When SEO people are talking about links – most of the time they will talk about backlinks. But you can also use your external links to improve your site.
So what are external links? Its links from your website that links outside your own domain to other websites on the internet.
Some people are afraid of using them.
They think “if people click away from my website I will never see them again – so I better not link to an outside domain”.
Other people are thinking “what if the website I am linking to is a spammy or bad website – then I might be punished by the search engines”.
And you will also find people that have the idea that “I should never link to a website that has a lower PageRank than mine”.
With external links you will provide your readers with in-depth information about the topic you are writing about. You can also write your own unique commentary on existing resources.
But if I Use External Linking I will Never See the Reader Again
Well you will have to rethink if you are among these people. When you are using external links you will provide your readers with a lot of information and references and this will show to the reader that your site has credible information.
And we all know that a credible website is a website that the readers will return to in the future to get more information – right?
What is the alternative for the reader?
Well if the reader doesn’t find the information he or she needs on your website – the person will just go on Google, Bing or Yahoo and find the wanted information elsewhere. So when not help your reader with credible information.
You don’t have to link to your competitors – even though the reader might find them anyway.
You can start by linking to great technical people, scientists’ people, bibliographies, Wikipedia, white papers, journal entries.
When you link to websites like these it will show that you know your product or business. And that you know what you are talking about on your webpage. Yes credible information.
Will search engine penalize me for my external links?
No – good external links are great for your website – and the search engines will reward you for doing so. But you are taking a risk. If you like to spammy sites or link farms or paid links they will penalize you.
This is the reason you will have to be sure you are linking to the right places, the specialist, the technical people, and the white papers and so on.
If you have a website where people can comment on your pages (and yes it’s a great idea – to keep the page fresh) then you should be very careful which websites the comments are linking to.
The best way is often to moderate the comments and take away the URL in the comments – and also to make all comment a no-follow link. Also undisclosed paid advertising outbound links can reduce your website’s credibility.
Another issue is too many links on one page – this might confuses visitors. Google advises webmasters to have no more than 100 links per page.
One of my readers here reminded me about the landing page for a convert to sale page. This has to be clear and clean. No need to confuse the potential buyer in the last phase of a buying. And he is absolutely right.
And Google don’t really love exchanging any types of links – so stay away from that too :)…
So what about if I link to a low PageRank website?
Don’t worry about this.
But you are right – if you are linking to a website that has a lower PageRank than yours – you will lend them some credibility (link juice). And if the website you are linking to has a higher PageRank than yours you will not.
Google writes this on their own blog – “If you’re linking to content you believe your users will enjoy, then please don’t worry about the site’s perceived PageRank. As a webmaster, the things to be wary of regarding outbound links are listed above, such as losing credibility by linking to spammy sites. Otherwise, consider outbound links as a common sense way to provide more value to your users, not a complicated formula.”
I better make an external link here. So read more about external linking of Google’s own blog
Yes, yes, yes – use external links on your website and comments. Just remember to moderate your comments and make the comments no-follow links.
With external links you will get a higher credibility and you will see your readers again.
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Time for my coffee – and to do some external linking.
All the best to you.