External links, also known as outbound links, are hyperlinks that lead visitors to a page or a resource of a different website. They are opposite of the internal links that link to different URLs within the same domain. The external links are used to provide the visitor with additional valuable information on a particular topic. They also allow websites to connect with each other, expanding their audience reach and potentially boosting traffic.
Why are external links important?
External links are important because they create a connection between websites, allowing website visitors to easily navigate from one website to another which provides a great value to the users to find more information regarding the topic. This can directly affect user experience, increase user engagement and time spent on your website.
They are also crucial for businesses to build a network of credible sources, as well as improving SEO and search engine rankings. Linking reputable websites can increase the credibility of your domain and establish authority within your niche. Search engines, such as Google, consider external links as one of the ranking factors which helps to evaluate the quality and relevance of your content. If a website has a higher number of external links from relevant and credible sources, search engines recognize it as a valuable resource and rank it higher in search results.
What makes an external link useful?
There are several factors that contribute to the usefulness of external links, including:
- Relevance – External links need to be relevant to the content of your website in order to be valuable for your website visitors. Irrelevant links can hurt your website performance on search engines, decrease its authority and user experience.
- Credibility – The credibility of the website linking to yours is essential and can have a great impact on your site’s authority. High-quality sources will help build your website’s credibility, whereas low-quality sources can damage it.
- Authority – The authority of the website linked to yours is also an important factor. Search engines look at the number and quality of external links to determine its authority on a particular topic. The higher the authority of the website, the more valuable the external link will be for your website. This will determine where your website appears in search engine result pages.
- Anchor text – Anchor text is the clickable text displayed in an external hyperlink. Using relevant and descriptive anchor text that accurately describes the content of the linked page helps search engines and users understand what the linked page is about.
- Up-to-date – Links from updated and frequently visited websites are more valuable. Search engines favor newer links and see them as a sign of a relevant and popular website. This is the reason why it is important to keep your external links up-to-date.
Internal and external links
Internal and external links have different functions and purposes on a website. Internal links direct visitors to other pages within the same domain, while external links direct visitors to other websites.
The main purpose of internal links is to help your visitors navigate through the website, help them find relevant content and information quickly, increase engagement on the website, and reduce the bounce rate. Providing high-quality internal links also helps search engine bots crawl and index your website more effectively.
On the other hand, external links provide additional resources beyond your website. By linking to credible external sources, your site gains access to their authority, credibility and relevance. External links bring more value to your content, and this helps your website reach better search engine rankings. They also provide a chance to expand your network of backlinks, which are links that point to your website from other sites.
Benefits of external linking
External links bring various benefits, including improving website authority and search engine rankings, enhancing user experience, driving traffic to your website, and increasing brand awareness. Let’s look into the specific benefits that external links can offer:
Increased web traffic
When external websites link to your website, it shows search engines that your content provides value and relevance. This causes them to make it easier to find your website when people search for the topics related to your content.
This also applies when someone shares your content on social media platforms, it effectively creates an external link back to your website. By creating interesting and relevant content that is widely shared and promoted by others can effectively drive more traffic to your website.
When search engine bots crawl your website, they evaluate the amount and the quality of the external links pointing to your website. It helps search engines determine the value and relevance of your content, which can ultimately increase your ranking in search result pages.
Another thing that can improve your SEO is having a diverse range of external links on your website. It shows search engines that your content is relevant to different target audiences which increases your visibility in search engines.
Backlinks are external links from other websites that point to your website. These backlinks that come from authoritative websites can signal to search engines that your website is credible and trustworthy. The more backlinks you have, the more likely it is that your website will rank high in search engine results pages.
Choosing relevant anchor text can also improve your website’s SEO. Anchor text is the clickable text that search engines use to determine what the linked page is about. By using relevant and descriptive anchor texts, you can help them understand the main topic of your content.
Increased brand awareness from referral traffic
People that click on an external link and are transferred to your website are known as referral traffic. Referral traffic from high-quality websites can be very beneficial because they can build brand awareness as the people coming from other sites are already most likely interested in the topic of your content. In order to attract referral traffic, you need to create content that provides some value to your audience. This content is then more likely to be shared and linked to by other websites.
Encourage visitors to share your content on social media. You can do so by including social sharing buttons on your website which will make it easier for visitors to share your content. This can increase your visibility and drive more referral traffic to your website. Don’t forget to keep track of your brand mentions on other websites, and follow up with the website owner or author if necessary. In this way, you can build relationships with other websites and discover new opportunities for referral traffic.
Monitoring referral traffic allows you to identify which websites are linking to your pages and how effective the traffic is at driving conversions. By analyzing this data, you can determine which websites are worth targeting and make necessary changes in your strategy.
