After the last Penguin update, we are all looking forward to monitoring our backlinks and making our Link Building strategy as natural as possible so as not to earn ourselves an immediate penalty.
But it is not the only aspect that should concern you about your links.
Today I want to talk to you about a lesser-known SEO factor, but no less important for the positioning of your website.
These are the Outbound Links, that is, the links on your page that point to other websites.
But in this post, I want to go one step further.
I am going to explain what are the most common errors in outbound links and how you can avoid them.
Also, I will give you several tips to improve the quality of your outbound links and make your site gain authority and relevance.
What Benefits Do Outbound Links Have?
Many times, we focus on the links we receive from other sites.
Maybe because there are more professionals and bloggers who talk about backlinks and link generation, but we almost never pay attention to outbound links.
Surely you have already heard of a video or read in a blog that it is very important to link to external content.
Sharing information is precisely the essence of the Internet.
It is not natural that a page is not linked to and from other websites.
The advantages are many, but we could summarize them in two great benefits:
They can Make You Gain More and More Qualified Traffic
You may be thinking that placing links to other sites will cause you to lose visits.
Nothing is further from reality.
External content can be a good ally to complement and give more value to your own.
More complicated than getting visits is attracting qualified traffic, that is, users who are really interested in your content.
It is one of the challenges that all websites face.
What better way to do it than by offering quality content?
If your site gains a reputation and is perceived as a benchmark in your sector, your qualified visits will increase.
Another big problem that many SEOs have is getting users to come back.
Visitor who enters your site will greatly appreciate that you give them the possibility of expanding the information or consulting other sources, improving their user experience.
This will make it more likely that you will want to return in the future.
But if you have already convinced yourself that placing links is beneficial, you should know that it is not worth doing it in any way either.
These links must make sense, be placed in an appropriate context, and always deal with the same theme.
Later I will tell you 5 good practices so that your outbound links give you excellent results.
Outbound Links Affect SEO
This aspect is perhaps where there is more controversy in the SEO world.
Some claim that search engines tend to imitate people when they crawl a website.
They are increasingly capable of analyzing and understanding the semantics of the content.
And in this sense, the links placed within the text are interpreted as reinforcement signals.
So, if in a post that deals with fashion, you link to other websites and articles on this subject, you are giving more clues to the robots that your page is fashionable.
And indirectly it would improve the positioning of related keywords.
On the contrary, others think that this is not so relevant.
In fact, some SEOs deny that search engines are capable of understanding the semantics of the content.
Although, if they still do not, it is clear that progress is on that path.
In addition, the Outbound Links profile can also cause you to lose credibility in the eyes of Google and your users.
As we are going to see, linking to certain pages can have a very negative effect on the SEO of your website.
You may even earn a penalty.
10 Mistakes to Avoid in Your Outbound Link Strategy
It’s clear that outbound links are good for different reasons, but they can also be detrimental if not used well.
Here are the most common mistakes to avoid when using your outbound links:
1. Do not Abuse Outbound Links
We have just seen that they have a very positive effect on the positioning.
But, like any SEO factor, it is good in its fair measure.
There is no set limit for outgoing links, but it is not recommended to abuse them either.
The key is to maintain a good ratio between the outgoing and incoming links of your website.
It is quite natural to have more backlinks than links to other sites.
Of course, there are exceptions, such as in the case of listings or rankings, where it is normal to have a large number of outgoing links.
But, as a general rule, limit the number of these links to those that are really interesting for your users.
2. Control the Nofollow – Dofollow Relationship
As you would do with the websites that link to your site, you have to maintain a balance between outgoing no-follow and do-follow links.
Keep in mind that part of the authority of your page is transmitted through these links.
That’s why you should limit follow links.
One way to do this is to set links placed by users (for example, in comments) to be no-follow by default.
This way you will avoid having a huge amount of do-follow for which your page loses link juice.
This is already done automatically by the most used CMS, so if you use any of them, don’t worry.
But if your site has its own content manager or is made with custom code, you should pay attention to these types of links.
3. Do not Put Links in the Header or Footer
The location of these outgoing links within your content is quite important.
The most relevant links for your users should be clearly visible in the most appropriate parts of the web for their purpose.
So the related articles have to be between paragraphs or at the end of the page.
