It may seem strange to some people why you would link to another website from your own content - isn't the objective to keep them on your site? Well, kind of.
Linking to other sites has its benefits and featuring outbound links is one of our top tips to improve SEO. In this post, I will help you understand what an outbound link actually is and how to use them to boost your SEO.
What Is An Outbound Link?
An outbound link is a link on your website that takes a user to another website when they click on it. There are two types of outbound links:
Dofollow links are the typical outbound links that you would see. When you add a link to your website, the link is a dofollow link by default. This tells search engines (like Google) that they should 'follow' this link and it helps search engines to understand the information on the internet better.
Nofollow links have had a special rel="nofollow" tag applied and it indicates to search engines that they shouldn't 'follow' this link. Essentially, it blocks the search engine. A nofollow link is used when one website does not want to pass on authority to the website that they are linking towards.
Links, in general, should be thought of like a voting system. Dofollow links provide a 'vote' towards the site that they are linking to, while a nofollow link does not provide any votes at all. Just as internal links help search engines understand your site structure, outbound links help search engines to understand the internet,
Why Are Outbound Links Important For SEO?
Outbound links help search engines to understand more about your website and your niche. If your site is linking out to relevant pages, then Google is building up an understanding of what your website is about, helping it to rank you for relevant search phrases.
Outbound links also help your site to build up authority in the search engines. This is because search engines understand that it is basically impossible for one site to have all the information in the world about a particular topic, so they expect to see outbound links pointing to other sources of information that expands on what is on your site.
Tips For Outbound Links On Your Website
If you're looking to implement outbound links on your website, then there are a few best practices which are worth being aware of.
#1 Keep It Natural
Avoid using too many outbound links on your website. There are a few exceptions to this rule, however, too many outbound links can impact the user experience. This, in turn, can hurt your search engine rankings.
Keep your outbound links natural and add them where it makes sense.
Oh, the exceptions? I'm sure you've seen the posts similar to "101 Business Books To Read" or "17 Best SEO Agencies In Sydney" etc. These are what I refer to as 'round-up' posts and they will naturally feature a lot of links. This isn't bad though since the user is expecting to see a lot of links based purely on the title.
#2 Stay Relevant
Make sure that your outbound links are relevant to the content on your website. You've probably experienced the inconvenience of clicking on a link expecting one thing, only to be met with something unexpected. This is a bad user experience and will result in the user either clicking back or closing down the tab.
Keep the user experience in mind and link to relevant content that your audience will find useful.
#3 Maintain Authority
When using outbound links, make sure that you are linking to a credible domain or page. There are a few authority metrics you could check, like Moz's domain authority.
Outbound links should be seen as part of your on-page SEO checklist as they help search engines understand not only your content but the content of your wider niche/industry. This, in turn, will help the search engine to understand what traffic to point towards your site so that search users get the information they need.
If you provide searchers with the information they need, you will attract more traffic, generate more leads, and grow your business over time.