A few years ago, I had one of ENX2’s SEO specialists go through the site of a client we had recently taken on. I wanted a full report on how well they were doing and how we could make it better for them. When he came back, he was impressed with the content and the focus on keywords, but he had noticed one thing that was prevalent across nearly all their site’s pages. No linking, no outbound links, no internal links. No bueno.
It’s common to see people forget to send links to other sites or they don’t because they’re afraid to lose site visitors. It’s even more common to only see links when the writer is quoting something. There’s almost always that lone page or blog that forgets to add some kind of link.
But no links? I felt like I was in a beautiful website prison with nowhere to go – all closed doors. No room to move. Connected to nothing for me to get lost in the information of which landed me here in the first place. My specialist said to be fair they had a couple of links to their contact pages, but by far, most of their pages were search cul de sacs.
That’s what we call pages and posts that lead to nowhere, a page that search engines like Google and Bing won’t look at twice. Who wants to be on the road that leads to nowhere? Nobody.
Immediately, ENX2 got to work on fixing the problem by adding the proper outbound links and internal links. I bring up this story now because we still see clients, new and potential, forget one of the simplest ways to boost SEO on their sites. Something so simple yet so powerful in the hands of the right seo master.
Just… What is SEO?
Any marketer worth their salt knows what SEO stands for, but a lot of businesses don’t, and that’s understandable. SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization, an encompassing phrase people in marketing use to describe how search engines like Google and Bing work.
Have you ever googled a topic on your website, such as “Employment Law NEPA,” and wondered why your web pages show up in the third, fourth, or fifth spots of Google? Ignoring the paid ads, SEO decides that.
When a term is searched, Google combs through web pages for that keyword and its synonyms to find the best match. It does this by looking for a few key factors, and over time, Google has changed and expanded on some of those factors. Once Google does its search magic – boom! This is when the SERP’s (search engine results pages) appear and you will see who is in front of the pack.
Linking is a big one, and pages with linking will generally appear before pages that don’t. Always remember that the world wide web is all about connections. If your own pages don’t connect to one another (internal linking) and they don’t talk to any other websites like friends (outbound linking), what does that say about your business? Just some food for thought.
Wait, Now What’s Linking?!
Now, if you’ve ever been on the internet, you’ve experienced linking. You more than likely have even used one. We put one here on ours!
It’s when you attach links to other web pages, on and off your site. There are two types to distinguish when links are to other sites or another page on your site, outbound linking and internal linking.
As their names would suggest, outbound links go to other websites, and internal links go to another page on your site. For SEO purposes, you always want both, no exceptions.
What’s the Difference Between Internal Links & Outbound Links?
It may seem obvious how they’re different, but we promise there’s more to it than where they link to. When Google searches for the right pages for its users, internal links and outbound links tell the search different things.
This means having them send off green and red flags for different reasons that everyone should know. Not understanding the difference can lead to a lot of pages and posts with poorly picked links.
And there are bad links. You can’t just link to anything, but that’s why ENX2 is here!
What Do Outbound Links Do For Your Page?
Outbound links do something that’s hard to quantify, though many Google ranking tools try to do it. They help build trust between you, your visitors, and the Google Search program.
Whenever you’re reading something, whether it’s about real events, science, legal advice, or a new recipe, do you trust a page that has a source or none at all? Visitors want proof, and they should. Outbound links not only show that you have other people backing up what you’re saying, but you’re also not claiming that you’re the only one who knows what they’re talking about.
So having good and ‘relevant’ outbound links are important to have. ‘Relevant’ is a relative word that I’ll touch on later. For now, know that you want links that will back up what you’re saying and build trust.
When Google Search looks through your article, it’s also looking for outbound links to figure out if your page and website are trustworthy. If it’s trustworthy and credible, then it’s likely to be a good read.
What Do Internal Links Do For Your Page?
Internal links do two major things that outbound links do not. They tell Google which pages of yours are important, boosting the SEO of the pages you link to, and they get visitors to look at other pages of yours.
Of course, all of your pages are important, so let Google know! The Google Search algorithm considers any page you link on the regular important, so link to them. Then, link to other pages in those pages, and then even more pages in those pages! Eventually, it should get around that every page is important, collectively raising the SEO of your website!
This strategy works on so many levels…. You’re not only raising the SEO of your website as a whole, but you also uplift pages that might not be doing as well as others. Not all keywords and search terms are created equal.
Then, after Google Search starts looking at all of these other pages, can you guess who else will? Your visitors!
Maybe the original page or post wasn’t exactly what someone was looking for, but maybe the next one will be, or the next, or the next, etc. It all comes full circle!
What Are Some Mistakes People Make When Adding Links?
This isn’t to say that you should just plop any links down anywhere. Just sticking them at the end of your page may work to bring in a few extra visitors, but Google Search is getting smarter and smarter every day.
At some point, the algorithm will notice that your outbound links and internal links aren’t being clicked on because of poor placement or irrelevancy. This means you have to put links in the right places.
For outbound links, you want to attach them to the phrase where you mention the topic you need external support for. Internal links are a bit more difficult to pin down. You want one at the end of your pages and posts for your call-to-action. You also want them attached to highlight keywords throughout your post. Having one in the beginning, middle, and end is usually a safe bet.
But even if you post them in the right place, they have to be relevant. There are a lot, and I mean a lot, of tools that measure how many visitors click on links and how much time they spend on those pages. Google Search will figure out if your external links are relevant or irrelevant.
You want to link to something that actually supports your argument, something that visitors click on to recognize that you’re telling the truth. At the same time, you don’t want to attach anything that someone could read instead of your page or post. If visitors are staying on your link and never coming back, they’ll just send your traffic to that link.
So there has to be a perfect middle-ground, right? Yes!
Your pages and posts should be rich with helpful information, and your external links should back up singular points. Never link to a page whose keyword is the same as your main keyword. Not to mince words, but we’re here to help your site, not anyone else’s first and foremost.
Can I Add Too Many Outbound Links and Internal Links?
In a word, yes, you can.
With outbound links, as long as the link is relevant, it can’t hurt your SEO. But if you’re referencing something in every sentence or paragraph, you’re going to get some strange looks. Make sure your content is mostly your own. It’s okay to have five or more external links when there’s a paragraph or two between them.
Internal links are a different discussion. Linking to too many other pages on your site dilutes the brand. While longer posts can support two or three, it’s far better to stick to two unless you have a lot to say. Link to one relevant page on your site and your contact page in the call-to-action.
Oh, and definitely do not link to the same link multiple times. That negatively hurts your SEO, because it tells Google Search that this page is far better than the one it recommended. At the same time, that page you’re linking to multiple times isn’t going to get more traffic if its main keyword is different as it should be.
If a page or post of yours can work in multiple places, really consider which location is the best. If it’s a long post that can support three internal links, create another page or post with a similar keyword. You can link to that page or post then.
Are Outbound Links and Internal Links? Talk to ENX2 Marketing!
This isn’t the easiest thing to wrap your head around. You have an entire business to run and may not have the time and manpower to update and empower your site’s SEO. That’s where ENX2 Marketing comes in.☀️
We know what we’re talking about and we learned it by implementing techniques and tools to the sites of our clients for more than a decade. Let ENX2 Marketing do the same for you! Contact us today!