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The importance of internal and external linking for SEO

As a business owner you already have a million things to think about and do on a daily basis, and if you also write for your business blog then you could be missing out on a few tricks to help with your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).

We’re going to be talking about the importance of internal and external linking within your ecommerce site specifically to help with your ranking on search engines.

What is internal linking?

If you’ve not heard the term ‘internal linking’ before, it is where you would insert a hyperlink on some text that would take you to another page within your blog or online shop when clicked. There are many reasons you would do this, from customer experience to upselling, SEO and more.

Internal links also help connect your content and give search engines like Google a good idea of the structure of your website. They can help establish hierarchy on your website allowing you to give the more important pages and posts more value than others. In other words the more value the page has, the more important it is to Google.

There are several types of links including those within your menu, on your homepage and within your blog but the links we mentioned earlier are known as ‘contextual links’ which point your users and search engines to other useful and relevant pages. This also helps search engines determine the value of your pages from the amount of links the page receives.

Good internal links are great for your SEO, but don’t overly crowd your pages with hundreds of internal links – link spamming won’t do you any favours and search engines will know and may penalise you for it.

What is external linking?

External links are hyperlinks that you include on pages of your website that point to another another domain – linking externally has many benefits.

It is widely believed that external links are a very important source in ranking power and this is because different websites carry different weights, or domain authority. The more weight a website has, the higher their domain authority will be. For example the BBC’s domain authority is 93 at the time of writing and has over 1M other websites linking to their domain.

This means that one external link from a site like this to your website for example, will provide much more effect than 100 links from lower domain authority sites – but this is extremely hard to do.

So how can you get other websites linking to your own to earn external links from others and vice versa? A good place to start is to include external links within your own blog content (like we have within this article) where it is relevant and the user can click through to find out more information about that particular thing. The more relevant content you are producing the better chance you’ll have of becoming an authority on your subject and have other sites referring to pages on your domain or website.

Another way to generate external links for yourself is to reach out to other relevant websites and offer to write guest content for them. You can then include a link to your own domain in the bio or include links to relevant blog posts that you have written. Always remember to make sure that the content is relevant to the intended audience and that you are offering genuine advice and education within your content. Keyword stuffing and link spamming is something that has been a huge no no for search engines for many years so it’s best to simply avoid this.

How can these help your SEO?

On your website

When your online shop and blog are crawled and indexed by Google or other search engines, search engine crawlers, crawl the code of your website to analyse it and find out what’s on it. This includes both the text and non-text content of your website as well as the visual to decide where it should appear in search results.

Indexing is when a page is discovered by a search engine and it will try to understand what the page is about. There are a few things you can do to help improve your page indexing including creating short and meaningful titles for your pages, from product pages to blog pages. Secondly, you can improve your site’s indexing by using page headings that convey the subject of the page and using text rather than images to convey the context of the page.

The reason you want to use text is it allows for search engines to understand what your page is about as they can’t read the text within an image. They can understand some images and video based on alt text and other methods of communicating what the media is intended for.

Serving

When someone types in a query into Google or another search engine, it will serve results based on a number of factors, the goal os search engines is to produce results that are most relevant to the query.

“[Google will] factor in other considerations that will provide the best user experience and most appropriate answer, by considering things such as the user’s location, language, and device (desktop or phone)”. – Google

In order to improve your chances of being ranked highly within search engine results there are a number of things you can do. Firstly make sure that your site or ecommerce shop is fully optimised for any device and has fast loading times, that you have useful content on your website and keep it updated. Ensure that you have a good user experience for your customers and visitors and that your on-page keywords are well researched and you include meta-data to inform search engines of what they should output.

You can learn more about the ins and outs of SEO with our guide on learning SEO from home.

How it helps your SEO

When all of these things are met and combined and you’re utilising your internal and external linking on your website or ecommerce shop, you will have the best chance of ranking highly for your target search terms.

If you’d like to learn more about setting up your own online shop, you can speak to our ecommerce experts on 0333 004 0333 or request a callback here.

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