woman on laprop working on blog and naming links

There are lots of elements that make up good SEO, and while some of them might seem minor, they're not. The SEO-tip for today, is naming links, which are either:

  • The outbound links that take your visitors to other websites, or
  • The internal links that take people to other pages within your website.

We've all seen links on websites that say "To learn more, click here."

When we see that, we know the person writing that content isn't an SEO professional. How can we tell? Because naming a link  "click here" is a rookie mistake. Naming links correctly has been "a thing" for more than 10 years. And when we say "a thing," we mean "a Google thing."

Why Google says naming links is important.

For links to be SEO-friendly, the words used in the link need to indicate exactly what the page, or website, you're linking to, is about. Let's say an outbound link is going to take your visitor to a page about trends and issues in home building, specifically, outdoor living.

Instead of writing the sentence and link below:

"Outdoor living has become more popular in recent years. To see examples of awesome outdoor kitchens and pergolas, click here."

...you should write:

"Outdoor living has become more popular in recent years. See examples of awesome outdoor kitchens and pergolas here.

The reason for that very minor difference is: Google wants to connect the words in the link, to either the website, or other page in your site. And Google's algorithms know if the words in the link are the same as the page they're taking someone.

Why is it such a big deal? Because people try to cheat.

The act of "teasing" someone with an interesting (ie: misleading) headline/link, which takes them somewhere they're not expecting, wastes that person's time.  And could, potentially, piss someone off if that link went to, say, a porn site. If Google returned results that take people to websites they don't really want to go to, people will eventually stop using Google. That's why it's in their best interest to make sure what links "say," are where they  go.

People have been trying to cheat Google ever since Google has been around. Or at least shortly after everyone realized how important Google was. Google started in 1998,  and their search results really became significant in 2005 when personalized search results became the thing.

Links designed attract attention, and entice someone to click it, is all about trying to improve that  website's position on the search engine results page (or "SERPS" to us SEO-nerds). Because the more visitors there are to a website, the better ranking Google gives it.

Bottom line is: If you cheat with your SEO, you will get caught, and Google will penalize your website.

frustrated man at laptop because of naming links issue

Outbound links don't have to use keywords.

For those who try to pack keywords into every nook and cranny of a page, this is not the place to do it. As a matter of fact, using too many keywords on a page can get you in trouble. Keyword stuffing can also hurt the credibility of your website from Google's perspective.

Let's just say you can have too much of a good thing. There are different ways to stuff keywords into your site, but when you do, you:

  • Make your content look odd to your visitor. Having too many of the same keywords doesn't make your content read naturally, and
  • Raises red flags to Google and other search engines, because they know what you're doing: trying to cheat their algorithms.

Just remember: Google knows everything. And probably more than we even realize.