Article details

Should You Use Outbound Links on Your Website?

September 2017

Linking is important for your website. Interlinking between pages on your site can drive potential customers from one page to the next, boosting your traffic and fostering engagement and interest. Internal linking is also beneficial for SEO. Just look at Wikipedia: all those internal links have helped the online encyclopedia become a constant presence at the top of most Google searches—not to mention an easy-to-navigate resource.

Most website owners understand the benefits of internal linking and strategize accordingly. However, many of them are a little more hesitant to use ample outbound links on their website. They worry that doing so could distract readers and pull them away from their website and toward other parts of the web. They also fret about what kind of reputational damage a bad link might have. These fears are likely the reasons that many websites still don’t have many outbound links.

In truth, the positives of outbound linking far outweigh any possible or perceived negatives. Here are just a few reasons why outbound links should be a part of your SEO strategy:

  • They help encourage other sites to link to you: Never forget that links are trackable. When you link to a blog, article, or website that is relevant to your industry or niche, the people who run that website are going to notice. In many cases, there is a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” mentality when it comes to linking. By linking out to quality sites in your field, you send the message that you are willing to participate in this back-and-forth system. Often, the result is that the sites you link to return the favor by linking back to you, which can increase your traffic and reach.
  • They provide useful resources for your visitors: While linking out to other sites has SEO benefits, you should build outbound links primarily with the intention of improving reader or visitor experience. Linking out to valuable resources—be they articles, blogs, FAQs, videos, or any other type of content—can help your users find the information they need and learn from it. No matter how extensive your content strategy is, you are never going to be able to cover all the bases. There are topics you can’t cover—whether because of time or just because of where your expertise lies. Harnessing the power of the internet to fill in those gaps with links will make your site a more comprehensive resource for your customers and visitors, thereby building your brand trust and authority.
  • They give you a boost with Google’s SEO algorithm: Google’s search algorithm is always looking for signals that identify a site as “high-quality” or “low-quality.” There are many factors that the algorithm looks at, and linking is one of them. How does it work? The simplified version is that Google believes that high-quality sites link to high-quality sites, while low-quality sites link to junk. By linking out to other quality sites within your niche, then, you can associate yourself with those sites and hopefully get a little SEO bump for your trouble.

At Inherent, we can help you build a comprehensive linking strategy for your site. You want to use outbound links, but not so many that they are constantly pulling focus from your site. You want to focus on linking out to relevant sites. And you want to look for every opportunity possible to get other sites to link to you. For help with this whole complex equation, give us a call at (415) 399-9733.