Link Balance - Internal vs. External

Written By: Stephen Scott
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Link balancing is just that - a balancing act. Unfortunately, even SEO experts are not in agreement on the quantity and balance of links that will ensure high search engine rankings. What most SEO experts do agree on however; is that the more highly relevant inbound links pointing to your website, the higher your site will rank in search results.

Lets have a quick review of the three types of links were discussing:

  1. Internal links are links from your domain to other pages within your domain.
  2. External links are links from pages within your domain to pages outside your domain.
  3. Inbound links are links from other domains that link to pages within your domain.

So just how many links of each type should we have on a web page for proper link balance? The best way to explain this is by way of an example.

Lets assume your website is about golf.

Internal Link Usage

If you have web pages within your site about 'golf clubs', 'golf resorts' or 'how to buy golf shoes', then you should definitely include internal links on your page to these highly relevant sub-pages.

External Link Usage

If you find links to other content about 'golf clubs', 'golf resorts' or 'how to buy golf shoes', then you should definitely include external links on your page to these highly relevant external sites (or blogs, social networks, etc.).

Important: Do your research and make sure these external sites contain content that is consistent with your anchor text within the link.

Inbound Links

When it comes to inbound links, there's a bit more work involved. Now that you've identified the source of any inbound links, visit the web page sending you the inbound link and locate your URL.

  1. If the anchor text used in the link is consistent with what your site is about, do nothing.
  2. If the anchor text doesn't exits (it's just a URL) or the anchor text contains the wrong keyword phrase, contact the webmaster via e-mail and request the proper anchor text be used.
    You should also provide a link with the proper anchor text for them to use.

Or use the tools below to check major search engines for inbound links (backlinks) to your website:

Link Cleanup

Now that you've identified your internal, external and inbound links, it's time for a little housework.

Link cleanup is simply the process of ensuring your internal and external links:

  1. Have the proper anchor text.
  2. Are pointing to content that is relevant to the anchor text.

Finally, the total number of internal, external and inbound links is more a function of quality than quantity. If you are vigilant about maintaining high quality links, your website should, over time, move up in the search engine rankings.

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