The Basics of Internal Linking (and How to Do it Right)

Internal Linking

Links to your content are an important part of driving traffic. Whether it’s a link from a Google search or from a page someone is reading, the right links can vastly improve productivity of your website. Internal linking is part of that process.

An internal link is one that connects one piece of content to another on the same website. For example, you could have a post about spinach and link to a page your created loaded with spinach recipes. This not only helps visitors find more content, but it also improves search engine optimization. Because of this, your site ranks higher in search results.

Many experts attribute internal links to a kind of “link juice.” Essentially, it’s the belief that linking out to other pieces of content gives those materials power in terms of relevancy.

Think of it kind of like voting for a particular post or page. It tells search engines that certain pieces of content are more important to you.

Today, I’m going to go over some things to help you build internal links the right way. These methods are from top experts in the field and based on my own personal experiences.

Add at Least Three links to Old Content in Each Article

Add at least Three Links

Linking to old content is a way to show search engines those articles are important to you. It also helps visitors find content they might not know exist.

When it comes to search results, relevance is vital. Linking to older articles that support your current topic demonstrates to engines and visitors the content is still relevant. This increases the likelihood it will perform better in search results.

As time goes on and fewer links are going to and from a particular article, it begins to lose position in search engines. It’s all about keeping the content fresh and up to date.

If you can’t find a viable link to support your current piece, don’t try to force it. It may look irrelevant to engines like Google which can hurt the search rankings for that particular article. It’s better to leave it be for now and update it later if you create something relevant in the future.

Update Your Old Content

Update Old Content

Depending on the topic and whether you’ve created evergreen content, old posts could still amass great interest. But what if you have opportunities in those old posts to add links to new content? Then you should, by all means, go in and edit those old posts and update the links.

Perhaps the hardest part of this process is keeping in mind past content and its relation to new articles. It may not be a bad idea to re-read a few of these simply to make sure you don’t miss an opportunity to further promote new content.

You could always do a site search in Google of particular keywords or phrases to see if you have any relevant connections you haven’t thought of before. This is done by typing, “site:yourwebsite.com” followed by a keyword or phase into Google. For instance, “site:yourwebsite.com seo tactics” will return a list of webpages you have with the phrase “SEO tactics” in text and links.

Another way you could update your old articles with new links is to add a new paragraph to the old content with proper anchor texts. Not only does this provide an internal link, but it also improves the old article with additional material and information.

Keep Links as “Follows”

Keep Links as Follows

When you add links, you can create “follow” and “nofollow” methods. You want all of your links to be set to “follow.” This is determined by default and doesn’t require any additional programming.

It’s when you add the rel=”nofollow” to a link that may cause issues. In some instances, I’ve even seen the nofollow link hurt webpage search rank when linking to external sources.

Why is this important? Because search engines won’t follow the link to its intended target. This means the content on the other end of that link will not be crawled by search engines like Google. Although they will still work fine for your visitors, it makes the content appear less important in search results.

In reality, you want to use the nofollow sparingly. Only use it when you absolutely do not want search engines to crawl the webpage. This shouldn’t be a common occurrence. An example of when you would use nofollow may be if you want to hide the login screen for your website.

Link to Your Most Important Content

Link to Most Important Content

Isn’t all content on the website important? To some degree, absolutely. However, there are pages you may want to appear more pronounced in search engines. For example, linking to the page or post that has the highest conversion rate increases its importance in search results.

It’s important to link to all of your internal articles. But let’s face it; there are some pieces you feel are more valuable. If you sell a service as your primary method of online income, you want that content to appear as often as possible. This is why some web developers will link well-developed landing pages.

Think of it as internal promotion for your guests and search engines. It’s like saying, “What you really want to read is over here.” As long as the page supports the current article, it could do wonders for search ranking.

However, you want to be careful when adding too many links. Engines like Google will penalize sites that appear “spammy.”

Don’t Get Spammy with the Links

No Spammy Links

Part of a good internal linking strategy is knowing how many and what kind of links to add. After all, you don’t want a webpage that is covered 90 percent of the way with these elements. On the other hand, you do want to show engines and visitors other relevant content on your site.

Adding too many links to a single post takes away from each one’s importance. Imagine your link strategy for a single webpage as a piece of pie. If you cut that pie into 20 segments, one for each link, the slices are much smaller and less attractive. Cut that pie into three segments and the pieces are much greater.

