add links to blog posts

If you’ve looked at even a few blog posts, you probably know that they usually contain links that direct readers to another page. You probably even know how to add links to your blog posts. But do you know if you’re adding links to your posts correctly?

Good links engage readers and boost your search engine rankings. Bad links, in comparison, annoy your readers and can even earn you a Google penalty. How can you make sure that you’re adding good links to your blog posts and steering clear of bad ones? Check out these tips on how to properly add links to your blog posts.

Want to maximize how long readers stay on your blog? Learn how to identify the best internal links to add to your blog posts. Download the free fillable worksheet.

Internal links vs. external links

Internal links

Before we talk about how to properly add links to your blog posts, we need to talk about the difference between internal links and external links. Internal links are links from one post or page on your blog to another post or page on your blog. For example, in our post on 11 things to do before you publish your next blog post, we included a link to our post on how to write killer blog post introductions.

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Internal links in your blog posts provide the following benefits:

External links

External links, in comparison, are links from a post or page on one blog to a post or page on a different website or blog. For example, in our post on 9 tools you can use to craft magnetic blog post titles, we linked to a page on HubSpot.

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You can use external links to direct your readers to a study; a site that defines related terms; a page about related tips, services, or products; or a related post you’ve written for another blog or website.

External links in your blog posts provide the following benefits:

Now that we’ve talked about the difference between internal links and external links, let’s talk about how to properly add links to your blog posts.

Best practices for adding internal links

Link to other blog posts, not to high-level pages

Many people add internal links to their blog posts by linking to their home page, about us page, or contact page. These pages are what experts refer to as “high-level pages.” This just means that they’re some of the main pages on your blog or website.

You want to avoid linking to high-level pages in your blog posts for two reasons:

  1. These high-level pages probably aren’t as relevant to the topic of your blog posts as other blog posts are.
  2. If these high-level pages are items in your menu and your menu is visible on your blog posts, you’re already linking to them. (The names of the pages in your menu are all links.)

That’s why it’s best to add internal links to your blog posts by linking to other posts on your blog. This is what experts call “deep linking.” When you create a deep link in a blog post, you direct your readers to other content-rich sections of your blog. You also show Google how your blog posts are related.

Of course, if you’ve written a series of blog posts to promote your new cookbook, it makes sense to include links to the cookbook sales page in these posts. In most cases, though, you want to reserve internal links for other blog posts.

Link to relevant blog posts

This best practice on how to add links to your posts may seem obvious, but we’re still going to say it: don’t add internal links just for the sake of adding them. After all, your readers don’t want to end up on a post about cheese if they thought they were being directed to a post about poodles. When selecting internal links to include in a blog post, identify the handful of posts that are most relevant to your current post. These are the posts you want to link to.

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Remember that you can link to older blog posts when writing a new one. But that’s not all. You can also go back to old posts and add links to newer posts.

Related

Link to high-converting posts

Do you have some blog posts that perform particularly well? Maybe you have a post with a content upgrade that people love signing up for. Or maybe one of your posts works wonders for directing people to a relevant product sales page.

If you’ve got one of these high-converting pages on your blog, add links to it when it makes sense to do so. This lets you direct your readers to additional information while boosting the likelihood that you’ll recruit them to be part of your tribe.

Don’t link to the same posts over and over again

If you’ve got high-converting posts or evergreen posts, you’ll probably add links to these posts in several other blog posts. This makes sense so long as these links are relevant to the blog posts you’re adding them to.

Make sure, though, that you don’t add links to any of these posts in too many of your other posts. If you do, search engines may flag your links as “unnatural” and think you’re trying to game the system. And you know what happens when Google thinks you’re being spammy as a way of gaming the system: it may decide to give you a penalty.

Link your text, not your images

When you add links, you need something for users to click on that takes them to the linked post or page. If you’re used to scrolling your Facebook news feed, you may think it’s a good idea to use images as the objects readers click on to access the linked content. It’s okay to use images as the basis for some links. But because images don’t contain as much information about the topic of your post, it’s better to use anchor text.

