how to use links

Do you know how to use links for their worth? Are you wondering how to make the most of your internal and external link opportunities? My friend, Nikola Roza, a search engine optimization (SEO) expert provides insight on the subject.

Backlinks are search engine result pages’ (SERP’s) gold dust, (I’m talking about both external and internal links); but only if you know how to handle them correctly.

That is when your site will see the end of the tunnel, and many of your competitors will see you firmly perched on top of Google SERP’s for the critical and most lucrative keywords. Alas, it will be too late for them to catch up to you.

And what about you?

Oh, nothing special. You will be happy and smiling because of a job well done. Thus, do you want to learn how to use links and upgrade your site’s link building strategies? In this article, you will discover the link and connect techniques; how to use links for their true worth.

The Link and Connect Technique: How to Use Links Correctly (Internal & External Links)

Related Post: 2 Reasons Not to Outsource Link Building to SEO Companies

Let’s go!

1: Give Backlinks to Other Folks Liberally

When you offer backlinks to others, your link serves as a bridge that connects you with the other webmasters. Why? Because all folks love getting praised. Kind words open many a door, and in our blogging industry, kind (followed) links open doors to new rankings for the said webmasters.

And sometimes it also sends referral traffic, which they’re bound to notice. Here, I have several links pointing to me from enstinemuki.com, and you can see I have trickles of traffic coming my way, month after month.

how to use links

It’s a minimal number for sure, but it matters a lot. Plus, the principle still applies. I noticed the referral traffic, and the blogger you linked to will also see the link. They’re bound to return the favor in the future when you least expect it.

However, the links you sent out to them is also an excellent opening for you to get in touch with them. Or better still, connect with them.

Here’s my personal template you can borrow for reaching out to those you linked to:

“Hey “their name,”

My name is “your name” and I blog at “your site”

This is a quick email just to let you know I linked to you from my latest (post link).

The anchor text is “anchor text” and I hope you can check it out if you have a minute to spare.

Let me know what you think, and have a pleasant day.

“Your name”

It works for me every time.

Backlinks are search engine result pages' (SERP's) gold dust Click To Tweet

Pro tips

  1. Link to other blogs using relevant anchor text – “Relevance” means using keywords they’re desperate to rank for on search engine. That should put a smile on their faces, and your name etched in their brain.
  2. Don’t use keywords if they’re your direct competition – If you’re both vying to rank for the same keywords, you can still link to them. It’s a gesture of grace and confidence in your ability to rank. But don’t use relevant keywords because you’re just making it harder for yourself in the future.

2: Link to Your Future Guest Post Targets

This one is simple.

When you spot a site that offers guest posting opportunities, the first thing you should do is take a deep breath and NOT send them a pitch right away.

Don’t be rash!

You will get rejected if the blogger has no clue who you are. Remember, it’s their blog, their online empire. So you need to be strategic about it. Here are a few things you can start doing to get their attention:

  • Wine them (commenting)
  • dine them (social sharing)
  • link to them and let them know about it

Double up on the process for about a month, and then ask for something more☺. It’s an arduous process for sure, but you only have to do it once. Once you develop a relationship with the blogger, next time, it will be a piece of cake to get your guest post published.

There’s another reason why you should link to them. Your link increases the domain authority of your host, so in the future, after you’ve guest posted on their site, your content and links will live on a stronger domain.

However, though, it is just one link, with a small effect for your blog, but it’s easy, free, and completely passive.

Related Post: How to Make Google Index Your Backlinks Faster In 7 Easy Steps

How about an example?

Recently I contributed to Infobunny by Dexter Roona. I know that he has a strict guest post policy and that he doesn’t accept just anybody. So I made sure to comment and share his blog posts months before regularly. I also linked to him once.

how to use links

Thanks to that, I got a link, and what’s more, Dexter has become one of my blogging friends who now regularly shares my stuff.

When you offer backlinks to others, your link serves as a bridge that connects you with the other webmasters. Click To Tweet

3: Don’t Have Too Many Links on The Page

Does having too many external links on a single page correlate which the best practices of how to use links? No!

Each page has its share of Page Rank, and PR is finite. And it flows through all links, internal and external. So if you have a million internal links on a page, barring horrible use experience (UX), that is OK, because the equity flows back into your site; making it stronger in the SERPs.

But it’s a different story with external links. Too many outbound links on a page leak out way too much page rank (PR) juices and make it harder for that web-page to rank. I know, this it all sounds like SEO mumbo jumbo. Thus, here is another example.

Enstine Muki recently invited fellow bloggers to participate in his monster “best web hosting” roundup.

The Link and Connect Technique: How to Use Links for Their True Worth

I say monster because 138 bloggers responded, including Moss and me. That page is now massive quality because it contains the wisdom of 138 bloggers, which is probably unique on the web.

