All You Need To Know About External Links

Last Update: October 18, 2018

All You Need To Know About External Links

After publishing my previous blog on backlinks I received quite a few comments and PMs asking me about other links, namely External Links so I’ve put together this blog with information from various sources on the internet outlining this particular aspect of on-site seo.

External Links - Definition:

An external link is a hyperlink that points to another website on the internet, typically on another domain from the current website.

Your linking strategy should include what types of sites you will and will not link to as well as how many external links there should be on any given page. External links are important to web pages because they provide additional information and give your audience a breadth of resources to follow.

External links on your site become backlinks for the sites you link to. And many sites are more likely to link to you if you link to them first.

Also Known As an outbound link

External links are written using the anchor tag in HTML.

External links are those links that link outside of your domain to websites on the internet. Many web designers and content authors are reluctant to use them because they feel that they will harm their site in some ways such as, customers will leave the site and never come back or search engines will penalize them if linked to "bad neighborhoods".

Check To See If You’re Linked To A Bad Neighborhood

Search Google for links to that site. If there are none, chances are the site has been banned. In the Google search engine, type:

site: the URL

If no results are found, it's not a good idea to link to that site, as it is probably considered a bad neighborhood.

Increase Your Sites Credibility

Unless you’re a recognized as an expert on the topic you're writing about, chances are you got your information from somewhere else.

Using external links to provide more information and references is important to show that your site has credible information.

And a site with credible information is one that readers will want to come back to for more information in the future.

Don't forget, by linking to sites outside of your own, you are showing that you have done the research on the topic and know what you're talking about.

By linking to good sites with quality information, you increase your site's credibility.

Allowing your readers to post dozens or hundreds of links to your site will quickly turn off your readers and turn your site into a possible link farm which would get you penalized by search engines.

Link Farm Definition:

A link farm is a website set up with the sole purpose of increasing the link popularity of other sites by increasing the number of incoming links to those sites. Typically they are made up of long lists of unrelated links. Some link farms are created as networks of sites that contain numerous links to one another.

Nearly all search engines remove link farms from their directories when they find them.

It is not a good idea to link to a link farm if you rely at all on organic search for page views.

Organic Search Definition:

Most search engines offer two types of search results to their customers: paid results (typically at the top or on the side) and organic or natural results. While paid results can get your Web site to rank higher for a specific keyword phrase (because you've paid to be high in the results), most customers consider these results to be little better than advertising, and will often skip over them in favour of the natural or organic search results.

An organic search is a search that generates results that were not paid advertisements. Many customers feel that these results are a more accurate reflection of what they might want when searching for a specific phrase, because they are generated by popularity and common usage.

When you do search engine optimization (SEO) you are attempting to adjust the content of your Web pages to rank well in the organic search results.

Something else you should stay well clear of and that is undisclosed paid advertising. This can be very annoying to readers. Readers will soon realize what you're doing and be turned off by the practice. And other visitors will be just as annoyed when they click on them and discover not more information, but advertising.

It's best to add the rel="nofollow" attribute to all user generated and paid advertising links. This will ensure that you're not passing your page rank to those sites, and help reduce comment spam. And you should also disclose the links that are paid advertising. Many sites will do things like double-underline the Ads, or highlight them in some way. Then if your readers want to click on the Ads, they can, but they do so knowing that it's an Ad.

Search Engines Won't Penalize You for Good External Links

Good external links are links to relevant sites that provide additional information about the topic.

Don't Worry About the Page Rank of the Sites You Link To.

While it's true that if you link to a site that has a lower page rank than yours, you are lending them more credibility in the Google alghorithms. But if the site is high quality, that shouldn't matter.

Check Your Google PageRank

There’s a very useful tool you can find at PRlookup.com. The tool returns regular Google query results with one interesting addition – they also give the pagerank for every webpage.

If you're linking to content you believe your users will enjoy, then don't worry about the site's perceived page rank. Otherwise, consider outbound links as a common sense way to provide more value to your users, and not a complicated formula.

External Links Build Relationships & More Visitors

Many website owners use external links to connect to other sites and webmasters in their field. You see this a lot in blogs. Many bloggers link externally all the time. And the more sites they link to the more sites link to them. Plus, when you link to other sites, they will see your site in their referrers and that could start a business relationship or partnership between your company and theirs.

I personally use a lot of external links on my sites pages/posts and I recommend that you consider doing the same. You might be surprised at what opportunities it provides and how your site ranking improves because of it.

I have taken these links below from the internet for your perusal. You will find lots more info to help you understand about Page Rank, SEO Strategies, Links and yet more links etc etc.