Anchor text is the text in your blog post that’s linked to another post or page. It’s usually underlined and in a different colour than the other body text in your blog post. Anchor text looks like this. When you add links to your posts using anchor text, you add contextual information about your post to the link. This is good for both readers and search engines.

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Use the right anchor text

Okay. You know you need to use text as the basis of most of your links. But what kind of text should you use when you add links to your blog posts? Descriptive anchor text.

Descriptive anchor text is text that provides some contextual information about your link but also integrates into your post naturally. It can simply be part of a sentence in your blog post that’s relevant to the linked post or page.

For example, our post on 11 things to do before you publish your next blog post contains the following sentence: “Before you publish your next blog post, write an introduction that hooks your readers and tells them what you’ll be sharing in the post.” We used “write an introduction that hooks your readers” as the anchor text for the link because these words are semantically related to the topic of the linked post.

Although there’s more than one way to write descriptive anchor text, here’s what you want to avoid:

  • Using what’s called “exact match anchor text.” Exact match anchor text is the keyword phrase you want your linked blog post to rank for. It’s the phrase that appears in the title, URL, and paragraphs of your linked posts. Google and other search engines may see this as an attempt to game the system and may penalize you as a result.
  • Using phrases like “click here” when you add links. These phrases don’t tell your readers what the linked post or page is about.
  • Linking an entire sentence. This looks clunky, and you don’t want your blog to look clunky, do you?

Make internal links open in the same tab

When you add internal links to a blog post, you want them to open in the same browser tab. It’s okay for your readers to wander on your blog from one post to another. As long as you’ve set up good navigation on your blog, it should be easy for your readers to find their way back to any post they want to revisit.

If you set internal links to open in a new tab, you’ll end up taking over your readers’ browser. This probably isn’t the best way to convince them to return to your blog in the future.

Use a reasonable number of internal links

When you add links to your blog posts, moderation is key. Most experts suggest adding 4-6 internal links to your blog posts. If you add too many, Google might think you’re up to something shady. Your post may also look spammy to your readers.

Don’t rely only on a related posts plugin

Some people use a related posts plugin to showcase other posts on their blog that are relevant to a particular post. These usually appear at the bottom of a blog post or in the sidebar.

There’s nothing wrong with using a plugin like this to drive traffic to other posts on your blog. However, you don’t want to rely on a related posts plugin to do all of the heavy lifting for you. When you add links to your blog posts manually, you can integrate them right into the paragraphs in your posts. You can also make sure your post contains the best internal links possible.

Related: 24 blogging tools that will save you hours

Best practices for adding external links

Use the right anchor text

Just like with internal links, it’s important to use the right anchor text when adding external links. For external links, use descriptive anchor text that isn’t an exact match for the linked page’s keyword. And if you have an external post or page that you link to in several posts, make sure you vary the anchor text you use. If you use the same anchor text again and again, Google might get suspicious.

Make external links open in a new tab

When you add links that take people away from your blog, you want the links to open in a new tab. This makes it easy for readers to find their way back to your blog post after they’ve finished exploring the external link.

add links

In our post on 11 things to do before you publish your next blog post, we show you how to make external links in a WordPress blog post open in a new tab.

Avoid adding irrelevant links or too many links

When you add links to your blog posts – whether they’re internal links or external links – you want them to be useful to your readers. Irrelevant links don’t provide value to your readers because they aren’t sufficiently related to the topic of your blog post. And although you may be able to come up with lots of external links that are relevant to your blog post, adding too many of them could make your post look spammy.

It’s easy to add links to your blog posts

Adding links to blog posts may seem like a super technical topic. But if you’ve made it to the end of this post, you know that it isn’t hard at all. As long as you know what you’re doing and what you need to avoid, it’s easy to add links to your posts. These links will help you give your readers more value and put you in Google’s good books.

 

Want to maximize how long readers stay on your blog? Learn how to identify the best internal links to add to your blog posts. Download the free fillable worksheet.

Download the worksheet




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