Skip to Main Content

Liberal Internal and External Linking

Posted on 1.31.2013

The use of links within the content of your Web property needs to be strategic: in essence, what value is this citation providing to visitors? Linking to existing website content (be it your own or from some other digital property) provides an added level of credibility.

More often than not however, content marketers and search engine optimization professionals opt not to link . The reason? In short, they want to control the user experience and any leakage from the page being visited results (or, at least it could) in fewer conversions. But that’s not always the case. Thoughtful, strategic linking benefits the user immensely and when users are pleased with their experience, you likely know exactly what happens next - they develop trust in your brand and the likelihood that it results in a future conversion increases dramatically.

INTERNAL LINKS: Internal links are simply those links that direct users to a different page on the same domain. There are two types of internal links - those within navigation menu’s and those within actual content (be it an article, blog post, product description, etc.). Internal links are important from a few different perspectives - they allow users to visit different sections of a website, they help formalize the site’s architecture and even indicate to search engines which pages are most important (as popularity and importance is measured by the number and quality of links).

EXTERNAL LINKS: The notion of including links to external or third-party digital properties is almost offensive to many - but there’s a very good reason for engaging in the practice - both users and search engines absolutely love it. The reason is simple - providing/including external links help you establish trust. While you may lose a percentage of visitors (that may not ever return), using external links to provide supporting evidence or data benefits users and indicates to search engines that your sites takes the user experience seriously. There of course should be some limits to your external linking. It’s best to link only to established, well respected sites and to do so no more than a handful of times per page (e.g. 3 or so). Too many simply looks “spammy” and when users encounter these pages, you can be guaranteed that they will leave and fast.

Linking, either to internal pages or external sites, does demand that you avoid some practices in general. For example, links available to the user in the form of Javascript, Flash or other plugins, or those links which point to pages that are being blocked by a robots.txt file are essentially inaccessible to search engines and that ultimately serves no purpose (so don’t do it!). Best practices include using descriptive anchor text (linking the words that users see) and maintaining a consistent linking structure throughout the website.

Today's Top Picks for Our Readers:
Recommended by Recommended by NetLine

Leave Your Comment

Login to Comment

Become a Member

Not already a part of our community?
Sign up to participate in the discussion. It's free and quick.

Sign Up


Leave a comment
    Load more comments
    New code