I don’t expect anyone reading this to leave any more tips or advice because I have said it all really but please leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Ultimately, How You Use External Links is Up to You, but - You shouldn’t ever link to sites with a lower page rank than your own site - there is absolutely no credit to be gained.

Have a nice day everyone.

Robert Allan

Other Articles

How Many Links is Too Many for One Page?

How can you tell if a site is a link farm?

Rel nofollow - What does this mean?

95 SEO Tips and Tricks to Skyrocket Your Website's Search Engine Ranking

5 Old SEO Tricks You Should Stop Using Now

Some Other Recommendations

Linking Strategies - Plan How You Will Link to Other Sites (and Your Own)

Links: Creating Links, Using Links, Styling Links, Anchors, Hyperlinks and Hrefs

How to Add Links to Web Pages

backlink

internal link

anchor

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SylviaH1 Premium
Thank you, everyone, for the answer to this dilemma.
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Edi67 Premium
Thanks again for your continual brilliance displaying for us to learn from. Much blessings to you always Robert-A
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Robert-A Premium
Hi Edi and thank you for reading the blog and for your kind words.
Hope you went away with lots of tips and advice you will use in your own online efforts.
have a great Wednesday.
Robert
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FrankB44 Premium
Thank you, Robert. Your article is one of the most useful and informative I'v seen, and it is greatly needed and appreciated by newbies like me. Keep up the good work!
Frank
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Robert-A Premium
Hello Frank and glad to be of service.
This is quite an old blog but the information is evergreen so hope you went away with lots to implement in your own site(s).
Thank you for taking the time to read the blog and for your comment.
Have a great Wednesday and oh yes - A Happy New Year.
Robert
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SylviaH1 Premium
How can I bookmark this page for future research and info?
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Robert-A Premium
You use your Star at the top of your screen to bookmark as favorites. Robert
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DynamicDavid Premium
As well as Robert's excellent answer below, most internet web browsers have the ability to bookmark a webpage. In some of them anytime, try pressing the Control Key and D at the same time when on the webpage, then save the result somewhere logical.
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SylviaH1 Premium
Very detailed and I realize that it will help to lend credibility to my site. Thank you.
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Robert-A Premium
Hello Sylvia and thank you for reading my blog and for your comment.
Hope you took away lots of tips and advice.
Have a great Wednesday.
Robert
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skmorrow Premium
I am still confused by nofollow. I know there is a setting in my theme that I can check. Should I be checking this box, or not worry about it?
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Robert-A Premium
Hello Steve and thank you for taking the time to read this rather long blog.
I wouldn't worry too much about nofollow.
Its within your theme so that you can 'Hide' a post/page that you don't want the search engines to list/rank.
For example your privacy, disclosure, disclaimer, about me pages.

There are quite a few members who have a sitemap within their sites as well and this page is purely for the visitors to aid navigation within the site and has no relevance to ranking so why have it listed?

This info will help you understand it more -

https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2013/07/24/follow-nofollow-links

Enjoy your Wednesday and a happy new year.
Robert
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DynamicDavid Premium
If you are talking about a WP post or WP page, most of the time there is no need to worry about it. Ideally it should be checked for pages that are considered "part of the scenery" at a website and that are static and not unique.

For instance, your privacy page should have this checked. What is the point of a Search Engine following this? Loads of other websites have privacy pages.

For instance, your affiliate disclosure page should have this checked. What is the point of a Search Engine following this? Loads of other websites have affiliate disclosure pages.
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skmorrow Premium
Thank you for getting back to me.

I was actually getting this confused with pings/trackbacks. I understand the nofollow, there is a check box at the bottom of w WP that allows you to mark a page or post as nofollow.

I don't know if this is the appropriate platform, but what about Pings/trackbacks? Should these be checked or unchecked. I have read different views on the subject.

Thank you,
Steve
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Robert-A Premium
If you enable pingbacks on your site you will start to see automatic comments that consist of just a link distributed to, from, and between the pages and posts of your site.
Allowing Trackbacks and Pings is not a good idea coz a lot of the time they are either scams or links to sites that have a very low rank.
Robert
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skmorrow Premium
Okay, I will disable them. Thank you very much.
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Robert-A Premium
No probs and click the 'Like' word when you like the replies.
Gives me a boost and lets me know I'm giving the right info.
Robert
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ValerieJoy Premium
Thank you Robert for the information on External links. I like your words "Using external links to provide more information and references is important to show that your site has credible information." Those are my thoughts too, but nowhere else have I found similar that relate to my thinking.
Thanks again.
Valerie
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Robert-A Premium
Hi Valerie and long time no see as they say so thank you for reading my rather old blog (2015).
Though I have to say the information within the blog is still very relevant today.

