Search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial to any successful business. Imagine being a store owner. Wouldn’t you want your shop to be on a busy street where more people can easily spot you? That’s what SEO does for your online presence. It puts your business right where people are looking.
Internal and external links are a vital part of successful small business SEO. Think of these links as the road system of a city. Internal links help visitors navigate within your website, leading them from one page to another, just like streets take you from one part of the city to another.
On the other hand, external links connect your website to other sites, similar to highways that connect different cities. These links help you get noticed by search engines and increase your website’s visibility.
Keep reading to learn more about internal and external linking mistakes that can negatively affect your SEO.
Common Internal Linking Mistakes
Internal links are incredibly important because they guide your visitors around your site, helping them find exactly what they need. But, if you’re new to small business SEO, it’s easy to make mistakes with internal linking. Below we will cover some of the most common internal linking errors and how to avoid them.
Using Too Many Internal Links
Just like a city with too many roads can become confusing and overwhelming, so can a website with too many internal links. You might think that the more links you have, the better. But that’s not always the case.
If you have too many internal links on a page, it can make your site look cluttered. Your visitors might feel confused about where to go next. This can decrease user engagement, which you don’t want.
Remember, the goal is to guide your visitors, not to confuse them. So, be mindful of the number of internal links you use on a page. A good rule of thumb is only to include relevant and helpful links to your visitors.
Ignoring Anchor Text Relevance
Anchor text relevance is another common internal linking mistake you might make in your small business SEO journey. Anchor text is the clickable text in a hyperlink. It’s like a signpost on the road, telling your visitors and search engines what’s ahead.
If the anchor text isn’t relevant to the linked content, it’s as if the signpost is sending you to the wrong destination. This can be frustrating for visitors and hinder your SEO efforts.
Here are some simple steps to avoid this common problem:
- Choose Descriptive Anchor Text: Ensure the anchor text provides a clear and accurate description of the page it links to. This makes it easier for visitors to navigate your site and for search engines to understand your content.
- Avoid Generic Anchor Text: Phrases like “click here” or “learn more” don’t tell your visitors or search engines anything about where the link leads. Try to use more specific and detailed descriptions.
- Keep it Short and Simple: While your anchor text should be descriptive, it should also be concise. Try to keep it to a few words rather than long sentences.
- Use Keywords Strategically: Include relevant keywords in your anchor text if possible. This can help improve your search engine rankings. But remember not to overdo it, as this can lead to keyword stuffing, which search engines frown upon.
Paying attention to anchor text relevance can make your website more user-friendly and boost your SEO.
Failing To Audit Internal Links
Another big mistake is neglecting to audit your internal links regularly. Regular audits are essential for several reasons.
First, they ensure all your links are working correctly. Nothing can be more frustrating for your visitors than clicking on a link that leads to a dead end.
Secondly, audits allow you to evaluate the quality of your links. Are they leading your visitors to useful and relevant pages? Are they helping or hindering the navigation of your website?
Lastly, audits also provide an opportunity to spot and fix broken links that can harm your SEO and frustrate your visitors.
So, as part of your small business SEO strategy, remember to review and update your internal links regularly.
Poor Link Equity Distribution
Link equity, also known as “link juice,” is another vital factor in small business SEO that you should not ignore. This refers to the value or authority that a link passes from one page to another. In simpler terms, it’s like the SEO credit you give to another page on your site when you link to it.
The right balance in distributing link equity among your pages is essential for overall site optimization. Concentrating too much link equity on a few pages and neglecting others can lead to an imbalance in your site structure. This means that while some of your pages might rank well, others may not get the recognition they deserve from search engines.
To ensure more even link equity distribution:
- Create a Balanced Link Structure: Ensure all important site pages can be reached through internal links. This can help spread link equity effectively throughout your site.
- Use Relevant Links: Link to pages relevant to your page’s content. This not only improves the user experience but also helps distribute link equity to the pages that are most relevant to your content.
- Avoid Linking to Low-Quality Pages: If you link to low-quality or irrelevant pages, you’re wasting your link equity on pages that do not add value to your users or your site.
By paying attention to link equity distribution, you can ensure that all your important pages have a fair chance of ranking well on search engines.
External Linking Mistakes You Need To Avoid
External links play a significant role in small business SEO by providing search engines with a broader context about your website’s relevance and authority. These outbound links to high-quality, credible sources can enhance your site’s trustworthiness and improve your ranking on search engines. However, the mistakes covered below can negatively affect your SEO.
Linking to Low-Quality or Irrelevant Sites
One of the most damaging external linking mistakes you can make in your small business SEO strategy is linking to low-quality or irrelevant sites. This can give your visitors a poor experience and lower the credibility of your content.
Search engines don’t just analyze who you’re linking to; they also consider the quality and relevance of the linked sites. If you’re linking to sites deemed untrustworthy or irrelevant, it can lead to your site being viewed the same way.
This is why it’s crucial to ensure any external links you use to direct your visitors to high-quality, relevant resources that enhance the value of your content and improve your website’s trustworthiness.
Using Paid Links Without NoFollow Tags
Another common pitfall in small business SEO is using paid links without no-follow tags. If you’re like most small business owners, you may occasionally pay for links to boost traffic to your site.
But here’s the catch: Search engines have guidelines that every website should follow. Google, for instance, requires that paid links be tagged with no-follow. This tag tells search engines that the link should not influence the ranking of the link’s target in the search engine’s index. It’s like telling them, “This is a paid link, so don’t consider it when ranking my website.”
Ignoring this rule and using paid links without no-follow tags is like cheating on a test. Sure, you might get ahead in the short run. But sooner or later, the teacher (in this case, the search engine) will likely catch on. And when that happens, your site’s rankings may suffer.
Over-Optimizing External Link Anchor Text
When you use an external link, the clickable text – or anchor text – helps search engines understand the linked page’s content. But, if you always use the exact same keywords in your anchor text, search engines might think you’re manipulating the links, which can hurt your rankings.
To avoid over-optimizing your external link anchor text, consider the following tips:
- Vary Your Anchor Text: Don’t use the same keywords in all your anchor text. Mix it up using synonyms, brand names, or phrases that include your keyword.
- Stay Relevant: Make sure your anchor text is relevant to the linked page’s content. Irrelevant anchor text can be confusing to your visitors and to search engines.
- Use Natural Language: Your anchor text should flow naturally within your content. Forced or awkward anchor text can feel like you’re trying too hard to include keywords, which can be off-putting to your visitors and possibly to search engines too.
- Limit Exact Match Keywords: Using exact match keywords in anchor text can be beneficial, but only if used sparingly. Too many exact match keywords can look like manipulation to search engines.
By paying attention to these tips, you can avoid over-optimizing your anchor text and maintain a balanced and natural approach to small business SEO.
Sound Linking Practices Boost Small Business SEO
By avoiding the linking mistakes covered in this blog, you an supercharge your small business SEO efforts. With our help, you can reach a larger audience and expand your online reach.