages. For example, Google can’t see what’s displayed in an image and so doesn’t know what to think about your link. Even its official guidelines state that text links are preferred. Image links can also be confusing. On mobile phones, it’s not always clear if an image can be clicked on, unless obvious from the context. Don’t give up on them completely; if possible, combine image links with text or text links.
Into buttons – clearly visible Call to Action buttons such as “Contact me”, “Order now” or “Browse products” are very useful because they provide a clear path to another page. In Webnode, you can add them by following this simple guide.
Search engine indexing
Search engines use so called indexing robots which crawl through websites and index new content into databases. Everything happens automatically, but such a robot might still overlook some of your pages or place importance on a page where you don’t really need it.
Internal links help the whole indexing process. Robots will find a link, move through it to the next page, then using another link will move on to yet another page and so on until your whole website is indexed.
The number of links leading to a single page also tells Google how important that page is. It’s very simple – pages with the highest number of internal links are the most important for your website and so should be also promoted more by Google. What can you learn from that? Make sure all your pages get their fair share of links so they can get equal attention from search engines. This is called internal link building.
The sitemap is a list of all the available pages on your website and also an important source of information for the indexing robots. Our editor generates your sitemap automatically so you can simply connect your website with search engine tools and they will receive all vital information. It’s not necessary to do, but if you automatically inform search engines about new pages or any changes on your website through the sitemap, it will speed up the whole indexing process. It might take even a few months to get your changes indexed and displayed in search results otherwise.
We will talk more about why and how to connect your website with search engines in the next article.
Besides the internal links you can also use links that will send your readers to other related websites, blogs and social sites. They’re called outbound links.
Now why would you send your readers to other websites when you normally spend most of your time trying to make them stay on yours? Because it’s actually beneficial for you.
- Search engines get to know your website better. Who you link to signals who you are, in which industry you’re working, who your competitors are, and even what kind of topics you’re discussing on your blog. Search engines can then use this data to easily categorize your website and accurately promote it.
- Show you belong among the experts by endorsing them. By linking to relevant and trustworthy websites you give their reputation a boost but also bring attention to your own expertise. Visitors and search engines will see you as a valuable source of reputable information backed up by other websites.
- Those experts might link back to you. It’s all about reciprocation. Other websites will be more inclined to link to yours if you do it first.
Before you dive into creating those outbound links, make sure you follow a few simple rules:
Quality of links
All linked websites should be relevant. If you link to dubious or downright spammy websites, their poor quality will reflect back on your site.
Do it naturally
Adding links into your texts just because it could benefit your site can backfire pretty quickly. Links should make sense, so add them only if they can be of value and only where readers would expect to see them.
Wide spectrum of links
Do a little research in your field and offer readers a variety of external resources. They’re going to appreciate it.
Keep them updated
If a reader finds half of your links on a single page not working, it’s not going to leave the best impression. Perform an audit once in a while and delete all obsolete links or replace them with more up-to-date resources. Instead of painstakingly going through all your pages and manually checking if all links work, you can use specialized services. For more advanced option, you might want to try Screaming Frog. If you‘re looking for a simple solution, this Chrome extension called Check my links might do the job.
External link building
It’s such a crucial aspect of the SEO process that we’d like to mention external link building at least briefly here. Link building is basically a process of getting other websites to link back to your site. Ideally, this would happen naturally because you have amazing content, other websites want to share it and they find you on their own. If you’re just starting out or not a lot of people know you exist, reality might be harsh. Link building, just like any other form of promotion, requires constant work. At least at the beginning, you will have to actively look for websites, strike up conversations and ask people directly to promote your content. You can find several handy tips in this article about link building.
Let’s wrap it up
To bring the topic of links on your website to a close, remember this – whether they connect pages together on your own website or lead to other websites, all links should follow the same standards of quality as your content. Put them in texts, pictures or buttons, as long as it makes sense. The more value they bring to your visitors, the better for you.
- Basic principles and recommendations
- Where to begin? (content, target group, competitors, own domain)
- SEO settings in the Webnode website builder
- Links on your website
- Connecting to search engines
- Social sites and other forms of promotion
- Data Analysis (study your visitors)
- Mobile first indexing
What about the links on your website? What kind of links are you using most often? Let us know!