Yes of course your site credibility is important.
It is your business and you want to make money from it so linking to information of value will increase that credibility.

Hope you are doing well and experiencing some success with your own site(s).
Have a great Wednesday and please come again.
I do blog at least twice a week.
Robert
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ValerieJoy Premium
Thank you Robert for your response. I didn't notice the blog was produced in 2015. Anyway, it was totally relevant to a blog I had just finished for one of my sites. I had been wondering if I was 'off key' so to speak, but your blog confirmed all was okay.

I will return again and look forward to reading your blogs.

It's night time here so I'm about to log off.
And I know it is a new day in your part of the world.

Enjoy your day.
Valerie
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Robert-A Premium
Glad to help out Valerie and good luck with your own blog.
I'm just about to go out for the day so catch you some other time.
Robert
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BooBish Premium
So one thing you said is that if you put external link to another website, then that makes it more likely the other website owner will put external link to your website, which then helps your own website ranking.

However, I'm wondering what if the other website owner does NOT add external link to your website in spite of you adding external link to their website? Would having an external link to their website still boost your own website, as long as their website has a higher page rank than your own site?
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Robert-A Premium
Correct Jean. It wont do your sites ranking any harm to link to sites with a higher rank than yours.
You can always check up and see if indeed there is a link back to your website.
Thank you for taking the time to read the blog and hope the other tips and advice have helped you as well.
Enjoy your Sunday and the week to come.
Robert Allan
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BooBish Premium
I understand it won't do harm to link to sites with higher rank than one's own, but would it do good for rankings (even if they don't link back to your website)?

Now I'm also wondering, Robert, does having an external link to a website that's of lower rank to one's own hurt one's own website ranking?

FYI, I plan to read some of your other posts on linking, but so far I've only read this one.
Reply
Robert-A Premium
Yes to the first and yes to the second as well.

First - It doesn't really matter if you link to a site with a higher ranking and they don't reciprocate.
But
You should always try to link to an authority site such as Wiki, Gov, Edu etc.

Second - There is nothing to be gained in linking to sites of a lower rank Jean.

One thing I would not do is buy links, simply because 9 times out of 10 they will be crap and probably from a link farm.

Hope alls clear and if not get back to me or as you say read some more of my blogs.
Robert
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BooBish Premium
Thanks. That clarifies it.

I'm looking for the answer to one more specific thing at the moment. I have an external link to another website on one of my posts that I added several months ago that I want to REMOVE. I assume it's totally safe to remove external links on one's own website whenever you want?

(The reason I question this, though it seems it's totally safe, is because I know there's some things that aren't safe to do to one's website, for example, one should never change the title/permalink of a post or page.)
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Robert-A Premium
Yes, the beauty of having your own website is that you are in control.
You no longer want to link to a site then by all means delete it.
yes you're right about Titles and Permalinks.

Here are 4 of my blogs you should peruse at your leisure.

lots of good tips and advice. This will keep you going for a wee while.

Get back to me if/when you get stuck.
Not tonight though as its time i was signing off.
Robert
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BooBish Premium
Okay, will do. Thank you, Robert.:-)
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Robert-A Premium
Good Night
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MelaniLukito Premium
I use a lot of relevant external links and that help my website a lot.
Thank you for all the useful links in your post.
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Robert-A Premium
Hello Melani. I haven't seen you around my blogs for a wee while so hope you are well and achieving some success here at WA.
Thank you for stopping by and reading my blog and of course for your comment.
Hope you are having a great Sunday.
To your success.
Robert
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Sam-K Premium
great article
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Robert-A Premium
Hello Sam and thank you for dropping by.
This blog is almost a year old so its nice to know people are still reading it.
I have a tool if you are at all interested that really is the best one I've come across in all my years of marketing and its free although there is an upgrade that will set you back all of $ 20 US.

Drop me a PM.

