A Quick and Easy Guide to Internal Linking

If you are a someone who writes content for your website, such as practice area pages or blog posts, it is likely that internal linking is near the bottom of your list of priorities. When creating content, a lot of factors come into play, from keyword usage, to alt text, to images on the page. All of these are important, and it is easy to feel a bit overwhelmed with all the “best practices” and “how-to” guides. And, many small businesses simply don’t have the budget to hire a SEO expert to curate their content for them.

That is why we have put together this quick and easy checklist for you to follow when it comes to adding internal links in your site.

But first, let’s brush up on some of the basics…

What is an “internal link”?

An internal link is a link on one page of your site that points to another page on your site.  You may have done this already, by including links to your “Contact Us” page on most of your pages. An external link, on the other hand, is a link on your site that directs the user to another website. You can read our blog post, Back to Basics, to learn more about on-page SEO best practices.

For an example of an internal link, imagine a law website, lawsite.com. This site may have a practice area page called “Family Law”. This page is identified by the URL lawsite.com/family-law/.

Within the content of this page, the author may include a link to another page on their site that is about divorce (lawsite.com/divorce/). The reader would get to this page by clicking on the anchor text divorce.

lawsite internal link example

Using internal links usually aids the natural flow of users from one page to another, but that is not always the case. Often, content creators include internal links just for the sake of a link. This is not the most optimized strategy for internal linking, and sets the basis for this guide.

What’s the purpose of an internal link?

Including internal links on your site actually serves a variety of purposes. More important than just SEO, internal links are a way of directing readers around your site.

Here are some of the other purposes of internal linking:

  • Guide readers to other content on your site that they may find helpful
  • Increase user-friendliness
  • Decreases likeliness that user will leave your site after visiting just one page
  • Shows search engines which pages you deem important
  • Helps “boost” pages that aren’t performing well in search engines

lawsite internal link pages

The most important purpose of internal linking is to help readers and customers that are using your site. Search engines prioritize content that is helpful to the user and provide a great user experience. When it comes to link building, always consider what information your potential customer may be looking for, and then provide links to that information.

Easy (5 Step) Guide to Internal Linking

Now for the good stuff.

We have compiled our best tips and tricks for internal linking into an easy-to-follow checklist for you to use when creating and updating the content on your site. After reviewing this list, you may consider going back over old content and removing any internal links that are not providing a benefit to your potential customers.

1. Make Sure the Link “Makes Sense”

Include links to other pages on your site that are relevant to the page you are linking from. If you are linking from your “Employment Law” page, linking to your “Worker’s Compensation” page would be a good choice. Do not link to a page that does not make sense for that page, such as your “Personal Injury” page. This is not helpful for the user, and it confuses search engines.

It is okay to link to your “Contact” page on most pages of your site, since it is helpful for those readers that need to get in touch with you. We would discourage businesses from linking to the “Contact” page multiple times on one page. Once should be enough 🙂

2.  Use Helpful Anchor Text

Anchor text is the word(s) that users click on that directs them to page you are linking to, such as “divorce” in the earlier example. Anchor text, like internal links in general, should be helpful for the reader. This is not a place to stuff in keywords in order to boost your rank in search engines. 1-3 words usually suffice, and the text should give some indication what the next page is about. DO NOT use “here” or “click here” repeatedly, as this is can look spammy. Anchor text is an opportunity to direct users to other pages on your site. Be as helpful as possible, for both the user and search engines.

anchor text example

3. No Page Should Be More Than 3 Clicks Away

You want to make it as easy as possible for users to find the pages on your site. Most businesses include their most important pages, such as their “About” page, blog, and practice area pages in their main menu. This makes it so those pages are only 1 click away and thus very easy for users to find. If your site is set up correctly, no page should be over 3 clicks away.

The ideal internal link structure is more like a pyramid. You will have your most important pages included in your main menu. These pages then link to other pages that are relevant to them.

Once optimized, your internal link structure should look something like this:

 

link building pyramid

Here, the blue dots are pages that are being linked to from the main menu pages, and so on. Note that no page is farther that 3 clicks away from the home page. This is ideal, as it makes it fairly easy for users to find what they are looking for. Note that the Search box is not an option, as search engines will not utilize the search box to find your pages, and a user may not know what to search for. Having all the information as accessible as possible is best for your potential customers.

