If you’re just starting your SEO journey, you might have seen the term ‘internal links’ and ‘external links’, and wondered what they were. In this beginner video, we will take you through what exactly both of them are, and what differences they have in terms of search engine optimisation. This is important to understand, as utilising both of these tools is a foundation to an effective SEO campaign.
- First of all, let’s focus on exploring the concept of internal links. Internal links on a website are the links which direct users to pages within the same domain. Some of you might be wondering, what is the point of doing that? The reason is very simple – linking internally to your own pages improves the user experience for your audience, and therefore increases the time spent on your site and encourages better conversion rates. These are all very important elements of any successful SEO strategy.
For example, if you are a shipping container hire business, you might want to link to your products in your own blog posts. A person who Googles online resources and articles about building a home out of shipping containers might be potentially interested in buying containers to build a house. Therefore, writing a blog post about using shipping containers to build homes and linking to your own products within this same article encourages higher conversion rates. This is because after reading your article, users don’t have to look for the containers themselves – by linking to your product, you make it as easy as possible for them to navigate your site and buy your product.
- Now that you understand what internal links are, let’s discuss external links. External links, as the name suggests, are links within your site which link to external sources and domains. External links help search engines establish which domains and pages are valuable and relevant. If a lot of external pages link to yours through what SEO specialists call inbound links, it sends a signal to a search engine that your page is valued by others, and therefore will provide value to other users as well. Therefore, it’s great when you have other sites linking to yours, as it adds authority to your page and therefore helps it rank higher.
And so you might be wondering what, if any, are the benefits of linking to external sources from your own site through what we call outbound links. To answer that question, yes, linking to external content from your own site can be beneficial to your own SEO rankings. It is speculated that outbound links to authoritative sources are a ranking metric in Google. Google might be promoting the practice as a way to ensure people sharing other great content are rewarded. Maybe even more importantly, by linking to valuable external sources, you provide your users with value and increase their trust towards your business as an authority, which is really important. This also improves the user experience within your site. And often, if your content is great, even if you link your users to valuable external content, they are likely to go back to your site to keep reading.
You know what internal links are, you know what external links are, but you might still be wondering, what is the difference? Which are more important to focus on?
The truth is that, no matter whether a search engine algorithm gives more importance to external or internal linking as a ranking factor, you should focus on utilising both for the best SEO results, as both have been proved to be a significant element of any successful SEO strategy. To find out how to make the most out of both, check out our videos for the best practices in internal linking as well as external linking, or reach out to us.