We hear a lot about generating incoming links or backlinks, and building a strong internal linking structure, but outward linking seems to get lost in the shuffle.
Are they important? Absolutely.
But, like anything else you do with your blog, there’s a right way and a wrong way to use them. Let’s take a look at outward linking and see what it can do for your blog.
Two Reasons Bloggers Won’t Link Out
It drains your link authority: This is a huge, popular myth. Many bloggers – even seasoned bloggers – think that if they link out to other sites too much they’ll be draining off all their link authority.
They look at their blog as if it’s a bucket filled with water and each link is another hole in the bucket. While it’s true that your link does lend some authority to the blog you link to, it does not take any authority away from your blog.
In some cases, having lots of outward links can actually be beneficial for your SEO. While there’s no proof that it helps your ranking, if you’re linking out to other high-quality relevant blogs, then the search engines view your site as a hub.
Your readers will leave your blog: This is probably the main reason most bloggers don’t put any effort into outward linking and it’s true, your readers may follow those links.
But if you use them appropriately, that won’t be a problem.
How To Use Outward Links To Benefit Everyone
Use them to cite reliable sources: Linking to relevant content on a reputable, A-list site increases your credibility with your readers.
Instead of just telling them something, which may or may not be true, you’re backing it up with a link to an authority site.
Include a relevant quote: If you include a relevant quote from the blog you’re linking to (or even if you’re linking internally on your own blog) then your visitors will be less likely to click on that link and leave your post because you’ve given them all the information they need.
For example, if you say, “XYZBlog.com says you should always use #0044cc for your text link font color. Click Here for more information.” then a lot of your visitors are going to click on that link to find out why they should use #0044cc. But if you include a snippet of text from that blog that explains it, then they won’t have to leave your page. Like this:
“According to an article about the importance of font colors at XYZBlog.com, the developers for Google Chrome found they increased click-throughs by more than 81% just by changing the font color for text links to #0044cc.’”
In the second example, you’re still using an outward link to high-quality relevant content but you’re using a quote from that other blog to explain why your readers should switch their font color.
There’s really no reason for them to visit that link now unless they really want to read about all font colors – not just text links.
Additionally, you’ve done one very important thing to keep your readers on your page: You’ve eliminated that horrible call-to-action telling your readers to “click here for more information.”
Never urge your readers to leave your blog to find more information.
Always put that information on your own blog and provide a link back to the source.
By using outward links in this manner you’re showing your readers that you’ve already done the research for them, which increases your credibility and authority. You’re also building up your blog as an information hub, which looks good to the search engines.
And when those other blogs see those links coming in, they’re going to be more likely to link out to your blog, which helps with your ranking. Outward links are a Win-Win-Win for everyone involved.