I'm actually thinking of publishing an article about it and point the other members in its direction coz I'm sure they would jump at this chance to get leads for free (or 20 bucks).
Enjoy your Thursday.
Robert
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CMascari Premium
Thank you Robert! This is just the information I was looking for!
Reply
Robert-A Premium
Hello Cindy and you have found my blogs at last.
There are about 200 of them within WA and I cover all aspects of website content, SEO, Keywords etc etc etc.
Feel free to have a browse and if you get stuck then drop me a PM and I will do my best to point you in the right direction.
Of course you realize you have to 'Follow' me now lol.
Have an excellent Monday.
Robert
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SamiWilliams Premium
Robert,
Thanks for another way to look at out bound and back links.
There is lots to think about.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours,
Sami
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Robert-A Premium
Thanks for the comment Sami.
I will be busy as usual tomorrow.
Things to do and people to see as they say.
Have a great Christmas yourself.
Robert
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Dmorrow Premium
Thanks again Robert! I've bookmarked so I can study this out. I've only just done a back link so far, so this is another step forward.

Blessings,
Debby
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Robert-A Premium
Good for you as long as its not one step forward and two back you are on a winner.
Thank you for your comment Debby and have a great day.
Robert
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mjdimarco Premium
Thanks Robert. I tend to use outbound links generously.
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Robert-A Premium
Hello and thank you for your comment.
As I said in my blog I use lots of external/outbound links all the time.
Some are a wee bit hit and miss but the majority bear fruit.
Have a nice day.
Robert
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KatieMac Premium
Great information think my external links are decent just need to sort back links out
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Robert-A Premium
No probs Katie.
Just take your time and wait until you get back from your trip.
You're in for a wet and windy weekend though.
Thank you for your comment.
Robert
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KatieMac Premium
its dry for the moment see what it is like at 5am tomorrow lol
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Papi Premium
Delivered as promised.
Thank you Robert.
Plenty to chew on.
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Robert-A Premium
Hope it helps you out Papi and thank you for taking the time to come back.
Have a nice day.
Robert
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Papi Premium
For your "on the money" blogs- I make time:)
Always good stuff.
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Robert-A Premium
No Problemo
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RayAleksandr Premium
Hi Robert, I've bookmarked it too, lots of powerful information, thank you! It's good to know that there's no point linking to low ranked pages as well. Thanks again!
Ray
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Robert-A Premium
No probs Ray and I think I've answered another couple of your previous questions as well.
Thank you for your comment and have a nice day.
Robert
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Ericabried Premium
Plenty of great information to chew over Robert. Thanks very much!
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Robert-A Premium
No probs Erica and hope you can make full use of some of the info.
Every little bit helps.
Thank you for your comment and have a really nice day down there in SA.
Robert
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LargoDi Premium
Wow, Robert, lots of great information. I've bookmarked it so I can take time to read and digest it. Thanks a bunch! Diana
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Robert-A Premium
Hello Diana and thank you for leaving a comment.
Yes there is a lot of info but its all relevant to good SEO so use it as much as you can.
Have a nice day.
Robert
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AngelsBird Premium
Great Blog Robert I bookmarked it to check it now and then...
I created a blog concerning anchor links this week, it might be useful for some readers, so therefor I just paste the link here... Grtz,
Bert
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Robert-A Premium
Hello Bert and thank you for leaving your comment.
No probs about you leaving a link.
Every little piece of info helps in helping to build out the bigger picture.
Have a nice day.
Robert
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AngelsBird Premium
That's where we aim for, I suppose! ;-)
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Mike1942 Premium
Very good blog Robert and very valuable to know!
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Robert-A Premium
Hello Mike and thank you for your comment.
Glad to help out in any way I can.
Have a nice day.
Robert
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geraldkew Premium
I think you got it covered Robert, thanks!
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Robert-A Premium
Thanks for taking the time to drop by Gerald.
Thank you for leaving a comment as well.
have a nice day.
Robert
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krazykat Premium
Thank you Robert!

External links are indeed the ones I have been most unsure of.....and without external links, there would be no such thing as backlinks.

I understand it is good SEO to link to a high authority site, but my concern has been that my reader may never come back to my site. And I question too how bad it may affect bounce rate.

You said, "External links on your site become backlinks for the sites you link to. And many sites are more likely to link to you if you link to them first.".....I never thought of that, and you brought up other good points too....like actually building relationships with other sites.

This post eased my mind...Excellent. I will indeed peruse all of these 'external links' you put together for us.

You still 'rock'.
Val
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Robert-A Premium
Hello Val and good to know I'm still rocking along.
Thank you for your comment and gald I managed to point you in the right direction.
Lots of info to take in but just work your way through it.
Have a nice evening.
Robert
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tclough Premium
Thanks for another really helpful blog Robert.
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Robert-A Premium
Hello Tom and thank you for your comment.
Lots of info to take in but just work your way through the links and use the info accordingly.
Have a nice day.
Robert
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