If you’re like me, you probably have a love-hate relationship with external links and you may be wondering, ”are external links good for SEO?” The answer is yes! External links are great for SEO and can help improve your search engine ranking.
On the other hand, they can be a pain to manage and keep track of. But what if I told you that there are ways to make external linking work for you? In this post, I’ll share some tips on how to build a successful external linking system that will benefit both your website and your SEO efforts.
Are External Links Good for SEO?
External links are links from other websites to your website. So are external links good for SEO? Yes! They are a good way to increase traffic to your website and can also improve your website’s search engine ranking.
External Linking System Explained
An external links strategy is the key to success for any website and by following best practices and implementing a solid plan of action, a website will see a significant increase in rankings. When done incorrectly, linking strategies can be the difference between a site succeeding or failing.
4 Benefits of Using External Links
When linking to external sites, there are several benefits to doing so.
1. Helps improve your credibility
Adding relevant and credible links to your posts and blog pages is a great way to improve the authority of your site.
Citing your sources is a lot like linking to an outside resource. It demonstrates that you’ve researched your topic and aren’t just making it up.
2. Using external links improves your search engine optimization
External links are a valuable asset to your website for a number of reasons. Not only do they help search engines determine the quality and usefulness of your site, but they also provide visitors with an easy way to find related information. In addition, external links can help improve your search engine ranking by making it easier for crawlers to access and index your content.
If you link to relevant articles on your site, this may help Google and other search engine crawlers better understand your site. This, in turn, helps your search engine rankings.
3. Linking to other websites is a great way to build connections
Other sites can notice when you link to them, and they may return the favor and link back if the chance presents itself. The more high-quality links you have, the better off you’ll be.
It’s a great way to get in touch with people in your industry and to potentially get your name and brand out there.
4. Linking to external sites helps your readers find even more value
Including links to related, external information provides more value to your readers. These site links are to information that supplements the content in your article but isn’t duplicated.
By providing your readers with useful resources and quality content, you can increase the perceived value of your site. By consistently linking to other relevant websites, you can show your audience that you care about providing them with the best information possible.
Best Practices For External Linking
Here are 5 best practices for using external links to achieve higher rankings.
1. Make your website links relevant
When linking to external sites, make sure you’re linking them to relevant pages.
Linking to external resources such as stats, graphs, and videos are good ways to provide context for your content.
Search engines like to show their users the best possible results for a given search query.
Since links from other websites in the same industry are more relevant, search engines like Google will rank you higher.
2. Link out to reliable sources.
When linking to external sites, only link out to websites that have authority. If you include links to untrustworthy or spammy sources, you’ll lose the trust of your readers.
And it could have a negative impact on how Google ranks your web pages.
If you must include a link with potentially bad or irrelevant information, make sure to use no-follow tags. This will let search engines know that the link should not be factored into your site’s rankings.
The 2017 State of Inbound Marketing Report by Hubspot is chock full of links to external resources in the marketing world.
3. Use keywords correctly.
Let’s take a look at an example of a good and a bad example of an anchor link.
See how I linked the word “here” to the URL? This is called anchor text and it’s an important part of SEO.
This link is essential to help search engine spiders crawl your site. However, using “here” as the anchor tag doesn’t give much information about what the link is pointing to.
Instead, there is a better and right way to do it.
Now, the second method is better for several reasons.
First, the hyperlink is easier to click on (and for the readers to know that it is a link).
But, more importantly, we now have an anchor link as “how to write a blog.” So, when the search engines “read” this, they consinder this when determining the content of the target page.
Use relevant, keyword-rich phrases in link anchors. Don’t force it, though, or it will look like you’re spamming.
After adding your link, read the anchor text and ask yourself if it reads naturally.
Does the hyperlinked text seem natural? You want it to be that way.
4. Add useful links
There is no definitive number of links you should include in your posts.
Don’t go overboard with the number of internal and external hyperlinks you include in your content. Your readers will appreciate it if you link to relevant sources, but you don’t want them to feel bombarded with too much information.
Your readers may lose interest in your blog if they feel you’re just using them for their SEO.
5. When visiting an external link, open the link in a new tab
Your links should open up in a new browser tab, and there are several reasons for this.
Opening a link in a new window or a new browser gives website visitors the most control over their experience.
This blog post about why link building is so important includes links to external resources. This lets you keep reading the post while checking out the details you linked.
6. Avoid linking to competitors
Linking to competing websites can be harmful to your SEO efforts. For instance, if you’re trying to rank for the search term “best dog toy,” you should not link out to a website that already ranks #1 for this.
Instead of linking to competitors, you can link out to pages that add value, such as general information about a topic. For example, if you’re selling a dog collar, you can link to the video on the best collars for puppies.
7. Audit your links
Audit your links regularly (at least quarterly) to make sure they’re working. Why? Because broken or dead links are bad for SEO.
When your readers come across broken links or links that go to pages that no longer exist, it ruins their reading experience. This can cause them to begin losing trust in your credibility and question your authority.
Key Things to Avoid In External Linking
This is obvious, but it’s worth mentioning. It is important to choose links that are both relevant to visitors and add depth to the article. This will let Google identify the pages that are related and help it connect them.
Writing anchor text
External links’ anchor text should be as descriptive and clickable as possible, just like internal linking. Your reader should have a clear understanding of the content of the page they are about to click.
You should aim to include a variety of natural keyword variations as well as natural language pointing to the target page. Spam detectors may flag the use of the same target keywords as you. It’s best to mix it up to improve context and usability for your users.
Search engine rankings can be negatively affected if you link to bad places or good places for bad reasons. It can make it appear that you are a spammy website. Instead, focus on adding value to the reader’s experience. This will help you write better content, and increase your SERPs.
You can increase the value of your articles by paying more attention to external links and embedding good practices into your workflow. This will help you reap the SEO benefits.
So are external links good for SEO? Yes! External links are a great way to improve your SEO and search engine ranking. However, they can be a pain to manage and keep track of. But if you use the tips in this post, you can build a successful external linking system that will benefit both your website and your SEO efforts. So don’t forget to include external links as part of your SEO strategy!