Link Love

heart_headerLinking your website content to related content has been a way to achieve search engine optimization (SEO) for a long time, but the specific strategies have changed over time. You still want to incorporated links within your content to related content, but here are a few specific strategies to keep in mind.

Link to other sites with care. One way a search engine determines the usefulness of your site is how interconnected it is to related content across the web as a whole. The trustworthiness of a site comes down to how well it links to other sites.

External or backlinks are very important in determining how well a site shows up in search engine rankings. But links to poor quality sites can hurt SEO. So, be careful in selecting links to quality sites that will improve the visitor experience and them get to good information.

Link within your site. When the content of one page is related to content on another page, create a link to help your reader to access all of the information he or she may want. Don’t reply on the visitor to reference the navigation to put together all of the information he or she needs.

Always create a link rather than duplicate the same content in multiple places across your site. Search engines don’t like duplicate content and doing this can harm your ranking since your own pages will be competing for relevance around the exact same keywords. Search engines like internal links as they reinforce the quality of your website.

Be strategic with home page links. One caution: be stingy with links within your home page content. Having too many links from your home page makes your page hard to navigate. By limiting links on the home page, you help drive readers deeper within your site and only to highly relevant external sites.

Link keywords. Links tend to jump out within content. They are a different color than the rest of the text and they are underlined. For this reason, and for SEO, using great words for the link text is an important practice.

Whatever you do, don’t use “read more,” “click here,” “learn more,” etc. as link text. When read in isolation from the rest of the text (something web readers often do), these links are meaningless. Make sure that if the link text is the only thing the visitor reads, your links make sense. Like many SEO strategies, this practice helps your website visitors as well as search engines to understand your content.