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SEO Linking Best Practices to Boost Authority

Discover our top tips for including external and internal links in your SEO content.

Links are a crucial part of any SEO content strategy. They help search engines better understand your website and your content’s quality. Links also help visitors navigate your site or learn more about topics that interest them.

Some content types, like product descriptions, will work fine without any links. However, content like a blog should always include links — both internal and external. Keep reading to learn about internal vs. external links, why they matter to SEO, and best practices for implementing them in your SEO strategy. 

Internal Links

Internal links (or crosslinks) point to another page on your website. If the linking page and the page it links to are on the same domain, it’s considered an internal link. The two links in our intro are examples of internal links. 

How Does Internal Linking Help SEO?

Internal linking for SEO helps Google find pages on your website, understand their hierarchy, and determine their relationship to each other. With the right internal linking strategy, you can increase crawl efficiency, boost page authority for other content on your website, and enhance the user experience.  

Increasing Crawl Efficiency

Search engines can take a while to get to every page if you have thousands of pages across your site. Internal links make it easier for Google to discover and index pages, which is especially important for new or updated content and orphaned pages (pages that have not yet been linked to from anywhere on your site). 

Trickle Down Page Authority 

Let’s say page A has a high authority score. Linking from page A to pages B, C, and D can help some authority flow from page A to the other pages. 

Better User Experience and Engagement

Visitors can use internal links to navigate to other places on your site, increasing engagement. Not only does this make the user happy, but it also sends positive signals to Google. Lower bounce rates and higher times spent on your site show Google that your page and website are valuable, which can increase your rankings. 

SEO Internal Linking Best Practices

You can have internal links in your navigation bar, sidebar, and footer, but we’ll focus on contextual (in-text) links for this blog. Contextual links can direct the reader to relevant blog posts, informational pages, form fills, location pages, specific product pages, and more. 

Crosslinking for SEO isn’t as simple as slapping any link into your content. You need to carefully choose your links and anchor text (the text you hyperlink). Below are some best practices to follow when adding internal links. 

  • Only use relevant links: Don’t include links just for the sake of including links. Use links that are related to the subject you’re writing about. For example, you can link to your sofa product category from your blog about living room layout ideas. 
  • Optimize your anchor text: “Click here” or “Follow this link” won’t cut it for anchor text. Make sure your anchor text is descriptive and relevant to the link, and try to include one of your targeted keyphrases. If linking to a product or category, match your anchor text to the product or category name. If linking to a blog post, ensure your anchor text relates to the blog’s topic.
  • Don’t overlink: You don’t want to overwhelm users or dilute link value by including too many links. While there’s no hard and fast rule on how many internal links to include, remember that quality is far more important than quantity. 

Tip: A tool like Semrush’s SEO Writing Assistant will let you know if you have enough links throughout your content and flag issues like broken links.

External Links

External links (or outbound links) direct to pages outside your website. Any links that go to a different domain are considered external. Our link to Semrush’s tool in the above section is outbound.

Do Outbound Links Help SEO?

Yes, external links are beneficial for SEO. They show search engines you’ve done your research and give users the opportunity to dive further into the points that interest them. Including quality external links helps increase your site authority, improve the user experience, and build valuable relationships with other sites. 

Building Site Authority

When you link to reputable websites, you signal to Google (and your readers!) that your content is accurate and well-researched. Showing your content can be trusted by linking to relevant, reliable sites can help you meet Google’s Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-E-A-T).

Providing Readers with Valuable Resources

If you mention a specific stat, study, or quote, your reader may be interested in learning more about it. External links enhance the user experience by allowing them to further their own research. Searchers may view your site as a good resource for research-backed information, leading them to engage more with your website and brand. 

Potential for Backlinks

Outbound links can be the first step in building relationships with other websites. They may note your site linking to theirs. These relationships can lead to inbound links (or backlinks) in the future, which have a direct positive impact on SEO.

External Links: SEO Best Practices

External and internal linking have similar best practices. In addition to the ones we mentioned earlier, here are some best practices specific to external links. 

  • Link to reliable resources: You want to link to trustworthy sites with high authority. Aim for websites that end in .gov or .edu or reputable industry news sources. Spammy websites will negatively impact your SEO.
  • Use outbound links to cite your research: Remember needing to cite your sources in school? Same concept applies here. Any time you reference a quote, number, or specific fact you didn’t already know, link to the page where you found it.
  • Don’t link to competitors: If you discover an excellent nugget of information on a competitor’s website, try to find the original source. If you can’t, leave it out of your content. You don’t want to send potential customers right to the competition!
  • Use Nofollow links wisely: The nofollow attribute tells search engines not to follow the link and pass on ranking signals to it. Only use this attribute when you don’t want to be associated with or pass on equity to a site, like if you mention a competitor to add context or reference the comment section on a forum. Using nofollow on authoritative, relevant sites risks you losing out on the SEO benefits of the link.

Let GPO Handle Your SEO Linking

You don’t need to be an SEO linking expert with GPO on your side. Our experienced, talented team offers a variety of writing services to help build authority and ensure your brand ranks high in search. Ideation, keyphrase research, linking strategies — we plan it all before our fingers even touch the keyboard. Get in touch today to learn about our local pages, product descriptions, and end-to-end blog services.

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