We are always hearing about the importance of getting backlinks to your site and internal linking to get ranked in Google but what about outbound links?
As I was doing forum commenting for the Quick Start Challenge and the Turn $100 into $2000 Challenge I saw a lot of debate about outbound links or external links as some people prefer to call them.
An outbound link, if you don’t already know, is a url that you have on your site that links to another website. When you think about it the world wide web is formed from links from one site to another and enables it to be what it is. does
By linking out from your site, you are “voting” for the site you link to. That is the whole point of getting backlinks to your site.
When other sites link to your site you get a backlink from that site which is one of the factors that Google takes into account in it’s ranking algorithm.
But what if you link out to other sites?
Some bloggers worry that their search engine rankings will be damaged if they have outbound links. This only becomes a problem if you link to spammy, bad neighborhood sites or link farms. It clearly states on Google’s Webmaster blog that outbound links are a common sense way to provide more value to your users.
Others are concerned that they will encourage readers to leave their own site and not return. One way to avoid this is to have your link open in a new window which is easy enough to do in WordPress.
Visitors may initially leave your site to check out relevant information but if you are providing good information on your own site they will come back for it.
When you take a look at authority sites that rank well in the search engines they always link to external resources. Wikipedia, for example, includes citations and external links where appropriate.
Google ultimately wants its users to find what they are searching for, so when you link to other authoritative and relevant websites, you are providing a great service to Google’s users. This makes your website a more valuable resource, in Google’s eyes.
What are the benefits of outbound links?
1. Search engines reward this behavior
When you link out to other sites search engines see that your website is not a closed community. Google loves a lot of open community websites, such as Facebook, Wikipedia, Twitter, and many other social based websites.
Search engines can detect the outbound links coming from your website and could reward this behavior with a ranking increase.
Many believe that the more people that click on your links, the more beneficial it is for your SEO. Google can determine there is a lot of user activity happening on your website which is a positive thing in their eyes.
2. Linking out can incentivize some inbound links
When you are linking out to other websites, your outbound links can be detected by other people’s SEO tools. Most website owners are able to detect any incoming links to their websites by using some tools, including the Goggle Webmaster Tools.
In some cases, they are going to link back to your website. If this is the case, it’s likely that you will get some other additional backlinks from other people.
Getting links from this method is considered as the most natural way to earn links from other websites. By doing so, you are able to reach high ranking on the search engines.
3. Linking out strategy can get you traffic
There are a lot of bloggers, journalists, and any other people who are able to help you promote your websites, especially if they find your outbound links from your website.
By linking out to other people’s blogs or sites, you are going to enter the blogging community. As as result of participating and contributing to this community some may be very happy to help you promote your website.
By letting them know you have linked to their blog they may let their readers know and send you some traffic in return.
4. Create authoritative website
There are many studies showing that “linking out” method is very effective to improve the authority of your website. By doing so, you are going to send some authoritative signals to any search engines, including Google and Bing.
These search engines love to put the authoritative website on the first page of their search engine result pages.
Just make sure not to overdo linking out. It should form part of your overall SEO strategy but don’t link out for the sake of it. Only do external linking when it makes sense and is relevant to your post.
Do outbound links form part of your SEO strategy?
32 responses to “Can Outbound Links Boost Your SEO?”
Thank you Sandy,
I never really thought about the effects outbound links really have other than visitors leaving your site. I would usually avoid them unless they linked to another one of my sites with related information.
As you pointed out, linking to another relevant site helps out both sites. And if you have the link open up in another window, your site remains active as they look over the linked site increasing the time on your site.
Outbound links were never mentioned in any course I did about blogging. Not that I remember anyway.
Used judiciously they can improve both your readers experience and your rankings so it makes sense to use them.
Thanks for dropping by and taking the time comment.
I have never thought that outbound links have some SEO significance. Most SEO gurus do preach about having link juice from inbound links. I will definately give it a try.
