5 powerful ways to improve your linking strategy

Linking is a crucial part of a journalist’s role writing for the web. Get it right and you’ll rise through the rankings and drive new readership. Follow these simple steps to make sure you’re getting your linking strategy right for every single article you deliver. 

Linking stands as one of the top three most important ranking factors in 2021 according to Google, but for many time-pressed journalists adding links still remains something of an afterthought.

Traditionally the process has been incredibly time-consuming, but with a few simple steps the right linking strategy can boost search rankings, traffic and views for years to come. It’s a proven way to significantly expand the reach of your content something every journalist should be striving for in a competitive digital world.

“Links are fundamentally ways of adding value to a story for the reader through context, background, support for your arguments, and a host of other benefits. And they do this without disrupting the flow of the story,” argues digital writer Matthew Ingram in a blog post on why media outlets should be linking more

Internal links, for instance, guide a reader logically from one topic to the next, offering more depth to a specific subject matter and they can be the easiest place to start when looking to strengthen your linking strategy as you can have full control over them.

But before we launch into anything more technical, let’s get the basics down. What are the different kinds of links and why should every journalist be clued up on the importance of linking?

Why is it so important to have a linking strategy?

“Some pages are known because Google has already crawled them before. Other pages are discovered when Google follows a link from a known page to a new page,” says Google.

Content creation and linking should go hand in hand when writing for the web. Building a quality linking strategy is a big part of growing your authority and increasing the chances of your content ranking well and getting traffic from organic search.

Without these links, you sacrifice reaching the same level of readership and the overall impact of your content. The right links can make sure your high-quality journalism gets read by the masses.

But what links exactly are we talking about?

Internal links connect one page on your website to another page on your website. By forming an internal web, they help Google understand the structure of your site and can be the quickest place to start when looking to improve your linking strategy.

Learn more about why you need to focus on internal linking to boost SEO

These are links from your own publication’s website to a different website. They are a great way to add more depth and context to an article to build a full picture of a topic by linking out to related content.

Find out more about how you can maximise external links for better search rankings.

This type of link is the most difficult to acquire because it’s when another website links back to your content. A certain level of “link juice” and authority is passed through that link from their website to yours, so the higher the domain authority of the website linking to you, the greater the value of the link.

Backlinks can be broken down into four categories:

  • Natural-editorial This is when another website links back to yours naturally because they class your content as high quality.
  • Manual outreach This is when you manually reach out to a website suggesting that their content could benefit from being upgraded with a link to yours.
  • Self-created This is when you write content for another website and link back to your own within it.
  • Citation and directory links These can be built by yourself or through aggregator submissions.

 

LOYAL tip: 

Remember, not all backlinks are good links!

Be aware of low quality, spammy websites linking to yours as this can negatively impact your linking strategy.

Try a link audit like this to flag up suspicious links.

5 ways to improve your linking strategy

Yes, a strong linking strategy takes time to develop and a lot of maintenance. But if you follow these simple steps you’ll be well on your way to higher ranking content for all of your articles going forwards:

1. Update your old content with new links

This is a very easy step to miss but is one of the simplest ways to boost your content through the rankings. When you add a new article to your site, make sure you keep an eye out for previously written content on your website that relates to the same topic. Go back through your evergreen content to update this old but rich content with fresh new internal links. 

Read more about how to unlock the value of evergreen content as a publisher.

LOYAL can help speed up the process here. With one click you can access your entire publication’s archive within a Google Doc or website CMS so you don’t have to hunt down relevant articles to link to through your website search. Quickly access the best-matched articles as you write, or deep-dive into your full archive for a more in-depth search. 

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2. Avoid “click here” anchor text

The anchor text assigned to each internal link is another key indicator to Google of what the page you’re directing a reader to is about. Add keywords here that you want your page to rank for rather than something nondescript like “click here”. Also, it’s a good idea to keep your anchor text varied if you have several links to the same page.

3. Look for backlinks from high-authority domains

When you’re searching for the best backlinks for your content, make sure you target websites with high-authority domains. For instance, a single link from The Guardian will have much more impact than several links from obscure blogs. 

LOYAL tip:

Check out this helpful website authority checker to find high-authority domains for quality backlinks. 

4. Remove bad links

Removing bad quality backlinks can be just as important as gaining good quality backlinks. Make sure you regularly check the backlinks on your site and if you spot any spammy links from suspicious websites either contact them directly to remove the link or make sure you inform Google not to take those links into account when crawling your content.  

LOYAL tip:

Use the disavow links tool in Google Search Console to stop spammy backlinks impacting the quality of your content.

5. Use automation to speed things up!

There’s no denying it: links are important. But manually searching for internal and external links takes far too much time. It’s no wonder time-starved journalists struggle to fit into their daily workflow.

Luckily, automated tools can make linking quick and easy. For example, LOYAL can speed up the internal linking process by at least 40%. It intelligently matches past articles to content being written within seconds, for better quality and more efficient linking.

Simply click the LOYAL logo to quickly match related articles from your publication’s content library and click “copy link address” to embed a hyperlink into your article. LOYAL works agnostically across Google Docs and your website’s CMS so you can optimise your writing wherever you work.

There’s no longer the time-consuming job of scrolling through lengthy content backlogs to find key pieces. View them fast with the click of a button to optimise your current article for the web. 

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 Discover more about LOYAL’s archive tool for content creators here.  

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