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Importance of Outbound Links: How to Get Them Right

Outbound Links – these are the reasons why you have to be mindful about them.

Recently I’ve read an article from George Nguyen (@geochingu), an associate editor at searchengineland.com, about Google’s two-minute episode by Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller (@johnmu) from Google. In this episode, John Mueller addresses the question, whether Outbound Links are important for SEO.

George’s comment on that video is quite short and in my opinion, not very solid. What I realized is that he even changed his first version of the article a few days later from mentioning that John Mueller gave not as many insights as he hoped for.

Does linking to other websites help or hurt SEO?

Linking to other websites is a great way to provide value to your user.

Links should always help the users to understand more about your sources or provide them with a deeper understanding of the overall content of your blog post or website content. It’s always about natural links that offer additional value or content around the topic you care about.

Best Practice for Outgoing Links
(Outbound Links)

For me there are four simple rules you should follow as a content editor, blog owner or webmaster:

  • Set all links within comments to your post automatically to rel=”nofollow”, no matter if it’s profile links or comment links.
  • Set all links within your post or website to rel=”nofollow” where you mention brands or products as soon as you got paid for it or will be paid for by an affiliate program – not to forget about link exchange (who the f*** does that anyway nowadays?).
  • Set all links that provide additional information regarding your topic to either rel=”follow” or leave as is.
  • Only link to other websites if really necessary and quality of the site you are linking to!

Outbound links are important – here is why

Visualization of Outbound Links on a Website

Increasing relevancy

Search engines crawl your website on a regular basis – in best cases daily or hourly. Outgoing Links help the search engines to learn more about your site, depending on the fact of who you link to and actually how you do it. Linking to relevant sites that are similar to your industry helps crawlers to understand your own site better.
Linking to pages with a high page / domain authority (you can find more about that here on moz.com) helps you build trust for your own website.

Provide more value to users and search engines

We all do know that quality is more important than quantity and that “content is king”. But how would you try to make an user believe that your website is THE source for the best content out there? I am convinced that the best way is to provide as much details as possible for your website visitors and search engines.

Outbound links strengthen this impression. We should all think about being more open minded when it comes to sharing knowledge and linking to other websites when you are sure that they add VALUE for the user. That way, we get easily to the next point:

Earn your reputation

You can spend a lot of money for online marketing but nothing is as valuable as your own reputation. By including outbound links you can earn this reputation over time.

On the one hand you earn it from your users (the most important part) because you are telling them that if they want to find the most comprehensive resource regarding a topic of your niche, they should come and visit your site.

On the other hand, search engines realize that you are trying to cover a topic as extensive as possible by mentioning other websites.

A link opens the opportunity for a backlink

When it comes to incoming links, so called backlinks to your site, it’s mandatory to earn them naturally. There is no better way than “giving” first. As soon as you are setting outgoing links, other webmasters will recognize the fact and eventually give back one day. But it’s more likely that they do when you earn your reputation like that.

Any questions or comments?

In case you do have any questions, comments or feedback for me, please let me know. I am here to answer any question and get back to you. If you like this article, I would be happy about you sharing it.

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