In Search Engine Marketing, SEO

Don’t be intimidated, but search engine ranking requires more structure and planning than many realize. One of the best ways to increase your ranking and draw traffic to your website is by building links within your content.

Links and backlinks are like the curtain track for your business.  If the strings are broken, if the track is rusty from overuse and no care, or if the fabric is ripped, there’s a feeling of chaos and disorganization.  Additionally, using negative SEO tactics, like keyword stuffing, will instantly give off a “spammy” vibe.  People and search engines are a lot smarter now, so those black-hat methods make the business owner look like the clown, and while we love clowns and the laughter they bring (the non-creepy, non-IT kind at least), we don’t think that’s what you’re aiming for.

Link building is the maintenance and upkeep required to make sure your digital curtain rises on-time for the audience, and that the stage set is perfectly organized for entertainment.

You may wonder if where a link lands impacts its value in terms of search engine ranking. Does the one in the image send better signals than the one buried in content? Or how about the link in the navigation that you thought would enhance SEO?  Truth be told, where a link lands and what type of link it is impacts its overall value. You’ll find that there is a bit of a formula to the art of building a good link profile, and once you get the hang of it, you will see just how simple it is.

Determining the Value of Links for Search Engine Ranking

One of the first things you must consider is their overall value. For example, content links are greater than navigation ones, which are greater than those in the footer.  And a text link is more valuable than an image alt link.

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Keep in mind, links that are more visible have greater vibe and get more weight than links that blend in with the content. Making your links stand out by putting them in bold is one tactic, or you could try linking unique words that catch a user’s eye. These words are going to be ones that meet a specific user need, especially the one they came to the article for in the first place. It often helps to put yourself in the user’s shoes and consider what words attract the eye and grab attention.

Seeing the Structure in On-Page Links

While it is not universally true, content links carry more weight than navigation links because they are typically specific to a topic rather than repeated on every page. That being said, creating a well-rounded portfolio may send the best signals to Google and improve your search engine ranking. Some here, some there with an emphasis on uniqueness rather than repetitiveness.

This holds true for footer links especially, as simply repeating what you have in the main navigation will lead to devaluing the links at the bottom. There’s better use for that space!

Ok, back to the structure of the page. Remember, first links get more weight than second links to the same page. However, this is true from the perspective of the HTML, not necessarily the visual design of the page. It is important to keep all these various moving parts in mind when creating a blog or web page, and we recommend never using the same link more than once on any one post or page.

The last thing you (or Google) want is to manipulate SEO by repeating keyword-rich links throughout your website. This is considered keyword stuffing and it will get you in big, big trouble with the search engines.

Using Your Space Wisely

One theory that has come up recently is that links that are used more frequently carry more weight in search engine ranking. This seems to be good logic, if you ask us.  The pages that have the most links to it is called cornerstone content by Yoast SEO.  Choosing to include highly trafficked links in your content will amp up your score, which is exactly what you are trying to do, right?

This holds true for replicating keywords in navigation that you know get a lot of clicks on high traffic sites. Google instantly sees value in these types of links, and when Google is happy, everyone is happy.

With all this, it is important to keep in mind that Google will ignore a link that is used elsewhere on a page, giving only value to the first one. So, what does this say about internal links to main navigation pages? It clearly means it’s usually not worthwhile. This is where a blog comes in handy. A blog can carry many different pages that are not listed on your main navigation. You can then link back to these pages for better credibility. Blogs are essential to top ranking higher in search engines.

So, now that you’ve got the nitty gritty, or at least an overview of link valuing by Google, it’s time to let your SEO agency optimize your website. Choosing an SEO agency may seem like finding a needle in a haystack, but the ones that stand out are the agencies that get results for their clients. The process for building links can be tricky to track, so beware of quick-fix tactics that cheap agencies tout to draw you in.

 

Additional Reference:

Moz – Links in the header, footer, and navigation

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