The internet is predicated on the idea of being an “interconnected network.” One of the best things you can do for your website to increase visibility and site traffic is to provide links to other places on the internet. Internal linking is creating links to other locations within your site. External linking is providing links to sites other than your own. Anchor text is the clickable text that users interact with to visit a link.
Using Links and Anchor Text
Proper use of internal and external linking and anchor text raises website credibility in the eyes of both users and search engines. A term you may hear when working with SEMs and digital marketing experts is link juice. This is a colloquial way of referring to the credibility, or “juice” that your site gains with an increase in links and helpful anchor text.
If you recall your schoolyears of writing research papers, you needed sources to back up your claims within your paper. The internet acts in much the same way: your website does not exist in a vacuum, and you definitely do not have all the information in the world. Provide external links to other sites that may be more authoritative than you on a given topic, or that can expand on your topic and go into details you don’t have time or space to dive into.
Always choose “Open link in new tab” when building your external links. If the link opens on the existing page and your URL is replaced with another site’s URL, the user is less likely to come back to your website. Opening a new tab will keep both your website and the new website open in the user’s browser.
External linking is in part already built into your site. You probably have links to brands' websites, and depending on the size of the brand, they may link to yours as an authorized retailer. Consider external links the equivalent of networking in real life. Include external links in blog posts or places where you’re providing information.
A related form of external links is called backlinks. When you create an external link to another site, that site gets a backlink. Backlinks are important: they tell search engines “I think this information is credible and useful.” When you’re providing links to external sources, you’re essentially “voting” for that site. Likewise, you want to encourage other sites to provide backlinks to you.
Internal linking serves two important purposes: perhaps most importantly, it helps users navigate your site with ease. The more links you have to your pages, the easier it is for users to hop around on your site, finding interesting pages. Internal linking also decreases your bounce rate. It gives users more opportunities to visit places on your website and more reason to do so.
Use internal linking to group related items, provide links from blogs and landing pages to products, and help visitors to your site find what they’re looking for.
Humans, like water and falling objects, follow the path of least resistance. When building a website, offering quick and easy routes to pages increases the likelihood that users will end up on that page. Offering relevant links is one way to cut down on the number of clicks it takes to get somewhere. Streamlining processes and simplifying layouts with internal linking will benefit you in the long-term.
Anchor text is the keyword section of linking. When you create links, you have a lot of options on how to insert them in the text. Anchor text encourages the words linked to match the subject of the linked page. Here are some ways you can incorporate links:
Inline, in words or phrases: A link to Redirects is built into the sentence, and clicking on the blue words takes you to that page.
CTA text: If I want you to select a specific link, I might say Click here to be taken to the URL Structure page. The URL is the same, but the text asks you to take an action and tells you what to do.
Naked URLs: These list the whole URL – https://help.punchmark.com/knowledgebase/Redirects.406290506.html .
So which is best? Anchor text tells search engines what the page is about in a word or phrase. “Click here” doesn’t give much insight. The whole URL looks ugly and breaks up clean lines of text. Inline links are the cleanest and offer you the most control over how the link is interpreted. Using “Redirects” as the anchor text tells Google “this page is about redirects,” and the more sites and places that word is used to describe that page, the more certain Google will be that said page is really about redirects.
If you’re building internal links, we recommend sticking to keywords or phrases as anchor text. CTA text may be appropriate on buttons, but limit its usage where possible within the context of your website.
Links and Anchor Text for Jewelers
Let’s look at an example of linking in the jewelry industry:
The Golden Karat is still working on raising sales for their gold rings. They want to raise the ranking for their gold ring product page by adding some more links to the page. They start by adding a few internal links in their latest blog posts. They also build in a “See Related” feature at the bottom of their Gold Jewelry and Wedding Band categories. Instead of a generic CTA, their button text uses clear anchor text that says, “More Gold Rings.”
Once they have their internal linking taken care of, they start to add external links. The gold for their rings is from a prestigious mine in the Iron Hills, so they link to their supplier’s website. They add a second link to an authoritative site that explains the value of gold and the karat system.
Finally, The Golden Karat looks for ways to increase backlinks to their site. They submit their store as a sponsor for a local Second Breakfast competition, and the competition’s website links to their website. They also find a local influencer who’s willing to write a blog post about their gold rings in exchange for store credit. They ask the influencer to link to their gold rings page in addition to their homepage.
The Golden Karat wanted to hit every mark to get more link juice. They used a combination of internal and external linking with appropriate anchor text, and they looked for ways to get backlinks to point to their site. As with all SEO strategies, this isn’t a straight shot to the top strategy, but over time their links will add more credibility to their site.
Links and Anchor Text Checklist
After reading this section, you should understand the following:
What is the difference between an internal and external link?
Why are links important when trying to increase SEO?
What is a backlink?
What is anchor text?
Links and Anchor Text Action Items
To improve your SEO using links and anchor text, follow one or more of these steps:
Skim through past blog posts to see if you have a minimum of one internal link and one external link in each.
Skim your landing pages to ensure you have internal links in each of them. (Tip: because landing pages are singularly focused, avoid having external links in them that might distract users.)
Brainstorm a list of websites that could provide backlinks to your website. This could be local online magazines or newspapers, an influencer’s blog, or jewelry-specific websites and resources.
Check your anchor text to ensure you’re using good keywords and phrases.