Backlinks: Internal vs. External


Backlinks are a topic that you, our dear reader, must be quite tired of hearing about by now. However, good news has arrived in the form of this article, the last (touch wood) article focusing on backlinks. We previously discussed a healthy way to mix up a webmaster’s backlinking methods to create a natural and positive mixture. The idea behind this is to use all the different ways that backlinks can be incorporated, and using them in moderation to ensure that Search Engines don’t flag your website for the overuse of one or another type. In this article we will be discussing the final two parts of the picture regarding backlinks, and delve into the last two types, Internal and External Backlinks.


Backlinks: Quick Summary

Backlinks are hypertext links from one site to another. Search Engines use them as a highly important ranking factor when calculating how relevant a particular website is for a specific search query. These links are seen as one website giving another credibility within that particular keyword. The more backlinks to a website, the better is will fare when it comes to ranking. Although, that is not the entire story, the quality of those backlinking websites, and the quality of the websites that backlink to them and so on, is also considered by Search Engines. So now there are just two types left to discuss, the internal and external backlinks. One last thing to note before we continue, these last two types are broader descriptions, within which fall the rest of the types of backlinks.


Internal Backlinks

What makes these unique is that they are technically backlinks, but that they do not refer to another website. Instead, they refer to the website itself. It would be a completely natural response to think; “What is the point of backlinking to the website itself? That doesn’t make sense!”. Hold on, here comes the explanation. So let’s say you have written an article about gardening, particularly about planting your herbs in pots. You then include a link in that article that redirects to another article you’ve written, about pots. This is very important. Search Engines want to see your website’s users spend time on it. They want to see people engaging with it, instead of just landing on it and then leaving shortly after. Remember the term Bounce-Rate? This is exactly that. In order for your website to be recognised as a reputable source of information, it needs to prove that by showing that it can retain the users’ attention. Its like a number of clothing shops running down the side of a street, each one of them, including yours, is advertising great deals. Google is walking past to see which one is the one worth believing. It would make a compelling case if your shop has the most people spending time inside it, right? So there, Internal Backlinks explained. Yay! Now how do these compare to the External ones?


External Backlinks

As you could probably guess by now, Externals have a different purpose. These have more to do with the web community in a way. The External type are the ones we use between two websites. One website links to another, using a keyword, or set of keywords. Search Engines see this and decide how much this will contribute to the website’s ranking. Using the analogy of the shops again, lets say your shop is the only one selling both clothing and shoes, while the others only sell clothing. If Google had to go into each of these shops and ask about shoes, and each of those shops direct Google to your shop,that would confirm your advertising of deals on Clothes and Shoes. This is the kind of environment Google is looking to foster on the web. It wants to see people, their businesses, and their websites working together in harmony. And it is more than willing to reward such teamwork with good ranking results.



Backlinks are, and will remain important for a long time to come. They are a fantastic and resilient way to measure the inter-connectivity of a community. Understanding them is the tricky part, but once you get the hang of their idiosyncrasies, they can be a wonderful thing to play around with. Use them wisely and they will reward for a long time to come.