Many SEO professionals have asked me – is outbound linking well for SEO? Well, there is an ongoing debate about how you should do external linking on your website. A lot of people wonder if external linking hurts the SEO of their website. This week, I am going to help you understand if external linking is good for SEO or not.
Before we go into detail, we will see if external linking has any effect on SEO.
Does Outbound linking affect SEO?
outbound linking is one of those SEO protocols that often raise objections from clients. We see a lot of people mentioning their brand in your article. Some people think it is legitimate while some people cast a little bit of doubt whether it is legitimate or not. There is a great correlation between external links and ranking. Based on SEOmoz’s SEO ranking factor 2011, there was a 0.04 correlation between the number of external links on the page and rankings.
If we take aggregate with all the ranking factors, we will find that more links on the page are not really going to help you with ranking. But, when we consider it along with other SEO factors such as – high-quality content, inbound links, natural link profiles, strong SEO based markup, etc – external links don’t affect search engine rankings negatively.
As an SEO expert, one of my tasks is to look at which sites rank well for both long tail and short keywords, attempting to find recurring elements on the site. Doing such tasks not only gives you a good idea of SEO techniques used by popular sites but helps you put together the most beneficial ranking elements.
You will get an idea of — what it takes to get your own sites rank strongly by looking at the external linking policies of some of the popular sites online. Most of the reputed sites that tend to link out in the body of articles and rank well show that external links don’t negatively affect the ranking of your website.
However, this is not the most compelling argument that external linking is good for SEO. Though your site ranks well and has external links, we cannot say that external links don’t hurt your ranking. It could be possible that external linking was indeed a negative factor, but the weight of other SEO factors are causing the site to rank.
How many outbound links can I use?
You are linking to relevant and quality content by using the external link on your website. If you are using do-follow links to low quality hosting sites that host malware or sell counterfeit products, you can assume that it will have a negative impact on your website ranking.
On the contrary, when you look at outbound links from authoritative websites —- you will find a common theme — where they are linking to informative and high-quality content. This is, in fact, helping the users by expanding the area of discussion. This means, the links that come from authoritative or reputed pages are useful — and are not meant just to push you to buy a product or bolster another pages’ ranking for a specific term.
Another important thing you should know about external links is the number of outbound links. They should never be overwhelming than any given piece of content on a high-quality site. The text should not be stuffed with plenty of outbound links. They should be placed in a limited number at relevant places, resulting in a successful outbound linking.
From the above points, what we can say that external links should be made an element of your on-site content production. However, your users are interested in checking the details if it is relevant and adds value to the user. External linking should not be adopted just because it will help with ranking, but it should be adopted in a fair way so that it doesn’t hurt your ranking. External linking adds a lot of value to your content and should not be overlooked.
Despite the potential benefits it can bring, it is ignored by many people in the community. External links can bring additional traffic to your website and increase brand awareness. If you have got a website with less traffic and you wish to drive huge traffic to your website — placing external links in the content will likely send extra traffic to additional sources. As a result of which, you will be shown up in their analytics as referring site — increasing your brand awareness.
There is another really potential benefit of external linking. External linking helps webmasters track and see who is linking to them and how much traffic they get. By linking to other people’s sites, you increase the chances of linking them back to yours. A lot of SEOs does it and found it to be a good strategy. Before you vomit a bunch of external links, you should pay attention to the linking opportunities. You cannot execute an external linking strategy effectively without having a smart content marketing strategy. So, have a well-planned SEO and content marketing strategy.
What about do-follow and no-follow external links?
Many people have come to me with the doubt – whether they should add a no-follow attribute to external links or not. Well, if you are placing an external link to additional content on your site, it should be a do-follow link. Nofollow links are meant for those sites that you don’t trust. Hence, it should not be applied to external links in your content. Else, search engines won’t trust your site.
Hopefully, I gave a clear answer to the question “Is outbound linking well for SEO?” whatever is the reason behind using external links; you should make sure that they add something valuable to your content. External links should be used in such a way that they leave a positive impact, especially when it comes to traffic.
My only suggestion is – the quality of external links is much important than quantity. If you think you would enjoy having a cup of coffee with a blog or site owner, then it is ‘OK’ to link to that site.
Feel free to leave your comments about this post!
About The Author:
Akash Srivastava is an SEO Consultant. He helps people create or revise their SEO plan, implement it and monitors results. He regularly writes about SEO. He has been in this since 2011. He reads books in his spare time. You can hire him for the consultation only or to do everything.