Just last week, Google published new link best practices for brands looking to improve their SEO and ranking. With so many changes to the Google Algorithm affecting how well we rank, it’s important to know what to do and how to stay relevant and crawlable to Google.
The link best practices document is pretty much your go-to guide for how to stay in Google’s good books. So, what’s changed?
Originally, this document instructed us how to create crawlable links but has now been made more useful with tips on:
- Anchor text placements
- Writing better anchor text
- Internal links within your content
- External links from other sites
Keep reading to find out what these best practices mean for you and how you can improve your website’s search engine visibility.
Why is Linking Important for Your Website?
Before we dive into the best practices, let’s go into why linking is so important for your SEO.
Having links on your website, whether they’re internal or external, will help search engines like Google or Bing to understand how your website is connected to other sites and content on the internet. These links aren’t just useful for search engines, but they also help your website’s visitors to find out more useful information and resources. What this means is that time spent on your site will increase and improve their overall experience.
Plus, when you receive backlinks from another website, it’ll signal to Google that your website has valuable content worth sharing. Generally, SEO takes time and getting good backlinks from sites with a high domain authority may be a while off.
5 Best Practices for Linking on Google
1. Create more crawlable links
Make sure Google can crawl your website’s links by including an <a> HTML element with an href attribute. The <a> element, which is known as the anchor element, is the element that Google will recognise as a link. While the href attribute refers to the URL of the page that you’re linking.
Using any formats outside of this won’t be parsed and extracted by Google’s crawlers. So make sure you use <a> elements with an ahref attribute! Remember, the URL in your <a> element should also look like a URL that Google Crawlers can send requests to.
Now on to the new recommendations for linking:
2. Improve anchor text placement
Your anchor text is simply the text that is visible as a link. (You’ll see ours scattered about in pink!). Including anchor texts will let both Google and your website visitors know more about the page you’re linking to.
Make sure to place anchor text between the <a> elements that Google crawls. And if you have images that work as links, add descriptive alt text to your images. Google also uses the alt attribute of any image anchor links so don’t miss this.
3. Write better anchor text
Your anchor text needs to be descriptive and relevant to your web copy and the page it’s linking out to. Why? Because it makes it easier for your web visitors to tour your site and for Google to know what you’re linking to.
Don’t use generic CTAs as anchors such as ‘click here’ or ‘read more’. Your anchor text should always make sense on its own so try to give as much information away while still being concise. For example:
“For a full list of our website services available, see the website design page.”
Google teaches us to always write naturally and resist keyword stuffing. You will get penalised if you do this! Don’t force keywords into the anchor text and give context either before or after the link to make more sense of what you’re linking.
Another best practice is to not put too many links next to each other. This can be hard for your readers to differentiate.
4. Cross-reference your own content
If you have relevant content on your website, LINK IT! Internal links are valuable and will help Google and your visitors to make sense of and navigate through your website.
5. Link to external sites
External linking will help establish trustworthiness. Think of it like a reference – you wouldn’t want to risk plagiarising your hard work, would you? Link out to external sites when needed and provide good anchor text and context to let the reader know what to expect.
Linking a site that you don’t trust? Simply use ‘nofollow’ in these external links. This will stop the site from getting good backlinks from your reputable site. Google also recommends using ‘sponsored’ in any affiliate links you have and ‘ugc’ for links in the comment section.
A good link strategy is crucial to SEO and helping you appear on SERPs (search engine results pages). We hope our summary of Google’s best practices helps you get on track with improving any links on your site.
Boost your search ranking with an SEO strategy
We are a specialist SEO agency that provides on-site, off-site and technical SEO services. At Trio Media, we can help you create a powerful SEO strategy that’ll help increase your website traffic and brand visibility. Contact one of our expert SEO professionals today for more on how we can help you.