4. Don’t Have Orphan Pages!

Related to the point above, make sure that you don’t have have any pages that are completely unlinked to on your site. These are pages that are not in the main menu or in the sidebar, and are otherwise impossible to find by clicking around on your site. To “unorphan” these pages, link to them in other pages that are related to the orphan page. If the content is important to you, consider adding it to the main menu or side bar. If the content is no longer important to you, but you don’t want to delete the page, noindex the page so it won’t be crawled by search engines. v

Visit this latest blog post to learn how to find and fix orphan pages.

5. Link From Pages That Have Quality Inbound Links

This step is a little more advanced, but pretty simple once you understand the basics of internal and external links. If you have pages on your site that have received links from other reputable sites (i.e. inbound links), it is beneficial to link to other pages on your site from these pages.

The idea here is that an external link from another reputable site adds authority to that page. By linking from that page to other pages on your site, you are sharing the love, so to speak.

To find out which pages on your site have backlinks from other sites, use can use Moz’s free tool, Open Site Explorer, or the more robust tool at ahrefs.com.

external and internal links

Summary

The most important purpose of internal linking is to provide a route of helpful information for your readers. Not only will this result in a better experience for potential customers, but will lead to payoffs in SEO and your overall business. By linking to relevant pages, optimizing anchor text, and having an organized internal link structure, you can increase traffic flow on your site and drive growth. Don’t forget to go over older content to make sure that you are linking to pages that serve the interests of your users.

Be sure to visit our SEO blog for even more tips and tricks. Feel free to leave your questions in the comments below!

How to Write Content for Local Search, Not “Links”

SEO experts and business owners alike know that when it comes to ranking well in local search results, having quality links to your website can help you rise above the competition. However, the type of link that makes the difference may be changing. This could mean a shift from link building for “the sake of a link”, to creating specific content that is optimized for local search.

Creating Content for the Sake of a Link

Moz’s most recent study confirmed that link building is still the top competitive difference maker when it comes to ranking well in Google. That is, having a solid link building strategy is pivotal in helping your site rise above your competitors.

Knowing this, business owners and marketing strategists work to create content that will drive links to their website. Perhaps that means gaining links from sites that are in their industry, or those with a high domain authority. The main focus here has been to get a link for the sake of a link. Though the quality of the link was important, the location of the link source is often less of a consideration.

A Shift Toward Localized Link Building

Now, more and more, Google is prioritizing localized content when it comes to how well a business ranks in local search results.

In Moz’s study, they found a shift from general link building to a focus on gaining “localized” links and creating location-specific content. They explained that one of the key factors for ranking well in local search results was the business’ proximity to the point of search. Google is now showing searchers what best matches what they are searching for AND what businesses are closest to them.

What This Means for Businesses

Rather than trying to gain links from quality websites for the sake of a link, more consideration should be put into what “type” of links businesses are drawing to their website. With localization as a priority, businesses should be drawing links from sites that are related to their location.

Businesses should be adapting their link building strategy to account for this new shift toward localization. In order to do this, they must create content and draw in link sources that are related to their business location.

Localized Link Building for Businesses

With this knowledge of localization in mind, businesses should be looking to create content that is optimized for local search. Creating content that is specific to the business’ location in key. Below we have outlined a few things to consider when adapting your new link building strategy.

1. Optimize Existing Pages for Local Search

It is likely that your website already has standard pages related to your business, such as an About page, a Contact Page, and a few pages about the services you provide. If you are a law firm, you probably have an Attorneys page, a blog, and several practice area pages.

Your existing pages are likely optimized to rank for type of business, practice area, and brand name. The page may mention the location a few times, but it isn’t the focus of the page. Your adapted strategy should be to optimize content to make it clear to the reader (and search engines) where your business is located.

Contact Page

For example, your Contact may include your business address, but consider adding written directions to your office. These directions can include important landmarks and businesses in your area that makes it clear that your business operates in that area. Be sure to include the areas that you serve, and add a short paragraph about your practice in that location. Soon you will have a page that includes all the information a potential customer or client needs in order to know where your business is.

Practice Area Pages

For your practice area pages, mention the location of your business throughout the page in a natural way. Describe your practice as it relates to how you serve your local area.

For example, if you are an employment attorney in New Mexico, instead of saying

“Need an employment attorney? Contact us today!”

write something like,

“Need an employment attorney? Contact the experienced attorneys at our Albuquerque office to find out how we can help.”

On your Attorneys page, you may want to explain how you have been “serving the Albuquerque area for 25 years” or attended the University of New Mexico. Look for opportunities to add localized information in your existing content.

