An essential part of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) involves a thorough understanding of the differences between internal and external links. It also involves the strategic use of these differences in your overall digital marketing strategy. Both of these links serve as essential components of the strategic SEO plan designed to improve your ranking on the SERPs.
Internal Links versus External Links
Internal links are designed to direct the reader to another page within the same website or domain. For example, a Wikipedia page about art would include internal links leading to the separate Wikipedia pages about popular artists known throughout history. Menu bars, about us sections, contact us pages, etc., are additional examples of internal links.
External links, on the contrary, are the links leading from one website to another. They are generally used to provide readers with access to relevant content on other websites. For instance, a Wikipedia page about a charity organization could have an external link leading to the official website of the said charity organization.
Another use of such links is to introduce readers to information resources for terms or expressions they are not familiar with. For example, an extremely complex article about medicine will have external links for each medical term used. This helps readers, especially the ones unfamiliar with certain jargon, understand those terms better.
In addition to this, you could also link other websites in your content to cite references for your content or share relevant information available on other websites. You could even incorporate affiliate marketing links into your content to lead your readers to that particular program.
External links and inbound links are like two sides of the same coin. It’s just a matter of perspective. To the website that incorporates them into its content, they are external links- plain and simple. On the contrary, the website that is being linked through these links treats them as inbound links. To make it more clear, let’s take the example of a transaction of goods between two parties. To the party selling the goods, the goods exchanged are “sales”. On the other hand, the purchasing party treats the same goods as “purchases”. Hence, two sides of the same coin!
Internal links vs External links
- internal Links are designed to lead you to the content within the same website or domain; and
- external links lead you to the content on another website or domain.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) through Internal & External Links
Internal and external links are two of the most important components of an SEO strategy. Adding them to your SEO plan could do wonders for your website. Read on to learn how you can get the most out of them in terms of strategic SEO planning.
External Links: An absolute necessity for building your website’s visibility
External links take you to another website to check out additional information relating to the content these links were included in. They play a major role in enhancing your website’s traffic. They also serve as an essential element of Google’s search engine algorithm. Thus, having your website’s address incorporated into another website can either be a blessing or a curse.
This is because the quantity and quality of the external links are very crucial to your website’s existence. While external links from well-known, authentic, and trusted websites can do wonders for your site, links from low-quality websites could destroy it. Therefore, even though external links are important, be mindful of where they are coming from.
You can invite external or inbound links to your website by improving the quality of your website’s content. Adding relevant, engaging, and informative content would go a long way in motivating others to link your content to their websites. You could even launch an outreach program proposing to publish guest posts on other websites sharing the same niche as yours. In return, those websites would do the same or link your website in their content.
However, this isn’t the only way to invite external links to your website. You could also place a direct request before the concerned webmasters to add your website’s link to their content. Another alternative approach would be to add link-embedded infographics using HTML codes. These infographics could then be copied and applied to the other websites sharing your niche.
External links are more beneficial to your readers than they are to you
External links can be quite useful to your readers since they can use these links to check out relevant content on other websites. However, they won’t offer much in relation to the strategic SEO value of your website. Therefore, the only party benefitting from them in terms of SEO is the website your external links lead to. You should keep this in mind when adding them to your content.
Internal links can go a long way in helping you build your SEO
Internal links come with numerous SEO-related benefits. These are the links leading to other sections of your website. Spreading them across your website helps web crawlers explore as many sections of your website as possible within a single visit. Web crawlers, or bots, or spiders are the programs that search engines use to copy and index the information available on websites and blogs. The process is called crawling and it is done regularly to keep the search engines updated about the latest additions to the websites.
Although you can choose not to use internal links in your website, it is not a wise idea. While search engines can figure it out by themselves, it could take them months to reach your page. This is because they are dealing with millions of newly added webpages every day. Their crawlers are already too busy. Internal links would help them discover your pages within minutes, if not seconds.
Internal links are one of the key components of your website’s structure. A logical linking structure is of the utmost importance for a website and is quite effective in improving its performance. Not only does it improve its visual appeal and organize the website’s content but also provides easy and quick access to information. A concise menu, common page elements, and natural page links spread across your website go a long way in boosting your traffic. This, in turn, helps readers and search engines discover your website’s content.
Importance of broken links & why they must be fixed
Broken links have the power to bring your SEO score down to a considerable extent. The links that no longer serve the purpose they were generated for are called broken links. Links are digital addresses that lead to specific destinations, i.e., a website, a page, a post, or a blog. There could be multiple explanations for their ineffectiveness. Either the website they lead to is unavailable, offline, or damaged; or the specific page has been moved. Even though a single broken link or two won’t cause much damage to your SEO rankings, having multiple broken links will be severely detrimental to them.
No matter how huge of an impact they may have on search traffic, poor reading experience and reduced website traffic are direct results of broken links. Therefore, the best course of action for enhancing your website’s performance is to locate these broken links and repair them.
Links are just the beginning
Search engines use their algorithms to decide where to place your website on the SERP. Many SEO experts have estimated the key elements of all search engines to be around 100 to 200 in number. Google and several other search engines run their algorithms to assess your website’s position on every single one of the SERPs. Although both the internal and external links may seem insignificant on the surface, their existence is quite vital to this process. One needs to look at the bigger picture to get a clear view of the significance held by them.
Building your links and fixing the broken ones, if any, can be time-consuming. However, the resultant boost in your website’s traffic and its placement on the SERPs makes it worth your while.