If you’ve been looking into ways to strengthen your blog presence, you’ve no doubt run into the term “link building.” Building links can help you to get more traffic for your site by increasing your rankings with search engines, but they aren’t the only way, or even the most powerful way, of doing so. Link building is important because it can help you to get more exposure, search engines aside; the more directories, social media networks, and guest articles that you write, the more often your blog will be linked in a relevant environment.
If you submit a great article on food in your local area, with a link to your blog at the bottom, that’s a very valid way to build links to your site and get more traffic, and it has the added benefit of increasing your search engine optimization.
The Human Element
The point of links isn’t to cater to Google’s team of robots, however. It’s for real people who want to navigate your site. If your blog doesn’t have the right interlinking on the actual page, people just won’t be able to navigate it as freely as they once could. If you look back through the history of website design to a decade or so ago, you may remember the value of “Frames.” Webpages were divided into these frames, with the smaller vertical frame on the left of the screen providing easy navigation to content that would be displayed in the larger right frame. Frames were useful because they allowed for much quicker content direction, but they were decidedly abandoned in favor of easily accessible interlinking, including contextual menus.
Why is Interlinking Good?
While the main intention of interlinking blog posts is to make it easier for search engines to index all of your pages, it also allows users to find content that they want to read based on what they are currently reading. For example, if you are posting an article about the latest restaurant to open in your city, interlinking allows you to let readers read about other new restaurants. Interlinking can be done contextually, based on date of posts or topic, or even both.
A Sign of Quality
Here’s where you need to appeal to both Google and humans: Google notices whenever users go to your site, and then go back to the SERP (or Search Engine Results Page.) It tracks these events because it means that the user most likely did not find your site to be helpful, whereas if they had stayed on the site and browsed for a longer period of time, your “bounce rate” goes down and your ability to rank goes up.
Interlinking plays a large role in reducing your bounce rate. Readers come to your site to consume content. If you make it easy for them to go back and forth between pages, you will experience a longer period of engagement, which means a lower bounce rate. Designing pages toward the reader also benefits how Google sees your site, so everyone wins.