But it also has one gaping weakness. It hosts way too many outbound links that leak authority away from that page.

The Link and Connect Technique: How to Use Links for Their True Worth

In fact, I used this tool to count the number of links on the page.

Too many outbound links on a page leak out way too much page rank (PR) juices and make it harder for that web-page to rank. Click To Tweet

The Link and Connect Technique: How to Use Links for Their True Worth

It is an uphill battle trying to rank a page like that.

Recommended: 12 Reasons Why Your Website Has High Bounce Rate

What is the solution to the problem?

How can you use links to tackle the issue? Well, it doesn’t make sense for Enstine to remove those links since they lead to the sites of the contributing bloggers. So what he needs to do is get backlinks for that page. Yes, that’s simple enough, but it’s not easy.

4: Don’t Use The No-follow Tag on Links

Just like linking out to other sites is a sign of respect and good will, so is linking to a website with a no-followed link a sign of disrespect, in my opinion. Because what you’re doing is, you’re using the hard work of others without giving them anything back for their effort.

It is like you’re saying:

“Thank you for your research on X. I know it was a lot of hard work.

I made ample use of it in my blog post, so I linked to you for reference.

Oh, and by the way, the link is no-followed because I don’t want to help you rank better.

God forbid I should do that.

Thanks and keep up the awesome work:)

I might need it in the future…”

I don’t know about you, but I’d be deeply insulted. Some say any link is better than nothing. That’s true. But I want followed links because followed links help my site grow. The simple truth is that if everyone started no-following outbound links, my site would disappear in a heartbeat, and so would yours.

On a side note: should you add no-follow links to off-topic pages? And should you disavow such links when you get them?

The answer to the first question is NO!

Though relevant outbound links can help with your rankings, off-topic links won’t hurt you in any way and also the bloggers you’re mentioning deserves the connection; that is if you’re going to link to them at all.

On the other hand, the answer to the second question is also a big NO.

And here’s why. Because off-topic backlinks help you rank better on search. The off-topic link that is editorially placed still passes PR on to your site. True, they’re not as strong as relevant links  (because on-topic/related links also give on something called “Topical Rank”)

That is why you often hear that you should focus on getting relevant links because they improve your rank the most. But occasional off-topic backlinks can be your secret weapon to ranking higher. That is because these links are hard to replicate by your direct competitors.

But enough reading; listen to what Rand Fishkin has to say about off-topic links.

Note: Rand talks about it at 9:50s mark

5: Create Link Hubs on Other Websites

What are links hubs?

Link hubs are when you guest post on one site several times, and then you make one of your guests posts a center that hosts internal links to your other guest posts. It means that when you link to that one post, it is as if you’re linking to all other guest posts. Thus, helping to keep them fresh and help them rank better.

If this sounds convoluted, it isn’t. Let me explain:

Related Post: How to Find Linkable Assets (Types of Linkable Assets)

Step #1: Publish several (at least four) guest posts on another site

This step is going to take time because you need to make friends with the blogger and get on their radar as someone worth having on their blog. And then you also need to provide good value, etc.

It will take time, but the bottom line is that you should have four plus guest posts on the target site.

how to use links

Should you add no-follow links to off-topic pages? And should you disavow such links when you get them? Click To Tweet

Step #2: Interlink those guest posts

Here is a pattern you should follow:

  • When you publish your second guest post, make sure you link to the first
  • After you publish your third post, link to second and first
  • When you release the fourth post, connect it to the third, second, and first
  • Bonus – go back and link the first three posts to the fourth and between each other.

This step will get the terrific juice and flowing and then linking to one will be like connecting to all others (to a lesser degree of course).

Step #3: Send backlinks to the 4th guest post

link to guest post

Why does this work?

It works for the following reasons:

#1- Internal links spread PR

Page Rank flows through internal links, so if I document a link to my 4th guest post, it will send new juice to it. But since that page hosts links to another three guest posts, they too will get some of that value.

It means that they will rank higher on Google. Also, don’t forget that each guest post has a link to your site. So those will also become a tiny amount that will strengthen your pages, with further benefits your website.

#2- Internal links Pass Freshness

Similar to PR, freshness passes through internal links and makes them more relevant in the eyes of Google. So they rank higher and are more durable in the SERP’s.

The Link and Connect Technique: How to Use Links for Their True Worth

If your guest posts are excellent, people will find them and create more link juices. Click To Tweet
#3 Potential compounding effect

If your guest posts are excellent, people will find them and will find value in them. It means future links because folks tend to link to stuff they like. And all these activities will ultimately boost your SEO.

The best part is that it is all passive, so you don’t have to think about it or do anything else, except that you need to set up your link hub of course☺.

Bonus – What does the perfect link looks like?

