Think you’ve got a hold of your SEO strategy? Before you say yes, consider how well your outbound linking strategy is.
Not sure what those are or how they work?
Most people know how important inbound links are for increasing a site’s authority. This is why many SEO strategies focus on getting links from high-reputation websites.
However, what about linking to authoritative websites? These are outbound links and they’re important too.
We know that leading your readers to other websites may seem to be counterintuitive. Still, that’s not the case at all.
Putting external links will also help you increase your rankings and your authority. Read on to see how this practice can do that. First, let’s learn what an outbound link is.
What Is an Outbound Link?
An outbound link is a link in your website that leads users to a different website. We also call it an external link, the opposite of an internal link that leads to another page on the same website.
People usually use outbound links to cite the sources of the facts in their content. It allows people to verify the facts and to get additional resources on the subject matter.
There are 2 types of outbound links, which we’ll discuss below. Readers won’t be able to tell the difference, but the type matters a lot to search engines.
As the name suggests, nofollow links tell the search to not follow the link. What this means is that you’re not allowing to pass on your PageRank juice to the specified website.
Think of this “juice” as something like a vote of confidence. With a nofollow attribute, the link doesn’t transfer that vote to the website you’re linking to. The outbound link then won’t have an effect on that website.
Nofollow links have the rel=”nofollow” tag within the hyperlink code. The normal ones look like this: href=”http://www.website.com”(space)Website. A nofollow link would then look like this: href=”http://www.website.com” rel=”nofollow”(space)Website.
Why would you use nofollow links then?
There are different reasons why you wouldn’t want to give credit to the target website. One of which is when you’re linking to a questionable content.
There might be times when you’d need to link to a sketchy website because you have to. Still, you don’t have to pass on some PageRank juice. A nofollow link is a great idea in this case.
Another use of this tag is for the blog comments, where everyone can put their questionable links. The nofollow attribute is also helpful for paid links and user-generated content.
The nofollow tag is useful in some instances, but you should always give credit where it’s due. Google even encourages websites to use more dofollow links.
They’re the exact opposite of nofollow links. They give the target website a vote of confidence, passing on some juice from your website.
It’s the regular link; you don’t need to do anything in your code to make it a dofollow link. Once you link to a website without the nofollow tag, it’s automatic that it’s a dofollow.
In the right circumstances, a dofollow link is what every link should be on your website. There’s no real incentive from not passing on ranking power to the target website. Using dofollow links might even help you with your SEO efforts.
How Outbound Links Affect SEO
You may ask, “do outbound links affect SEO?” The answer to that is yes, it has a huge effect on your website’s SEO.
There had been a study that observed the effects of outbound links to the website’s rankings. In it, the researchers studied 10 websites targeting the same keyword. Only half of which included an external link to high-authority sources.
They controlled the other factors that may affect the rankings. The websites and the posts had a similar structure, but they don’t trigger Google’s duplicate alarm bells. These steps made sure that the results are as accurate as possible.
The study went on for 5 months, after which the researchers collected the data and results. They proved that the algorithm considers external links to authoritative sites. This then provides a positive impact on the website’s ranking score.
The results? The websites using outbound links ranked higher than those without.
Do note that these websites linked to other websites that are high in authority. Some of which were the official sites of Oxford University and Cambridge University. This is important to note when you want to start using external links because of this experiment.
Of course, the content of the outbound link should be relevant to your content as well. Otherwise, you’re only linking for the sake of it, and don’t think that Google won’t know.
Furthermore, the quantity of outbound links, no matter the quality, matters as well. Too many of it and Google might consider you as a link farm, which will then hurt your score. Use only those that add actual value to your content.
Top Reasons Why You Should Use Outbound Links
Using outbound links is a usually misunderstood part of SEO. Many people only know that you should use outbound links because the internet said so. However, many don’t know the exact reasons why you should do so and how you do it the proper way.
There are even some people who refuse to link to other websites. They argue that linking to another site may make them lose visitors.
They also have some worries about losing reputation and damaging their ranking. These are only unfounded concerns for the most part, though.
There are many reasons why outbound links are important; here are a few of them.
It Adds Value to Your Site as a Resource
Published an extensive post that you think covers all the bases of a certain topic? As it turns out, it still won’t be enough to some people. Your website will never be able to provide all the information that a person might need.
This is where outbound links come in. You can direct them to reputable sources with more information about your topic. Although they can’t get everything from your page, they can get what they need from a resource you gave.
