You Need an Internal Linking Strategy
Why do people use Google, Bing, Yahoo and other major search engines? It's to gain access to the best pages about a given topic, whether they're curious about how to use hashtags on twitter or how to unclog their sink. In the age of Panda 3.9, links from other websites matter more than ever, which is why it's essential to write visually-appealing, fresh and data-driven content that people want to share.
Links from other websites are more valuable, but it's essential to remember that you also have a say in promoting your important pages. If you don't think your own content is important enough to link to, should search engines bother to rank it? Internal links have their own weight, and you can't afford to ignore the opportunity to establish authority. The following infographic from Hubspot demonstrates the basic flow of an effective internal linking strategy:
When an outside website hands a link to one of your blog posts, any landing pages you've created internal links for also receive a little boost of SEO. You can assign your own pages some authority in the eyes of search engines. While a sterling system for promoting your own pages can never replace the need to write content that people want to pass on, it's an opportunity for a boost that you just can't ignore.
Get Started With Internal Linking
One of the primary ways that search engines determine the value of content is by looking at how many pages link to the material. If you put a link in every blog post over the past month to your best free eBook, it's apparent to Google that you really care about that content. On the other hand, if you don't take the time to promote your customer testimonials anywhere on your website, search engines don't have much reason to assign a lot of value. If you want your blog, About Page, Product Descriptions or Testimonials to rank well, you need to assign value with persistent internal linking efforts.
Blow Up Your Website's SEO
Now that we've established just why your website needs a solid internal linking strategy, how have you been doing so far? Get ready to evaluate your progress to date and build a great road map for the future:
1) Connect Performance to Progress
Some SEO experts recommend taking the time to draw a map of your existing internal linking work. Does your CEO's bio, the home page and your contact information all link to your blog? Before you start to panic, we understand that if you've been blogging on a regular basis it can be extremely time-consuming to perform this exercise. Think about your highest performing pages, whether it's your blog or a landing page and evaluate how often you've built links to that content. If you have a content offer that's just not been doing well, it may be because you've missed opportunities to draw search engines' attention to the page.
2) Evaluate Your Pages
Are there any topics that you cover on a regular basis on your business blog? While variety is a critical aspect of a well-planned content calendar, it's a fact that some topics probably just perform better for your business. If you've been covering inbound marketing strategy or wedding cake trends consistently, do you have a dedicated content offer and landing page established for that topic? Make sure that in the future, each of your blog posts about strategy or cake have a link to that page.
Do you have any wildly well-performing blog posts? If you wrote a piece of content answering your clients' frequently-asked-questions that continues to generate pageviews, social shares and inbound links, it may be worthwhile to view the post as a worthwhile target for your internal links.
3. Don't Miss Opportunities
Even aside from the boost you can see to your website's search rankings, consider an internal linking plan a major part of your company's inbound marketing strategy. Links in the text of your blog posts are really just subtle call-to-actions. If you're touching on a topic that you've covered in depth in a free eBook, provide a link in-text to give your readers an easy chance to learn more. While any reader could easily be bothered by an entire post of links, don't miss opportunities to showcase your best pages, content offers and high-performing blog content!
When utilized correctly, an internal linking strategy can boost your websites' ranking in major search engines and even boost your lead generation! Think of building links in your blog posts as an opportunity to let Google and Bing know that you're proud of your content offers. Use internal links well and often to build authority and climb the first page of Google.
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