Learn How to Setup Your Website Link Structure
Have you ever wondered what those shiny, underlined words in articles do? Read this to know more about setting up your website link structure!
Link – to make a connection; to join something together; to create a sense of relatedness
Just like how family members are linked with ties, jewelry is linked with chains, and genes are linked to make up a person’s DNA – websites know how to link themselves to each other too.
Why Is Linking Important For SEO?
Web page linking is the process of connecting one page of a website to another on the same or different domain. Think of it as something like a teleportation system that lets you jump from one realm to another with just a click of the mouse! And you don’t need to be a devout SEO junkie to learn how this works – you just need the right guide.
First, you need to know about the two general types of linking: internal and external.
What’s The Difference Between Internal And External Linking?
Internal links are those that connect one page of your website to another page of the same website. Adding a link to your website’s portfolio page in one of your blog posts is a basic example of internal linking.
On the other hand, external or outbound links are those that connect a page of your website to a page of a different website – usually websites that have higher authority than yours. One common example is when we reference factual data to scholarly studies or researchers.
Either way, both types of links serve a purpose in SEO that when applied correctly, can make wonders for your website.
Why Do We Need To Use Links?
Internal or external, everything still comes down to the potential benefits a business can gain from linking. So, without further ado, we have prepared a comprehensive list of the advantages you can get by linking your pages – in and out!
Increase In Page Views
This is probably the most obvious reason but still one that really counts – especially when it comes to internal linking. By incorporating internal links on your webpages, you are encouraging visitors to keep engaging with your content. This increases the link equity of a specific page on your website and in turn, improves your site’s authority in the long run.
Decreased Bounce Rates
This coincides with the preceding advantage. The longer you can keep a user hooked in your website, the better. This means you’re getting less bounce rates and more screen time for your pages. Google interprets this as your website being relevant and meaningful to users and (hopefully) help you rank higher in the SERPs.
When your website is linked properly, Google can run through a series of your webpages with much ease – giving them a more precise idea of what your website is really about.
Remember what I said about links being some sort of teleportation device? Well for crawlers – Google’s little minions – links serve as passageways where they jump in and out to get information about your website for indexing. And if you’re running an online business, your entire existence in cyberspace all depends on getting indexed appropriately.
Cash Pages Are More Visible
When we devise marketing strategies, we always think of the best way to return our investments. In websites, we make our pages do the selling – thus, the birth of SEO. One of the main goals of using an SEO marketing strategy is to guide potential clients to money-making pages – may it be in the form of subscriptions, service packages, or in-web purchases. After all, how can we fund SEO specialists, if we aren’t raking in any cash – right?
The dynamics are simple:
Effective links = More Cash Page Views = More Potential Clients
This is what makes linking such a powerful tool in SEO. You don’t just drive traffic; you drive in sales as well.
Which Is Better For Your Business – Internal Or External?
Internal links give your site obvious benefits. If possible, I know you’d prefer to have a user going around your site all day long. As we have discussed above, most of the benefits you can get out of the linking practice come from setting up internal links. An example of an internal link on Tayloright.com would be something like NYC SEO, (linking to our homepage) latest SEO updates, (linking to our blog page) or something like, check out our digital marketing services that are available for New York businesses (linking to our services page) This is how internal links are typically done. Although it is plain as day that internal links are better for your business, one must not also undermine the opportunities and benefits external linking can create for websites.
How Can External Links Be Useful For Websites?
External links – contrary to popular belief – have been attested to bring more rewarding consequences for websites and blogs alike. Most online entrepreneurs and businessmen practicing SEO fear using outbound links because of any or all of the following reasons:
- Negative impact on site reputation
- Give people an unnecessary exit from the site
- Limit page views
Although all of these are valid grounds for doubting the advantages external linking may give you, still, these links can help improve your website standing if you know how to turn the tables in your favor.
Main Concern #1: Your “link relationships” show what kind of network your website is thriving on. Linking out to good websites will reflect quality on the content of your own website. In the same way, linking out to bad websites will damage your website’s reputation.
If you look at it this way, external links are not the main problem. The problem would lie in the sites you’re trying to link to. In this case, you can always check for the DA (Domain Authority) of a website before you consider linking out to them. The numerical value indicated can be a good basis for you to evaluate whether the site you are using as reference is a site many users trust. The one I particularly use, CheckMoz, allows you to search a website’s DA for free.
Main Concern #2: External links indeed pose a possibility for a user to divert his attention away from your website – which is not always a bad thing. If you link out to trustworthy sites that bring relevance and value to users, you will improve user experience. Improving user experience will benefit your website in the long run because people usually come back to sites that give them access to quality information.
