The common question that everyone unclearly asks is “is linking websites or outbound links great for search engine ranking?”. Some suggested that outbound links inflict negative effects on overall SEO, while some say that linking to other websites is a full-proof way to do commendable in the organic searches.
We in the following article will debunk the fact that “linking to websites negatively affects the search engine rankings”.
So the real question is “Does linking to websites of third-party helps in accelerating SEO efforts? The answer is “Yes”.
Now in the following, we will deeply understand what linking to a website really means, and why and how to make the best from your external linking.
So outbound links, external links, linking websites is a process where you put links to another website within your website copy or another content base. The external linking is done when there is a need to verify the facts, (suppose you put key terms like “history of cricket” on your website and link it to Wikipedia for bringing comprehensive detail to that term for user), present backup sources or promote some third-party endeavors.
If we talk about Google, the genius wants people to find the most accurate and authoritative information-based websites upon each and every search query. So when you link websites towards other third-party websites, acc. to Google, you are providing value-added and relevant information to the end-users.
Your website is perceived to be trusted, reliable, and authoritative – which ultimately improves your scope for ranking high in the SERPs.
With this blog, we will distill how doing external linking to a website of third-party sources is a definite gain.
Google doesn’t red flag the outbound links but it doesn’t mean you can link websites irrelevant to your business type. Thus, introspecting the following questions is needful to do effective external linking for stimulating search engine rankings:
Question 1 – The handful of sites you are planning to link to, are they going to make you look a smarter brand?
Question 2 – The outbound link websites you have searched for, are they relevant to your business or niche type?
Question 3 – What is the status of your website’s ranking now?
Question 4 – The website you are planning to link to, is it authoritative and hosted with subject matter expertise?
Question 5 – What is the frequency of linking to authoritative websites in the past?
Question 6 – How strong is your website authority and relevance in the market today?
Question 7 – Is your website information based or a pure e-commerce store?
Question 8 – On keeping SEO aside, decide whether doing the third-party website linking will help in enriching your visitors/audience or not?
There are hundreds of reasons why doing external linking to a website of third-party sources is important. We won’t take your time to enlist those hundreds of reasons as we have enlisted the 4 major ones.
5.1 You can embark on improved reputation
When you include links to third-party websites of high authority and name in the process, by doing so, you are perceived as a reputed brand in the eyes of search engines and the target audiences.
Since people, today don’t have time to explore ten different websites for solving their queries so by providing shortcut links to those users on your website, you can save their time and sketch your image as a reliable, authoritative and subject-matter expert brand.
5.2 You get great backlinks
By creating external or outbound links, you create a powerful association with the other reputed companies, websites, bloggers, journalists. When you will endorse other website’s efforts on your site, in return, you will be endorsed too in the form of effective backlinks. The more backlinks you score, the more will be your SERPs ranking.
The important part – Those backlinks created will not help you in getting the direct traffic (as only a small percentage of public taps on those backlinks), but the ranking you will get from those backlinks, that will be the real win.
5.3 The external links increase the relevancy of your brand
You have no idea how your single linking can improve your SEO game. By putting right external links, the Google algorithm can learn a lot about your website, with a single linking, the search engine crawlers will know:
When you put links to high-authority third-party sites or pages, you win the trust of the search engine regarding “that yes you are a legitimate player of the industry you are in ”. Thus, you get great relevance in ranking high in the SERP.
5.4 Your site becomes a more valuable and scalable resource for end-users
Doesn’t matter how much exceptional website you plan to make, there would still be a bunch of readers who won’t find your website’s information or content to be adequate. And it is natural. Since you can’t make your website a global depository, that is why you need to leverage the “power of external links”.
The links will make your website more valuable and scalable resource as linking will add on to make your website experience better and rewarding for the visitors. By practicing the linking process, you will become a valuable reference resource in your business niche.
For doing an effective hyperlinking to high-authority sites, you need to adhere to the following best external linking practices:
6.1. Make sure your links open in the separate tabs
These external links drive people away to other third-party sites, to ensure your site doesn’t get completely abandoned by the user, make sure your hyperlinks are prone to open in the new tab.
If your hyperlinks are opening in the same tab of your website, your readers will feel irritated as they would have to hit a “back” button to continue again on your site or especially has to do a right-click to open that link separately manually. It might happen that users out in irritation, won’t make efforts to continue on your website.
To make your hyperlinks open in a new tab:
You just simply have to add, Target = “_blank” in your HTML.
By doing this simple thing, you will get great traction and engagement from your end-users.
6.2. Don’t keep on adding too many outbound links
This is a general rule of life, you cannot have too many good things. Everything beyond the limit is just detrimental. Water is good for the body but drinking 4 gallons of water thinking it will be healthy, you know this isn’t how things work.