Yes, you are right. We hear so much about getting backlinks that outbound links tend to get forgotten. It happens all the time on news sites and curated site.
It is just a natural way of doing things when you think about it. The whole world wide web is made up of outbound links.
Do give it a try.
Thank you for writing this Sandy and explaining this more fully.
I still fight with people today about nofollow and dofollow links and I continue to reiterate that Google only has an issue if you are linking to spammy sites. That’s why every blogger needs to be aware of who they are linking to.
Now at the end of each month I share posts that I’ve found so that I can help my readers learn and grow more. So to me I’m helping my readers learn but at the same time sharing relevant information that I may not be an expert with delivering. Why wouldn’t I want to do that? As you very clearly shared here, Google appreciates you helping your readers find good stuff. I think overall it’s really a win/win situation for both bloggers.
Thank you again for sharing this and providing such a great explanation Sandy. You did a wonderful job.
Out from the 5 benefits that you gave, I’m still not certain about outbound links. Doubts such as whether or not the links that I’m going to post would also post my link in their posts or what if having an outbound link that will only be reported as spam. I guess, internal links from blogging and blog commenting is the one that I would prefer. Though, I’m closing the possibility of not using outbound links. It’s just too impossible to do that. What I really mean’t is more in inbound links than outbound links. Thanks for sharing this very informative post.
I can understand your concern but you don’t have to rely on people linking back to you when you link to their content.
A mixture of both internal links and outbound links with the emphasis on internal link is what is being recommended by respected SEO experts.
Used naturally where helpful to the reader as Adrienne mentions in her comment can only be a good thing.
I am not sure what you mean by the links getting reported as spam. Why would outbound links get reported as spam? Who would report them?
Hi Sandy. Sorry I havent been around lately. I have been working on my membership site. Now on to outbound links. Google loves a site that provides the best info on a subject. They love things to look natural. So its only natural that a site cant know everthing and linking out to an authority site only makes sense. I Strategically place the outbound link with keyword in anchor text of at least one external link. This one link is a hugh factor in SEO action. This is a great tip for all you SEOers out there. I love to do SEO stuff. I hope that helps and Sandy things around here look great… I love your blog. Take care and I will see you around.Kent
I imagine that it takes a lot of work to set up a membership site. I know that is the way to go for recurring income.
You are right about Google loving links that are natural. Forced links are definitely a red flag as far as SEO goes. Thanks for sharing the tip about using the anchor text for the external link.
thanks for visiting and have a geat week.
I’ve definitely been more conservative with outbound links than I have with inbound links for sure, although I have used them. I have gotten more comfortable using them lately as my maturity as a blogger grows and I want to benefit others more and more. I guess that is the name of the game! I want to offer value. Thanks for all the value you offer us, Sandy. Blessings, Amy
Hi Amy and thanks for visiting my blog again.
I must say that I only got comfortable with linking out when I heard about curating content for blogs. I think it’s a good idea to be conservative with the outbound links. Too many outbound links in a post can confuse a reader.
It’s important to make the links open in a new window so that the visitor spend the time on your blog or it will make your bounce rate high.
Have a good week.
nice info……at first i though that outbound links do nothing for my website….now i know its benefits
Sandy, I found your blog from a comment you left on James Francis’ blog. I’m glad I did! You’ve got some great content. I particularly enjoyed this post and learned a lot about outbound linking. Your post made me realize that I’m not doing enough outbound linking on my blog and it’s one of the things my blog is severely lacking. BTW, I LOVE your commenting system, especially the ability to add your Twitter. Really nice blog. I’m quite impressed and I’ll be a regular reader from now on!
It’s a while since I have left a comment on James Francis’s blog. Just goes to show that this blog commenting does work to bring you traffic.
Glad you learned something new from visiting my blog. Don’t forget to visit again soon!
To yuor success.
This is a great article since a lot of people miss this. I also read about outbound links before from one of SEO experts.
Link to other sites that are related to what you talk about in your blog post.
