Managing links on your WordPress site

What is a link?

Web links were probably the first feature of the internet that made is stand out from other media. The ability to click on a word and be referred to another document with more information about the topic remains a very powerful concept. Search engines still use links as one of the primary tools to understand and rank your website. Here are some thoughts on how to make the links on your site work to your advantage.

No broken links.

Web pages change all the time, web admins move and remove content constantly. This creates extra work for other users trying to link content across sites. It is embarrassing for the website owner and annoying for the visitor to see broken links. WordPress provides you with several tools that help to scan your website daily for broken internal or external links. Our favorite is the Broken Link Checker.  It will scan your site and notify you of any broken links giving you an easy way to update them to the new URL.

Internal links.

Internal links are links between pages on your site. This linking structure is very important and creates a web of connections that the search engine uses to understand how your site works, which pages related to which topics, which pages are the most important to you. When writing a blog post, be sure to reference content from your main site. On each page you should have a least one internal link.

External links.

External links point visitors to content outside your site. They help the search engine to put the content of your site in the context of the internet. They are also extremely beneficial to the site you are pointing to. The more external links pointing back to your site, the higher your site will rank. If you know a website with great resources that could benefit from the additional search engine attention, by all means, link them from your site. If you have the opportunity to get other sites to link back to yours, be sure to ask them to do so.

Linking text.

When creating a link it is very important to choose the words on the link carefully to represent well the resource that you are linking to. The search engine will relate the key word on the linking text to the page. For example, if your link is “for more information click here” the search engine will have no idea what the link is for. On the other hand, if you were to say “Find out more about snow camping”, it is obvious that the resource linked is about snow camping. These are important in both the internal and external links.

Open in new window?

The universally agreed upon website etiquette is that all internal links should open in the same tab, and all external links that take you away from the main site and open in a separate tab.

Link farms.

If you ever get an email from someone offering to put you on the first page of Google instantly they are probably going to put your site in a link farm. These are web pages consisting only of links designed to trick the search engines into giving the site a better score based solely on the number of external links pointing back to it. Thankfully, the search engines got a lot smarter and now penalize sites that are caught in a link farm. We advise you to stay away.

If you are still wondering how to use links on your site to your advantage, let Watermelon help you out.


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