The disadvantages of using external links
While external links have many advantages for your business and website, there are also some disadvantages you should take into consideration. To reduce potential disadvantages, you should carefully build your external link network, ensuring that the links you use are relevant, credible, and safe for your website’s reputation.
Potential risks to website reputation
Improper use of external links can pose a significant risk to your reputation and negatively impact your website’s search engine rankings. External links that are not relevant to your content or are low quality can hurt your website’s credibility and authority. This leads to a decline in traffic and user engagement.
You should also make sure to avoid link spamming, which is the process of adding a large number of irrelevant or low-quality external links to your content to manipulate your search engine rankings. These types of links can lead to spammy websites, which can damage your website’s image.
Another way external links can harm your website’s reputation is by using broken links. Broken links can cause frustration for website visitors, increase bounce rate, and decrease engagement. All these things combined can cause lower rankings on search engines.
Increased reliance on third-party sources
Relying on external sources for links can pose several different challenges and risks to your website’s SEO performance. One of the challenges is the inconsistency in the quality because while some external sources may provide high-quality links, others may provide the complete opposite, which can harm your website’s rankings and reputation.
The lack of control is another thing that you need to consider as a major downside when it comes to relying on external sources. You have limited control over the quality and reliability of the external links, which can lead to inconsistency, making it challenging to develop a consistent SEO strategy for your website. External sources can also be unpredictable in terms of availability. This means that a website that was once willing to link to your website may suddenly stop linking to your pages.
Time-consuming link acquisition and management
You may need to take time and reach out to different websites, develop partnerships, and create valuable content to encourage these websites to link to your website. The process requires research to identify relevant and authoritative websites with a good domain rating, traffic, and relevance to your niche. Outreach is also time-consuming because developing effective outreach is an ongoing process that requires a lot of effort.
Performing quality controls and audits is also important to avoid linking to spammy or irrelevant websites. Building relationships with website owners is also essential but it also requires a lot of time and patience. Therefore it is an ongoing effort, making it a long-term project that needs strategic planning and focus.
How to find external links?
Regardless of the method, it’s important to identify that your external links come from credible and relevant sources and that you don’t engage in link building practices that can harm your business. Here are some ways to find external links for your website:
Use the SEO tool to find links opportunities
One method that can help you identify link opportunities is using SEO tools such as Ahrefs, SEMrush, or Moz. These tools can save you a lot of time and they can be used to perform a backlink analysis of your website but also your competitors’ websites. By finding websites that link to your competitors, you can discover new websites that may be interested in linking to your website as well.
Additionally, these SEO tools are able to assess if a link is trustworthy, see the number of keywords rankings of a certain website, see the amount of backlinks your content gets, help you understand the trends within your industry, identify broken links and opportunities, and much more.
Use effective link-building strategies
Guest blogging is a popular strategy where you write a blog post for another website and include a link back to your website within the content. When using this strategy, make sure you create a unique content that is highly relevant, authoritative, and attractive for your target audience. By doing so, you can get higher rankings, increase traffic to your website, and get quality leads.
Using social media is also a great way to easily boost engagement and spread awareness about your brand and website. You need to become more active by sharing posts, images, videos, updates, commenting on other people’s posts, or reacting to other users. All these efforts can have a positive impact on your networking and therefore finding opportunities for external link building.
The broken link strategy is another popular strategy and it may be the best way if you’re too busy to write content. So how does the broken link strategy work? It is quite simple. You just need to find pages with links that no longer work and suggest replacing the broken link with a similar link connected to content on your own website.
Outsource your link building
Outsourced link building is a popular business strategy where you hire another company to develop a link building process for you. One advantage of outsourcing link building is the efficiency that comes with outsourcing. By outsourcing the link building process, website owners can reduce the time and resources dedicated to external link building, allowing them to allocate the time to other areas of business that need attention.
Scalability is something that can also be considered as an advantage of outsourcing. Whether you want to acquire a small or a large number of high-quality links, outsourcing companies have the capacity to handle the volume of work that is required to achieve your requirements and goals. It is a flexible way to adjust the volume of work needed and make necessary changes in the strategy to adapt to the evolving SEO requirements.
Professionalism can be another benefit of outsourcing because outsourcing companies usually have dedicated teams who specialize in link building. These teams have extensive experience and are equipped with tools to make sure that the links are high-quality, relevant, and authoritative.
Advantages of automating external linking with an SEO plugin
By automating the process of external linking with an SEO plugin, you can save time, ensure consistency, improve your website’s SEO, reduce errors, and enhance the user experience. These plugins automatically add high-quality external links to your content, which increases the relevance and authority of your pages, and provides your visitors with valuable resources.
