There are two primary methods used in SEO and link building to produce rankings for competitive keywords using internal and external links. Internal links are links occurring from one page in a website to another “typically from the body area” contextually using keyword-rich text. However, links within primary and secondary navigation also carry weight for rankings, but not as much due to block segment filters that search engines use to minimize duplicity in common areas such as the header or sidebar.
External links are inbound links from other websites that either link to (a) the homepage or (b) to other pages deeper than the home page. If it is not the homepage, they are known as deep links.
Both types of links are crucial to communicate topic preference for specific pages that are optimized for specific keywords. For example, if Landing Page A has 1000 internal links (from 10 variations of anchor text) 100 links per keyword from 100 internal pages and Landing Page A also has 100 inbound links (known as external links) from other websites, that page will rank higher than a page with less internal or external links.
Also, depending on the keywords used within the anchor text for both the internal and external links will produce a relationship of relevance for that page with those keywords. The anchor text (words in the link) are responsible for conveying what keywords THAT PAGE or THE PAGE IT LINKS TO will rank for after the synergy occurs; when those pages get indexed in search engines and those links pass value and authoritative ranking factor.
One of the more popular misconceptions about SEO and link building is that internal links are NOT as important as backlinks (otherwise known as inbound or external links) from other websites to produce search engine ranking factor.
Yes, it is true that citation, occurrence and peer review “like a democratic process of election” does involve gaining valuable and trusted links from other sources to validate the degree of authority your website has.
For example, if a trusted website links to you, your website gains more trust. As a result, that trust allows you to rank higher for keywords and key phrases your website is optimized for. Internal linking on the contrary, allows you to communicate how important a page is to both search engines and human visitors by how available it is “through links” as well as for “what keywords” it is intended to rank for.
Rankings are produced through (1) the synergy of occurrence “having enough content“ that incorporate the keywords, modifiers and variations (2) a sufficient amount of internal links to specific pages to reinforce continuity and relevance and (3) inbound /external links from other relevant pages that already (a) rank for some variation of the keyword or (b) have enough authority to transfer to your website so that it can provide its own ranking factor.
When it comes to producing a competitive ranking for SEO, every link makes a difference. The video on internal linking above draws attention to the importance of leveraging content through using Wikipedia, (one of the modern marvels of SEO) to illustrate how they produce the needed synergy of internal and external links to cross the tipping point and produce dominant search engine rankings (regardless of how competitive they are).
If you can apply the same fundamentals within your own website and couple internal linking with relevant naming conventions, a logical site architecture and deep links, acquiring a competitive keyword is only a matter of time that involves nurturing the process until it yields the desired results.
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