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The ultimate guide to online content – part three

internalexternallinks

An important part of all articles on My French Life™ is the inclusion of external and internal links.

Internal and external links are important for a few reasons. Firstly, links are one of the things Google looks at to determine ranking: the more internal links we have, the better. It also looks for links to other, high-performing websites.

But it’s not just search ranking that we’re doing this for: we do it for our readers too! Links add depth by taking them on a journey; whether it’s within our site (to other articles they’re interested in) or to external sites where they can discover the same subject in more depth, or from another angle.

Let’s look a bit closer

External links to well-ranked websites are looked upon favourably by Google, but also add to the reading experience: they allow readers to discover more if they’d like, and add kudos to an article.

It’s important that we choose quality websites to link to. We’ll explain more about how to do this in the next section, but when selecting external links, we look at their website ranking, content quality and influence – of the website itself, and also on social media.

Internal links are also important for search rank, but they create a journey for the reader as well. Our aim is to keep a reader on our website as long as possible, reading lots of different articles. Internal links take them on a journey through our website, and help us to improve metrics like bounce, exit rate, time spent on site, and average pages per visit. They’re very important!

Where do I put these links?

It’s important to approach this as a natural part of the writing process – after all, when crafting content for the web, linking is essential.

If you know what links you’ll include before you start writing, you’ll find it easier to incorporate these into the text more naturally (again, we’ll look more at this in the next chapter!).

Some examples…

Click on the following articles and look at the way the author has included links. Has he or she linked words randomly? Or, does the way they’ve written certain phrases into the article make it feel more natural? Take a look:

  1. French women don’t have it figured out
  2. We’re guilty of indulging in French clichés & stereotypes – are you?
  3. Our top 10: the best coffee in Paris

How have links been written into the article?

1. Including keyphrases to place links behind: I wrote ‘French women don’t have it figured out’ after coming across an article in Vogue Aus on French women, and reading a post on Garance Doré’s blog on how French women don’t have it all together after all. So, I already had two high quality external links.

As you’ll notice in the introduction, I’ve linked to two My French Life™ articles, and they flow as part of the narrative, rather than being links randomly placed behind semi-relevant words.

2. Quoting from internal articles, then linking through: I followed a similar pattern in ‘We’re guilty of indulging in French clichés & stereotypes – are you?‘. I wove key phrases into the intro to make internal linking more natural, but I’ve also quoted My French Life™ writers and interviewees throughout, alongside well-ranked external sources.

3. Quoting experts from external sources: When we compiled our list of the top ten coffee spots in Paris, we checked whether the best Paris bloggers were also recommending these places. If so, we added a comment or quote with a link. Rather than making it look like we’re copy cats, this gives our list more kudos: if the top Paris insiders agree with us, we must be on the right track!

In the next chapter – ‘Writing for the web’ – we’ll provide some advice on searching for these links.

Continue to Chapter Two >>

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