Also, be sure to include your location in the title tag and the meta description, in the alt text of your images, and in your headings if possible. Even these seemingly minor components will help you rank well in local search results.

2. Build Out New Pages and Posts with Localized Content

If you discover that you are lacking localized content on your site, consider building out new pages and posts related to your business location. If you have multiple office locations, create a page for each location with content that is specific to that location. Consider splitting broad practice area pages (such as Employment Law) into more specialized pages (such as “Workers Compensation” or “Employment Discrimination”). Then, make sure these pages include localized content and information. This provides more opportunities for other sites to find content that they are willing to link to.

Blog posts are a great way to get unique with your content and write about issues that are unique to your area. Perhaps you write about the best legal conferences in your area- something that is related to both your field and your location. You can cover local news that is relevant to your practice areas, being sure to include location information and local businesses/landmarks in your content.

3. Draw Links to Localized Pages

For the longest time, businesses have worked to gather links to key pages on their website or on their blog. This often meant prioritizing links to the home page, practice area pages, or their contact page.

With localization being a key factor in ranking in local search, more focus should be put on drawing links your localized pages.  By this step, most of your existing pages should be optimized for local search. Going forward, your link building strategy should involve gaining links to these localized pages. Having links to these pages will indicate to search engines that these pages are of high priority on your site. The more you can boost pages with localized content, the more search engines will see your site as relevant to the searcher’s location.

4. Look for Link Building Opportunities from Local Sources

In previous link building strategies, the focus was simply to get a link to priority pages for a little SEO “boost”. Though the quality of the link was important, the geographic location of the link source didn’t seem to matter so much.

By focusing on localization, you can get a bit more unique with your link building. Gone are the days of struggling to get that coveted link from some obscure, high authority site. The source of your incoming links should be localized and related to your business. Look for opportunities to gather links from other local businesses, news sources, and blogs related to your field.

5. Think Creatively About Your Localized Link Building Strategy

Part of localized link building is being aware of the many features that your local area has to offer. Learn more about your area and look for opportunities where local businesses may be interested in your content.

Here are some ideas that you may want to consider for localized link building:

  • Getting your business featured in a local directory
  • Host an event and have it featured in a local news source
  • Get a link from a local business owner that has used your services
  • Conduct interviews with local entrepreneurs and have them link back to your post
  • Write reviews of your favorite places in your area and get links from those featured businesses

These are just a few of the many possibilities for link building with local sources. Remember that the quality of the links still matters, so be selective in your strategy. Work with your marketing team to find sources that are relevant to your business area and location. Doing so will give search engines more information about your location and what other local sites are saying about your business.

Summary

With Google’s shift toward prioritizing location in local search results, business owners and marketing experts should adapt their link building strategy to get ahead of the curve. By optimizing existing content, creating new localized pages, and focusing on local link sources, businesses can provide search engines with more information about where their business is located and the areas it serves. By doing so, businesses are more likely to show for potential customers who are looking for a business in their area.

As the world of SEO continues to shift every day, and it is important for businesses keep up to date with the current trends. We expect to see localization to be a significant factor in local search. This post will help you adapt your marketing strategy to drive success for your business.

For more answers to your marketing questions, check out our business resources page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Find Your Link Building BFF

Bad links are bad, mmkay?

Getting rid of spam and bad links to your site is a pain (we can help with that!), but avoiding bad links in the first place is always the best move. That’s why learning where to find the GOOD ones is truly key.

But where does one find these coveted “good links”?

Here at Mockingbird, much of what we do is quality link building to increase the authority of our clients’ sites. Having good links to your site helps establish your site as reputable, thus increasing your chances of showing up in organic search results.

We do this a variety of ways, and much of what we do is tailored to our client’s specific business, their content, and their goals. There is no one-size-fits-all method when it comes to link building. Don’t let some “link guru” sell tell you anything different.

In this post, I am going to help you find your link building buddy. Your new LBBFF, if you will.

In order to do that, you need to focus on two major components of link building: Creativity and Opportunity.

How to Think Creatively About Your Content

Before you pour your heart and soul into your content masterpiece, pause for a second to think about what it is that you want to accomplish, and what other sites would want to link to. A quick Google search can show you what topics are already being covered in your field, and expose gaps in knowledge that you may be able to fill.

Check out the sites and blogs of your competitors. Note things that they are doing well. Also note anything that may be missing. Are you finding yourself saying, “I really wish they wrote about this”? That could be your chance to cover an area of interest for your potential clients.

