Written by Melanie Phung, New Media Director, PBS Interactive
Links are one of the most important ranking factors for SEO, and it's no longer enough just to publish outstanding content and wait for people to link to you.
To rank well for competitive (high-volume) queries and pull in qualified traffic, you will also need to work at getting inbound links to your site and to make those links count.
Unfortunately, when most people think about "link building", they're probably thinking of the kinds of cold pitches and spam that they get in their own inboxes. "Dear sir or madam, I'm interested in a mutually beneficial link exchange. Please place a link to [spammy URL] on your PR6 homepage with the text "[spammy anchor text]." When you have placed the link on your site, we will link back to your site from [our page 'o spam links]."
You are right to send those straight to the trash! That approach to link-building (even if you don't initiate it), is going to do you more harm than good.
In this 5-part series, we're going to cover basic, often-overlooked link opportunities every local PBS station site should be taking advantage of.
1. Maximize Internal Links
2. Make Full Use of Related Links in your COVE portal
3. Promote Embeddable Videos
4. Fix Your 404s
5. Leverage Brand Mentions
Below we start with our first tip, but please check back over the next couple of weeks for the next four "must-do" tips for stations.
Part 1: Maximize Internal Links
We've mentioned internal cross-linking in previous SEO webinars and it's part of the SEO checklist for publishing new pages. We can't stress enough that: 1) links are critical for SEO; 2) there is no easier opportunity to create highly relevant, anchor-text-rich links than editing your very own pages.
Any time you mention a proper noun, specific concept, event, or item, about which you have more content on another page, turn the relevant keyword phrase into a link that points to the main page for that keyword. (The "main page", in this context, doesn't have to be a "topic" or index page; it can just be whatever page has the best chance of ranking for that search term.)
How to do it:
A. When trying to promote a specific page
1. Pick a page about a specific keyword (this should be your best page for that keyword phrase)
2. Search your site for other mentions of that keyword or topic
3. Fire up your CMS's page editor and turn those phrases into links that point to the page you picked in step 1.
Don't dilute the link value by pointing at lots of different pages about that keyword phrase; try to point all the links about one subject to a single page in order to get that one page to rank (but it is okay to vary the anchor text up a little, as long as each phrase contains the relevant keywords).
B. As you're creating new pages:
If you make internal linking part of your everyday publishing workflow, it'll save you a lot of effort in the long run.
Before you publish a new page of content, scan the text for keyword phrases that you could turn into links to point to other pages on your site.
(If you have questions about what makes for a good keyword phrase to target, please see the previous post in the Producer Exchange on keyword research.)
Please check back later this week for the next tip in our linkbuilding series.