For example, if you’re talking about Anthony Robbins, link to Anthony Robbin’s wikipedia or his website. This will help with you blog ranking.
Awesome post Sandy.
Excellent Post Sandy. Outbound links are like a gimme in SEO. It’s fairly hard to get the right type of people to link at a new site unless you bribe them or it’s a great site, but just about anyone can improve their web community by linking out to some of the better resources on their topic.
I link out quite often. I feel it’s more complete and honest and believe it or not, peeps, honesty still fits into the equation somewhere! 😉
You are absolutely right Christian. There are so many scams, bad products and hype on the internet now that it can be a rare thing to come across honest markeeters.
It’s appreciated even more. Thanks for that reminder.
There are so many posts about how to get inbound links (mainly with lists of high PR dofollow etc etc etc) that this is a real breath of fresh air. It’s been in the back of my mind to investigate outbound links, so thank you for doing this already and sharing you results
Yes, you are right. We hear so much more about backlinking that it’s easy to forget about the outbound links but they do play a part in ranking.
I had heard of using outbound links for SEO purposes and it made sense, if nothing more than as another way to help the search engines categorize your data. But I never realized that the destination sites would be able to detect where the traffic was coming from, and possibly gain some interest from the recipient. By no means is it a guarantee that it will gain you a new link and thus more traffic, but it’s still well worth it to try even outside of other reasons.
Since I started blogging six months ago and I am hearing about backlinks and link juice but I never heard anything about outbound links for SEO purposes. It sure worth trying.
I liked the tip about making the links open in a new window so that the visitor spend the time on your blog so it won’t affect the bounce rate.
Thanks Sandy for sharing this jam-packed with value post and providing such a great explanation about outbound links. Have a great weekend ahead.
Is it really only 6 months since you atarted blogging? I would never have know that!
You are right, all we ever seem to hear about is backlinks, backlinks and backlinks. I think I first came across it when I bought a curation course. It is of course an important part of curating.
Thanks for visiting again and taking the time to comment.
Have a great week.
Now I don’t do a lot of SEO anymore but when I used to I used to link to high authority sites related to my keyword.
Like if I was writing about dogs I would link to the Wikipedia for dogs, this worked wonders for me!
Good to hear that linking out worked for you. Why don’t you do a lot of SEO anymore?
Your post is really informative, I come to know about the importance of outbound links to our site. If you have a link on relevant site it is beneficial to both the sites.
One should have link opening up in new window it helps visitors see both the sites and thus help increase time spent on your site.
Well.. Basically I spent a lot of hard and work but ended up getting almost all my sites dropped in Google. I’m still going to use SEO, I just don’t want to put that much effort into it again.
That’s a great explanation of outbound links and how they’re viewed.
I noticed in the comments that you said about never being taught any of this in the courses you’ve taken. I’m much the same, in the ones I’ve done they never covered SEO at all.
I do link to other content when and where I think it’ll hep my readers. BUT we do need to be careful with what we link to and keep an eye on those sites every now and then to make sure they’re still active.
I recently had a spring clean of my blog after finding loads of broken links, many of which were outbound links that had become broken, dead or simply not updated for some time. I removed all of the suspect links and have seen a great improvement both from Google and Alexa.
Link to relevant, helpful content always goes down well but as I said be careful that the blogs stay active.
Yes, we have to be very careful about who we link to now. I am just in the process of checking my links too. That is something I have not kept on top of and is probably going to be a topic for another post.
Good to hear that removing dead links has made a difference to your ranking. There is hope for us yet!
Thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment.
Have a good weekend when you get there!
Great points made here about outbound linking! I think if your primary objective is tightly aligned with what Google’s objective is (its visitors finding what they’re looking for), then you will benefit.
This not only works on the ‘net but in life in general: Provide people with what they want and you’re good to go.
It’s interesting what online stuff works in general life and visa versa.
I think you’re comment about becoming part of the community is HUGE! I actually came to your site because I found your blog from someone else’s comment. It seems commentluv is pretty good at what it does.