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A few of my website's articles have gone "viral." In the process, they got backlinks from other sites.

Will these external links help with the ranking of all my articles, including the ones that haven't gone viral? Most of my articles don't have many backlinks at the moment. Will the many links to a specific few articles help my whole site, or just those few articles?

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Not directly. But it can have an effect, even a large effect.

Basically, how you link through your website affects not only Google's ability to spider, but how it sees the hierarchy of your website. Linking prominently to an article that has high "shareability" will improve it's overall position in the search results. This means more people see it. The more people who see it, the more people are likely to share it. As they share it, you get backlinks into your website.

This then means that the people who saw those widely disseminated articles are given the opportunity to look at other content on your website. That can then get shared, giving you new backlinks to other content on your website.

So, while a link on your website won't in-and-of-itself boost your article up the rankings, it can play its part.

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    I thought the question was about external links to a single viral article helping the rest of the site. I'm not sure what "a link on your website" has to do with it. – Stephen Ostermiller Nov 15 at 19:05
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    Internal navigation of a website is something (in my experience) that influences relative priority of pages within the site as far as the spiders are concerned. But, in this case, the focus is in where you're pushing traffic, i.e. to your shareable content. Which is what builds the backlinks. Which is specifically why I opened my answer with, "Not directly." – GeoffAtkins Nov 15 at 19:28

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