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Should you do outbound link to improve your SEO?

When people our SEO industry talk about linking, it’s typically about inbound linking (1-Way Link, 2-Ways Link, 3-Ways Link, 4-Ways Link, Link Wheel, Pyramid Link, etc). After all, inbound links pointing to your money site (website) are what establishes trust with the major search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing.

SEO Link Building Techniques

A website that naturally/organically grows an impressive inbound link portfolio from relevant sources over time is going to perform much better than a website that has very few inbound links.

But what about outbound linking? Should you link out to relevant websites for SEO purposes? The simple answer is no.

There is nothing wrong with outbound linking from your website, but only if these outbound links serve a purpose. Think about your typical website visitor. Would this link benefit them in some way? If there are no direct benefits to the visitor and you are only linking out for the purpose of the search engine spiders, consider removing the link.

Remember, when it comes to your website it’s all about usability once a visitor lands on your site. You want them to convert in some way. Whether you want them to purchase your products, fill out a contact form, call your office, or visit your physical shop. All content on your website should in some way lead the visitor down this path to conversion. If your website is filled with outbound links, it could cause some confusion and even make the website seem cluttered.

Outbound links can also do a disservice to the success of your website because including them means that you are essentially promoting another web property. If a visitor clicks on an external link from your site they are leaving your site. There is no guarantee that they will return. Maybe they’ll find something that they are more interested in on the other site or maybe they’ll just run out of time or forget where they started. Including outbound links is risky since you want to keep visitors on your site for as long as possible.

Another issue with external links is that you don’t own the sites that you are linking to and therefore aren’t tuned in to any changes that may be made. For example, you may initially link to what you think is a good resource on a particular topic, but then the website owner of that site changes the content and it’s no longer related. Unless you are checking all of your external links daily (and who has time to do that?) you could be sending a visitor to a completely irrelevant page. Worst, a page that no longer exists.

External linking isn’t all bad, but it’s just a tactic that should be used in moderation. Think about the visitor experience. If a link is really going to help them out, it’s OK to keep it. Just don’t do it for SEO purposes only.