Backlinks are said to be the foundation of the internet and have held it together since the beginning. Even today, SEOs consider external links as an essential ranking factor when it comes to Google’s ranking algorithm and this is what we will be exploring in this blog post.
What are External Links?
The link pointing from one domain to another is termed as an external link. Simply put, if a website links to your website, it is known as external linking. Likewise, if your site links to another website, this is also called external linking. When a hyperlink from a website links to your website, it is commonly known as an ‘inbound link’ or a ‘backlink’, and when you link to a different website, it is popularly known as an ‘outbound link.’
What is the Importance of External Links?
External linking plays an influential role in increasing your website’s ranking. These links are considered as a third-party vote of confidence by search engines, based on the simple idea that how people talk and recommend your website can say a lot about you. In fact, external linking has always been a crucial ranking factor since the launch of Google. Here are some important facts about external linking.
Increases the visibility and relevance of the website
Search engines value their users and always aim to show the most relevant results to their query. External links coming from websites of the same niche can help Google understand the relevance of your website content for a specific query and the degree of your popularity. This can boost your website’s ranking.
Adds value to user experience
By linking to another website, you can help users find some additional and relevant information that they are looking for. This can enhance the user experience and encourage them to revisit your website for more quality content in the future.
Increases backlinking opportunities
Linking out to other reliable sources on the web can help you get a backlink from them and this can build a natural linking environment. This is one of the best techniques to boost your ranking on various SERPs (search engine results pages).
What are the Types of External Links?
External links are broadly classified into two types
Dofollow links indicate to search engine crawlers to follow the link and pass link equity or link juice to the linked site. This can boost their rankings.
Nofollow links tell the crawlers not to follow the link and not to pass any link juice. This is done by adding a rel=’nofollow’ in the <a> tag.
What are the Best Practices in External Linking?
Always link to relevant pages
External linking is all about helping the search engine understand your website’s relevance for a particular query. You should only link to pages that are within the context of the topic that you are talking about.
Publish great content to get backlinks
The simplest and most natural way to earn backlinks is to create great content that can answer the user’s query. This will encourage others to link to your website.
Avoid link farms
You should refrain from the practice of two-way backlinking and linking to private blog networks. After the Penguin update, Google is devaluing any such backlinking.
Avoid excessive outgoing links
Having too many hyperlinks on a page can be annoying from the reader’s perspective. Try to link to fewer, relevant blogs only and pay attention to your on-page optimization.
What Factors Contribute to High-Quality External Linking?
Let us look at the factors that search engines like Google take into consideration while evaluating external linking:
- The credibility of the linking domain.
- Page popularity of the source.
- Relevancy of the content between the linked source and target page.
- Natural-language & keyword-rich anchor texts that do not seem forced or repetitive.
- The number of links on the source page.
- The number of root domains of the source page.
So, Do External Links Matter in SEO?
External links are a small yet significant factor in SEO and should be paid close attention. The community and rank-building activities related to external links should not be ignored whether you are creating a new website or already have an established one. External links are one of the toughest metrics to manipulate. Thus, it is one of the best ways for a search engine to determine your website’s reputation and boost your rankings.
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