Increasing the number of external links which link to your site from other sources (also known as inbound or backlinks), is one of the most sought-after SEO elements. It is true that this strategy is crucial in ranking well in any search engine, however there is also another branch of this practice which is often overlooked. We are talking about links within your site which take your users to external sources, also known as outbound links. In our “Internal and external linking: which is more important” video we briefly discussed the benefits of using outbound links. You might still be asking yourself, why should you be linking to external sources from your own site? There are a few reasons, and we will now take you through the benefits of this often ignored, but useful, SEO practice.
First of all, using outbound links can enhance the user experience within your site. Think about the information and resources that might be relevant to your audience.
For example, if you’re a food manufacturer, you might want to link to recipe ideas which use your products. This way not only do you provide your users with a valuable resource, but you also establish your business as an authority in your industry. This can also mean that users might be more likely to come back to your site to look for other ideas and resources.
Secondly, linking out to external sites from your own pages means you are definitely more likely to earn backlinks in return. And this is no small deal, as the number of backlinks is a significant SEO rank factor. As a part of your SEO strategy you could even contact external sources you’ve linked to and politely ask if they could link back to your site.
This could work well if you for example create a section of your site dedicated to linking to your business partners or resources you think your audience will find valuable. This way you can earn additional inbound links, which will further boost your SEO.
Finally, incorporating external outbound links within your site can boost your own SEO as it is speculated the number of external links to credible sites might actually be a Google ranking factor.
The Search Engine Journal reported in early 2016 that Reboot marketing agency found a direct positive correlation between the number of external links on a page and its ranking. They created 10 new websites with similar content, with the only difference between the sites being external outbound links. The results showed that the sites with external links were ranked higher by Google.
As you can see, external outbound linking can be a beneficial SEO practice if done well. It is important that you link to authoritative sources which are credible and valued by search engines and users alike. This will send a positive signal to search engines, establishing your site as a source related to credible sources. Moreover, by linking externally, you might just create some good karma and earn back inbound external links, which is one of the most sought-after SEO factors. Just remember that whatever external linking tactic you choose, it should implement your overall SEO strategy to get you the best results.
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