Internal and external linking is a crucial part of search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, as it is one of the key factors that Google and other search engines use to determine your site’s ranking in online searches. With the right linking strategy, you can improve your online visitors’ user experience while also making your website more visible in search engines. On the flip side, using the wrong practices can get your site penalized, which will hurt your rankings and make it harder for your franchise to make it in the top search results.
Here are a few tips your franchise should follow if you want to do linking the right way:
1. Create Internal Links
One of the easiest ways to use link building is to link your website content to other related pages within your site. For example, if you are writing a blog post for your franchise cleaning business about summer vacation home cleaning tips, you might link to a page on your site that details your vacation rental cleaning services.
Always make sure the pages you are linking to are actually relevant to your content. If you start creating internal links that don't make sense, you will just make your website look spammy, which can result in a drop in your search engine rankings. You will also confuse your readers, which will cause those visitors to leave your site. The idea is to use your internal links as a logical pathway for your users to navigate your website.
2. Use Anchor Text Wisely
Another step for link building is to use the right type of anchor text. Anchor text is the word or phrase that contains the link. For example, your blog post about summer cleaning may use the phrase "cleaning your summer vacation rental" to link to your vacation rental cleaning services page.
Want another example?
Check out the highlighted, underlined text in this sentence where we link to last week’s franchise marketing blog post. That’s anchor text.It is important to make your anchor text closely related to the content you are linking to, as search engines use this information to identify the linked page’s subject matter and the keywords the page should rank for.
You should keep in mind that while it’s a good idea to use keywords in anchor text, they should flow naturally in the context of your sentences, and they should be used in various forms on different pages (such as “cleaning your summer vacation rental” and “summer vacation rental cleaning”). Overly aggressive keyword optimization of your anchor text could make your links appear spammy and could hurt user experience.
A good rule of thumb is to use anchor text that will make it clear what you are linking to. If a visitor won’t know where a link will take them, you should reconsider the anchor text that you are using.
3. Create Content That Naturally Attracts Links
Having trusted websites link to your content is gold, as these types of backlinks can make your site look more reputable, which can help boost your search engine ranking. You can obtain strong backlinks by creating high-quality content that people will love and want to share. To achieve this, write content that is informative and highly relevant to your target audience. Useful how-to blogs, informative articles, infographics, and FAQs pages are all great idea for content that can naturally attract quality backlinks.
In years past, backlinks were often achieved by attempting to “game” the system. It was common to purchase backlinks and the emphasis was on quantity over quality. That is no longer the case in today’s SEO world. Links should not necessarily be built — they should be earned. By focusing on how to create a website worth sharing, you can naturally achieve links that increase your website’s authority and reputation.
If you are not already generating this type of content for your franchise, it’s time to start!
4. Identify Low-Quality Backlinks
It's great when other websites link to your content... unless they are low-quality websites. You can usually identify these websites by poorly written content, content that doesn’t follow a cohesive theme, or violations of Google’s (or other search engines’) SEO guidelines.
Examples of such websites include:
- Low-quality web directories
- Article directories that produce content of little informational value
- Websites that exist solely for the purpose of listing paid backlinks
You should determine whether your website has any bad backlinks, and then work to get them removed. You can also ask Google and other search engines to “disavow” these links, meaning they won’t be used as part of your website’s ranking. Check out these instructions for getting backlinks disavowed by Google.
5. Check for Broken Links
Having broken links that result in 404 Page Not Found will hurt your franchise’s website and frustrate your online visitors. You can use Google Analytics, Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools), and other online tools to find broken links within your site, as well as external links that lead to the site. Once you track down the broken links, you should fix them or create redirects if the previous destination page no longer exists.
To learn more helpful franchise marketing tips, download our free guide on how to track the return on investment (ROI) of your online marketing.
About the Author
Jordan Wilson is the Senior VP of National Brands at Scorpion. For nearly a decade, he has worked with businesses of all sizes, from Fortune 500 companies to franchises at the local level. Professionally and personally, Jordan fosters the relationships he develops with his clients, always striving to exceed their goals and expectations. Jordan graduated from the University of Mobile where he played college soccer and won the National Championship in 2002. He is an avid traveler, and he loves a good Irish Pub, LSU Football, and spending time with his family.