Anyone who’s anyone in the world of SEO optimisation services knows that high-quality inbound links are vital if a given brand is to do well in the search engine rankings. But what’s the situation for outbound links – in other words, the links that your site might make to other sites on the web?
There has been much disagreement even between SEO experts, on the significance – or otherwise – of outbound links for the linking site’s search engine performance.
A SparkToro survey of more than 1,500 SEO professionals in 2019, for instance, found that the “use of external links on the page” was actually considered to be the second least important ranking factor, only beaten to the bottom of the list by “keyword in the domain name”.
But then again, there are also plenty of providers of SEO optimisation services out there that would advise you to include an outbound link – like the one we’ve included above – on every page.
So, are outbound links worthwhile for boosting search engine rankings after all?
Outbound links do have a role to play
In a way, both of the aforementioned perspectives are right.
- Don’t pretend that outbound links carry the same SEO weighting as good-quality inbound links.
- Don’t ignore outbound links altogether.
There are quite a few reasons why this is the case, and it’s not just about nudging you up another one or two spots in the rankings for those keenly-contested keywords.
A well-chosen outbound link, after all, can enhance your own content’s usefulness and relevance to human users and search engines alike, by providing crucial extra context, data or information. Such a link can also show that your content is accurate, at the same time as reinforcing your message.
But of course, you’ll only really get those benefits from your outbound links if they are to reputable third-party sources. Indeed, Google’s Search Quality Raters also look for outbound links, so it isn’t only the ‘typical’ member of your target audience browsing your pages that you’ll need to impress.
Don’t risk being hit by penalties!
As is the case with other aspects of SEO, you’ll need to do outbound linking well if you are to see genuine search engine benefits from it.
It’s important to be especially careful because, while you won’t get a big rankings boost from Google simply for having a lot of outbound links scattered across your content, if you link to a lot of less-than-reputable sites, you could be putting yourself at risk of being penalised by the search engines.
The good news is that you can help to shield yourself from such penalties by using the right link attributes, such as ‘nofollow’, which is a tag that enables you to specifically tell Google you aren’t endorsing the page in question.
And of course, another way of protecting yourself against penalties – while enjoying the potential SEO benefits of outbound links – is to ensure you only ever link to trustworthy sources.
Give the PENNInk Productions team a call today
Would you appreciate further guidance and assistance with regard to such key SEO optimisation services as keyword management and analysis, on-site optimisation, increased regular blog post creation, link building and much more?
Edward Solomon has over 15 years’ experience in project management, technical education, computer networking, web design and development and is a Digital Business Consultant for PENNInk Productions Ltd.