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What You Need To Know

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What You Need To Know


Serious question: Are internal links a ranking factor?

Too often, the chatter around internal links as a ranking factor feels more like it’s coming from a never-ending game of telephone rather than the true source, the search engines.

Certain mythical SEO tales about internal links have been passed down through generations of SEO professionals. It can be hard to tell fact from fiction.

In an effort to set the record straight, I’ve tapped our resources to fact-check whether internal links are a confirmed ranking factor. Drumroll, please: You’ll find the truth about internal links ahead.

The Claim: Internal Links Are A Ranking Factor

An internal link is a hyperlink from a page on a domain to another page on the same domain. Internal links help people navigate websites and create a site architecture for hierarchy.

Okay, but what about the more nitty-gritty questions, like:

  • Does the total number of internal links pointing to a page matter?
  • Does the quality of those internal links pointing to the page have a strong effect?
  • What about the anchor text of those internal links – is that another relevancy signal? Does longer anchor text add more value?
  • Is there such a thing as too many internal links on a page?

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The Evidence for Internal Links as a Ranking Factor

Since there are tons of internal link questions to answer still, and I want you to have all the facts straight, here they are.

Are Internal Links A Ranking Factor?

Google confirms internal links are a ranking in their Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Starter Guide. Google states:

Create a naturally flowing hierarchy.

Make it as easy as possible for users to go from general content to the more specific content they want on your site. Add navigation pages when it makes sense and effectively work these into your internal link structure. Make sure all of the pages on your site are reachable through links, and that they don’t require an internal “search” functionality to be found. Link to related pages, where appropriate, to allow users to discover similar content.

And, Google’s “How Search Engines Work” establishes internal links as a ranking factor.

Some pages are known because Google has already crawled them before. Other pages are discovered when Google follows a link from a known page to a new page.

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This is also why Google Search Console features the “Top linked pages” report. It is used to “Confirm that the core site pages (home page, contact page) are properly linked within your site.”

The SEO Starter Guide also recommends using internal links in your breadcrumb structured data markup, stating:

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“A breadcrumb is a row of internal links at the top or bottom of the page that allows visitors to quickly navigate back to a previous section or the root page. Many breadcrumbs have the most general page (usually the root page) as the first, leftmost link and list the more specific sections out to the right. We recommend using breadcrumb structured data markup when showing breadcrumbs.”

The PageRank algorithm itself, and the internal flow of it, relies on internal links.

Does Your Webpage Rank Faster If You Have Internal Links From High Traffic Pages?

Since Bill Slawski shared his analysis of Google’s Reasonable Surfer patent, there have been arguments in the SEO community as to whether pages with or without traffic affect the ranking signals from internal links.

Slawski stated that “…based upon a probability that a person following links at random on the web might end up upon a particular page.”

The patent talks about the position of a link on a page.

Essentially, it’s about giving more weight to links it believes people will actually click, including links placed in more higher-up positions on the page.

Matt Cutt’s confirmed this at PubCon in 2010.

The patent does not reference traffic.

Slawski also dives into the Page Segmentation patent that explains more about the placement of internal links on a page. And, he shares further insights on how search engines use internal links to understand a webpage.

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Is Anchor Text In An Internal Link A Ranking Factor?

The SEO Starter Guide clears up the confusion if the internal link anchor text is a ranking factor as it states:

“Think about anchor text for internal links, too.

You may usually think about linking in terms of pointing to outside websites, but paying more attention to the anchor text used for internal links can help users and Google navigate your site better.”

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Google’s John Mueller also addressed this claim on Twitter, where he said:

“Most links do provide a bit of additional context through their anchor text. At least they should, right?”

And, in 2019, Mueller talked more about how internal links help your rankings in a Google Webmaster Hangout.

However, the claim that long anchor text within your internal links is merely speculation at this time. Search engines have not verified this myth.

In fact, the SEO Starter Guide evidently recommends avoiding “using excessively keyword-filled or lengthy anchor text just for search engines.”

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Rand Fishkin also dives into his anchor text experiments to prove the value of quality anchor text.

And, Search Engine Journal’s Roger Montti digs into Mueller’s response on if anchor text helps improve rankings.

Are Internal Links Used As A Ranking Signal In Your Site Architecture?

Internal linking can have positive or negative effects:

  • NinjaOutreach increased their site traffic by 50% in three months with their internal link structure.
  • The Daily Mail failed to outrank its competitors because of its weak internal linking.

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Google’s patent on Ranking documents based on user behavior or feature data explores site architecture more in-depth.

So, What Happens If Your Internal Links Are Broken?

Broken internal links make it hard for search engines to index your pages and for users to navigate your site. Broken links are a sign of a low-quality site and could affect your rankings.

Google’s Web Page Decay patent validates this claim as it states,

“If the web page has a relatively large number of dead links, it is assessed as being a stale web page.”

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Now, How Many Internal Links Are Too Many?

Back in 2009, Matt Cutts stated there was a limit of 100 internal links per page.

In the past, Google would not download more than 100k of a single page (no longer the case), so the idea that the links would distribute your PageRank made sense.

