If you want your website to appear prominently in search engines, it is important to invest in a linking strategy. When another professional, trustworthy site links to yours, they endorse your content and your business (and vice versa).
But some people seek shortcuts in the process. For example, it’s quite common today to buy backlinks, something that goes against the guidelines of search engines like Google and can result in penalties.
A more appropriate alternative is to use an interlinking approach. Publishing articles with links to other related articles on your own website, so the visitor will be redirected to other pages but continue on the same site.
Let’s take a look at how to do it and also the practices you should avoid because they can hurt your website’s SEO.
What are the Benefits of Interlinks?
Interlinks are a simple way to connect all the content on your website. It helps your visitors find important information previously published and gives Google a better idea of the structure of your pages.
In terms of SEO, interlinking is doubly beneficial because it allows you to add value to your posts with less traffic, maybe the ones published a long time ago and forgotten. Just link to them in a recent article that is getting a lot of hits to watch the magic happen.
Other benefits of interlinks include:
- Increase the average time each visitor spends on your website as they explore different pages.
- Reduce the bounce rate (the percentage of one-page visitors) because users find everything they’re looking for in the same place.
- Help to increase the ranking of certain keywords.
- Increase the number of visits in general and help Google rank your site better.
What Are the Elements of a Proper Interlink?
Proper interlinking is not just about throwing links to your own articles here and there. This must be a planned strategy; otherwise, it will be a wasted effort.
First of all, think of good anchor texts for your links. Anchor texts are those clickable texts in a link that appear in a different color (often underlined) and that entice the visitor to click on them. Creating contextual and interesting anchor texts tends to increase the number of clicks.
The location of the interlink is also very important. Years ago, everyone used to put giant blocks of interlinks on the footer of their sites. These days, however, not everyone has the patience to scroll down to find them. Furthermore, Google’s algorithms have been avoiding the practice.
When creating interlinks, make sure the page you are linking to is up to date. Also, make sure it exists: few things are more frustrating for a visitor than coming across a 404 error page.
Finally, try to identify pages that have gained some web authority. This happens whenever one of your pages has many external links created by other sites to redirect people to yours. It increases the ranking for this specific page, so use it to add interlinks to other parts of your website.
Bad Linking Practices That Can Hurt Your Site’s SEO
In addition to overdoing it, other bad linking practices can jeopardize your website traffic instead of helping it. Let’s take a look at some things website owners should avoid at all costs:
- Automatic Link Building Programs– Building links manually can be laborious and challenging. Therefore, many people try to speed up the process by using automated link-building programs, which help prospect search engine results pages to find out the most viable options for backlinks. But this practice can hurt your SEO instead of helping, as there are types of backlinks you should avoid.
- PBNs– Private Blog Networks (PBNs) are networks of websites used to build links to a single site. The goal is to convey an idea of authority, as if many third-party sites are backlinking to yours, thus manipulating search engine rankings. This practice can be easily identified and should be avoided.
- Random NoFollow Links– When you use the “no follow” tag in any link on your page, you send a direct message to search engines not to consider that page. Why would anyone do that? Usually to disguise or hide spam or paid links. The bad news is, a very large number of them can raise suspicions.
Keep Visitors on Your Website
Interlinks are a great strategy to keep visitors (and potential customers) on your website for as long as possible. Or at least until they find the answers they’re looking for or the product they want to buy–yours!
When done right, interlinking helps your site appear better in search results. Otherwise, the practice can be harmful and even trigger Google penalties. So use the strategy wisely and avoid well-known shortcuts to attract traffic and visibility. They often attract more problems than actual users.
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