The perfect link is:

  1. Do-follow
  2. On a relevant blog,
  3. On a hyper-relevant page
  4. Has an ideal anchor text
  5. Has co-occurrences
  6. Stays high in the site architecture
  7. The page has well enough sites linking to it

Let me explain with a good example.

Some time ago, I contributed to Janice Wald’s blog, Mostly Blogging. From her page, I got an excellent link to my Wealthy Affiliate Guide. That guide is my target page to rank, and I spent more than 300h perfecting that post. Hence, that link helps me a lot. It’s wonderful and perfect; that is what I thought back then.

And now?

Now I know better. It is still a great link, but not perfect, and here’s why.

a) Is it to followed link?

Yes, it is. And the page is indexed in Google.

All good here☺.

no followlink

b) Is it on a relevant blog?

Yes, my blog is about SEO and internet marketing. Mostly Blogging is also about those topics.

Again, all good here.

c) Is the link hosted on a hyper-relevant page?

No:)

My Wealthy Affiliate Review is about Wealthy Affiliate, while her blog post is about best lifestyle blog post ideas. These are two different topics, and that link is only semi-relevant. In other words, it does give me Page Rank, but I get no relevant points.

d) Does the page has good anchor text?

Oh yeah.

This anchor text covers all main keywords I’m targeting, and it’s still not over-optimized.

Anchor text

e) Are there, co-occurrences?

Co-occurrences are relevant words around the link. They help Google determine the content under the link. In my case, I made sure there was my main keyword nested right before the link.

keywords around text

f) Is the link high in site architecture?

No?

Janice publishes quite often, and that post quickly departed from her home page (the most active page on her site). Oh well, one can’t have it all.

g) Does the page has links that point to it?

As you may already know, more links = stronger backlinks.

So I’m happy to say that Janice has built quite a few links to her page. They help her the most, but they aid me too. My desired ranking is within grasp.

Co-occurrences are relevant words around the link. They help Google determine the content under the link. Click To Tweet

links make pages stronger

Wrapping Up

Hard work, patience, and creative SEO are what will get you blogging successes. And Smart SEO is what will give you the edge you need to permanently edge out your competitors in the SERPs, for your most important keywords.

And links are crucial here. The tricks I mentioned above are all going to help you. But the key is to learn them once, master the tips for good, and bake them into your writing process, so as not to waste valuable time.

However, the truth is, for optimal SEO results, you want to be getting new links first, and not fiddle with the ones you already have. But for superb SEO, you want new links and every way you can to turn your existing links into powerhouses.

That is possible, and you can do it. You can do it, and in such a way that you don’t lose time and you get a compounding SEO effect over time.

This article showed you how.

Leave me a comment below:)


Nikola Roza

Nikola Roza

Hi, I’m Nikola Roza. I like nothing more than to blog about SEO. Seriously, I need to get out more☺Ever since I learned what SEO is, I’ve buried my nose in blog posts about the newest and most significant, and oldest, and tested SEO techniques. If you want to up your SEO game, visit my site. You won’t be disappointed. Nikola Roza

17 Comments

Avatar

Mari Alonso · June 18, 2019 at 9:51 pm

Hi Moss. This is awesome. Why? Because I’ve read several posts on backlinks and still a little lost. I didn’t even know about compounding linking. This article really details so much about backlinks and now I feel a little more secure what they are and how IMPORTANT they are. Thanks for sharing. I plan to print and re-read all again. Yeah, I’m so new..lol

    Avatar

    Moss Clement · June 19, 2019 at 8:26 am

    Hi Mari,

    Nikola did an excellent job detailing the values of link building; how to create and use links correctly. I learned a few tricks as well. However, he will respond to your comments later. Thank you for stopping by and contributing to the discussion.

    Avatar

    Nikola Roza · June 19, 2019 at 6:38 pm

    Hi Mari,
    you’re new so at the start, you should take it slow. SEO can be overwhelming at times. Start slow with link building, build a few links, and then return to this post to learn how to boos them a bit.
    It’ll be worth it for you long term

Avatar

Ryan K Biddulph · June 19, 2019 at 12:39 am

Interesting Nikola! Fabulous post that taught me a thing or 2 about link building, and how to use links. I had no clue linking out freely could affect SEO. Good to know.

    Avatar

    Moss Clement · June 19, 2019 at 8:22 am

    Hey Ryan,

    External links are valuable assets for page rank, but the magnitude of outbound links can negatively or positively impact your rankings. Nikola’s post is timely since many are not familiar with the processes.
    Thank you for coming and commenting.

    Avatar

    Nikola Roza · June 19, 2019 at 6:40 pm

    Now you know Ryan:)
    SEO compounds over time as we do a myriad of things that belong to the SEO domain.
    Link outreach is one of them.