Take Google, for example. Google’s success can be attributed to the right use of external links – in the most ingenious way possible. But in turn, they run all links through a very strict filtering process – something that you, me, and everybody else in the world of SEO is trying to pass. Every inch of effort they invest is directed to making sure that they provide quality.
Main Concern #3: Some SEO specialists would say that incorporating external links will just cost you opportunity and that focusing on internal links is the one best way to increase page views. If taken in a literal sense, it’s the truth. But it’s also naïve to think that one website can have all the information necessary to learn about a specific niche.
I believe that linking out to relevant resources will make you look more concerned about the user’s benefit rather than getting an increase in page views. And when users get a gist of that, they’ll surely appreciate your services better.
In summary external linking is a great tool in SEO, you just need to know how to distinguish between what you should do and what you should avoid. Here’s a good article about external links that you can check out.
How Can We Make The Linking Better On Our Website?
Internal Links Over External
Although we have thoroughly discussed the importance of external links, it is still important to know that you must limit its use. Because:
- You will confuse the user which one to click because it’s too crowded
- Internal links will lose focus.
Use external links but use it sparingly. Internal links after all, benefit your website’s link equity so it should still be prioritized.
Make Your Anchor Text Extra Rich
Anchor texts are words or phrases you put on Hyperlink – so it’s basically what people click to get redirected to another page. It is important that you have a keyword (or something that’s really relevant to the linked article) included in your anchor text. It is important to note that Google, and other search engines, will only count the initial anchor text used for a specific link.
For example, if I feature a blog’s link twice in the same article using Complete SEO Guide as the first anchor text and SEO for Local Businesses as the second anchor text, Google will only recognize the first one. So it is very important that you take this opportunity to have a keyword-rich anchor text – be natural about it though!
Use HTML – That’s It!
Have All Links Open In A New Window
Following this tip gives your website several advantages – the most important of which is improving user experience. Think about it. Isn’t it just plain annoying to be cut off in the middle of your reading just because you clicked on a link that you thought was kind of interesting? Clicking on a link doesn’t mean the user plans to leave the site right away. Sometimes, they just click it to save for later and so that they don’t have to go all the way back just to find it after they’ve finished an entire piece of writing.
To improve user experience, having all links open in a new tab or window can be a huge plus – for both parties. You give users an easier time to browse through your website’s content (and others), plus you don’t get them to leave right away prolonging your own website’s screen time.
As our website grows, some pages get toppled over by some others. In order to ensure that all relevant pages are still accessible, creating deeper links can help you out big time. When you see an opportunity to link an older page to a new one – grab it.
Make Connections Meaningful
Content should be cohesive and consistent – this goes for links too! Every page you’re linking to must be related and should add meaning to your user’s field of inquiry or interest. You wouldn’t link a cooking blog to an article about dental implants now, would you?
A very good model to follow is the Silo structure. In this type of SEO, you carefully bring out an overarching theme by asking the following questions:
- What is the theme of my website?
- What is relevant to my website that is also currently relevant to the general populace?
- How do people normally search for this kind of subject?
When you have your main theme, it is time to cut it down to several sub-themes. It is essential to know that not only does your sub-theme need to correlate with the main theme; it should correlate with other sub-themes as well.
To know more about using this kind of structure, here’s an article I find extra helpful.
Accent Content With Helpful Links – Not The Other Way Around
Linking is good but it should be done in moderation. Nobody likes a link-infested article that seems to glow with all the highlighted hyperlinks. First, it hurts the eye and makes you dizzy. And second, you’re giving users an overwhelming number of choices that they’ll just drop off your website because of confusion.
Avoid using plugins to automate your link-building as well. They don’t have intuitive feelings – let alone insight – to know which texts can be best used as anchors. If you want to do something right, do it yourself.
And that’s it. That’s about everything I can share with you about setting up your own website link structure. But to give you a little extra to take with you, it’s best to familiarize yourself with the following concepts:
If you are planning to start making your website link structure, it’ll be best to create a site map along with it. A site map is your website’s entire layout presented in a form of a chart or list that supplies search engine crawlers with the right information on how to navigate your website. It includes all pages and links organized in a hierarchical structure.
What Are Backlinks?
Backlinks are basically links you’d want to have. They are also termed “inbound links” which means that the flow of action is directed back to your website. You get a backlink every time a page in your website gets featured in another’s. So it’s kind of like they are using you as reference instead of you using them. This helps improve your domain authority and consequently, your rank in the SERPs. So when you build your website link structure, you might want to focus your linking efforts to your best pages so that they can have more chances of getting back-linked!