As you may already know – there are many different kinds of links on the internet that effect how your site gets ranked on Google. After the Penguin update, Google started to de-rank links that were considered spammy – links that lead to nothing of value for the viewer. This makes sense – if I just put up 100 links on my site for the sake of ranking, this wouldn’t really add value to anyone on my site. Google only wants to rank sites that contain valuable content.
In this article, I’m going to cover (in-depth!) the different kinds of links that exist, how Google interprets the links, and how you can best utilize this for SEO and ranking your site.
What is Meant by the Term Link?
First off – What exactly is a link? Specifically, a link is when you have an URL on your website that points to another website, or vice versa. The URL is the web page address (example: https://www.sbwebcenter.com/). It can be in the form www.example.com or a link can be embedded in words, like when you see those ads that say “click here“.
Basic Types of Links Explained
Here are the basic types of links: Internal links, outgoing links, incoming links, and dead links.
Internal Links – this refers to links on your website that point to other pages on your web pages. For example, when I pointed to a link to my homepage in the example above, that’s considered an internal link. Having many internal links can be good for ranking and is a good way to add convenience to your users. All of my expired Bing Ads coupons now link to the current one so that my viewers don’t need to search for it on my site or other sites.
Outgoing Links – as the name implies, these types of links are links that point to other websites. Linking to other relevant websites can be an excellent way to boost traffic for both sites and could therefore boost page rankings. For example, if some of my posts require extensive examples or data that other websites have, I’ll often link it so that my viewers can have even more valuable content. Not only does it help out the viewer but it helps out both of our sites. In order for outgoing links to be effective, the links MUST be relevant and of quality!
Incoming Links – The exact opposite of outgoing links, incoming links are when other websites have URLS on their sites that point to your site. These types of links are the most important type of links. As search indexes crawl the web, they’ll notice that your site is being pointed to and therefore your information is likely to be reputable and of quality. This is what you could call Google Candy. Get as much Google Candy as you can! But again, make sure the links are relevant and of quality. If another site has authority and is linking to your site – you’ve hit the gold mine for ranking.
Dead links (404 Pages) – When you link to a website that no longer exists. When your website contains many dead links, Google hates this and could lower your search engine ranking. This may happen when you have a site with many outbound links (like mine) and over time, some of those links die off because the page no longer exists. Solution: There are many tools out there that will crawl your site and specifically look for links that no longer work. Here’s a great tool that I found: DeadLinkChecker. All you need to do is put in your URL in the box and the site will do the rest!
Inbound SEO Link Types
Since incoming links are so valuable when it comes to ranking on search engines, there are many different types of incoming links.
Types of incoming links – Natural links, outreached links, and self-created links
Natural links – These links are considered the gold standard of inbound links. These types of links occur when another blogger or site just naturally links to your site with no work on your part. These are extremely difficult to achieve and usually only happens if you have an extremely popular authority-site. If you create some very new or unique content which other bloggers find valuable, they may then link it for their viewers. This results in higher authority on your part and therefore a higher ranking.
Outreached links – These are still valuable incoming links but require work on your part. Essentially, when a blogger outreaches to another blogger and requests that they link their site to yours, this is when outreached links occur. For new sites, this can be a valuable way to build links but requires some work. I’d recommend finding other relevant blogs that aren’t too big and then sending them a friendly email to exchange links.
Self-Created Links – These types of links are usually considered pretty spammy and may even get you de-ranked (though not always). The point of doing this is to trick search engines into thinking that your site is extra valuable by creating links that point to your site. Like trying to trick Google into eating some broccoli when all it really wants is some genuine candy. self-created links can happen when you go on to other blogs and comment links to your website or post up your website on profile pages. Commenting and linking isn’t necessarily a bad thing but just make sure you don’t overdo it.
Monitoring Your Websites Links
There are services and tools out there that can determine how many internal and outgoing links you have on your own website. This is a great way to better understand the composition of links on your site. In addition, there are also various services out there that can check a website’s incoming links (also known as backlinks). Being able to figure out your sites incoming and outgoing links is an essential step in the SEO ranking process.
Must-have tools for checking your links:
Link Analyzer Tool – Will check your websites internal and outbound links
Backlink Checker – Will check the sites that are linking to yours
Linking is a huge deal and should be taken seriously if you really want to rank your website on search engines. This field of SEO is always changing as Google continues to update its algorithms to adapt to new loopholes or blackhat behavior. Out of all the types of linking previously discussed, remember that inbound links are the most valuable (especially organic ones). There are many methods in trying to get inbound links. My advice – continue to create awesome and unique content. Also, don’t be scared to reach out to other bloggers and ask for some links, this can get you surprisingly far. With so many blogs out there today, its really difficult to just rank your website with just a few articles – competition is fierce in the world of SEO.