Guest blogging has always been a great SEO strategy; it increases your brand visibility, gives you more opportunities to link back to your main site, and creates a tight network between your main site and a series of high-authority external sources. If executed properly, a long-term guest blogging campaign can multiply the power of your brand and significantly increase the authority of your site—both from users’ and search engines’ perspectives.
In order to get the most out of your guest blogging campaign, it’s a good idea to implement a process of interlinking to strengthen the bonds between your posts and help direct users to more valuable content—ultimately getting you closer to a converted lead.
What Is Interlinking?
At its most basic, interlinking is a strategy that embeds hyperlinks in your articles which lead to your other articles. Essentially, you’ll be using your content as a bridge that connects users to other pieces of content that you’ve written, usually on your main site or on other external blogs.
There are several benefits of interlinking, including:
Increasing the readability and authority of your article. When people see hyperlinks embedded throughout the article, it immediately imbues the article with an extra layer of authority, plus it looks great and helps your content become a more “visual” piece.
Giving users a chance to spend more time reading your material. When users click your links, they’ll be brought to other pieces of your content. Your bounce rate will decrease, and your users will have more reasons to stick around on your site.
Increasing traffic to your site (and other guest blogs). By interlinking your guest blogs, you’ll be automatically driving more users to your site—users who might not have found you otherwise.
Building a tight, scannable network for Google’s robots. Google likes to see connections between things. If you have your guest blogs aligned with a similar web of interrelated links, it will view all of them with a higher authority, and your main domain will see increased ranks as a result.
No matter how often you guest blog or what sites you use to do it, it’s important to interlink your content as much as possible—without spamming or annoying your users.
Interlinking Guest Blogs with Your Main Site
The main purpose of interlinking a guest blog is to get more traffic for your main site. The more traffic you have, the more chances you’ll have at converting leads, and ultimately, that means higher sales and revenue. Interlinking your guest content with your main site also passes authority in the eyes of Google, so if you link from a high-profile, high-authority site to your main website, you’ll eventually see a ranking increase as a result.
You do have to be careful with how many links you have pointing back to your site, however. If a user clicks on multiple links within your article and they all link to one domain, they may become suspicious that you are trying to lure them into a sale, and they will distrust the intentions of your content.
Interlinking Your Guest Blogs with Other Guest Blogs
It’s wise to complement your interlinking strategy by including links to other guest blogs you write, either on the same host or a different one. The idea here is to give users a chance to explore your other content so they can get a wider view of your experience—and of course, to give them more value by providing helpful resources where they are required in the context of the article.
Interlinking between guest blogs will also help build and strengthen the network of links and affiliates you display to Google, meaning increased authority all around.
Interlinking, while straightforward in theory, is a bit more complicated when you look at correct implementation. It’s not a process you can just start, stuffing as many links as you want into the body of your content. While the idea of building many bridges is appealing, you also have to keep the preferences of your users and the search robots at Google in mind. If you annoy your users, the strategy crumbles, and if you’re seen as a questionable practitioner in the eyes of search engines, your rankings will plummet.
Keep your interlinking strategy healthy by incorporating these best practices into your campaign:
The Importance of Link Relevance
Your links must be relevant to the subject of your article. If you try to stuff a link that leads to a meat processing factory’s website from an article about financial planning for seniors, you’re going to get some confused users and a red flag from Google’s algorithm. Google robots use contextual clues and semantic analysis to determine when links are appropriate or inappropriate, so use them only when they’re relevant and can give users more information. Your first goal should be making an informative, authoritative article, and your interlinking efforts should only enhance that purpose.
Choosing the Right Anchor Text
Anchor text has gotten a lot of attention lately, especially with the recent onset of the Penguin 3.0 update. Backlinks aren’t nearly as simple as they used to be; once upon a time, you could root your links in anchor text that contained a keyword you wanted to optimize for, and your ranking for that keyword would improve. Today, if you even try to optimize your anchor text, you’re begging for a penalty. Instead of writing out the names of your articles or trying to stuff a keyword phrase in to justify a place for your articles, embed your links into naturally relevant phrases (like I just did).
Just the Right Number
You want to have enough links to entice your users to click, but you also don’t want to overwhelm them. Having too many links from related sources pointing to one another can trigger a red flag from Google, signaling a link exchange scheme. It could also make your text virtually unreadable to the average user. There’s no firm rule for how many links you should have; instead, try and focus on only including the most relevant, highest quality links you can. You also need to vary your link targets—use many different articles in your interlinking strategy.
Occasional Nofollow Links
If you want to hedge your bets to avoid a penalty from Google, start using a handful of nofollow links as part of your interlinking strategy. Nofollow links are links marked with a rel=nofollow tag, which instructs Google to ignore the link in its authority-scouting algorithm. Essentially, you’ll be able to capture a share of user interest and traffic without angering search engine robots. It’s not ideal, since you’ll be missing out on a bit of authority, but if your interlinking strategy is tempered with occasional nofollow links, you’ll protect yourself against a possible ranking drop.
Interlinking is a worthwhile strategy for any guest blogging opportunity. The benefits of increased rank and more traffic are nice, but keep in mind that your first priority should be giving your users a more valuable experience. If your links aren’t improving the quality or value of your article, you might as well have none, so remember your users and interlink responsibly.
In his 9+ years as a digital marketer, Sam has worked with countless small businesses and enterprise Fortune 500 companies and organizations including NASDAQ OMX, eBay, Duncan Hines, Drew Barrymore, Washington, DC based law firm Price Benowitz LLP and human rights organization Amnesty International.
He is a recurring speaker at the Search Marketing Expo conference series and a TEDx Talker. Today he works directly with high-end clients across all verticals to maximize on and off-site SEO ROI through content marketing and link building.
In his 9+ years as a digital marketer, Sam has worked with countless small businesses and enterprise Fortune 500 companies and organizations including NASDAQ OMX, eBay, Duncan Hines, Drew Barrymore, Washington, DC based law firm Price Benowitz LLP and human rights organization Amnesty International. He is a recurring speaker at the Search Marketing Expo conference series and a TEDx Talker. Today he works directly with high-end clients across all verticals to maximize on and off-site SEO ROI through content marketing and link building.