All You Need To Know About External Links

Last Update: August 11, 2019

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

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


internal link


Join the Discussion
Write something…
Recent messages
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,
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.
AngelsBird Premium
That's where we aim for, I suppose! ;-)
Mike1942 Premium
Very good blog Robert and very valuable to know!
Robert-A Premium
Hello Mike and thank you for your comment.
Glad to help out in any way I can.
Have a nice day.
geraldkew Premium
I think you got it covered Robert, thanks!
Robert-A Premium
Thanks for taking the time to drop by Gerald.
Thank you for leaving a comment as well.
have a nice day.
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 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'.
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.
tclough Premium
Thanks for another really helpful blog Robert.
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.