What are Internal & External links?
Internal Links are hyperlinks that point at (target) the same domain as the domain that the link exists on (source). In layman's terms, an internal link is one that points to another page on the same website.
External Links are hyperlinks that point at (target) any domain other than the domain the link exists on (source).In layman's terms, if you link to another website, the link is considered an external, outbound link.
In order to build a stronger linking structure it is important to understand what the different types of links there are and their characteristics.
You should ask questions like what’s the difference between an on-page link that’s part of your page content and a navigation menu link? Which one is more valuable? What if a page has two in-content links of which one is an image and the other is text? How do they differ? We’ve addressed some the most important questions related to how hyperlinks affect SEO below:
Q. Do some on-page links matter more than others?
1. Content links tend to matter more
A link in your page content has more value than that in the navigation because a navigation link is usually persistent site-wide, whereas unique links on individual pages are more specific to what a user is currently consuming.
2. Links in footers often get devalued
A link in the footer may not carry much weight internally if you don’t have the same link in primary navigation, or in the content of your page. Footer links like Privacy Policies & Terms & Conditions are still important, but not from an SEO point of view as much as educating users about how they interact and browse the site.
3. Most visible links may get more weight
It seems that if you have very small fonts,or very tiny links which are neither as accessiblenor obvious to your visitors, they might also not carry as much weight in Google's rankings. Usability and accessibility play a key role in Google determining where your site ranks in display results.
4. On pages with multiple links to the same URL
Consider two pages ’A’ & ‘B’. If there are two links on a page ‘A’ pointing to the same page ‘B’, then page ‘B’ will only inherit the value of the anchor text from the first link on page ‘A’, not both of them. This is true for both external & internal links.
Q. Are external links affected by link location/type?
In-content links are more valuable than footers or navigation links
Generally, external links in the content area are more valuable than external links in the footer or navigation.
Q. Is there any difference between external links that open in a new tab or in a new window versus links that open in the same tab or same window?
As of this posting Google is believed to be indifferent towards how external links are opened, but bear in mind Google stresses User Experience as a big influencer of SEO rankings.
Consider this before deciding what to opt for:
Same Tab Pros
- Cleaner browsing experience for users
- Better internal navigation if you ever want to click the back button to see the previous page (rather than looking for the old tab you had open)
Same Tab Cons
- For users who don't know about [right click > open link in new tab], if they clicked an internal link which opened in the same tab, they would lose their place/be directed away from the current page
New Tab Pros
- Allows readers to open contextual resources without losing their place in the page they are reading
- Useful if you want to open something but not read it right away
New Tab Cons
- If a user opens a page in a new tab, that leaves the first tab open. After 30 minutes,the user could go back to see what the tab was&take new actions and trigger a new session but in theory it was the same session
Q. Do text links or image links with alt tags carry more weight?
Q. Multiple links from the same page- only the first anchor counts
Just like with internal links, only the first anchor text is counted. Suppose a website ‘A’ has two links from website ‘B’, then only the top one that Google first sees in the HTML of site’B’ is considered rather than where the links are organized in the site ‘B’ as it is rendered visually.