Be a Reliable Source of Information

Ultimately, the purpose of your site is to be a source of information for your current and future clients. Put yourself in their shoes. Are they able to find what they are looking for? Does your existing content leave questions unanswered? Writing content around the answers to those questions can be a great opportunity for quality content that will benefit your client, your site, and another site that may decide to link to you.

Don’t Be Boring

Sites do not want to link to boring content.

Most likely, the sites you’re trying to get links from are already working on their own link building strategy. What is going to get them to link to your content?

Sites in your field are more likely to link to your site if it offers valuable information to their clients. Convincing a site to link away from their site is not an easy demand, so your content must offer something unique, accurate, and valuable. Focus on addressing a topic that may be mutually beneficial to your site (link), your clients (information), and the other site (their clients find what they are looking for).

 

Light Bulb Image

How to Find the Right Link Opportunities

To be a leader in your field, you must formulate relationships with your clients, others in the industry, and even your competitors. Having a strong presence online and at networking events opens the door to many opportunities.

For example, maybe you find out that one of your previous clients has a website or blog. After some perusing, you find content that is related to your field. This could be a great opportunity to reach out to someone for a link back to your content, especially since you’ve had a positive relationship in the past. Someone who has already used your services is more likely to link back to you than a stranger.

Find Your Link Building BFF

Another idea may be to cultivate relationships with people and companies that do work related to your field, but who are not direct competitors. If you practice Employment Law, but you have a friend that sells work safety equipment, perhaps they would be willing to link to your content regarding workplace safety. Again, if you create quality content that appeals to the needs of the other site as well, they are more likely to link to you.

Finding your link building BFF is really about seeking out opportunities to engage with those that are doing work related to your practice or field. Every connection may be an open door to a new link building opportunity. Rather than seeing the link building process as tedious and competitive, instead try to think of way that you can create content that meets the needs of your clients and other sites you would like links from. Over time, you may formulate a reputation for being a great link building buddy. Overall, a friendly attitude goes a long way.

Link Building is an Ongoing Process

Quality link building is a continuous process of thinking creatively and seeking out opportunities. When it comes to creating content that will draw in links, always think quality over quantity. Move away from “quick SEO” tips like keyword-packing, and instead ask what your content provides for your current and future clients. By being a source of valuable information for your clients, you will likely draw links from other sites that find your content useful.

For more information on writing compelling, SEO-friendly content, check out these related posts on the Mockingbird blog:

Focus on What Your Clients Care About
How to Write Website Copy for Diverse Practice Areas

Has Google Let Up on Defamation Removal Requests?

There is often a fine line between one person’s freedom of speech and another’s right to protect their good name. In the age of biting YouTube comments, Facebook slam pages, and those bloggers sipping on the hater-ade, it is often difficult to determine where one person’s rights begin and another’s ends.

Fortunately, the internet is not just a free-for-all of those who just don’t have anything nice to say. Defamation of character lawsuits abound, and Google in particular has something to say about it.

Google got a little bit of flack recently when it put a freeze on granting defamation removal requests. This hold on its “informal policy” of removing defaming URLs from search results consequently led to a wave of US attorneys receiving denials to their requests to remove defamatory content.

Google has had this policy since 2009, which required requests accompanied by a court order. The hold came as quite a surprise, but it looks as though Google has let up a *little*.

It appears that some of these requests are now being acted upon, which is great news for the victims in these cases. This post gives a couple of examples of the requests that have been approved, including some that were previously denied.

However, this inconsistency can be a bit confusing for both victims and attorneys. It is unclear what Google’s criteria is for granting the requests. Keep in mind that filing a defamation of character case can be an lengthy and expensive process. To be denied your request would indeed be frustrating.

SearchEngineLand.com gives some insight into why Google has been so steadfast on this issue:

“Google chooses to perform some assessment of the removal requests they receive to ensure everything is valid, and because there have apparently been cases of fraud perpetrated on the courts…. [they seem] to be performing an audit of each court order to determine whether those accused of defamation have been adequately identified and notified of court proceedings, whether the identified prohibited content is residing at URLs identified in court orders, and more.”

Given that explanation, it makes some sense as to why Google has been strict about which URLs they decide to take down. It is not merely an issue of protecting a person’s right to freedom of speech, but accurately vetting whether the request for removal is legitimate or not. That being said, it is clear that many court ordered requests have been denied, and that can be a real issue for attorneys and their clients.

What do you think? Will Google respond to push back from those that have had their names defamed online?