Outward Links: What Is Their Impact On SEO

Steven12 responsesSEO
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It’s an argument that’s been raging for years and as Google places more and more emphasis on inbound links the debate becomes even more highly contentious.

Should you or should you not link outward to other blogs?

Some say yes, some say no.

Let’s take a look at both sides of the issue and I’ll tell you how I handle outward bound links.

The Naysayers Say…

Those who oppose outward bound links believe you’re hurting your own SEO while simultaneously helping your competitor rise in the rankings.

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According to these opponents, each link you point outward drains a little of your own page rank and passes that portion on to the site you’re linking to. You’re slitting your own throat and your could theoretically wipe out your page rank.

These opponents also agree that outbound links do nothing to improve your own rankings or authority and, again, all your doing is making that competing site stronger in the SERPs.

And finally, there’s the leakage factor. You’re telling your readers to visit another blog for more, better information. Why take the risk?

The Supporters Say…

Supporters explain it a different way. They look at site authority as a bucket that never empties. You’re not really passing link juice to that other site.

You’re recommending that site to Google and Google awards that site with more authority, based on the quality of your incoming link. That outbound link takes nothing away from your site, at all.

They also believe that lots of outbound links to high-quality blogs and websites sets your own blog up as a hub location which the search engines recognize. When they see all those links they reward you with increased authority.

But the supporters make one point which, in my mind, overrides the naysayers. When you link out to other relevant content you’re providing your reader with more information, and since Google places such a high priority on user experience, this can only help your ranking.

Here’s How I Handle Outward Links

Personally, I stand on the side of the supporters, although I don’t have the technical knowledge to back up my beliefs. However, I can’t help but believe that anytime you give your reader more of what they’re looking for it’s going to be a Win-Win situation.

I think the mistake that many bloggers make when linking to other sites is that they send their readers to that other site “for more information.

Instead, you should include that additional information in your own content, in quotation marks, and link to that other site to acknowledge your source.

When handled in this manner you’ve accomplished several things:

  • You’ve given your reader more information and backed it up by crediting a reliable source.
  • Your reader does not have to leave your blog to get that additional information and you’re perfectly safe in using it on your blog because you’ve credited the source.
  • You’ve extended an outward link to a high-ranking blog which will help them with their page rank.
  • When they see it come in they’ll be more likely to watch your blog for opportunities to link out to you. When they do, you’ll see an increase in your rankings.

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  1. Daniel Dipiazza

    Precisely my thoughts – I’m with you, Steven.

    Rather than getting “greedy” with the link juice, etc…just help build the community. If something is relevant, why not link to it? It’s your responsibility to give your readers resources – and if there are some outside your site, show them.

    If you were doing a good job in the first place, they’ll be back!!

    1. Thanks Daniel.

      There is no point in trying to “hoard” link juice. Linking to valuable resources is only natural.

  2. I’m with you on the “supporters” side; 99% of my blog posts include at least one link to another blog or website, but like you, I include the relent info in my own post. I’ve found this to be quite successful as it provides valuable content that my followers might not have found on their own, which makes my site that much more valuable to them. I’m still relatively new at blogging, but I’m watching my stats to see where traffic comes from, and outward links are paying off for me.

    1. I’m glad to hear that you are seeing positive results with this practice Candace. Keep me posted on your progress.

  3. David Pennington

    Maybe it is because I like to share things with my readers, but I absolutely think more bloggers should develop outbound links. Even if it isn’t directly good for your blog, it is good for the altruistic idea of “blogging”.

    1. David, who said that people are blogging for an altruistic purpose? ;)

    2. David Pennington

      Wouldn’t it be pretty to think so?

  4. Alan Lavender

    SEO is a black art and the ways of the Penguin are mysterious. But designing/optimising a page on a blog or wherever with this firstly and foremostly in mind can only be to the detriment of the whole. Content is king, and tge blog publisher will ultimately improve as a writer by focusing on quality content rather than SEO tricks. The quotes point is excellent, I would also add open in new window. It’s a big world out there, blogs were never meant to work in isolation. Links are the capillaries of the web, whether venous or arterial.

  5. Liza Shaw

    Thanks Steven, thats clarified things nicely. I’ve been sat on the fence for a year or more, not being sure which way to go, but having always been taught to use ‘nofollow’ links. Whereas I seem to see better returns with’follow’ links. (not sure why)

    You however just pushed me off with a bump, and convinced me that ‘follow’ links out is good.

    Phew thanks

    1. People advise to use nofollow links everywhere because they don’t understand how this nofollow attribute works. The nofollow should be used only when you don’t trust the site you are linking to. This is why it’s mostly used for the comments’ links.

  6. Thomas Mcmahon

    I agree with the supporters as well. You’re not going to lose Page Rank or anything like that with outbound links UNLESS you’re linking to sites that engage in shady tactics. I outbound link all the time to relevant, and authoritative sites especially if that’s where I got my information from.

    1. Thanks for your comment Thomas. The point is to always provide value, and linking to quality relevant sites, is one way to do that.

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