You also don’t want one link covering two or more sentences. It looks bad to the visitor and doesn’t really help that much in terms of SEO. Short three to five-word phrases appear to work best as long as the anchor text is relevant to the topic.

The Penguin algorithm update for Google in 2016 further fine-tuned the process of killing spammy sites. In fact, you may have seen a difference shortly after the roll out of the Penguin update. As long as you’re not spammy with links and strive for quality content, you should have no negative consequences.

Use Good Anchor Text

Good Anchor Text

Back in the day, many web developers would create links such as, “Click Here.” That doesn’t work very well today. While the human element may still follow the directions of the link itself, it appears as bad practice to search engines.

For one thing, the text “click here” isn’t really relevant to the topic or information you’re sharing. Take these two sentences for example. Let’s say that both are linking to a page describing how to build a blog that generates visitor traffic.

1. Click here to read about how to build a blog and start generating traffic.
2. You can build a blog today and start generating traffic.

See the difference between the two? Sentence two is the preferred method for two reasons: it appears more natural to readers and it tells the search engine the content it is linking to.

You also want to be as descriptive as possible without becoming spammy, especially if you’re citing facts. Here are two more examples of what I mean:

According to an SEO study
According to our study on SEO strategies

Not only does it look more professional from the reader’s standpoint, it looks better to search engines for authority and relevance.

Keeping Links Relevant

Keep Links Relevant

An important thing to remember when building links is to keep them relevant. I cannot stress the importance of this fact enough. This is true whether it’s internal linking structure or citing another website.

Since the Google Penguin update started rolling out in 2012, relevancy to content has been a priority. This is because the search engine giant is focusing more on bringing quality articles to visitors. This also means those who created spam links are sinking deep into the recesses of search results.

For example, you don’t want to link to a page with a topic of barbecue recipes if you’re currently writing about caring for an infant. The content you’re linking to has to be connected to what you’re writing about. Think of it like an extension of your article. Ask yourself, “Will the link make sense to a reader who wants to know more about the topic?”

Look at it like writing chapters in a book. You want each chapter to be an extension of the one before it. Otherwise, it becomes confusing to read. The same can be said about internal linking strategies. In this case, it becomes confusing to human and bot readers alike which will affect SEO.

Create Content-to-Content Links

Create Content to Content Links

You want your links to support the current article. This means you want articles that are rich in content to be linked to one another. It creates a chain of information that users and search engines love to go through. Adding a link to something like a contact form essentially breaks the link and reduces exploration.

The more often visitors are able to explore your content, the more likely they’ll stay on the site. This increases the chance of conversion as people remain on the domain to continue learning and reading. In other words, you want a continuous chain of content from internal linking.

Pages such as About and Contact are not considered rich in content. Besides, they technically have links available on nearly every part of your site if they’re added to the navigation menu.

Keep an Eye Out for Duplicate Links

Duplicate Links

Adding more than one link to a specific page of content from a single article is not going to help boost SEO or “link juice.” At least, there is no evidence to support the claim. In fact, some experts believe using multiple links with varying anchor texts can cause issues for SEO.

From the user perspective, it may also be annoying when someone thinks they are visiting a second page only to see it’s the same link as one they clicked before. It’s an unnecessary redundancy that plays a part in how the visitor views the website as a whole. You want to engage the visitor, not annoy or frustrate.

Unfortunately, it may be necessary to have some duplicate links in your content. For instance, the homepage link in the navigation bar and your site’s logo may both point to the homepage. Things like this are clearly the exception as you want these elements for the user experience.

Keep the Content Hierarchy Easy to Manage

Content Hierarchy

In essence, you want every article of content on your website accessible from the home page in no more than three clicks. Any more than that, and you can easily lose readers. People want content now, and the speed in which they access information on your site is vital to its success.

One of the worst things to experience as a visitor is the feeling of going around in circles when trying access certain information. It gets frustrating to the point where visitors will abandon the site for one that is easier to manage.

If your site is somewhat complicated or has extensive categories and material, using breadcrumbs may be helpful when it comes to internal linking. This gives the user a base which to access particular sections of content without feeling overwhelmed.

Keep in mind the structure of your categories and taxonomies, though. If someone visits a “computer” section, it’s likely he or she isn’t looking for microwaves. Having a solid base for categories is very important for internal linking, and a weak structure often leads to problems with human and search engine visitors alike.

