Linking has been an important part of web design and digital marketing, pretty much from the start. A well-placed link to a quality source is a welcome sight for your site visitors. It’s a way to build credibility, connect with other sites, increase the reach of your content, and deliver maximum value to your readers. At least, all of those things are possible when linking is done right.
Every link you share is an opportunity to build or erode trust with your customers. Link to a broken page, malware, spam (even unwittingly), explicit content, or a different location than advertised, and you might lose that customer for good. Those pitfalls aren’t too difficult to avoid, however. It just takes a little legwork, and an understanding of how linking fits into the overall online infrastructure.
Calgary Website Design: Effective Outbound Linking
When you provide visitors with a link leading away from your website, where you send them is your responsibility. So your first, most important task is to make sure you are linking to a quality source, that the page doesn’t include offensive content, and that the link is what it says it is.
- Once you’ve identified a valuable link, the next step is deciding where to put it. Link placement plays an important role in whether the link is clicked, and helps determine how search engines “count” the link for SEO purposes.
- Currently, the best area to place links is the body of your content. Links in the content body or more likely to be identified as relevant by search algorithms, and more likely to be seen by your readers.
- Readers love to scan, as proven by Nielsen-Norman Group’s excellent eyetracking research, so you also want to make sure your links stand out in the text of your content. It doesn’t take much, either. You can bold text, underline it, or change it’s color to alert readers that the link is important.
- The pages you link to should be easy for readers to identify. In other words, if you’re linking to a page with a tasty recipe for cookies, the title and content of the page should quickly identify that it does, in fact, contain a cookie recipe.
- If you’re still on the fence about the value of links, consider it from the other side. An inbound link to your site, from the right source, can provide a major boost to your lead-generation efforts.
Calgary Website Design: Simple, Smart Internal Linking
Internal linking follows many of the same rules as outbound linking. You want internal links to be descriptive, relevant, and easy to identify. The difference comes in where you link, why you link there, and how often you do it.
- Typically, your most-visited pages are the best to link from. Links from these pages carry the most weight in search algorithms. Without diving too deep into technical jargon, the basic idea is that popular pages “pass on” some of their relevance to the pages they’re linked to.
- The best pages to link to will be in the tier below your most popular pages. These are pages that users have found useful, but which need a little boost in order to get in front of more eyes.
- How do you create popular content? Great question! It all starts with leveraging your expertise, and presenting it to customers in an easy-to-digest package.
- Internal linking doesn’t add credibility, but it does allow you to shine light on pages you want seen. Shifting credibility to the right place can be just as valuable as adding it.
- Avoid overdoing it, and don’t link internally just for the sake of it. The linking promise still holds, even when you’re linking to your own site. Besides, too many internal links diminishes the effectiveness of each individual link.
Linking effectively is an important part of Calgary website design, and should not be overlooked. It benefits your SEO, builds trust with customers, and is the perfect way to establish mutually beneficial relationships with other sites. All you have to do is hold up your end of the promise, and deliver quality links.
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