Internal Linking Strategy: AKA Get Value Out Of Your Linkbait (Case Study)

Discussion in 'Orientation' started by Steve Brownlie, May 14, 2017.

  1. Steve Brownlie

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    Steve Brownlie Building Links

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    tl;dr

    • Make an on topic linkbait that isn't something silly like 'what if lawyers were zombies' but say if you sold dog insurance a 'guide to dog heart health' might be a good one.
    • Internally link strategically from that linkbait to sensible parts of your site that you want to rank and are on a similar topic (eg dog insurance)
    • Link between pages in the same silo strategically to continue to pass authority throughout the entire body of content.
    • Links by themselves provide a 'rising tide' interlinking in this way makes the rising tide more focused and strategic - it will impact what you want more than if you just leave things to chance.

    I get a lot of questions from first time buyers of outsourced natural links where the proposed target is a linkbait instead of a 'best xyz product' review page:

    And the truth is that regardless of whether you do anything in this guide, there is a 'rising tide' effect if you build up a huge amount of authority to your site. Everything on it will generally perform better with more authority.

    But we can do better than that...


    Let's take a look at a site 'out in the wild' that's been blogged about hundreds of times (pro tip: If you want hundreds of free links talk about your amazing client case study in front of hundreds of SEOs at your own conference).

    [​IMG]
    Source: AHREFS

    Totally dominating the UK SERPS, powered by Distilled's work for them, regularly shared at conferences and blogged about pretty regularly so you can find a lot more depth than I'm going to be covering here or sign up for DistilledU to watch all the original conference videos if you wish.

    The Most Famous Linkbait

    [​IMG]

    The most discussed linkbait in this series was the wordpress guide here. How does that help an insurance company rank? (Source: http://www.simplybusiness.co.uk/microsites/wordpress-for-small-businesses/)

    Well as we already discussed it got a lot of links, as did many of the guides in the series. However if we take a look at the bottom we can see authority being funnelled back to the main categories the business wants to rank for:

    [​IMG]

    You'll note that they're passing authority to specific pages and giving specific anchor text to those links for a dual benefit - a really powerful page is therefore ending up linking to their sales pages.

    Improving On The Model

    We already know that Google is trying to value links on pages more accurately, giving the most weight to the ones most likely to be clicked. How often do you think anyone really clicks a link at the bottom of a linkbait about wordpress to public liability insurance?

    Maybe sometimes, since you'll note the linkbait here is pretty on topic - new business owners without a site will definitely sometimes also need public liability insurance, so the link makes perfect sense. We aren't talking about 'what if lawyers were zombies' type linkbait nonsense here.

    However, it might be more valuable to include the link in some text elsewhere in the guide - it's tougher on a visual only guide like this one - but for many guides which are more text rich noting that you have liabilities related to your website might be a good point to include the link - somewhere someone is way more likely to click it because you've given them some context. Think about that when planning your linkbaits and future proof yourself somewhat for the ever-increasingly smart way in which search engines are trying to figure out what links people might actually click.

    Interlinking and 'Silos'

    Again you should do further research on this part of the puzzle as I'm not going to be going all-in here on the detail. But if you click around on the site (starting with one of those links at the bottom) you'll find every page is connected to multiple other pages:

    [​IMG]

    This continues to pass authority around within related sections of the site further boosting the 'rising tide' effect by spreading that authority and letting search engines know which pages are related to others.

    With a smaller site to manage than this one, you could follow similar advice to that which I laid out in the previous section and look to integrate these links into sensible places within the text making them more clickable (though they may be pretty well clicked as they are - testing is important here as conversions are just as important as SEO!).

    You could also look to implement a more rigid 'virtual silo' and only pass the authority to your most highly related content. Eg a linkbait about dog heart health --> dog insurance --> you might only interlink between other types of insurance your site offers or other dog topics your site covers or only other health products/services your site offers depending on how you split up the siloing on your site. The important thing would be to keep the authority from that linkbait, and other pages within the same silo only supporting other pages you had strategically grouped together.

    Unless you're going to have a widget like in this example that links to various things and is almost certain to allow you to visit almost any page through continuously navigating it you will want to plan out a spreadsheet which enables you to make sure every page is linked to and every page in your silo can be reached from every starting page.

    Summary

    This isn't intended to be a complete guide to generating advanced linkbaits, building silos or structuring site interlinking. But as a quick case study, it's a great starting point for making sure you take advantage of linkbaits you build and start planning/building out your site in a way that will fully take advantage of relevance, the links your building, and related content forming a coherent unit.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2017
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  2. Jason Abbot

    Jason Abbot

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    Now this is GREAT advice which most people don't even think about (guilty, btw). It's all tied up in the idea that SEO and UX should go hand in hand - instead of UX all too often being an after thought.

    I'd be really interested to see an experiment done which tests the effects on ranking and CTR's of your actual target page (sales page) when the cta is placed at the bottom of the page vs top of the page vs in-content, etc
     
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  3. GeorgeG

    GeorgeG

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    Hi Steve, great read. I've been experimenting with something similar.

    Here is an idea. How about if you 301 redirect a domain with similar backlink anchor profile to the linkbait article you are making. And then redistribute the juice to your money pages from there.

    Have you tested something like this and what are your thoughts about if you have to speculate? Would it work?
     
  4. Steve Brownlie

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    Steve Brownlie Building Links

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    I did something similar to this a while ago and it used to work BUT most tests more recently show that kind of thing less effective now. It's just a continuation of the trend where you could just buy authoritative domains in a similar niche and 301 them to your homepage etc and that worked, now less so.

    However there was a recent case study where someone (I googled a bit and can't find it again - I read a lot and don't save them all but maybe someone here can dig it out) semi-famous in the SEO world built an authority site up just through purchases. He migrated all the content to his site and the purchases were all 'on topic'. You could interlink between the new content and your target pages, AS WELL AS picking up the traffic the old site had this way - it's like a double win.
     
  5. Tao

    Tao

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    I love these kinds of pages - they are so simple, but really draw links and shares naturally.
    However, it's getting the UX right that I would struggle with.

    Brian Dean did something similar with one of his posts too, where you could filter the content on the page using buttons at the top.

    Does anyone know of any tools that can be used to create these types of pages, or am I dusting off my CSS and JS skillz this weekend?
     
  6. Steve Brownlie

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    Steve Brownlie Building Links

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    Either this or dropping a quick hundie or so on a marketplace. You can usually get a coder who's done similar to do it pretty cheap :smile: