Internal Links Vs. External Links: What’s The Difference?
December 20, 2023
What has been updated from the old blog post:
- A comparison table of internal and external links added.
- Subheads modified.
Summary: While both internal and external links play vital roles in SEO, their functions differ. Internal links guide users and search engines within your website, boosting navigation and distributing authority. External links, pointing to relevant external sources, enhance credibility and visibility. For detailed information, read till the end.
While both internal and external links serve different purposes, they are equally crucial for your website. You must discern their differences and use them for the right strategies, including search engine optimization.
Additional Read: What is SEO
This blog post examines the significant differences between internal and external links, as well as their key advantages and practical applications for enhancing the user experience or increasing the website’s authority.
What Are Internal And External Links?
Internal links connect one web page with another within the same domain/website. These links help users and crawlers navigate a website and establish a hierarchical structure within the site’s content. You can encounter internal links in menus, footers, body text, etc., directing users and bots to related and relevant web pages on the same website.
Also referred to as outbound links, external links are hyperlinks that connect one web page of a website to another on a different domain/website. They direct users to external websites or web pages that provide additional information or resources related to the content. External links can be used to support claims, reference sources, or provide further reading.
Difference between internal and external links
For a quick comparison, refer to the table mentioned below.
|Links within the same website/domain
|Links pointing to another website/domain
|Aid in website navigation
|Refer users to outside sources or references
|Helps search engines understand site structure
|Can boost site authority when from reputable sites
|Controlled by website owner
|Not directly controlled; other site’s content
|Linking to related blog posts on the same site
|Linking to a research paper from another site
|Impact on Metrics
|Influences bounce rate, session duration
|May affect referral traffic and site credibility
Benefits of Internal links and External links in SEO
Internal and external links are both important for search engine optimization, and brands should pay special attention to links because they are one of the most important SEO ranking signals.
Let’s dive in and understand the importance of Internal and External links in SEO –
- Improve Site Navigation – Internal links improve site navigation, enabling users to move between pages to satisfy their queries. Let’s say a user lands on a blog post on “Search Engine Optimization.” You may use internal links here to add relevant posts like “types of SEO,” “Enterprise SEO,” “Off-page SEO,” “SEO Copywriting,” etc.
- Indexing and Crawling – Links guide crawlers to find content on the internet, and internal links enable these crawlers to find and access various pages within your website. Simply put, internal links increase crawl depth and minimize the chances of having an orphan page on the website. This further ensures that all the pages are crawled and indexed, enabling users to find them on search results.
- Page Authority/Link Juice – Internal links pass link juice and authority from high-authority pages to other pages within your site [from hub to spoke/sub-pages]. When you link from a strong page to a weaker page, it can then pass the link juice to the linked page.
Linking to external, authoritative sources enhances the value of the information you provide. For instance, if you are quoting a fact, study, or statistic, adding a link to the attributing site gives you credibility, not just in the eyes of the users but also in the eyes of search engines. The same link acts as a backlink for the linked website, and this, in turn, increases its credibility in the eyes of search engines.
Since links are what make the web and web crawlers follow them to find content, external links demonstrate that you’re part of the web and not just a dead end. Also, since links are one of the most important SEO ranking signals, it is pertinent to focus on these links.
Best Practices For Internal And External Linking
By adhering to these best practices, you can enhance the authority and credibility of your content, improve user experience, and ensure that your internal and external links remain valuable and relevant over time.
- Use the Correct Anchor Text – Choose an anchor text that correctly demonstrates the information users and crawlers will find when they are directed to another web page. This maintains relevance because users and bots follow with intent.
- Maintain a Balanced Link Structure – Steer clear of stuffing too many links onto one page or too many links in one short paragraph. You must also ensure that you do not include two different internal links on the same anchor text.
- Prioritize Contextual Relevance – Make sure the links are contextually relevant to the surrounding discussion and benefit the reader from clicking on them. Do not include random or unrelated links that can divert users or obscure the purpose of the content.
- Link to Authoritative Sources – Choose reliable, trustworthy websites relevant to your content when including links to external sources.
- Use Relevant Anchor Text – For your external links, pick contextually relevant anchor texts. This helps users and bots to understand the context of the external link.
- Open in a New Tab (If Possible) – External links direct users to a different website, so you should set the link to open in a new tab or window. By ensuring that your website is always available, you lower the chances of users getting lost or leaving your site altogether.
- Monitor Link Quality – Review and update the quality and relevance of the external websites you link to your content. To preserve the credibility and value of your information, try to update or eliminate any links that are no longer relevant or trustworthy.
- Follow the Right Link Attributes – You must note that external links are of multiple types, including dofollow links, nofollow links, sponsored links, etc. Thus, you must use the right link attribute for the external links you have added to your content.
Additional Read: Types of Backlinks You Need To Know
Link-Building – An Important SEO Strategy
This concludes everything you need to know about internal and external links, including what best practices you must follow to make them work. By now, you have learned that while external links contribute to authority, credibility, visibility, and user experience, internal links aid in website structure, indexing, authority distribution, etc.
Please remember that internal and external links are crucial to devising an effective SEO strategy. You need expert guidance to carry out link-building activities effectively.
Techmagnate is a premium SEO agency in Delhi. If you’d like to build such an effective strategy, contact Techmagnate for SEO services.