Links are one of the most important ranking factors in SEO, providing search engines with additional information on what a site is about and the value it offers users. There are three main types of links in SEO. These are inbound, outbound and internal links. Here, we’ll take you through each type of link.
An inbound link, or backlink, is a link from another website to your site.
Often deemed the most valuable of the three, inbound links act as an indicator to search engines that people consider your website valuable and therefore worth linking to. This helps search engines determine what pages should appear higher in SERPs based on what users seem to find most useful and relevant. Inbound links also boost referral traffic and offer a search engine more information about a site’s content, domain authority, spam and trust levels.
However, inbound links are not weighted equally, with search engines detecting unusual numbers of backlinks and placing less value on links from low-quality websites. Backlinks from trusted and authoritative sites with natural anchor text are worth much more than spam links from seemingly unrelated sites with weak content.
As a general rule, inbound links from sites with a domain authority of less than 20 aren’t as useful for SEO. It’s also important to ensure that inbound link anchor text includes relevant keywords to help increase the likelihood of that page ranking for that particular search query.
An outbound link, or external link, is a link from your website to another site.
Whilst some might argue that outbound links are counterproductive because they redirect your site traffic to another website, these types of links are valuable as they tell a search engine more about your website and its sector. Linking to other domains helps search engines better define your website by looking to similar, related sites.
Therefore, if you link to credible websites this will reflect well on your own site. Outbound links to relevant, well ranking pages help to increase the trustworthiness and quality of your site, in turn boosting your ranking. Equally, however, you don’t want to be linking to your competitors and increasing their inbound links.
Ensure you only use outbound links where relevant and necessary – outbound links should always offer value. To avoid losing site traffic through outbound links, ensure that these links are set to open in a separate window.
Internal links are links from one page of a website to a different page on the same site.
Though most commonly seen in main site navigation, internal links are also used within blogs to refer to related content, like this link to our top backlink building tips.
Internal links aid user navigation of a website in addition to helping create a site architecture and hierarchy. However, most vitally of all, internal links help search engines find and index your site pages, thereby boosting SEO.
Links are a major ranking factor and should not be neglected. Now that you’re up to speed on inbound, outbound and internal links, it’s time to start optimising your site.