What is External Linking in SEO?
External linking in SEO: External Links are hyperlinks that link from one site to another website. Actually, external linking means link from one webpage of source domain to another webpage of target domain.
Thus, external link points to external domain and connects two different web pages. External links are also known as outbound links. External links are an important component of a strong SEO strategy and help boost SEO ranking power.
In this tutorial I will try to explain the benefit of external linking and how you can use them to increase chances to appear first on the SERPs. Most of webmasters don’t like outbound linking for their site and they miss great opportunity for SEO ranking. I will explain you how not linking external webpage is harmful for your site.
HTML Code and Example for external Linking:
<a href="https://www.external-domain.com/">Link Anchor Text</a>
Example: An internal link is a type of hyperlink on a web page to another page or resource, such as an image or document, on the same website or domain.
External Link Anchor Text:
Use descriptive anchor text for your external links. It is not necessary to show only keywords in your anchor text. Sometime, it will be considered as spammy by search engine.
Therefore, your anchor text for external link should be relevant for your contents, enhance usability for your users and related to the target webpage you are linking to.
External Links Vs Internal Links
External links pass more link value in compare to internal links. It is as simple as third-party feedback for your product or services i.e. testimonials. In other words, what other people say about you is more important than what you say about yourself. I think you understand my point. Am I right?
Hence, external links are more influential than internal links. Google loves your content if the same gets more links from external domains.
On the other hand, you should use more internal links than external links on the same webpage. This is because, the link values are divided into all links of your webpage and more internal links keeps the link juice of that webpage with your site. In my opinion if you are linking one external website then at least 4 internal links should be there on the same page.
External Links and Backlinks
If you link out to another website from your site, you call it an external link. The same link is backlink for that another website. Similarly, if someone links to your site then it will be considered as backlink for your site. Backlinks also known as inbound links.
For Search Engine Optimization (SEO) purpose backlink is one of the top-ranking factors. Generally, people don’t want to link another website because it will be backlink for that website and transfer link value to another site. But, if you are doing this practice to not linking another site, you are missing something great in content marketing world.
On the other hand, it badly impacts your SEO ranking if you create dummy websites and link back to your main site. Similarly, you should not use backlink networks for your outbound linking. Google believes that unnatural links are an attempt to artificially boost other website’s rankings and it might take manual spam action to the offending websites.
Why External Linking?
Google finds new webpage with the help of links and index that page to give answer to the searchers. High quality contents are created using both internal as well as external links. In digital marketing, the outbound links plays vital role for SEO ranking. Linking out to related content helps search engines understand your niche and increase trust in your website.
Google counts links as votes for popularity of a webpage. External linking passes link juice to target webpages. If you link to external websites relevant to your contents then they may also link back to your site. In this way, external links increases backlink opportunities. That means the external linking should not be ignored whether you are creating a new website or already have an established site.
Valuable External Links
Before connecting to external domain, please check trustworthiness of target domain. External links should be useful for your users to explore their knowledge and information. It helps to increase credibility for your site.
Similarly, search engine also considers reliability of source domain for external links. Linking to a webpage is more valuable than links to domain only.
Note that linking to authoritative sites are SEO friendly like Government sites, main source webpages and most popular webpages. Suppose you are writing about iPhone then it is more relevant to link to the Apple.com.
External linking is a great way to reach out and make connection with other websites that are publishing relevant contents related to your site. It might be possible that they notice your site and also link back to your website.
Relationship with External Links
By default, Google follow your external links and transfer the link value transferred to the target domain. However, you may qualify your outbound links using rel attribute values in the <a> tag.
The use of rel attribute in your external links prevents Google to follow that links and not pass link juice to the target webpage.
The rel value to external links tells search engine the relationship with the linked page. As per guidelines provided by Google, you may use the following three rel attribute value:
rel=”nofollow”: Using the nofollow attribute, you are telling Google that you are not associated with that site. Google will not follow that external link. In other words, the external links will not be crawled by search engine from your site.
E.g. <a href="https://www.aubsp.com/" rel="nofollow">AUBSP</a>
rel=”sponsored”: Paid links are marked as sponsored external links. Actually, it is useful to link for advertisers or placements/ promotions webpage.
E.g. <a href="https://www.google.com/" rel="sponsored">Google</a>
rel=”ugc”: It is recommended for user-generated content (UGC) links. Manly used in comment section and forum posts.
E.g. <a href="https://cafirms.org/forum/" rel="ugc">Forum</a>
From above rel attributes, we can say that there are four types of external links viz. DoFollow, NoFollow, Sponsored and UGC. All links are automatically DoFollow by default. For DoFollow external links you need not do anything, just a simple code of hyperlink works for it.
Note that you need not use the above rel attributes in your regular external links. If the links are paid or sponsored, please use rel attribute instead. Don’t link webpage for temporary period.
NoFollow links does not pass on ranking juice from your website to the target site. But I recommend that you should not qualify your external links with “nofollow” attribute tag except advertisement or sponsored post.
External Linking and User Experience
Did you know? Webpages that contained outside links ranked higher than pages with no outbound links. Your site visitors come back again to your site if they think that you publish and link to quality content.
If you will not provide outbound links that you think your visitors might like to learn more about a subject, your users go back to Google and search for the same query again to get more reliable information. And this will decrease your reputation in the eyes of both users and search engines.
By linking to related website, you can help your site users find some interesting, additional and relevant information that they are looking for. This can enhance the user experience and encourage them to come back to your website for more high-quality content in the future.
Accordingly, your website become more reliable and valuable source of information for your users on the internet. That increase your site traffics on real term.
How many external links?
As I told you above that you should use more internal links in compare to external links on the same page. But question is how many external links are SEO friendly?
If your content page is very popular then it creates more link value. That link values are divided into all links (internal and external) on the same page. If there is any outbound link on the page, it passes out link value to the external webpage. That means, many external links on the same source page will decrease the link juice to the target page.
You may use 1-5 outbound links every 1000 words. Writing long content may consist of more external linking to build trust and good relationship with your visitors.
If you are not linking other websites having great resources, how can you expect from them to provide backlinks for your site. I think you have now some basic knowledge about external links and you will definitely consider external linking in your SEO plan.