One of the biggest factors when it comes to ranking in search engines (namely Google) is how many links you have coming to your site and links within your blog to show how your content relates to itself.
By using internal linking, external linking and receiving backlinks to your blog, you increase your domain authority and chances of ranking on search engine results.
Don’t worry if you don’t understand any of that (lol). That’s what this article is for! Let’s start with internal linking:
Highlight your own site content by linking to articles you have already written!
This not only helps reduce your bounce rate (the users who come to your site but leave after viewing that one page) but also shows search engines your content is more trustworthy.
As you read in the Category vs Tags section, make sure to only link to other content within the same Category (if possible).
By linking to similar or related content on your own site, you are showing Google that you have a clear structure for your content and additional resources for your readers.
If you use the paid version of Yoast, it will automatically suggest other articles that you may want to link to within your article from other content on your site.
This doesn’t mean you add a bullet point list at the end of your article with other posts your reader may enjoy (though you can do this as well). Find a word or phrase in your article you can link to other posts.
Read this article by Moz for more information about internal linking.
It’s great to link to other sites, especially if you are highlighting research or sources.
But, if you are linking to another site with affiliate links, make sure to place a “no follow” on the link! What does that mean? When Google (and other search engines) crawls your site (meaning they basically scan every page on your blog), any links without a “no follow” will lead the scan off of your site. This is especially important for affiliate links! Always always always put a “no follow” on affiliate links!
When you are linking to a reputable site, it’s ok (and encouraged) to leave it as a follow link. Google loves links.
Follow links tell Google that the site is worth referencing – the more follow links a site (or page) receives, the higher it will rank through SEO. This is why YOU want as many follow links as possible to YOUR blog (backlinks).
Read this article by Moz to get a deeper understanding of external linking.
Adding “no follow” To Links
To add “no follow” to a link, just add this code after the “a href” in the html (on WordPress, you switch from Visual Editor to Code Editor at the top right of your screen:
You will add the following code to your link (within the same brakets as the URL):
So your updated link will look something like this:
<a href=”http://www.url.com” rel=”nofollow”>LINKED TEXT</a>T
In addition to “no follow” code, if you want the links to open in a new browser tab so that even if the user is taken away from your site, they still have a tab open with your blog open.
To do this, just add:
Your code will look like this:
<a href=”http://www.url.com” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”>LINKED TEXT</a>
You can also do this without code by flipping the toggle when editing a link!
Tip: If you use the Pretty Links plugin (free), you can create links that not only look nice (can appear like “https://yourblog.com/affiliatename/”), but you can simply check a box for “no follow” so you can use and reuse a single link without having to add any code! However, ALWAYS make sure “masking” affiliate links aren’t against the program’s affiliate agreement.
So you are up to speed on linking internally and externally, but what about links back to YOUR site?
Backlinks are links on other sites to your blog and are one of the highest factors for ranking on Google!
But how do you get backlinks?
The more backlinks you receive the better, but what you really want are links from ranking sites (see the section on Domain Authority).
There are a number of ways to receive backlinks:
- Guest Blogging
- Organic linking, meaning a reader or blogger finds your content and decides to link to you without any encouragement.
- Cold emailing other bloggers to see if they want to use your site or a specific article as a reference. If you do this, make sure to do due diligence and research the blog/blogger, note what you love about their site and how your content will benefit their readers.
- Join networks like HARO to become a source for content. Most “reporters” will link back to their source. Try to make sure you will receive a “do follow” link.
That being said, be careful. “Link swapping” (where you make a deal with a blogger to share their link if they share yours) with other bloggers can be detected by Google. The Google algorithm is complex and they somehow just KNOW things.
But, you want “do follow” links to your blog or they won’t count as backlinks by Google. So if you choose to guest post, make sure you get the main benefit of a “do follow” link before writing a single word!
Here is a helpful article about some additional backlinking tactics from Backlinko.
With all of the content you need (or want) to create for your own blog, why in the world would you want to take the time to guest blog?
Guest blogging is creating content to be published on another blog with the goal of receiving a backlink to your blog.
While it is possible to gain traffic from guest blogging, this is (for the most part) a potential side benefit.
Domain Authority (DA)
The biggest indicator on how you are doing with SEO is your Domain Authority score (shortened to DA in a lot of places).
“Domain Authority (DA) is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages (SERPs). A Domain Authority score ranges from one to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a greater ability to rank.” (Source: Moz)
Accepting Guest Bloggers
While accepting guest bloggers on your site isn’t technically an SEO trick, it’s a great potential way to grow your content AND likely receive backlinks to your blog (even if the blogger doesn’t have a high ranking site).
See this page.for how you can set up your blog to accept guest bloggers.