Today I wanted to take the time to talk to you about the ways you can use links to boost your SEO. There are a few different kinds of links that you can add to your page – internal links and external links. We will talk about both, but today I want to focus primarily on internal links.
Internal vs. external links. What’s the difference?
An internal link happens when the person viewing your page clicks on the blue underlined text on your page and it takes them to another page on your website. The key here is that the link keeps the person on your site. An external link is the opposite. It takes the person viewing your page off your website and onto a different site.
For example, if a potential client is reading my blog about anxiety treatment and they click on the word “anxiety,” it takes them to my therapy for anxiety page. That’s an internal link. Or, they were reading a blog about couples therapy and they clicked on the word “Gottman trained” and it took them to the Gottman website. That’s an external link.
How to use links to boost your SEO
Let’s talk about the things you need to do to make the links beneficial in helping you rank higher on Google.
The first thing you want to do is make sure you use good anchor text. Google assumes that your anchor text is the summary of what the page is about. If the anchor text is “feeling stressed” and it links to your Counseling for Anxiety page, then Google would assume that your service page is about feeling stressed. Doing this, it will help you rank better for the words “feeling stressed.” But, if the anchor text says “counseling for anxiety” and it goes to the anxiety service page, it is actually more helpful. Because this anchor text would help you rank better for counseling for anxiety. Which is probably a keyword you’re targeting and what people are searching for in your area. You want your anchor text to use keywords! We often see people use the phrase “click here” as anchor text. But, that really doesn’t help as much because it isn’t using keywords and doesn’t tell Google what your page is about.
Link to your home page
One very important internal link everyone should have on pretty much every page of their website is a link back to the home page. Let’s use my private practice: Aspire Counseling in Columbia, MO as an example. On any page of my website other than my home page, I could say “to begin seeing a therapist at Aspire Counseling you can call us at” and leave our phone number, highlighting Aspire Counseling as my anchor text to the home page. But, I don’t want to do that. Like most practices, I already rank for the name of my practice.
Instead, the text that I want to highlight is going to be something along the lines of “Columbia, MO counseling practice” or “therapy clinic in Columbia, MO.” So, to re-write my example I would say something like “At my Columbia, MO counseling practice, you can receive depression counseling.” The part that would be linked back to my home page would be “Columbia, MO counseling practice.” I chose this text so that what I’m linking contains the keyword “counseling practice” which is something I want to rank for.
Remember, most people rank for the name of their practice so try using other keywords as anchor text.
How the Simplified SEO Consulting team uses anchor texts and internal links:
A part of our Done for You package includes our staff creating internal links to and from the page we are working on. At the bottom of the page, there will be a “Call to Action” section. We will say something like “at my Atlanta area counseling office” and we will highlight that text and make it the anchor text for your home page. We do this on purpose, because that tells Google that your home page is about an Atlanta area counseling office.
Internal links need to open in the same tab or window
One thing that is really important to check is that internal links go to a page on your site and they don’t open in a new window/tab. So, that means that if I am on my page and someone clicks the words “Mid-Missouri practice” it redirects them to the home page. I don’t want it opening up a new window. The reason here is user experience. It would be incredibly annoying if every time you tried to go to another page on the same website it opened up a new tab! The good news is that this is the “default” on most platforms.
In fact, if you look at the bottom of this blog post, you’ll see some examples of how we use internal links even within our own site.
External links need to open in a new tab
We recommend external links open in a new window or tab. This allows someone to visit another site, but they also stay on your site in the previous tab. The hope is that they will then return to your site at some point. There’s a feature on WordPress, SquareSpace, Wix, and Weebly that you can push that says “open link in a new window” or something to that effect. We only enable this feature if we are using an external link and sending them off your site.
We use external links to give your site just a little more credibility with Google. So, if you do Gottman and mention it on your page, you want to have an external link to their website. However, you don’t want to send them away from your page. Therefore, this link needs to open in a new tab or window. This is also important because Google looks at the “bounce rate” and knows when people leave your site.
Current clients: Our SEO specialists would be happy to give you a list of credible external links to use on your pages if you are interested in creating some external links.
Begin optimizing your website with Simplified SEO Consulting
I hope you have learned some useful information about internal and external links. They are a great tool for boosting your SEO. If you are ready to get to the top of Google, we would love to help! To use any of our SEO services, please follow the simple steps below to get started:
- Book a free consultation with Simplified SEO Consulting,
- Speak to one of our SEO specialists to find what service or package is the best fit for your private practice,
- Start ranking better on Google and get more clients!
Other SEO Services offered by Simplified SEO Consulting
Simplified SEO Consulting is proud to offer you a variety of SEO services designed to meet your needs. For busy practice owners who don’t have time to optimize their websites, we offer the popular Done for You SEO Services. With this package, our team of SEO specialists will optimize your page for you. If you are the do-it-yourself type, we can help you as well with our SEO training packages. Our trainings are designed to teach you the skills you need to get your website ranking well. A great place to start is with our “Top of Google” online course! In 2020, we’re excited to begin offering SEO workshops in person as well! At various locations around the country (see the page for upcoming dates/locations), we offer our half day “Moving the SEO Needle” workshop and our 2.5 day “Top of Search Engines” really comprehensive SEO workshop. Contact us with specific questions, or book a free SEO Consultation to decide which service is best for your practice.
About the author:
Jessica Tappana is a therapist, group practice owner & an SEO expert. Jessica is passionate about helping therapists and their ideal clients find one another. She believes quality mental health care can change the world. Her group practice has grown primarily through great SEO. It now has seven clinicians and one virtual assistant while she still sees 7-10 individual therapy clients a week. However, most of her focus has shifted to helping other therapists around the world rank better on Google.