As bloggers, we want to attract as many visitors to our website as possible and search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing are a great way to do that. Search engines can be a powerful tool in the hands of a wise blogger.
For the past several days, we’ve been discussing and debating various linking strategies and their effects on our search engine optimization.
We kicked it off with an article that created an overview of the the three primary linking strategies that we would be discussing: internal links, outbound links, and inbound links. We then spent the last two days discussing and debating the nofollow vs. dofollow issue.
Here’s a quick overview on the discussions so far:
- A Powerful Linking Strategy for Stronger SEO
- Nofollow vs. Dofollow: The Verdict is In
- Nofollow: Is it Really the Spawn of Satan?
Build A Powerful Web of Internal Links
Several days ago when I introduced this topic I opened the discussion with the following statement and I would like to use that same statement to reopen this conversation:
Take a moment to dig through any article on Wikipedia…Wikipedia is able to show off internal pages with average Page Ranks of 6 and 7 and they’re able to be listed at the top of search engine listings for thousands of search terms. Part of the reason that they’re able to accomplish that is simply due to the large number of internal links that point to each article. ~ A Powerful Linking Strategy for Stronger SEO
Internal links are a powerful way to let Google know what your articles are about and they’re a terrific way to increase page views across your site as they invite your readers to click through to read other articles.
Google places a very high value on links that are placed within your content. In fact, regardless of whether your comment links are dofollow or nofollow, Matt Cutts has made it very clear that Google favors links that are both near the top of the content section and that are surround by text (i.e. in the content and not in the comments).
This means that filling your content with high quality, relevant links to other articles across your site is a powerful way to direct Google toward your articles and to build Page Rank on internal pages.
Note: It’s also another great way to allow readers to find other articles on similar subjects.
WordPress Plugin: SEO Smart Links
Allow me to introduce to you one of the most powerful tools that you can use to massively improve your internal linking structure.
SEO Smart Links is a WordPress plugin that allows you to define associate certain keywords to certain pages and posts on your site. In other words, with one simple line of text you can make it so that every time a certain word or phrase is used on your website that it will automatically become a link to a post that you define.
You Guide to SEO Smart Links
Once you’ve installed the plugin at your site, take a look at the screenshot below to see how I have set up this plugin at Site Sketch 101. It should provide you with a great starting point for using this plugin. I have about 50 keywords currently set to link to articles across this site and I’m growing that number every day.
Defining Your Custom Keywords and Links
The custom keywords section of the plugin settings is the real core of what it does. This is the section where you will be able to define the keywords that are used to link to your articles. Here’s a few important tips to remember when you are adjusting your settings.
- Each link set is separated by a new line.
- Keywords are separated by commas and whatever appears after the last comma on any given line is used as the URL to which the keywords link.
- As seen below, you can link multiple keywords to any given article.
- The max links field defines how many total links can appear in any given article (Zero represents unlimited links).
- The max single field defines how many of the exact same keyword may appear in any given article (Zero represents unlimited links).
If you have questions or comments about the way that you set up this plugin, let me know in the comments section of this article and I’ll help you work it out.
Remember that the goal is to create relevant links to articles that genuinely cover the topics of the keywords that you are using to link to them. If you link to an article using an anchor text that has little or nothing to do with the article that you are linking to then you are wasting time and providing nothing but confusion to your readers and to search engines.
Focus on relevancy. Focus on quality. Focus on building a web of internal links across your site. You’ll be amazed at the results.
What is your current internal linking strategy? What are you doing as a blogger to take advantage of this powerful tool to draw in readers and search engines alike?