What’s good for the user is good for Google. The best SEOs take this truth to heart and use it as a guiding principle for everything they do. Fortunately, implementing link packs is a winning SEO tactic that not only helps both your content and technical SEO, but if done correctly can be good, if not great, for both your content and your SEO technique. ‘user and for Googlebot.
Read on to find out exactly what link packs are, why they’re important for internal linking, and how good link packs help user, Google, conversion, and more.
What are link packs?
Link packs are a group of internal links that usually appear towards the bottom of the page. If done correctly, each link sends the user and the Googlebot to pages similar to the one the user is on. As such, it helps the user find relevant and relevant content on your site. Linkpacks have grown in popularity over the years because they provide terrific internal linking.
What is an internal link?
An internal link is a link on your website that points to another page on the same website. These are hyperlinks – usually blue, clickable, or tapable text – that keep the user and Googlebot on your website. The HTML code for an internal link usually looks like this:
When implemented correctly, the keyword text (or anchor text) provides a one-sentence map or indication of where that user is going if they click the hyperlink.
Why internal links are important to Googlebot
Internal links are important to both Googlebot and users. For Googlebot, they help the search engine find new or updated pages on your site. Googlebot cannot find any pages or URLs on your site unless you add a link to it. Google could also explore your XML sitemap if you have one. Google uses both internal and external links (links from other websites) as part of its ranking algorithm. The more links a URL has from reputable sites, the more SEO juice it gets. This should help it rank higher for related terms. As you can see, internal links play a key role in your technical SEO.
Why internal links are important to users
An internal link is also vital for users as it helps them navigate your site. This not only helps them move down your sales funnel, but it also helps them find related content easily. For example, in the paragraph above, you see the phrase “XML sitemap” underlined. If you click / tap on this phrase, you are taken to an article on XML sitemaps. This is an internal link that provides value for a user who wants to learn more about XML sitemaps, but also tells Google that Built In has an XML sitemaps page.
How to create effective link packs for Googlebot
Although link packs are a collection of internal links, you can’t just throw old links on a page. To create a valuable and effective link pack for Google, there are some Good SEO practices you should follow.
4 rules for creating SEO link packs for Googlebot
- Use the “a href” formatting.
- Provide good anchor text.
- Link only to indexed or crawlable pages.
Second, use the hyperlink formatting you saw above. Internal links should be “a hrefs” and be easily identified as hyperlinks, regardless of the device a user or bot is on.
Then use the correct anchor text for each link. Remember that the anchor text is made up of the actual words that are related. The anchor text should provide some indication of where the user and Googlebot are going if they head to that internal link. Additionally, Google uses this anchor text as a potential keyword to rank this page which is essential for content referencing. By creating a “content SEO” hyperlink, I just told Google that when someone searches for “content SEO” they should consider ranking the URL I just linked.
Finally, do not add links in a linkpack that directs Google to an unindexed or blocked URL. You don’t want to waste Google’s time, so never add an internal link anywhere on your site if you’re preventing Google from crawling that URL in the first place (via robots.txt) or if you tell Google not to index this page.
How to create effective link packs for users
Fortunately, all of the tips above help users as well, which is great considering what is good for the user is good for Google. However, there are other best practices you can implement when building effective link packs for users.
4 tips for designing SEO link packs that users will love
- Link to associated pages.
- Use headers.
- Make the design work.
- Make hyperlinks obvious.
First of all, only provide links to related pages. For example, if the user is on an SEO page, there shouldn’t be an internal link pointing to an employee engagement page. The two subjects have nothing to do with each other, and therefore, they should not be related.
Then provide a good header for the linkpack. Don’t just throw a bunch of links anywhere on the page. Present it with a strong header that tells the user what is shown below.
Also make sure that the design blends in well with the rest of the page. The linkpack should be natural to the page and fit the rest of the design. When describing the task to your designer, give him the Cliffs Notes of all of the above so that he fully understands why he is adding it to the design. This in turn will help them find the best way to view it without compromising the overall integrity of the page.
Finally, make it clear that link packs contain hyperlinks. The user should easily see that if they tap on the anchor text, they will be redirected to a new URL.
Examples of link packs
It’s time to see what big link packs look like so you can bring some examples to the table when you present it to other stakeholders in the company.
The auto matchmaker took the idea of link packs to the next level. They started small and have since created one of the most engaging and user-friendly link packs I’ve ever seen. As you can see at the bottom of their Ford F-150 for sale page, they added a five section linkpack with all the links related to a Ford F-150. In addition to headers, they provide ancillary content that a user can see before tapping on a link. It also helps a bot rank that url.
Another great example of an effective linkpack can be found on Built In’s own local sites. As you all know, a key value proposition for Built In is connecting companies with top tech talent. Therefore, the job site is a key section for every user. At Built In Chicago Job Board, again at the bottom there is a wonderful linkpack that helps Google and users get to the most important job pages on the site. The linkpack has “a hrefs” pointing to jobs in different categories, subcategories, and locations. As you can see, even if you want to display more than 100 links in a linkpack, that doesn’t mean it can’t be visually appealing.
The bank rate
Linkpacks are used across industries, and the mortgage industry is no exception. As you can imagine, most mortgage websites want you to see the current mortgage rates or the rates in your area. These are low funnel pages, and if a user accesses them, they are more likely to submit a lead for that business. Enter link packs.
At the bottom of their 30-year mortgage rates page, Bankrate offers two link packs: one for other types of mortgages and one for state mortgage rates. These link packs aren’t as visually appealing as our first two examples, but they get the job done.
Competitors tend to write about similar topics, and they also use similar tactics. The Guaranteed Rate, another key player in the mortgage industry, uses links to help Google and users find related pages. As you can see from their “GO Loans by State” page, they added two link packs to other VA loans pages: one for cities in the same state (California) and one for other states. This helps the user find specific VA loan requirements in neighboring cities or states if they have accidentally landed on the wrong page.
Link packs, when properly implemented, are good for the user and good for Google. They help users find related pages and help Google find other important pages for them to crawl. It’s a win-win for content and technical SEO. Now that you’ve read and seen some of the best link packs in the industry, you have the tools you need to build the best link pack in your industry.