Internal Linking Boosts SEO

Internal Linking Boosts SEO

I’ve seen internal linking work wonders for even the smallest of websites. In many cases, the site as a whole improved visibility scores as well as click-through rates. Just make sure you’re linking to content that supports your current piece. Otherwise, it could appear spammy and the article may be penalized by search engines.

This is Why You Need to Optimize Your Website for Voice Search

Voice Search SEO

With the advent of Google, Alexa and Siri, searching the Internet can be done from almost anywhere by simply providing a voice command. It’s faster and you’re provided with “the best” immediate results. If you want your website or business to be brought to the surface, you need to invest in some voice search SEO. Continue reading “This is Why You Need to Optimize Your Website for Voice Search”

Proven Ways to Create a Digital Marketing Strategy that Works

Digital Marketing Strategy

Digital marketing consists of using various technologies to connect with customers. While the Internet is one of the most pertinent of these platforms, there are also several other components you should consider. For instance, apps and SMS text messages are also considered digital marketing.

Having a strong strategy for marketing helps keep the business afloat. In fact, as many as 14 percent of businesses may fail because of poor marketing. And in today’s world, neglecting to implement a digital presence can be devastating to business practices.

What can you do to keep ahead of the game? It’s all about knowing how to build a digital marketing strategy. Here are a few of my ideas that may help shape how you approach this important facet of business.

The Internet Rules All, Almost

The Internet Rules

According to Google, there are more than two trillion searches performed on the search engine giant every year. That’s more than 3.8 million every second. From product research to informative content, the Internet is a widely used source of data.

Because the Internet saturates a large portion of our lives, it only makes sense businesses would implement a digital marketing strategy to take advantage of it. It’s believed that 96 percent of Americans shop online. Which means not having Internet marketing strategies will surely hurt your business.

Which Strategies Work Best

Which Strategies Work Best

Perhaps the most difficult part of developing a good digital marketing plan is knowing which methods work the best. Unfortunately, that’s something that I cannot tell you with 100 percent certainty. You see, every business and industry is very different. What works for one company may not work for another.

Here are the basics of devising a good strategy.

  1. Know Your Objectives: Have a clear understanding of what you wish to accomplish with each campaign.
  2. Know Your Target Audience: Understand who it is you’re trying to market products or services to.
  3. Constantly Monitor Progress: Never underestimate the value of data when it comes to tracking campaigns.
  4. Brainstorm to Address Issues: Identify which areas of campaigns need revamping for success.
  5. Create Forecasts: Have a plan of action for future needs and adjustments for your campaigns.

These basic steps work in just about any digital marketing strategy template. Of course you may want to expand on these points according to your own situation and business needs.

What kind of digital marketing is available and when do you want to use it?

Word-of-Mouth, Both Online and Off

Word of Mouth

Although word-of-mouth is nothing new, it impacts a business more today than it did back in the 1900s. This is because of the widespread use of social media, email and text messages. It’s safe to assume that customers are going to share the experience whether it’s good or bad with a wide audience.

In reality, 53 percent of millennials will share content on Facebook. This doesn’t include other platforms such as the growing channels of Instagram or Snapchat. Providing an optimal experience for customers is vital for a positive word-of-mouth campaign.

Encourage consumers to share and like posts, comments and products on your site. Don’t simply rely on organic comments the user may or may not provide. Adding elements such as share buttons or perhaps offering coupons to those who “spread the word” inspires those customers to act.

Trying to achieve a positive impact from word-of-mouth should be something you strive for before opening the doors to the business. While you can’t please 100 percent of the people 100 percent of the time, the ones you do will be key to future success.

Implementing Reviews and Testimonials

Reviews and Testimonials

Approximately 40 percent of consumers will form an opinion regarding a brand after reading up to three reviews. Considering how 92 percent of consumers read these reviews, it demonstrates how effective they are for marketing.

It all comes down to how consumers trust peers over statements made by brands. This is especially true given the wave of “fake news” spurned from late 2016 and early 2017. Consumers have less trust in advertisements as they once did.

Reviews and testimonials are effective to have in the very beginning. Even if the review is negative, it needs to be available. People today are already mistrustful of businesses, and hiding faults can ultimately damage an online reputation. Instead, use negative reviews as a way to grow and adapt.

Using Video Platforms

Video Platform

Businesses are able to increase conversions by 80 percent by adding a video to a landing page. There’s no doubt that video content has proliferated through the Internet. In fact, video content is the main use of online bandwidth across the globe.

