Links: Who Loves a Know-it-All?
Links. Everyone knows they need them on their website, especially links leading TO the site, but what about links from one page to another ON SITE? More importantly, what about links leading TO OTHER WEBSITES?
We bring this up because the truth is, all three are important. Not so much for SEO, because SEO as it was formerly-known is pretty much dead. Sure, links ARE important for ranking well in search, but many fail to understand why which leads to misuse of links. Misuse results in the website failing to get the results expected from link-building strategies.
Why? And just what is the proper way to use links to grow a website?
The Importance of Links
Links are the lifeblood of the Internet. In fact, without links, the Internet as we know it would not exist. This is because the modern internet was built on the ability to quickly and easily link to information anywhere on the world wide web. Without the link, the average person would not be able to use the Internet and in truth, finding websites that matter to us would be a difficult task. To understand, let us first discuss how links came to be.
What are Links?
The word "link" is derived from the more proper term hyperlink. The hyperlink was a tool developed by Tim Berners-Lee in the late 1980s. Berners-Lee was scientist working at the CERN supercollider in Switzerland.
At the time, the Internet was used mainly by researchers, Universities, and military personnel. This is because data could only be transferred between organizations using various markup languages - there was no consistency and often, those doing the work had to be skilled in mutiple languages (computer code). Thus, using the early Internet was impossible for the average person.
Berners-Lee changed all that. He was trying to create a simple way to bookmark information he had previously accessed...kind of like adding sticky notes in a book. This way, he did not have to pour back through volumns of data to find important facts in his research. In doing so, he developed the hyperlink. From this, he and serveral co-workers realized they had also solved one of the big problems with the Internet...the language problem.
Although many different computer languages were used, the hypertext link could be inserted anywhere. From this, the hypertext transfer protocol or http was born. This created the foundation for the Internet as we know it.
Where Should Links Appear on a Website?
Based on the intent and purpose of the hyperlink, Sergey Brin and Larry Page were able to develop their search engine, Google. At the time, locating useful websites occurred mainly by using directories. Directories remain a useful part of the Internet, but before good search engines developed, they were the key way to find websites.
The problem was, as websites grew in number, even these directories were becoming impractical. The search engine solved that problem.
The search engine relies on links. The search engine refers people to a website using the address (link) of a given page identified as having the information searched.
How Does a Lack of Links Affect a Website?
Page and Brin recognized the importance of links, so when they developed their search engine, they implemented ways to measure how well linked a website was to other websites. This made sense, because from a practical standpoint, no single webpage could contain all the information needed on any given topic.
For a website to appear as if its pages provide all that anyone needs on a given topic is similar to being a know-it-all...and no one likes a know-it-all; especially not Google. The fact is that no single webpage can contain all the information needed on a topic. In fact, the very purpose of the hyperlink was to provide a way to easily access information found elsewhere. Note what the About Page for Google states:
"Our mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful."
Links make website useful and more accessible worldwide. A best practice is linking to
- information closely related to the topic,
- information not commonly known or understood, or
- additional information found elsewhere which need not be included in the content on the page
This makes perfect sense because trying to include everything about every topic on a webpage would make reading cumbersome. And, if the information is already out there, there is no need to regurgitate it...doing so does not add real value to the web.
Thus, when the early algorithm was created, Google intentionally made it such that a website that was stingy with hyperlinks would not rank well. These were viewed as useless sites in the system called Page Rank. And, there were three types of links all websites need:
- links to other pages within the site
- links leading out to other websites
- links leading to it from other websites
How Will Proper Linking Affect a Website?
At one time, SEO focused largely on links in to a website and within a website, but less so on links leading away. Today, although SEO is largely dead, the principles remain. How does this affect a website?
If a website has ample information related to a topic so that it can refer readers to its own pages for additional information (like Wikipedia does), then there is less of a need to link out to other websites. But when a website is growing its body of content, there is more of a need to link out to websites which contain the information needed on a given topic.
For instance, in this article, we linked out to the CERN website, another page about Mr. Berners-Lee who helped found WC3, another about the history of the Internet, and still another about the history of Google.
These links made sense because we want our readers to have easy access to the information we are using to write this article. We want them to be as informed as possible and since we do not have articles on this website providing that information, we had to link out to it. And, we wanted this page to rank well with Google so that we get traffic from that source.
The truth is, the more a website links out and within, the better it will perform in search. And, over time, more people will naturally link to its pages and both the pages and the site grow in value, both in the eyes of actual readers and in the eyes of the search engines.
Links are the lifeblood of the Internet.
Oakes Writing Can Help with Proper Website Linking
At Oakes Writing Website Services, we understand how to properly link websites. A key reason our content always gets results is because we properly use hyperlinks. At one time, we created and sold content to buyers with the understanding that they could link it themselves. Some did and were pleased with the content; others did not and had mixed feelings about it.
Today, we not only help with linking websites which are underperforming, but also have a simple stipulation on the content we create for clients: We include proper links in what we create and they are part of the creative work we sell. This ensures that the content we create produces results - something few of our competitors can boast.
For this reason, we no longer create content without links and the content must be added to the website "As is" if the client want their content warranty to remain valid. Removing a single link can result in underperformance of the article and a dissatisfied client.
We hope this information has been helpful to you in writing for your own website. If you are in need of content writing that gets results or our help in rebuilding links on your website, get in touch using the form below, call us at 337.660.4774, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.