URLsLab is a WordPress plugin that offers a Links manager module which allows you to optimize your website’s internal and external linking structure, and it can help you identify which pages should link to other pages.
Time-efficient link management
Time-efficient link management is a significant advantage of using an automated external linking solution for your website. With an automated external linking, you can quickly and easily manage all your external links without the need for manually adding and updating external links. An automated external linking can save you valuable time by automatically adding external links to your content based on different criteria, such as keywords or categories.
Additionally, an SEO plugin allows you to manage your external links from one central location, simplifying your workflow and making it easier to add, update, or remove external links as necessary. By streamlining your link management process, you can dedicate your time on creating high-quality content and building other aspects of your business.
Optimized link placement and selection
Automating the external linking process can optimize the placement and selection of external links for maximum impact, better results, and it gives you more control over your external links. With an external linking automation, you can set different criteria that determine which external links are relevant and should be added to your content. You can set the SEO plugin to automatically add a link to a specific website when a specific keyword or phrase is mentioned in your content. By doing this, you make sure that the links that are added to your content are relevant to your audience.
You can also customize the anchor text and link position to ensure that your website visitors have the best user experience. You can set the external links to open in a new tab or window which prevents visitors from leaving your website and losing their engagement. You can also customize the anchor text to provide a clear description of the link’s destination website, which improves the user experience and helps search engines understand the context of your content.
Enhanced website authority tracking
External linking can help to track and monitor the website authority by providing insights into the number and quality of links pointing to your website. Website authority is an important factor in search engine optimization (SEO) that reflects the relevance and trustworthiness of your website. By using an SEO plugin, you can keep track of all external links that are pointing to your website, which can help you identify areas of improvement and opportunities for link building.
With this plugin, you can streamline the process of analyzing your website’s link profile and monitor the quality and authority of your external links over time. This will allow you to identify changes in the quantity or quality of your website’s backlinks so that you can take action and make changes to keep your website’s authority and reputation.
The SEO plugins can provide advanced analytics and metrics, such as the number of link clicks, bounce rate, or conversion rate, which can help you assess the effectiveness of your external linking strategies. This data can help you make necessary changes and therefore achieve better results over time.,
What are external links?
External links, also known as outbound links, are links that point from one website to another website. They are used to connect two or more websites and can be helpful for providing additional resources to the readers, building credibility and trust, and improving search engine rankings.
How do I find external links to my website?
To find external links to your website, you can use backlink analysis tools or different SEO tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush, Moz, or Google Search Console. These tools will help you monitor the quality and relevance of external links in order to improve your website’s authority and reputation on search engines.
Can external links hurt a website?
External links typically don’t hurt a website. However, in case the external links are from low-quality websites, they can have a negative impact on your website’s credibility and reputation. Search engines can view these external links as a violation of their guidelines and lower your search engine rankings or even completely remove your website from the search results. Additionally, if the external links point to a page that is irrelevant or no longer exist, it can negatively affect your user experience and lead to high bounce rates.
What makes a good external link?
A good external link should be relevant to the content on your page, come from a reliable and authoritative website, and provide additional value to your website visitors. A high-quality external link can improve your website’s credibility, reputation, and search engine rankings.
What is a referring domain?
A referring domain is an external site that contains an external link that is pointing to your website. Simply put, the referring domain is the website domain that “refers” to your website through an external link.
Internal linking is crucial for SEO and user experience. Using descriptive anchor text, strategic use of dofollow/nofollow, and linking to older and newer content can boost SEO performance. Automating internal linking with an SEO plugin streamlines website structure and navigation, leading to better user experience and improved SEO outcomes. Internal links aid search engines in understanding site structure and content, ultimately enhancing website visibility and user engagement.
Sitewide links are important for user experience and SEO, but should be used strategically to avoid being labeled as spam. URLs are crucial for navigation, SEO, and user experience, and should be user-friendly, SEO optimized, and secure. Backlinks play a vital role in boosting website visibility and credibility. They provide referral traffic and enhance SEO rankings. There are different types of backlinks, such as dofollow and nofollow, internal and external. To gain backlinks, create quality content, engage in guest blogging, and utilize social media. Effective backlink management is crucial for website success.
Link building is a vital SEO strategy to boost website traffic and visibility. It involves obtaining backlinks from other sites to enhance credibility and search engine rankings. Different types and examples of link building, along with handy tips, are discussed to emphasize the importance of quality over quantity.
Dofollow links are essential for SEO, transferring link juice and increasing website visibility. They come in organic, manual, and self-created types. Prioritize quality over quantity and ensure relevance when building a link profile. Dofollow links are a guiding light for search engines, leading to improved website traffic and search engine rankings.