This adds value to your content and on your website. You give them a rewarding experience on your site, which can make them come back. People will be more likely to appreciate you as an informative website.
You can use this to your advantage and make your website as a great reference resource.
It Can Boost Your Reputation
Let us preface this by saying that you only get this benefit if you link to authoritative websites. You can only boost your own if your target websites have a high reputation themselves.
This works because of association. It’s like saying that your website is on the same playing field as the websites you’re linking to. This also means that linking to low-quality websites can make both the readers and the search engine think that you’re a low-quality website yourself.
Think of it as sort of a name-dropping method. When you tell people you know a high-profile figure, they tend to see you in the same light as that person.
Of course, your website should still have something of value, too. You won’t be fooling anyone if you have a low-quality website with poor content. Using outbound links can only give you a boost.
It Proves Your Website’s Relevance
If the internet is a nation, then websites are villages. What then connects these together are the streets, which are the links in this case. The Google crawlers use links to hop from one web page to another.
One reason why they do this is to determine what the web page is about. By linking to another web page, they assume that the content of that page has a connection to yours.
This helps clue them in on what your niche is, what industry you’re in, and what your content is talking about. When Google has a clear understanding of the content of your website, what problems it’s trying to solve, and how much value it can provide the readers, it increases your relevance.
Google will then direct more visitors to you since it’s confident that you can give them answers.
It Might Get You Backlinks
As opposed to an outbound link, a backlink comes from another website. It leads its readers to your website, which then acts as the resource. As you should know, these are important for SEO.
You know that an outbound dofollow link gives the target website a vote of confidence. In the same way, a dofollow backlink also gives you some PageRank juice from the website. If it’s a high-authority site, that vote’s value increases even more.
This gets you a bump in search engine rankings. Of course, there’s the added benefit of that backlink directing more readers to you.
How do outbound links help with backlinks then?
Well, external links sort of alert the other websites of your presence. You’ve opened yourself to the natural linking community. This then encourages them to link back to you.
Choosing Websites to Link To
We’ve said it multiple times but we’ll say it again: You have to link to quality websites if you want outbound links to work in your favor.
Choosing which ones may be the most important consideration when using external links. Here are some tips to help you with that.
Choose Websites that Care About Quality
One of the key characteristics of a reputable website is quality content.
They often have strict editorial standards. The posts they publish are original, have proper grammar, have a good structure, and have great readability. They’re informative, and they make sure to provide sources to back up their claims (i.e. outbound links).
They usually have great web design, as well, which should be easy to navigate on top of being pleasing to the eyes. Don’t worry, quality websites are easy to spot as their design and content stand out from the rest.
Avoid Private Blog Networks
Aside from the benefit we said above, there are more reasons why backlinks are important. This leads many to use backlinking techniques that Google may consider to be unethical.
Not long ago, Google cracked down on private blog networks, which provided mutual backlinks to each other. This fakes the authority of a website and increases its rankings faster than normal.
Now, Google makes sure to punish such websites, removing the incentive of joining a network. Make sure to stay away from them.
Link to Relevant Pages
With outbound links, the goal is to educate the readers further on a certain topic. This means that you shouldn’t include links that aren’t relevant to your content, even if it leads to a high-authority website.
If you’ve mentioned a concept that you can’t explain further within your article, link to a web page that talks about it instead. Link to the study or a news article where you got the information from. It also helps to link to other blogs within your niche, creating a community.
The anchor text should also be relevant. For example, don’t use “planes” as an anchor text when you’re linking to an article about cars.
Other Considerations When Using External Links
Aside from choosing the right website and web page, there are a few other considerations you need to be aware of.
Have the Link Open in a New Tab
You don’t want your visitors to leave your website right after a single session, right? Prevent that from happening by having your outbound links open in a new tab. That way, the visitors can stay on your page longer.
Don’t Force the Outbound Link
You don’t have to put an outbound link if it doesn’t come in a natural way. Much like when inserting keywords, you only need to keep on writing. The opportunity will present itself.
Find the Right SEO Strategy for You
An SEO strategy involving outbound links may be confusing to you now, but with more effort in learning, you’ll be able to build a strategy that works for you. Use these tips to reinforce your site as an authority in the field and a resource your visitors can rely on.
But it shouldn’t end there.
Visit us now and seek help from an SEO expert. There’s still more tips and tricks to master and we can help you find success. Contact us today and let’s discuss how we can help you.