Websites such as YouTube and Vimeo provide a platform in which any business can create content to engage an audience. These videos are then easily shared by embedding them into websites or simply added to social posts. Either way, video is becoming a normal addition to digital marketing plans.

But when is a good time to start creating videos? That really depends on your strategy, industry and type of content you want to create. Video production is relatively easy nowadays thanks to advancements in technology. It can be done on the cheap or you could spend thousands in state-of-the art recording equipment and software.

Instead of buying the latest and greatest recording equipment, try a few videos using less expensive gear. If the content takes off and brings the business a bit of income, then grow production. The point is you don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on equipment only to realize it’s not working out.

For instance, a lot of successful YouTubers today started with a basic webcam. Over time, they stepped up their budget because it was a platform that was being successful.

Offering New Products or Services

New Products and Services

Always keep expanding or replacing the products and services you offer. Don’t rely on the items that once proved to be the bread-and-butter of the business. Eventually, those items will become obsolete or less sought after.

A perfect example of continuing to evolve with the market is Google, Inc. Google constantly evolves products and services in order to meet the demands of the consumer. If certain products are not as productive, the company gets rid of it and works on something new.

Like technology, your business needs to be able to constantly advance forward. One of the best ways to do this is by using monitoring tools such as Google Analytics. Goods that don’t receive much attention may signify:

  • You need better marketing for those items.
  • The items are no longer of interest to consumers.

Take HD DVDs, for example. Many people loaded up on the high-definition DVD platform to sell through eCommerce…until Blu Ray was produced. This is a lesson in keeping a close eye on the industry.

When traffic to certain goods slows down, immediately look into “why.”

Using Influencers

Using Influencers

Influencers are social media personalities who have large followings. These “celebrities” are extremely effective when it comes to brand recognition and sales. For instance, 60 percent of people who subscribe to channels state they follow the advice of the YouTube personality over other celebrities.

Influencers vary greatly when it comes to cost. Some will have flat fees for each single post or video while others are OK with an affiliate-type of campaign. Either way, this form of digital marketing is effective at reaching an incredibly large audience in a short amount of time.

When is a good time to contact an influencer? It depends on your budget and goals. Social media celebrities are often quite expensive to use. Many who have millions of fans know their value and can easily cost thousands of dollars for a single spot.

There’s nothing wrong with shopping around. Just make sure you find an influencer who is relevant to your industry. For instance, you wouldn’t want to spend money on a gaming celebrity if you sell shoes. It’s all about connecting to the right audience through these influencers.

Creating Email Marketing Campaigns

Email Marketing

By 2020, email will be in use by three billion people. That’s nearly half of the population of Earth. It’s one of the most common forms of digital communication, and it’s also one of the most used additions to a digital marketing strategy.

However, it takes more than just sending a message to get someone’s attention. In today’s market, personalization is key to attracting a reader. These custom messages are more influential and often result in a higher return on investment.

You can start email marketing campaigns immediately. It’s extremely cost-effective to reach out to a large audience as all it costs in some cases is your time. The hardest part about email campaigns is developing a mailing list. This is usually done through subscription forms or by messaging past customers.

Using PPC Advertisements

PPC

The pay-per-click campaign, or PPC, is a widely popular platform for digital marketing. Essentially, you don’t pay for an advertisement until someone clicks on it to visit your website. Even if the ad is delivered more than a million times, it won’t cost a dime until it’s clicked.

While the prospects of PPC are quite high, it does take a bit of search engine optimization to get the most out of the experience. You can’t simply bid on your favorite keywords and cross your fingers. Optimizing PPC is where the platform becomes valuable. In fact, customers will click on PPC ads 65 percent of the time if there is high-commercial search intent involved.

Pay-per-click campaigns is another one of those “budget restrictive” marketing platforms. If you have good SEO skills, it’s possible to have a high ROI with very little money invested. However, PPC is often expensive to those who are new to the system. It’s easy to spend money on clicks from people who are not all that interested in buying your product.

SMS Text Messaging

Text Messaging

Approximately 77 percent of Americans own a smartphone. This doesn’t include those who have basic phones with texting abilities. Which means the majority of the population has potential for contact through SMS text messaging. As a result, many businesses are implementing texts as part of the digital marketing plan.

On average, SMS text messages have a higher response rate than other mobile advertising. This rate includes online and offline transactions. For instance, people are more likely to personally walk into a store to make a purchase after receiving a text message from the company.

Think of SMS text messaging as a form of social media engagement. When you have people following your account, all it takes is a single post to engage them all.

