An outbound link, also called an external link, points from your website to an external website. Outbound links are meant to drive users to additional sources of information on a particular topic. If there are links from other sites pointing to your website, that is referred to as an inbound link.
Outbound links are different from internal links because they point to another website entirely, whereas internal links drive users to another page on the same site. All websites contain outbound links, as they’re vital for ensuring users get all of the information they need.
We all know the benefits of gaining external links to your own website. It is one of the most important ranking factors because they’re considered a vote of confidence for your site. You can learn more about our point of view on link building here (that’s an internal link example!)
But does linking to other websites provide the same value for your site? Short answer: Yes! Here’s why:
At the end of the day, SEO is about providing a user with what they need. By adding outbound links to your page, you’re providing a user with resources to learn more about the topic they’re researching or interested in.
You’ll want to make sure the sites you’re linking to are of high quality, for example, news organizations, government organizations, or established content producers and blogs. Linking to spammy sites or resources that lack credibility will not be valuable to your page or the user, and could potentially get you penalized.
Not only this, but outbound links are basically a bibliography for your own content. Think of it like a paper you wrote in college. You’d get penalized if you didn’t reference your sources for your information. It’s the same with web content! For example, we referenced SEOPressor’s guide on outbound links when writing this.
Outbound links signal to Google that your page is in some way related to the pages linking to these third party domains, allowing search engines to begin connecting the dots between several sites.
It’s important to use proper anchor text in your outbound links, not only as a way to pass authority to other domains but also to further connect your pages with the topic of your page.
While not directly related to organic visibility, linking to other domains could encourage them to share your content on their own channels. For example, if you reference certain brands or influencers in your post and link to their sites, and then tag them in your own social posts containing your page, they may feel compelled to retweet or reshare your content for their audiences, further amplifying your content.
Use your discretion when it comes to outbound links. There is no right or wrong amount of outbound links to use. Rather, make sure the links, whether internal or external, are relevant and important to the content and user.
Now that you know the importance of outbound links, try to audit some of your own content to add them in where relevant and helpful!