Avatar

Arfa Nazeer · June 19, 2019 at 6:37 am

Hi Nikola,

That’s such a great post! To be honest, I never realised the power of external linking that much. But, after reading this post on link building, I need to really pay attention to external links. Thanks for sharing so many different ways to add links, and how much linking is worth of!

I’m also impressed with all the examples, and templates you’ve provided. Bookmarked this post too!

Great work.

Arfa

    Avatar

    Moss Clement · June 19, 2019 at 8:17 am

    Hi Arfa,
    You’re not alone on this, as many bloggers do not realize the value of external links in terms of SEO juices. Nikola did a great job in putting this article together.
    Thank you so much for coming by and contributing to the discussion.

    Avatar

    Nikola Roza · June 19, 2019 at 6:47 pm

    Hi Arfa,
    thanks for complimenting my work. I’m a perfectionist so it bodes well with me when someone tells me how awesome, amazing and super incredible my writing is:)
    All joking aside, thanks for stopping by and I’m glad you learned something new.
    Link building is my favorite part of SEO….

Avatar

Janice Wald · June 20, 2019 at 4:21 am

Hi Nikola,
I am concerned about what you wrote. You said too many outbound links are bad. As you mentioned, an extreme amount of outbound links can be found in expert interviews.
I’ve always strived for MANY experts for branding purposes– it gives me credibility and helps me beat the competition with fewer tips.
Are you saying I should keep the experts to a minimum so as to limit the outbound links? Is there a ratio of word count to outbound link number? For example, I think my last expert interview was 7,000 words with 50 outbound links. Is that fine or still too many? Thanks for answering my question.
Thanks for giving my blog a mention in your article. I appreciate it!
Janice

    Avatar

    Moss Clement · June 26, 2019 at 2:04 pm

    Hi Janice,

    Your question is vital, and I appreciate it because many others are dealing with similar queries. In my opinion, I would say 50 external links are okay for a 7,00-word article since 1,000 to 1,500 word should have a max of eight and a minimum three outbound links. However, there are contradictory claims as to the ration of external links on a post, depending on the expert you choose to listen to. Some experts say 6, others, 7, and 8 for a 1,000-word blog post. Nonetheless, I would refer Nikola to provide the answers.
    Thank you so much for stopping by contribute to the conversation.

    Avatar

    Nikola Roza · June 27, 2019 at 6:34 pm

    Hi Janice,
    I wouldn’t worry about it. If a post requires 50 links, then so be it. It won’t stop you from ranking high in the SERPS.

    Especially since 50 experts means lots of sharing and some of them will link to your post too.
    So don’t worry about those kind of posts.

    As for external linking in normal posts, if you see a link that leads out of your site but is useless to the actual visitor reading it- remove it.
    And then count it as a very small very tiny, but real SEO win.

    Small things like that together compound over time to give you the rankings you deserve.

    Thanks for the question Janice, a great one.

Avatar

James McAllister · June 20, 2019 at 1:08 pm

Hey Nikola and Moss!

Great stuff here, and very timely because I’m in the process of reevaluating my SEO strategy for my baby product company.

I really like the idea of utilizing linking out as part of a networking strategy. I’ve never been particularly stingy with links and have noticed that as you point out, they tend to be reciprocated over time. Plus, providing value upfront like this strengthens the relationship so much that future opportunities to work together become easier to explore later down the line.

Admittedly, I’ve never focused too heavily on SEO in the past and haven’t really ever approached networking with the end-goal of getting a link. Still, this is a natural benefit to forming connections with others who put out relevant, valuable content as well.

Which, as we know is one of the best ways to get natural links in the first place.

This article has given me a lot to think about and will shift the way I approach guest blogging too.

Thank you both!
– James McAllister

    Avatar

    Moss Clement · June 26, 2019 at 1:52 pm

    Hi James,

    You’re not alone on this. After reading Nikola’s completed draft, I found some exciting pointers and tips and began to calculate my techniques to see how I can improve on it. However, I like that you mentioned that links should be natural and networking should no be on the bases on getting a link back to your site at the end of the day. Thank you for coming by and contributing to the discussion.

    Avatar

    Nikola Roza · June 27, 2019 at 6:36 pm

    Hi James,
    the real value of linking out liberally is forming and strengthening the bonds between us fellow blogger. Because we all want our blogs to be successful.
    Link are just a by product of those excellent relationships happening over time.

Avatar

Sajid Akhter · June 24, 2019 at 12:57 pm

Hi Moss,

This is a wonderful post. Link building helps a lot in terms of traffic and visibility. Your post is very informative and beneficial.

Thanks for sharing, have a good day.

    Avatar

    Moss Clement · June 25, 2019 at 3:25 am

    Hi Sajid,

    Nikola Roza wrote the post. Nevertheless, he did a fantastic job.
    Thank you so much for coming by and commenting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: