In-site linking and link building are among the SEO items that directly contribute to the crawlability and indexability of our pages. Search engine bots crawl our pages from link to link. For this reason, it can be said that link building and internal linking are the backbone of a site. As we shared with the screenshot below, you can see Mike Khorev's high rate of internal linking and link building in the Google ranking algorithm for 2021.
At the same time, in-site linking and link building ensure that the visitors we can attract to a page can discover other pages and make them easy to navigate. It contributes to the prolongation of the time a user visiting our site spends in his session and to increase our page view potential. To sum up, it is very important both for search engine bots and for our visitors to have an efficient experience.
What is Link Building and How Is It Done?
Link building is a method of navigating users between pages on the Internet. Link building should be shaped according to the importance of the pages on our site. Thanks to this construction, which is the backbone of the site, you can create authority and increase your organic traffic gain by increasing your rankings. As shared with the image below, intra-site linking should proceed in a certain hierarchical order.
Since your page with the most links on e-commerce sites can easily access all pages, it is recommended to have Homepage, followed by category pages in order to support the product discovery potential of users.
It is known that search engine bots prioritize 360-degree quality, high-relevance and unique websites in the long-term ranking algorithm. As for how link building should be done, it is recommended that in-site linking works be built in a way that directs visitors to relevant and useful links, in order to obtain long-term benefits.
E.g; “What is Backlink and How to Get It?” from a page about Link Building. Linking content will navigate users more accurately.
Formation of Links and Appearance by Search Engines
In order to understand how the links, which are the backbone of the site, are viewed and interpreted by search engine bots, we can examine the link anatomy in the Moz - Guide to Link Building content together.
- Start of Link Tag: The
- Link Referral Location: The URL pointing to the link. It is the clickable area to switch to the relevant page.
- Visible/Anchor Text of Link: It is the text that visitors see on the page and click to reach the relevant link.
- Closure of Link Tag: It is the closure that notifies search engines that the link tag has ended.
Google Link Building Algorithm and Link Types
Google announced the "PageRank" algorithm, which takes into account the number of links earned by that page to measure the quality of a page. The irrelevant and unhelpful link acquisition from the content resulted in the PageRank metric being manipulated. For this reason, Google published the Penguin algorithm in 2012. With this update, it was announced that low quality link building will not contribute to ranking performance in the long run.
Within the scope of link building, link types are basically divided into two.
- External Links: These are links that point to a different/external domain than the source domain. If a different website links to your site or if you are linking to a different website, this is an external link.
E.g; Link Anchor Text
- Internal Links: Links from the source domain pointing to the same source domain. They are links pointing to other pages on the same website.
E.g; Keyword Text
- Up until this point in our blog, we have summarized the importance of link building in the Google ranking algorithm and the points to be considered until this part. We will continue with details on how to make internal linking to our content.
What is In-Site Linking?
Internal linking is a method by which you can navigate your visitors among other pages on your site. In other words, a link is output from a page in the same domain to a different page. It helps you transfer your site's hierarchy to search engines.
This method does not only provide crawling and indexing of pages. It also enables pages to rank higher. You can improve crawling, indexing, and therefore ranking performance by linking the deeper pages of your site from other useful and appropriate pages.
We can list the benefits of in-site linking as follows.
- It navigates visitors through the site.
- It improves the crawling performance of the site.
- The hierarchy of the site is established. The site is more easily understood by search engines.
- The value of the pages increases.
- It improves ranking performance among other sites.
How to Make In-Site Linking?
We can convey the optimal in-site linking structure of a website with the image below. This structure refers to a structure in which there are links from the homepage to all pages. There is a flow throughout the site, increasing the ranking potential of each page.
We will first define the term Link Equity within the scope of suggestions on how to do in-site linking. Link Equity (Link Juice, PageRank) is a search engine ranking factor that transfers authority and link value from one page to another. This value consists of various factors such as page authority, HTTP status.
Points to consider when linking within the site;
- Is the Link Related?
It is recommended that the other page that you link to any of your pages should be relevant. In this case, you do not manipulate the search engine bots and direct your visitors to pages that are highly relevant to the current page. For this reason, one of the most critical points in in-site linking studies is to make links with high relevance.
- In In-Site Linking, Do Outgoing Links Go to Related Pages?
A visitor expects to reach other relevant pages from the target page they reach. If the number of outgoing links from a page is very high, you should check if the outgoing links are relevant to the topic of the page. You can start by examining the links other than the header and footer links. At this point, your roadmap could be “Which pages the user hopes to reach from the current page?”
- In Incoming Links, Do Incoming Links Come From Related Pages?
If the target page has a high number of links within the site, it means that the page is a source, a high authority and a valuable page. By being detected more intensely by search engine bots, the frequency of crawling is reinforced. At this point, incoming links to the pages should be checked. It should be ensured that the pages with high performance are linked more intensively but meaningfully within the site.
- Can the link be tracked?
Links with nofollow tags are not followed by search engine bots. Such links do not transfer any value. For this reason, it should be ensured that there is no nofollow tag in the links that are requested to transfer value in intra-site linking. In intra-site linking studies, it is recommended to use the dofollow tag in internal links to the site's own domain. Not using any meta tags (like dofollow or nofollow) in link building gives a "follow link" signal to search engine bots. Therefore, you do not need to use an extra dofollow tag in your on-site linking efforts.
- Where will the link be placed on the page?
Links positioned within the content have higher authority than links in areas such as footer or sidebar. These links are areas that can be noticed and clicked more easily by users in intra-site linking.
- How Many Links Should a Page Have?
There is no limit to the number of links to be found on a page. Considering the depth of the site, intra-site linking can be worked on.
- What should be the HTTP Status Code of the Linked Page within the Site?
Pages with 200 and 301 status codes maintain their link authority. The 301 redirected page transfers all the authority it has to the target page. However, in terms of crawl budget optimization, it is recommended to link only 200 status code pages within the site. Links with 301 and 404 status codes should be removed from the site.
- Does Anchor Text and Link Match?
In in-site linking studies, the anchor text gives a general impression of which queries that page is targeting, without the need for a page to be crawled by search engine bots. The anchor text should contain the query targeted with the page. In intra-site linking studies, it should be checked with which link texts the pages gain links.
- Is the URL Structure of the Site SEO Friendly in Link Building?
Search Engine Bot does not prefer to follow URLs that are
- Blocked with robots.txt file,
- Contains keyword stuffing and double content,
- Containing non-recommended characters (numbers, Turkish characters, etc.),
- Containing monitoring parameters
at the time of crawl. Search engine bots can penalize spam pages to protect their users. Therefore, it is recommended to detect and remove such URLs that are linked within the site.
- Are Link Headers Used in Your Site Links?
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