To help visitors find the information they need about your products and services, internal and external links play an important role in the navigation process.
Each link must direct your viewers to the next relevant piece of material they need to complete their research and/or customer journey.
The web relies on links to connect each piece of material. Search engines can use both internal and external links to decide which pages are the most authoritative about a particular topic.
Because of this, the importance of both internal and external linking cannot be overstated when it comes to search engine optimization.
What Is the Importance of Internal Links?
Google and other search engines use internal links to better understand a website’s structure.
Site owners can use them to communicate to their customers and the search engines which pages are the most critical.
To illustrate this point, the most significant content on a website can be communicated to search engines through the top-level navigation sections (e.g., Products, Services, About Us, Resources).
Search engine spiders go through a site’s links to identify its hierarchy, and the pages at the top are more significant.
When it comes to your most critical material, you don’t want to hide it away deep within your website.
Your website and all of its content should always be geared toward answering your target audience’s inquiries and concerns.
What Is the Importance of External Links?
Links are important to Google and other search engines. Search engines consider that you are endorsing the content of an external website if you include a link to it.
It is possible to use external links to provide additional information to the reader by providing citations, verifying the material, and providing context.
In other words, Google’s strategy is around making relevant content available to the right people at the right time. As long as the answers are located somewhere outside your web page, it’s perfectly fine to link to them. All of the answers aren’t going to be in your head.
Suppose a fantastic article on a very relevant and well-respected industry website has been published, and this article mentions something about your company’s product or service.
They may have a smart move by including a link to an article that will help your readers learn more about a subject or answer any queries.
When, Where, and How Do You Add Links?
You should put yourself in the shoes of your viewers when you’re considering adding connections to new or existing website material.” Consider how they’ll interact with it and whether or not a link would be useful.
Take a step back and create a customer journey map if you haven’t previously. When deciding which pieces and/or categories of content you manage are most suited for linkage, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Make no apologies for including strong calls to action (CTAs). Customers who are ready to go on to the next logical stage in their journey and who aren’t and need more knowledge will find these beneficial.
The majority of consumer journeys are no longer linear. Using links, you may give your customers various options based on where they are in their search for information, products, or services.
Your new or current piece of content may contain keywords or topics that need further explanation or clarification.
If not, do you know where to find the information (blog articles, FAQs, etc.) to answer those questions? Is there anything you can do to find it?
Using keywords in the anchor text (a.k.a., link text) to link to content that gives relevant answers to these inquiries helps the search engines connect the questions and replies.
Using a button or picture, such as a banner, to link to your most important links and calls to action is a natural way to draw visitors’ attention to your website.
Visitor engagement and link clicks may and should be tracked using visual UX analytics tools like click heatmaps, for example.
In addition, Google Analytics 4’s Path Analysis Report may be utilized to see how users move from page to page and what activities they perform on the page.
To improve your internal and external connectivity, you can use data from tools like this.
After you’ve determined where and when to use links, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Open In Another Tab Or Window
Linking externally may need that you open the link in a new browser window or tab.
Your readers will be able to effortlessly exit this second window and return to your original article when they’re done with the “associated” content.
It’s common to practice for internal links to open in a new window so that the reader doesn’t leave the site.
However, in some cases, such as connecting to an accompanying Help manual on a program website, this may be justified.
My browser/window often takes me to an external site when I click on a link and then takes me to another site when I click on another link.
I can’t remember where I started.
My browser’s back button and browsing history are both available to me. But if the author didn’t think it was significant enough for me to stick around, I’m not going to make an extra effort to find the original piece.
Nofollow vs. Follow
To designate your links as Follow or Nofollow, you can add a rel=”nofollow”> attribute to the link’s URL.
Other links are automatically followed.
When a link is inserted on a website with a “no follow” tag, search engines don’t attach any importance to the link about the page it is on. Google will not be able to follow that link and crawl the relevant page due to pressing this button.
This attribute is taken as a suggestion rather than a directive, as Google has made clear.
Most of your site’s internal links will be followed. However, there are times when No-follow exterior links are preferable.
In addition, there are qualities for connections to content that you cannot guarantee for or control, such as paid, sponsored, or user-generated content.
See Should You Utilize Nofollow, Sponsored, or UGC Links? to learn more about when to use each of these.
Add Links, but don’t go overboard.
As with anything SEO-related, it’s crucial not to overdo it when using internal and external links.
According to Google’s recent findings, the value of a link can be diluted if there are too many on a single page.
The more links a website has, the more difficult it is for Google to decipher its structure.
However, a logical structure should emerge if you thoroughly analyze your content and connect pertinent complementary sources.
If you check your material and find that it has too many links, reconsider and update your content with that in mind.
To summarise, here are some key points:
Internal and external link building remains an essential SEO strategy.
Links enable Google and other search engines and all users to a website to navigate the site’s logical structure, highlighting the most significant content along the way.
Following the customer’s path from awareness to conversion via links and clear calls to action is an excellent link strategy model.
Whenever you link, keep your users’ experience in mind first and foremost, and you’ll automatically improve your rankings in search engines as well.