Everyone in the SEO business knows that the more links you have to the content on your website, the better you’ll do in a Google search. And one of the best ways to get more links to your site is to create the links yourself. Make sure that your website links to itself in interesting ways—ways that would help users navigate the site and find the information they’re looking for.
If you own multiple sites, then it’s natural to want to put links to all your sites on all your other sites. That will boost the SEO on all the sites, right? Not necessarily. Filling all your sites with interlinking content is good if done correctly, and incestuous if done incorrectly—which Google frowns upon.
The only way interlinking will benefit your websites is if the linking is in context. For example, let’s say you’re doing some law firm internet marketing, so you’re trying to boost the attorney SEO. If the attorney owns one site about copyright law and another about criminal law, it would be okay to interlink content that overlaps. For instance, if the criminal law website has a page than mentions a case involving a record company involved in shady practices, among them violations of copyright law, it would be perfectly fine to link to the copyright law website.
On the other hand, if the criminal law site is discussing a murder trial, placing a random link on the page that leads to a copyright law website would be inappropriate, and Google would penalize your site for being spammy.
To take it a step further, it would really hurt your SEO if every page of the criminal law site had a link at the bottom that led to the copyright law site, and vice versa, without any contextual similarities. Again, that’s incest, and it’s never appropriate.
When looking at websites, the Google crawlers use algorithms that look for latent semantics, that is, when you mention “iPhone development” on a site, Google knows you should probably mention things like Apple, computers, mobile, cell phone, 3G, and other related words. If those things are present, then it will boost the SEO for “iPhone development.” If not, it won’t help you at all. Basically, everything has to be in context or Google will think you’re keyword stuffing or being spammy.
All in all, when approaching website interlinking, try and think like a user. If you feel a link to your other site would help a user find more information or explore a certain topic, then it’s probably great. If you’re just slapping a link on a page, so you can get more links back to your site, then don’t do it. SEO is a numbers game to some extent, but only when those numbers are bolstered by good content.
Brad Anderson is the Founder and CEO of Fruition. Brad’s focus is supporting Fruition’s team to enable sustainable growth and excellent client satisfaction (EBITDA growth). With a strong statistical background, Brad built Fruition’s in-house software that is used to manage client success.
President & Founder, Tru Family Dental
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President & Founder, Family Travel Association