In 2013, Matt Cutts retracted this statement saying to “keep it at a reasonable number.” So, the rule of 100 internal links is no longer valid.

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Internal Links As A Ranking Factor: Our Verdict

Yes, there is a bit of truth in the myth that internal links and your ranking in search engines have a connection.

Think about it this way, as Cutts said:

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“…if there’s a page that’s important or that has great profit margins or converts really well – escalate that. Put a link to that page from your root page that’s the sort of thing where it can make a lot of sense.”

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Featured image: Paulo Bobita/SearchEngineJournal





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SEO

7 Best Content Marketing Platforms For An Effective Strategy

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7 Best Content Marketing Platforms For An Effective Strategy

“Content is everything.”

At least, that’s one variation of the saying each website owner adheres to. But in the ever-changing landscape of content marketing, content distribution is a close runner-up to the content itself.

Organizations must invest in effective content marketing by leveraging various content marketing platforms as competition becomes more fierce.

How fierce? 47% of companies plan to grow their content teams this year.

Here are seven tools to consider to take your content to new heights.

1. Exploding Topics – Best For Trending Content

Brian Dean founded Backlinko and Exploding Topics, and has been a trusted resource in content marketing since he grew Backlinko from zero to millions of users per month.

Since Dean established his site, he turned his sights on helping others by offering data on growing topics before they take off.

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Exploding Topics aggregates data and uses an advanced algorithm that provides the percentage growth of specific topics of choice.

With access to this data, you can start writing content first to gain a first movers advantage over competitors.

2. BuzzSumo – Best For Social Media Content

BuzzSumo exploded onto the scene in 2013.

Since then, this platform has diversified its service offering to become a powerhouse for serious content marketers.

BuzzSumo offers content discovery, research, monitoring, and influencer insights. The influencer option could exponentially increase the odds of virality for your content marketing efforts.

By navigating to the “top sharers” section, you can pinpoint influencers that have shared articles that may correlate to topics you have written and reach out to the influencers to share your article to expand your content reach.

3. Outbrain – Best For Native Content

Outbrain was one of the leading pioneers of native content and has gained tremendous market share over competitors.

Today Outbrain provides 344 billion monthly content recommendations in over fifty-five countries. Getting started with Outbrain does not involve a significant cost investment.

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To begin a campaign on the Outbrain network, you can set a campaign budget of $20 and a CPC (cost per click) price point of 0.03 cents.

Considering how rapidly you can expand your content marketing reach and strategically retarget users once they have navigated to your site makes Outbrain a no-brainer, pun intended.

4. Patreon – Best For Content Membership

Patreon offers a premium membership model to content creators.

Monthly pledges from patrons have provided content creators with a consistent way to provide quality content while making a living.

Founded in 2013, Patreon quickly became the go-to platform for content creators to establish a loyal fan base.

Content creators span several focus areas, which include videographers, Podcasters, Writers, artists, and musicians.

If you are a content creator that wants to earn a living without starting a blog, Patreon is the way to go.

5. Contently – Best For Content Scheduling

Scheduling content distribution is easy with the help of Contently. You can easily plan times and dates to distribute content across several platforms.

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A feature called Storybook uses proprietary technology to provide a predictive model of which topics will have the most significant impact.

Additionally, Contently provides SEO recommendations and checks the voice and tone of the content. One of the most powerful features Contently provides is access to the premium creative network.

It can be a hassle to vet writers when you are just starting.

Contently has created a premium network of writers you can leverage. Many of these writers have published articles for The New Yorker, Wired, and The Financial Times, among many other established publications.

Contently also provides access to videographers and designers to help create more impactful content through the premium creative network.

If you are looking for an enterprise content marketing platform Contently is a top contender.

6. Scoop.it – Best for Content Curation

Scoop.it is a cloud-based content management platform that discovers and researches content via the web and social networks. Over 30 million web pages are crawled from Scoop.it.

You can quickly scale your curated content needs by leveraging the WordPress integration to publish content directly to your site.

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Leveraging curated content will help establish trust and add additional value to your audience while highlighting your specific industry expertise.

You might be losing out if you are not integrating curated content into your content marketing strategy.

Hootsuite advises a ratio of 40% created and 60% curated content to boot your content marketing efforts.

7. Uberflip – Best For Personalized Content

Uberflip offers several options for content marketers, but one of the most valuable features Uberflip provides is the ability to personalize content for audiences.

As a result, content marketers turn to Uberflip to execute ABM (account-based marketing).

The content destination feature allows marketers to engage audiences with tailored messaging and provides customized layouts and personalized branding.

Given the statistics around personalization, content marketers need to be mindful of tailored messaging.

Conclusion

If your organization is not investing in content marketing, it might be safe to assume you are losing market share to your competitors.

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Content marketing is not an option but a necessity in today’s current landscape.

As a result, several content marketing platform choices exist to get started quickly.

There is no right on wrong options to get started with content marketing.

You have to jump in and get your feet wet.

Beginning with one of the content marketing platforms mentioned above is a good move in the right decision.

More resources: 


Featured Image: The KonG/Shutterstock

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