Some platforms on the Internet are perfect to use for getting started. For example, SlickText.com has a free account that lets you send up to 50 text messages per month. Depending on your audience, that may be more than enough to engage customers and encourage sales. Because SMS texts don’t cost a lot, it’s great for any size of business.

Developing Mobile Apps

Mobile apps

Mobile apps are often used to boost digital marketing. Often, these pieces of software accentuate a business while making the user feel more connected. For example, a lot of companies will produce apps that hand out digital coupons to shoppers.

However, creating an app doesn’t necessarily mean people will use it. Sometimes it takes a bit of marketing to encourage use of an app.

Case in point: Chick-fil-A, a popular fast food restaurant chain, increased the download of their app by more than 14,000 percent. This was done when the company launched a free sandwich promotion to encourage use of the app. Downloads soared from approximately 5,000 per day to more than 400,000 in a matter of 48 hours.

App development can range in expense. Some will cost a lot to develop while others may be built by yourself. In reality, it all depends on how elaborate you want the app and what you want it to deliver. Building an app may not be a good choice in the beginning, but it definitely has potential once you establish the business.

Creating Great Content

Great Content

When it comes to digital marketing of any kind, “content is king.” Content is what drives visitors and customers. Whether it’s a well-planned video on YouTube or a detailed product description for eCommerce, it’s all relevant.

Creating engaging content relies on an understanding of your audience and what you’re trying to convey. From billboards in the real world to social media posts, the purpose is to connect with consumers.

You should be creating great content from the first day you opened the business. Flyers, ads, social media posts and more all play into how people perceive the brand. Without it, no one would know what it is you provide.

Have a Digital Marketing Plan

Digital Marketing Plan

Although real-world marketing is important for engaging local customers, the digital space plays an increasing role both online and off. Put together a strategy that works for your business and keep it updated. Just because something works well today doesn’t mean it will be efficient tomorrow.

10 Things You Need To Avoid When Creating a Social Media Landing Page

Social Media Landing Page

Social media landing pages come in all shapes and sizes. Some of the most effective are those which are specifically tailored to the social hub. Unfortunately, not everyone has the best strategy when it comes to creating these online connections. So, what can be done to improve your social landing page’s performance? Continue reading “10 Things You Need To Avoid When Creating a Social Media Landing Page”

13 Ways to Get Authority Links to Your Website for Free

Authority Links

Back in the day, it was easy to score high in search results by accumulating a massive number of backlinks. These could be from virtually any website as long as the search engines could crawl the URL. Today, engines such as Google are rewarding quality over quantity. This means developers need to attract authority links from relevant sites and businesses.

An authoritative source is one that not only scores well in search results but is popular among visitors for a specific niche. Some will attribute authority based on numbers from Alexa, a popular website ranking tool. In any case, it’s links from these high authority websites that can make all the difference when trying to increase traffic. Continue reading “13 Ways to Get Authority Links to Your Website for Free”

10 Reasons Why You Need to Optimize Landing Pages for Mobile [Infographic]

Optimize Landing Page for Mobile

There’s no doubt that mobile technology plays a big part in online activity. From games to shopping, the little device in your pocket is more powerful than laptops of the early 2000s. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t fully realize the importance of mobile Internet use. If you want to make an impression, you need to optimize landing pages for mobile devices. Continue reading “10 Reasons Why You Need to Optimize Landing Pages for Mobile [Infographic]”

Here’s Why Chatbots are The Future of Consumer Engagement

Chatbots

What do Siri, Alexa and Google have in common? They are three of the most popular classifications of chatbots. Essentially, a chatbot is a piece of programming that understands multiple methods of communication and produces a result.

You probably talk to a chatbot on a regular basis if you use all of the functions on your phone.

Although the algorithms and programs of these chatbots are not perfect, the technology is rapidly advancing. The artificial intelligence behind these platforms is becoming quite intuitive. Continue reading “Here’s Why Chatbots are The Future of Consumer Engagement”

13 of the Smartest Social Media Hacks I Have Ever Seen

social media hacks

As many as 83 percent of people in the United States have a social media account of some kind. This means that every business needs to target outlets such as Facebook and Twitter with some form of engagement. It’s getting the most out of the marketing campaign that is often the tricky part.

It takes more than just posting a few updates to your timeline and sharing an image or two. While these have potential to reach a small audience, you could be doing far more. Continue reading “13 of the Smartest Social Media Hacks I Have Ever Seen”