Have you ever thought about outbound link SEO? Have you considered why it’s important to have quality outbound links from your website or wondered how to produce them?
Because we’re working in a post-panda world, I’m offering up this post to help you to understand the importance of outbound links for SEO.
We have already talked about how to get more backlinks to your website which will eventually help in increasing the inbound links, but at the same time you should consider employing an outbound link strategy to make sure your blog is never devalued.
What are outbound links?
Outbound links are links that point to some other domain from your site. When you link out to related domains, it not only helps the search engine to understand your niche, but also helps to increase the trust and quality of your site which plays a vital role in your blog’s SEO.
- Get targeted visitors.
- Give search engines a clear idea about your blog because of relevant links.
- Offer the best way to be in touch with bloggers having same niche.
Benefits of outbound links from the SEO perspective:
Before I describe the general benefits of outbound links, I’d like to introduce you to the Google related link operator. Like any other operator in a Google search, you can use Google’s related link operator to see what links are relevant to your site according to Google! A good related site link for your site will list all of the important and popular sites in your niche. FYI, even a comment link is counted as related links, and if someone is commenting on every post published on your blog, he may even see the benefit of being featured as related site.
You can search for “related:(your domain name).com” in Google to see related site links.
If you check related links for your site and find some spammy links as relevant links, it’s time for you to read our guide on : Blog Comments: When are they Useful and When are they Harmful?
Now that you have a basic idea of why your outbound links are so important, let’s look at the things you should consider when linking out.
Link to relevant blogs!
Getting outbound links for your blog never means that you must linkup to bad neighbors. Search engines keep track of outbound links, helping you to avoid linking to banned sites or bad blogs.
Try to link up with blogs having same niche as your blog. This will help you to attract targeted visitors to your blog. Try to link to domains which are already trusted and have good Moz rank and domain value.
No link farms
There are many online services which will assure you that they will give you plenty of outbound links. Stay away from these kinds of services.
First of all, it would be difficult for you to know where your blog is being linked and whether or not that linked blog is relevant to your blog.
Worse yet, there is a possibility that your site could be banned from search engines because a service like this has linked your site to bad websites or blogs.
Especially avoid two-way backlinks, and when you are linking to any domain make sure it is not a part of a private blog network. Following recent Google panda updates, Google has been taking down all such private blog networks and devaluing their links.
Avoid having too many outbound links
Having some links pointing out is fine, but having too many outbound links can be annoying from the perspective of your readers.
Link to fewer blogs and only to relevant blogs. There are some pages that link out to, for instance, “The Top 101 Websites” or “20 Forums to Follow” and other similar pages which rank well despite using multiple outbound links. But in general posts, we want to take care not to link out too much for a better reader experience.
Most importantly, make sure your content is useful, and take care of on-page optimization.
Provide and ask for links
In blogging it is beneficial to everyone to use the give-and-take system. If you have a blog post in which you refer to another author’s blog post, you need to provide the link in your post. This will improve the content of your post and will allow you to ask for a link exchange with the other blogger. This link exchange will be helpful for bringing targeted traffic to both blogs.
To whom should you link?
There are many strategies which you can follow for linking out. My suggestion is that when you want to give a reference or explanation in your post but you are not entirely sure where to link out (what information to point to as your reference), try to link complex words to dictionary words or Wikipedia links. (Yes! Wikipedia is still one of the most trusted domains from Google POV!)
Here are a few suggestions for creating outbound links:
- Link to pages which actually add value and cover the topic very well.
- Link to successful blogs having good PR.
- Link to the bloggers in your network or in your niche, helping you to create community with fellow bloggers.
One strategy we have long employed here at ShoutMeLoud is that when we use words that are useful but their meaning may not be familiar to our readers, we link to a good and reliable source, or if we have a post on that topic, we interlink to that.
Keeping bounce rate in mind, always try to make outbound links open in new tab.
Also in this post-panda world, I have noticed that most of the top ranking pages in Google have at least a few outbound links to relevant and high ranking pages, which helps them to boost their ranking.
What’s your strategy for outbound links, and when do you use nofollow for them?
Also, do you care about anchor text when linking out to any other page?
As a suggestion, you can try the Zemanta plugin, which works well to increase the quality of outbound links from your website or blog.
If you find the information in this post useful, be sure to share it with your fellow bloggers and friends via Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus or any of your social media forums.