The importance of internal and inbound links for SEO

In order to carry out a successful SEO strategy for your website, it’s essential to understand the importance of both internal and outbound links when it comes to rankings. Links provide your website with value, but the wrong links may actually devalue your site in the eyes of Google.

Here are the crucial basics when it comes to adding inbound and internal links to your blog or website.

internal linksInternal links

What are internal links? Simply put, this type of link will redirect a visitor to another page within the same site. It may be used to help readers find more information about a product or topic. In other instances, it can give visitors ways to contact the site owner.

The best internal links fit naturally within the content of the page. Don’t try to stuff anchor text in the footer or navigation area as the Google algorithm will punish your site for doing this.

Here is a top view of the structure of a good internal links system.

This is how the inbound meets the outbound in an organic process to link up all the anchors on your site and connect relevant pages to external links.

A typical eCommerce site or blog would have various categories. For example, if you run a pet food site, your typical categories would be the types of food, which types offer the best health benefits, and advice on breeds, among other categories. Each of those would capture terms by the thousands for you to select from based on customer search terms.

This is where you hop over to the Google keyword tool for help digging out those terms. The homepage link for Dogs could lead to categories such as Dog Treats, Dog Bones, Dry Dog Food, and perhaps link to related categories like Dog Grooming and Dog Clothes.

This way, you set up a link profile to capture the popular search terms typed by your audience into Google daily.

You can also use internal links to boost the traffic on a certain page. Using an authority page to link to a page that is struggling is one way to boost rankings. But, make sure the page you link to offers something helpful to the reader.

It’s all about link juice

In the SEO world, link juice determines how much equity the different links on your website pass from one site to another. High-value internal links are crucial. These links distribute authority to your website, which will help your site rank higher than those without.

Although it may tempt you to seek out coveted backlinks, you may miss out on some valuable links located on your own site. Internal links to your most popular pages will distribute a good deal of link juice to your site.

To do this, you need to determine your target keywords and high-authority pages. Then place these links on your target page with your keywords serving as anchor text. Remove any unneeded outbound links since the total amount of link juice you can pass is divided equally amongst all the links on a page. You should also remove any links on your high-value pages to keep your juice at potent as possible.

Remember that only the first internal link matters

Don’t go stuffing anchors on the same page from one blog article. If you have several anchor text links on one page that redirect to the same page, Google will only pay attention to the first one. Instead, try adding links to other valuable pages to gain traffic to other pages on your site using the related keywords idea explained. Create titles that capture the terms and allow you to internally link up more pages.

While internal links are not as powerful when it comes to rankings, they can help. These links also help convert clicks to sales, which is always your number one goal. If someone buying a new computer off your tech site product page also gets to view a helpful comparison guide on your site, you are more likely to get a sale.

Inbound links

On the hierarchy of links, inbound links provide websites with the most SEO value. However, they’re also the most difficult to get. Inbound links from high-quality pages are worth their weight in gold in the eyes of Google. Why? These sites are authoritative and trustworthy.

Think of it this way: if a webpage links to your content, it was done with purpose. Perhaps they feel your information provides value to their site because you share similar perspectives. They may also link to you because they disagree with your viewpoint. Either way, these inbound links prove to Google that your site is worthy and provides high-quality content.

But your link partner contacts need to be real. Trying to obtain inbound links from lesser-quality sites with low metrics and trust value only hurts your ranking. These links come across as artificial, and Google prefers natural links. After all, it’s not all about quantity—the quality of inbound links is also critical. Let’s look at the metrics you must check to know the value of an inbound link.

Examples of low-quality links include: sites with no social influence or sharing, PBN sites, blogs with no activity, spammy content blogs, and link wheels. Avoid those.

The importance of metrics when choosing inbound links

In order to create high-quality backlinks, these are the metrics are important checks and not to be missed:

P*T – LRT Power*Trust is a popular choice for SEO agencies as the metric measures the overall quality of a page or domain. Add the tool to your Google bar.

Domain Authority DA – Domain Authority (DA) is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages (SERPs). Domain Authority is calculated by evaluating multiple factors, including linking root domains and number of total links into a single DA score.

Trust Flow TF – Trust Flow is a number predicting how trustworthy a page is based on how trustworthy sites tend to link to trustworthy neighbours. Developed by Majestic SEO, their metrics are required quality checks and can include their Citation Flow CF check too. Citation Flow is a number predicting how influential a URL might be based on how many sites link to it.

These metric checks can be tapped from your Chrome or Firefox taskbar for quick crucial checks on a site’s quality before adding your external links.

NoFollow vs. DoFollow

Myths aplenty on this one. It is important to vary your external link profile to mix both types. NoFollow links will not pass any ranking value to your site but many of the top news sites and influential blogs force a nofollow link. The webmasters usually choose not to pass any ranking juice as they limit the outbound links and only wish the search bots to crawl the most relevant high-quality outbound links from their sites.

Use both types as they will be beneficial in terms of daily traffic streams to your site.

The difference is in the code represented by a nofollow tag.

<a href=””>Great info for my audience</a>

That line of code is edited with a nofollow tag, appended like this.

<a href=”” rel=”nofollow”>Great info for my audience</a>

Brian Dean at Backlinko, a truly experienced guy in the SEO world and with trusted advice shared globally, has posted a nofollow guide.

Decide what keywords you wish to target and try the 80/20 approach whereby 80% of your links are dofollow and 20% nofollow. This will look natural to Google rather than an attempt to game the search engines. Plus, it will build a long-term natural link profile.

Important tips

Too many site owners think that outbound links will take traffic away from their site. The opposite is true. When you create solid links to respected, related websites, it improves your visibility in search engines. In turn, you’ll attract targeted visitors back to your site.

Always try to build relationships with others in the same niche. Not only does this make your name more familiar to those in the same business, but a link exchange will also bring more traffic to both sites.

The takeaway

In 2019 and beyond, both internal and inbound links are vital part of any SEO checklist and strategy. However, since the Google algorithm keeps getting smarter, you need to make sure you only link to other internal pages that are helpful and relevant to your visitors. Avoid cluttering your page with too many links; keep the number of internal links to a minimum.