Similarly, you can’t put plenty of external links on your site. While posting plenty of links, you will experience two bad things – first, you will drive away your potential users to other sites, second, search engines will look at you like a website that’s circulating spammy links to manipulate the search results.
Though there is no clear understanding of the fact that how much should be the quantity of the external links. The key is to keep only the links that could help and support your users’ reading time.
Make sure your links are:
6.3. Don’t force links in your content
External link building should be organic rather than forced. When you do your writing part right, there will be ample opportunity to insert the relevant links.
In 2016, Google imposed penalties on websites that contained unnatural or irrelevant external links. Such offending websites webmasters were asked to either remove the irrelevant links or put no-follow tags on such links.
Firstly write the entire copy on the subject or topic you want to, in parity with your business offerings. There, if you feel the need to expand user experience, look for the content fragments and link them towards the websites that have better and detailed information to that fragment or essence of the topic. If you feel your content needs powerful backup sources to support your writing statements, there you can use links.
6.4. Don’t fall for the too-much mutual backlinking game
Too many mutual backlinks can be suspicious for the search engines. Earlier, many websites were putting this practice of supporting mutual backlinks in great quantity to empower each other’s websites and increase their search engine rankings.
Ever since Google’s Panda update rolled out, it broke down the network of mutual backlinking promoting websites to prevent fake authority and fake rankings. Though the businesses are still putting the use of this practice if Google spots down too much of mutual backlink, there will be negative consequences to such intended actions.
Even if you want to have mutual backlinks, make sure they are created naturally and not after careful planning to fool the search engines. Misuse of this practice will not only make you lose your ranking but would also degrade your brand image.
6.5. Select an anchor text that’s descriptive
Anchor text is a fragment of content that you select to put a hyperlink on – of high-authority third-party websites. Make sure to select an anchor text for the external link that is descriptive and sums up what to expect in another page.
You can choose your target keywords or other clear words that describe the third-party page well-off. Doing this practice will improve your website’s usability for both search engines and the target audience.
6.6. Be strict with the type of third-party websites you are planning to link websites to
Just like linking to authoritative and relevant websites can increase your brand value, similarly, if you will opt for the poor resources fed and low-quality websites, blogs, comments, subreddits, and forums for linking, you will erode your business image.
Pro tip – Do not automatically allow the links in your comments section. If you do not want to choke your website with spammers, trollers and self-promoting webmasters, make sure to manually monitor whatever is posted in the comments section – to maintain the integrity of your content and the image. Timely use an outbound link checker to ensure that all your links are latest, resourceful, and aren’t the broken ones.
6.7. Get the help of Google’s related link tool to find the external linking websites
If you are facing a hard time in determining the types of external links or sites for your website, you can take help of Google’s related link tool. The tool helps you find links to websites that are similar to your website type.
Inside the tool’s search bar, enter – “related: (your website name)”. Upon entering this query, you will have a handful of website links that Google thinks are similar to your website type.
SEO connoisseurs have agreed that external links are a great source to earn the ranking and visibility in the search engines. Search engines see these links as a fact that “yes your website also is a relevant and high-authority resource for the end-users”.
By getting strong on external link building games, you can easily pull up your keywords and search terms rankings high in the SERPs.
A marketing firm conducted a recent study to identify whether a website heading ahead with the external linking process can accelerate its SEO ranking game or not. They found out that, yes linking process does help in improving the SEO results, as with linking, Google gets to know whether your website is of high-authority and standards or not.
The marketing firm as an experiment created 10 websites with similar content base and keywords (the content was similar but paraphrased in a way that plagiarism was avoided).
Half of the websites were left as it, while the other half were inserted with well-researched and high-authority sites supported external links. On checking the results of these 10 websites, it was found that websites that were doing external linking to other websites were ranking higher than the websites without this practice.
Though it is clear that external link building is an important factor for facilitating the SEO cycle but it is must ensure that linking is done minding the above mentioned best practices:
A recap of external linking best practices:
However, it is still under the debate on whether external linking to other websites is a direct way to fuel the SEO rankings or not. But we can definitely state that external link building indirectly does support your keyword ranking and search engine visibility. By following this practice, you can someway or other accelerate your ranking.
With this, hoping that we have succeeded in making you understand how external linking is crucial for the positive SEO results. By using the external links that are easy to navigate, convenient, and relevant for the users, you can definitely improve your rankings, build a solid brand image in the eyes of target groups, and allow search engines to vision you as a high-authority website.
Do you think we have missed any external linking best practice? If yes, we would love to hear that in the comments below. Share what you feel and experience while employing the outbound linking practice.
If you want to increase your Authority, Audience, and Ranking in no time, we would like to help you with our full-package digital marketing services. Where you share your expectations and we bring the news of how impeccable your website is doing in the search results.