New Google SEO Link Best Practices
Google has recently published a new guide on SEO link best practices. It has drastically changed from the previous document, which just focused on how to make your links crawlable. The new guide now addresses how to write good anchor text, internal links within your content and external links from other sites.
So, what are the New Google SEO Link Best Practices?
Links are a critical component of making sense of the web. When we’re looking at a page and trying to understand what it is and how it fits into a larger context, we look at links. Links have always been an important component of search queries, so it makes sense that they play an even more important role when we’re trying to understand the content on a page.
You can improve your SEO by learning how to make links crawlable, find new pages on your site via links, and improve your anchor text so that it’s easier for both people and Google to make sense of your content.
Make your links crawlable
Most links in other formats won’t be parsed and extracted by Google’s crawlers. Google can’t reliably extract URLs from <a> elements that don’t have an href attribute or other tags that perform as links because of script events.
Also, make sure that the URL in your <a> element resolves into an actual web address (meaning, it resembles a URI) that Google crawlers can send requests to.
Focus on writing quality anchor text
The ideal anchor text should be descriptive and relevant to the page that it is linking to, as well as provide context for the reader. The better the text, the easier it is for people to navigate your site and for Google to understand what the page is about.
Links that are chained next to each other make it harder for your readers to distinguish between them, so avoid unnecessary links. If a lot of text is before the link, consider putting it into a blockquote tag. Likewise, place links after punctuation marks so they are clear and easy to read.
When linking to another page, we recommend that you not cram unnecessary keywords into the anchor text (e.g., “click here to see our awesome products”). Consider how your readers will feel reading a link to a page that doesn’t fit their expectations when they arrive at that next page — do you want them to think you’re misleading them? Use helpful, descriptive text in your anchors instead and remember, keyword stuffing is against Google’s spam policies so avoid it at all costs.
Internal links: cross-reference your own content
Internal linking (i.e., links to pages within your own site) can be a very important way of helping people to find additional resources for the topic at hand. Almost every page you care about should have a link from at least one other page on your site that is relevant and helpful to your users. When you do this, make sure that the anchor text (i.e., the visible text in the link) is really meaningful — pick words that are understandable by humans, not just computers!
External links: link to other sites
Linking to external sites from your own content can provide context and establish trustworthiness. For example, if you’re writing about a specific brand or product, linking out to them allows your readers to explore their website more deeply. Or if you mention the results of a recent study, include the link either in that article or elsewhere on your site — it demonstrates credibility and transparency.
- One of the most important parts of successful SEO is message link building. Google has recently published a new guide on SEO link best practices. It has drastically changed from the previous document, which just focused on how to make your links crawlable. The new guide now addresses how to write good anchor text, internal links within your content and external links from other sites.
- Links are only one of many factors used to determine rank and we expect Google to continue to adapt their algorithm over time. However, despite external links being considered to be a ranking factor in the past, Google has announced that they are less important now.
- SEO can be a difficult process, but learning how to make links crawlable, discover new pages on your site through links and improve your anchor text so that it’s easier for both people and Google to understand should get you started down the right path.