You’ve probably heard it plenty of times: use links in your blog posts to help your readers discover more content. But how do you do this? Read on for some tips on how to link the right way so you don’t annoy readers and search engines.
Adding links to your own content
If you have written articles that you can use as reference, link to them. If you don’t have any but have found yourself always linking to other people’s articles, then perhaps it’s time you start writing your own articles on your blog or on someone else’s blog as a guest post. This helps to keep people reading stories that YOU wrote.
Tips to help with SEO:
- Place internal links as early in the article as possible, and above the fold. SEO experts tell us Google seems to give better thumbs up to the first links in articles. So the links at the top get bumped as well.
- Avoid repeating the same link more than once in the same article. Google tends to only give those thumbs up to a link once on the same page. Avoid placing the same link onto different keywords or anchor texts. Instead, if the page you’re linking to is very important, then consider using the same link in more articles. Don’t spam your own blog!
- Add links to the keywords or ‘anchor text’ for which you want to increase your ranking. Since you want to rank higher for those links, then make the keywords get noticed as well. However, don’t use the same exact keyword match over and over in your post or page to link to the same destination.
Adding links? Do make them useful!
Offer your readers additional choices through links in your article to give them some form of control over what they read and learn. They can click if they want, but they should be able to find what you promised them in the pages that open.
However, avoid adding links spontaneously.
Improve your linking by only adding links that add value to your article and as a way to cut back on how much text you’d have to write to make your point heard.
Here are five different types of links you could choose for your next article:
- Links to examples of what you’re referring to. Examples include product samples, case studies, scenarios and photo galleries.
- Links to tutorials, videos and definitions. Everyone loves a good how-to. Look for clear and accurate instructional articles or videos.
- Links to facts, human interest stories or a comment by someone important. These add credibility to your story, especially when trying to convince readers to change their behaviour or to believe in what you’re telling them.
- Links to similar stories or related topics. For instance, if you’re participating in an online social marketing effort like a national fundraiser, place links to other blogs involved in the cause. If journalists have written about the fundraiser, link to their articles as well.
- Links to expert resources. Include links to credible sources to add some background information to your content. The quickest way to find recent sources is through news articles. Use Google News to look for your topic with the following formula: study+research+keyword e.g. study+research+sleep if looking for studies on sleep.
Use meaningful words for your links
Another way to improve your articles is to avoid bombarding readers with too many keywords that make your content weird and unnatural. When choosing your text for each link, ensure that your choice of words clearly show the reader exactly what they will find when they click through.
Tips to help rewrite links:
- The text MUST describe the destination of the link.
- Use attributes when the link text doesn’t fully describe the destination.
- If you can, make the attribute a call to action. For instance, if put your mouse over a text link that says “Contact me“, the attribute will say “Send me an email!”. Try it, you’ll see.
Think up better words instead of:
- Click here
- More information
- See also
- Download from here
- Find out more here
Keep in mind that there are accessibility guidelines for online writers and other content creators. To understand your writing requirements, visit the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
The guidelines for web access and writing ask that you describe each link accurately for those with vision impairment and are unable to read. These readers could be using a tool to translate their text to voice.
If you don’t label your links properly in your article, they will only hear exactly what you typed: “See also”, “see here” or “download from here” when they could have been asked to “Click to download a copy of the Direct Response Copywriting Guide”.
Where to place external links
My last tip for better writing skills is to avoid adding any link to other people’s websites in the first half of your article. I recommend to only add the link in the first half if you have already stated your point or solutions up there.
I say this because you don’t want to be sending readers away from your blog too soon and without them finishing your kick-ass article. Perhaps find a place further into your article.
How about listing those links as Related Articles at the bottom of the article. Otherwise, restate your point when writing your conclusion and then ask readers to visit those pages for more information.
If you have writing tips to share, please comment below. I hope my tips on linking help you improve your own writing.