External Links

What Is An External Link In SEO?

An external link is a connection to a page on a different domain than the one it is published on. The domain it is not part of is the host’s. When discussing search engine optimization (SEO), “external links” often refer to inbound links that originate on other sites and lead back to your own. These ‘external links’ or backlinks are evaluated based on their quantity, quality, and relevance to your page’s topic.

When a link on your site navigates away from your domain and into another one, it is called an outbound link. 

A link to a website not hosted on the same server as the one the link originates from is considered an external link. Search engines consider external links more significant than internal links since they are seen as external votes of confidence/popularity on a web page.

Why Are External Links Important in SEO?

When done properly, linking to other websites has several advantages:

1. Popularity

According to Yahoo! search experts, traffic is a “messy” number, whereas external links are both more steady and easier to assess. This is because traffic data is hidden away in inaccessible server logs, whereas external links may be seen and archived by anybody.

This is one of many reasons why inbound links are a reliable indicator of a page’s overall popularity. The best results for a particular search query are determined by combining this statistic (comparable to the toolbar PageRank) with relevance metrics.

2. Having external links increases your trustworthiness

Your website’s reputation will increase when you supplement your material with connections to other reputable websites related to your topic. Your website’s credibility will increase due to the external links you give to your viewers.

Similar to how you would reference sources in a bibliography for a research paper, using external links demonstrates that you have generated your material after doing a thorough study.

3. Relevancy

Search engines benefit greatly from the contextual information provided by links. Humans (rather than algorithms) often craft the anchor text used in links, which accurately reflects the topic of the linked-to website. Search engines benefit greatly from the short term (like “best aircraft article”) or the URL of the target page (like “domain cited in a link”).

Links often reference related articles. This facilitates the development of Internet knowledge centers that search engines may utilize to verify the significance of certain online content.

4. SEO is boosted by gaining external links

The quality and relevance of your pages may be evaluated in part by the external links you provide. Search engines will give your material a better ranking if it is good quality and linked to other good-quality content. One method Google may determine the subject matter of your website is via the external links you provide.

How to optimize external links for SEO? (best practices)

Optimizing external links for SEO involves implementing best practices to ensure that the links on your website provide value to search engines and users. Here are some guidelines to follow:

    • Link to reputable and authoritative websites: When linking to external websites, choose trustworthy and reputable sources that provide valuable and relevant information. Linking to traditional sites can improve your website’s credibility and SEO.
    • Use descriptive anchor text: Similar to internal links, use descriptive text that accurately describes the linked content. This enables search engines to understand the relevance of the external page and provides context to users. Avoid using generic phrases like “click here.”
    • Open external links in a new tab: Configure external links in a new browser window or tab. This permits users to effortlessly navigate your site after exploring the external content. Additionally, it helps maintain user engagement on your website, reducing the likelihood of them leaving and increasing their chances of returning.
    • Use rel=”nofollow” when appropriate: Consider using the rel=”nofollow” attribute for external links you don’t endorse or vouch for. This tells search engines not to pass link equity or influence to the linked site. Nofollow links are used for user-generated content, advertisements, or untrusted sources.
    • Vary your external link sources: Aim to include a diverse range of external link sources. Linking to reputable websites within your niche demonstrates to search engines that you provide comprehensive and valuable information to your visitors. Avoid excessive reliance on a single source or overlinking.
    • Check for broken or redirected links: Regularly review your external links to ensure they are still functional. Broken links can negatively affect user experience and SEO. Use tools or plugins to scan your website for broken links and fix them promptly. Similarly, be cautious of linking to frequently redirected pages, as excessive redirects can impact SEO.
    • Provide context and value to users: When linking to external content, briefly describe or explain why the link is relevant and valuable to your users. This helps them understand why they should click on the link and encourages engagement. Adding context also helps search engines better understand the relationship between the linked pages.
    • Monitor and analyze external link performance: Use analytics tools to track the performance of your external links. Monitor metrics such as click-through rates, bounce rates, and conversions to assess the effectiveness of the linked content. This data can help you identify the most valuable external links to your users and make any necessary adjustments.
Related SEO glossary terms
301 Redirects Guest Blogging
302-redirect H1 tags
404-page Impressions Ranking Positions
Alt tag Indexing
Anchor text Keyword Clustering
Backlinks Keyword Difficulty
Black hat SEO Meta Description
Bounce Rate Meta Tags
Breadcrumb Navigation No follow Link
Canonical Tag Offpage SEO
Content Hub On Page SEO
Core algorithm updates Orphan Pages
Core Algorithm Updates Page Title
Core Web Vitals PageRank
Crawl Budget Robots.txt
CTR Schema Markup
Do Follow Link Search Engine
Domain rating Search intent
Duplicate page Search volume
External Links SERP
Google Knowledge Graph Sitemap
Google Knowledge Panel Technical SEO
Google Search Console Topic Authority
Google Search Console URL Canonicalization
Google Webmaster Guidelines Web crawler
  Website traffic