In the digital world, everything is linked to one thing or the other. One can find a whole variety of links on the internet.
The links may connect to websites and specific pages. Your website is bound to have links that connect to more relevant content, both within and outside the website.
In other words, the links that connect to other relevant content on the web are called outbound links or external links.
Typically, the main aim of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is to get high-quality inbound links coming from reputable, relevant sources.
Thus more prominence is provided for such links. However, SEOs might overlook another linking strategy which would be the use of outbound or external links to other websites.
It might sound counter-intuitive to add outbound links in your post or on your page. But one must not ignore the potency of outbound links SEO.
Yes, the question of how outbound links affect SEO and website ranking in search engine results persists. But names like Yoast insist on including an outbound link on every page.
Before understanding external links SEO, we must first understand that there are several types of links. They differ from each other in their purpose but generally, internal links and external links are two important types of links to consider.
Internal links of your website connect the user to other relevant content within your website. It acts as a conduit between various pages on your website. Clicking on such links does not take the visitor outside your website.
But when it comes to external links, it takes the visitor from one website to another. For example, such links can connect the audience from one website to an article on another website.
This can work in either way wherein, visitors can be redirected from other websites to your website, or the other way around.
It must be noted that getting visitors through the external links of other websites is called inbound links or backlinks.
Generally, these are the kind of links that are much sought after. But getting one too many inbound links can hurt the website ranking.
However, maintaining a balanced approach to outbound links is essential and this is where outbound links and SEO play their part.
Having outbound links does not mean Google will give your website a major ranking boost. But external links SEO can increase the reputation of your website in another way.
Placing a link to a reputable third-party source will increase the user’s trust in your content and is thus bound to spend more time on the page.
In other words, it makes your content more engaging and the bounce rate need not increase.
Types of External Links
Outbound links are meant to take you elsewhere, which can be another specific webpage or website altogether.
The best SEOs and top websites always make use of external links and SEO. However, there are two sides to this coin. There are two types of external links which are the nofollow link and dofollow link.
1. Dofollow Link
All normal, common, or default links are dofollow links. This form of a link does not need additional code or a change in anything.
Any normally created links automatically become dofollow links. Almost all links in a website are dofollow links including some external links.
What a dofollow link does is that it passes some juice of your webpage ranking on SERP to the targeted website.
In other words, the other website can gain a bit of SERP ranking since you’ve essentially become a recommendation for them.
2. Nofollow Link
This form of an external link is similar to dofollow link but has a bit of code manipulation. It may be considered as an abnormal link and the code adjustment does not pass some juice of your webpage ranking on SERP to the targeted website.
A nofollow link has a rel=”nofollow” tag inside the code which informs the Google spider ‘not to follow’ the link, thereby eliminating the target website from gaining a bit of reputation at your cost.
Outbound Links Example
Given that there are two types of external links, one must know when to use which. Generally, it is not recommended to use a lot of nofollow outbound links for it can affect your website page.
On the other hand, one simply cannot overdo the dofollow external link as well. This can be better understood with a nofollow outbound links example.
Consider a fellow needs a link to Facebook to advertise his Facebook page. The social media giant already has innumerable incoming links and this fellow’s link will hardly make any difference.
So he decides to use a nofollow external link in a bid to retain some juice of his webpage rank. His choice of the type of external link hardly causes any adverse effect to Facebook and this is probably the most likely of scenarios where the use of nofollow outbound links is fine.
In most cases using a dofollow external link is recommended since it has many benefits. For one, it is the right thing to do.
It shows the search engine that your website is a hub for that particular resource and in the long run, may increase your ranking.
Besides, chances are the webmaster of the target page will see your link and give back a link to you as well.
Benefits of Using External or Outbound Links
It can be observed that external links are a bit difficult to manipulate. However, they are also a very good way to increase your website’s relevance and popularity with search engines.
There are many reasons why you should consider including outbound links which include:
1. Increase in Popularity and Relevance
Search engines vie to provide the best results to their users and external links determine the popularity of the web page.
Besides, the increased amount of inbound links will also show how relevant your website is to the search query.
2. Boost in Value
A website can’t contain all the relevant information on a specific topic. Hence, linking to other relevant content beyond the limits of your website will add value to your website.
The visitors will realize that you give them quality content and go a step ahead by giving helpful external links. This will likely make them your loyal audience.
3. Reciprocal Earning of Backlinks
Linking out to other credible sources on the web can also gain you links from those websites. This shows the search engines that you are an authority on the subject and in turn can boost your website ranking.
4. Improvement in Reputation
Outbound links SEO has a positive effect on the reputation of your site. This is where businesses can use dofollow links. But note that if the links lead to spammy websites then it will harm your website as well.
Hence, it’s unwise to make use of link farms and reciprocal link schemes. Then again, websites without external links are dead ends and can deter visitors from revisiting the site.
A research report without a bibliography may lack credibility but showing your source of research for your content on your website through external links boosts your reputation.
In conclusion, outbound links and SEO are as important as inbound links. After all, the success of a website does not only depend on incoming traffic but also on how long they are going to stay, if they are going to become regular users and where else will you lead them.
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