Knowing how to build different types of links can improve your website and your brand’s position in your industry substantially.
So today, we’re going to talk about three general types of links – backlinks, internal links, and outbound links – and how you can build each kind to boost traffic to your website.
The first thing that comes to many people’s minds when they think of links is backlinks.
The idea behind backlinks is that getting links to your blog or product store on other websites will increase awareness of your brand and drive traffic to your website when people click through.
Getting a variety of backlinks is ideal, and there are many ways to do this.
Content placement links
This is the most basic kind of backlink – you write a piece to be published on another website (a guest post), and that piece links back to your own blog.
Writing simple listicles and blog posts is sufficient, but to really get clicks, op-ed pieces and genuinely helpful how-to posts are ideal.
Essentially, you’re placing your content on another site in the hopes that people will want to read more of what you have to say.
In the early (dark) days of SEO, spammy comments plagued every blog post you could find with copied and pasted text and a link back to a spam-filled site.
This kind of spammy commenting will hurt your search ranking nowadays – but writing thoughtful blog comments and answering questions on websites like Quora are still good ways to get people to see your brand as a knowledgeable authority.
The key is to come across as genuine: Don’t just drop a single comment with a link and bail, or it’ll be obvious what you’re up to. Instead, start a conversation and carry it on as part of the community.
These are difficult links to score, but any time a news publication links to your brand as a resource, your industry authority goes through the roof.
Editorial links must be earned –you can’t ask the New York Times to link to your website in an article. But high-profile people in your company might be able to get a mention or be quoted, netting an incredibly valuable authority boost.
Besides straight news publications, high-level blogs offer a similar boost – and may be more approachable for an interview or backlink.
Even more foundational than backlinks are internal links – because while backlinks get traffic to your site, internal links increase the time people spend there, making them more likely to convert.
Internal links go from one page on your website to another. They’re the primary building block of your site’s architecture and they make your website feel more complete.
Internal links help demonstrate your industry authority. Visitors will see that you’ve written not just about the thing they’re looking for, but also about everything related to it – and this positions you as a trustworthy source.
Building internal links is an ongoing process. Shoot for at least three internal links with each new blog post, and periodically check through older posts for opportunities to link to newer ones. (Be judicious, though – don’t fill the piece with irrelevant links.)
Internal links can be used strategically, too. If you have especially popular posts, for example, link out from those to ones that are getting less traffic – the popularity of the first article will feed into the others.
Similarly, if you have pages on your website that many other pages point to, these will in turn be ranked higher by Google.
It’s sometimes a good idea to create this situation deliberately by writing an especially comprehensive (and long) blog post or creating a killer infographic to refer to often.
Internal links are the backbone of your website – so start building them early and continuously optimize them to keep visitors on your pages.
We’ve covered backlinks and internal links – so we’re done here, right?
As it turns out, no; outbound links impact your search ranking, too, showing up as high as #35 on Backlinko’s list of 200 Google ranking factors.
Linking from your site to equally or more authoritative ones is a signal to Google that your website is similarly trustworthy.
Quality outbound links also demonstrate to readers that you’re aware of what’s happening in your industry. As a result, visitors less familiar with your brand will associate you with these more authoritative figures.
More straightforwardly, it lends credibility to your content when you can cite your sources.
As with internal links, the approach of auditing new blog posts and adding a couple outbound links should give your site a small SEO boost.
Identify leaders in your industry or niche, and when you go to make a post, put together a list of related posts on those authoritative blogs. Ideally, you only want to link to one post per high-authority website – or your readers will wonder why they aren’t just browsing those other blogs.
As a rule of thumb, you’ll want more internal links than outbound links – but when your blog is just getting started, it’s not a big deal.
For both outbound and internal links, be sure to regularly fix broken links (which hurt your page ranking). There are plenty of broken link checkers available for free that can help with this.
Content is king – but if no one’s around to read it, it’s not helping anyone.
For increasing your blog’s traffic, building different types of links is fundamental.
Whether you just built your website or it’s been around for years, these links will increase brand awareness, improve your search ranking, and drive traffic to your website like nothing else can.