Internal linking and external linking – should it be important for a digital publisher?

  • 17 / 05 / 2022
  • Agata Cnatalska
Internal linking and external linking – should it be important for a digital publisher?

Placing links within a website is often associated with creating distractions from the actual content. Well, that can happen, but only if you use them randomly. A well-thought-out implementation of linking can bring great results, and let me tell you one thing: search engines love it! There are two types of links that you can apply to your texts: internal and external ones. Let’s investigate their favorability for digital publishers!

Internal linking

Regards links leading to other corners of the same website.

Internal linking is primarily used to facilitate navigation through the website. By adding an accurate reference to another piece of your content, you help users deepen their knowledge of a given subject. For example, if you prepare a ranking of the best-selling LED TVs, and you’ve already published an article on what to pay attention to when buying one – link it there! It will be super helpful for your readers, making it easier to choose. Just keep in mind to match the content pieces thematically within a specific topic. Random linking will not do its job; it’ll only cause chaos.

Furthermore, you give your articles a remarkable traffic boost by increasing their visibility. When you link to an old article, you remind readers that you’ve prepared such content in the past – it’s like blowing the dust off it! On the other hand, if you update an older and frequently read article with information regarding a fresh one, you help it spread its wings (which is often not that easy at the beginning) and gain popularity.


External linking

Regards links leading outside your website.

To put it simply, external linking is mainly applied to increase your credibility. When you link to outside websites, you give users access to valuable information. If you find an outstanding content piece that you wouldn’t write yourself (because it goes beyond the topics you cover, or you’re simply not proficient in the matter), just link to it! This way, you can also get noticed by the “bigger players” if they will get notable traffic from your links. And who knows, it might open doors to some beneficial collaborations in the future!


Link anchor text

Also known as link text or anchor text is what you click to go where the link takes you. Simple as that! It’s the clickable, distinctive element of a text, often bold, underlined, or in a different color. And it’s actually crucial (especially when linking internally) what you choose for an anchor, since the search engines understand it and associate the linked phrase with where it leads.

There are five basic types of link anchor texts:

  • Exact match – the anchor is the exact keyword that you’d like your article to rank for – the best in terms of SEO rankings;
  • Semi (or partial) match – the keyword is modified (there are some cut-ins or specifications added, the used words are conjugated, or the phrase is extended);
  • Branded – when you link the company’s (or own product’s) name;
  • Zero match (or generic) – the most confusing phrases for search engines, like “here”, “read more”, and so on. As you can guess, it’s the worst one for SEO;
  • URL (or naked link) – it’s an anchor that you’d rarely use on your blog or website because it’s a copied and pasted URL address. It doesn’t look good, and it’s not SEO friendly. It’s usually created organically by people mentioning your content, for example, on forums or social media platforms.

Tips for internal and external linking

When done right, adding links can improve the visibility of your website in search engines, thereby increasing the number of your content receivers. No wonder linking is among the best ways to increase your website’s traffic. (By the way, did you notice what I just did there? – a perfect place for a link should never be underestimated!)


Now, let’s dive into some good practices for internal and external linking:

  • Think beforehand
    It’s good to plan which link you’d like to use in your content right at the planning stage. If you’re preparing an article and creating its plan, make a list of internal and external links that would fit the subject. This way, you’ll not forget about them;
  • Don’t overdo it
    Excess is never a good thing, so putting too many links is not the best idea. First of all, it’s confusing, as readers will get overwhelmed by the abundance of distinctive anchors. And second of all, it will drag users’ attention away from your content;
  • Stay credible
    Link only to proven and verified websites. Never allow yourself to send your users to something you didn’t check. An external link is your stamp of approval, so be really careful what you recommend. Otherwise, people may lose their trust in you. Not to mention the possibility of stumbling upon sites spreading malware and viruses;
  • Don’t give users away
    Linking to your competitors’ content is a problematic question. Doing so shows your confidence, but it might as well make the users choose them over you. Just think twice before doing that.

Closing words

As you can see, both external and internal links can be handy on your way to take a significant position in search engines’ rankings. It’s also a helpful method to make your website clear and easy to navigate through. Try adding links to your content pieces and observe the results. After all, nothing convinces us like a tangible proof, right? 🙂

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