Internal Vs. External Vs. Inbound Links: What’s The Difference?


As you explore the world of SEO in greater depth you’ll come across the word “links” quite often – and indeed how important they are. But, there are several different types of links and understanding the difference between each of them is paramount to your long-term success. Read on and we’ll help you distinguish internal, external, and inbound links.

 What are internal links?

Internal links refer to any links that point from one page to another within your website. Contrary to popular belief, internal linking is among one of the most important ranking factors for Google. This is because it not only helps Google crawl and index your website and internal pages with greater speed and efficiency, but because it also provides more value for your users.

Internal linking is all about guiding your website visitors to the information they need (and never knew they needed).

For example, in an FAQ section where you address various commonly asked questions, it can help to link to the relevant services and additional resources on your blog for further depth and understanding.

Internal linking is an excellent way to take the strain off your customer service department by anticipating your website visitors’ needs before they decide to contact you with questions that can easily be answered with intuitive internal linking. 


What are external links?


External links refer to any links that point to other websites outside of your domain. The only time that you should be linking externally is when it adds value to the user experience.


For example, if you write a blog post and include statistics that were found on an external website, you should link to them to not only cite your sources, but to give your readers the opportunity to confirm the authenticity of the information.


Just make sure that you only link to trusted websites that are not in direct competition with you.


What are inbound links?


Inbound links refer to any links that point to your website from external sources.

Using the example above, if you create awesome, share-worthy blog content, it will increase the likelihood of other websites citing you as a resource and pointing back to your website in exchange. These count as “backlinks” which are essentially votes that help Google recognise you as an authority, thus leading to higher rankings for your focus keywords.


Just remember that not all backlinks are created equal. In fact, in some cases a backlink from a website might do you more harm than good so it’s always worth checking your backlink profile regularly and being sure to block any backlinks that come from unsafe or un-reputable sources.


digital marketing agency can help you easily identify unsavoury links while also putting together a backlink / guest blogging strategy.


Conclusion: What’s the difference?


  • Internal links are great for building an intuitive website navigation system within your own website.
  • External links are ideal for confirming the authenticity of your statistics and providing extra value by linking to official and government websites (e.g., to prove that you are licensed and insured as a construction company, etc.).
  • Inbound links (or backlinks) are crucial for building a strong backlink profile thus building your trust and authority in the eyes of Google.

While they are all fundamentally different, it’s important that you recognise the immense value that all three link types can bring to your online business. Utilise them well. 


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