The Power of Internal Linking
SEO tactics do not always require technical expertise or a PhD in code-writing to generate site interest. In polling SEO experts last year, SEOMoz found that using keywords as internal links is considered to be one of five important ranking factors for a page. Interlinking is not a unique feature for sites, as linking is a core feature of html.
Interlinking is extremely important for sites that provide consistent and fresh, topically relevant content. Interlinking this type of content allows the content to be built upon while creating an authoritative hub within the site.
Sports websites in particular provide a means of internal linking that few other industries can boast. What separates sports sites from other sites is that an abundance of industry news gives them the ability to spoil users with content and links, and, most importantly, presents a reason to keep clicking. Through this content, sports sites are able to embed links to player pages, box scores, team pages and fan posts that all lie on their sub-pages.
The search value this provides is two-fold.
1) Linking to a sub-page through a keyword-based text link tells search engines exactly what to expect on the other side of that link. So every time an MLB article, a Washington Nationals article or any other article mentions “Stephen Strasburg,” his name is embedded with a link to his player page. In doing this, sports sites establish “player profile” pages as authoritative site sections.
2) The consistent use of the name with hyperlinks to these “player pages” helps to establish the site as an authority in the eyes of search engines while users see it as a one-stop-shop for information on the player. Text-based linking as described above occurs on every page that mentions an athlete or team. Therefore, these sites are seen as the ultimate source of knowledge on specific teams and players.
Sports sites capitalize on users’ interest by not only providing them with content to read, but by using these text links to help them find related content. If a user is reading about who the Miami Heat is going to add to its new trio, the article they find will not only provide a list of prospective teammates, but will link to all their profiles. Anyone unfamiliar with a candidate’s career will be able to click on his name and read more about him, making internal links a powerful navigation tool for users.
Users and search engines need written content to understand the purpose of a site, and sports sites do an amazing job of providing that. Through internal text links, search engines are able to see exactly what content is on the pages linked to. For users, sports sites offer written content with easy navigation to pages with more subject-relevant information.