On the other hand, the header and footer are not good places to place outbound links, since they are not as visible and give the impression of not being important.
In addition, they are parts of the web that are usually replicated on each page, causing the links to multiply.
Reserve these places for internal linking with auxiliary pages, such as help, contact, or legal notice pages.
4. Avoid Using Over-Optimized Anchor Text
Although it seems that this is not going to harm you, over-optimizing keywords in your anchor text can also affect your positioning.
It is highly recommended that you include the most relevant keywords for the content, title, or brand in question in the anchor texts.
Combine them so you don’t always repeat the same ones.
5. Do not Link to Sites of Different Themes
Of course, linking to sites that are not on the same topic as you are highly suspicious.
As with backlinks, you can make Google think that your links are not natural.
Lately, we have seen many cases of penalties for linking to sites classified as spam.
It is difficult to draw the limit of what is considered the same theme.
In many cases, it is something very relative.
The best thing is that you look for a certain naturalness in your links and follow the practices that I recommend in the following section.
6. Track Broken Links
You should keep track of the outbound links you have on your site to identify and fix 404 errors.
It would be wise to track broken links, both incoming and outgoing, quite frequently (every 2-3 months, for example).
When you find a 404 error try to fix it.
If the destination URL has changed, modify it to point to the correct address.
If the page does not exist, delete the link.
Another option is to find another page with similar content that you can link to.
7. Check the Credibility of the Linked Content
On the other hand, it is good that you monitor the level of credibility of the sites to which you have linked.
It’s not as automatic as checking broken links and it takes more time, so you can do it less frequently.
To do this, you can use two types of measurements.
One of them is to monitor two metrics: the Domain Authority and the Page Authority.
You can measure both with the help of Mozbar or with Open Site Explorer.
Doing it once or twice a year is enough since the authority of a site does not usually vary much over time.
The other is to check from time to time that the content you link to is still fresh.
If it is old content and its author has not updated it, it is likely that it has lost value.
I recommend doing this check whenever you are going to edit a post to update its content.
8. Do not Put Junk Links
This is pretty obvious stuff.
When you link to a website, it is assumed that you are offering your users content that you consider valuable or that complements your own.
It is a way of saying “On this website, you will find valuable information” or “These are my sources”.
For example, if you have a marketing blog, placing a link to a betting website does not benefit you at all.
On the contrary, you can be very harmed if with these links you generate mistrust among your users.
9. Do not Link to Sites Penalized for Spam
As I said in the previous point, be careful with the sites you link to.
If you place a link to a site that has been penalized for spam, your positioning can be seriously affected.
You may receive a penalty for this.
To find out if a site has a high probability of being penalized for spam, you can use the Moz tools mentioned above.
10. Avoid Mass Linking
At this point, you will have understood that it is not about quantity but quality.
Putting links on all pages will not improve the positioning of your site.
It can even be counterproductive if a large part of these links is to the same domain.
Google likes that you link to sites of interest to your audience.
But these links have to make sense.
If they are not going to add value to the user, do not put them for putting.
And try to have a bit of variety in the domains your links point to.
5 Best Practices to Improve Your Outbound
It is normal that sometimes you do not know what links you can or cannot place on your site.
In order not to clutter your page with links, it is recommended that you follow some guidelines.
It is clear that each teacher has his booklet.
I personally always apply these good practices in my content to achieve naturalness in my links.
1. Link to Sources and References of Your Content
A practice that I follow very often in my content is to link to the source.
For example, if I name an interesting article or case study, I usually leave a link.
This way, my readers can access this information if they want.
And believe me when I tell you that it is something that is greatly appreciated.
Citing the source not only serves as an external linking strategy.
You also give more credibility to your content and greater value to the user.
2. Use Links in Citations
It’s another good way to link to external content.
It is also very positive to use links with definitions or clarifications.
In my posts, when I talk about a new or unknown concept for the majority, I like to put a link to a reference page (like Wikipedia) with the definition.
3. Place Contextualized Links
When we think about backlinks, it is always advisable that they are placed in a proper context.
This is the other side of the coin.
Now we are the ones who place a link to another website.
But we must apply the same principle.
My advice is that the links are within the content itself, in the context of the topic in question.
You can also place some of these links between paragraphs.
Another very good practice is to put a section of “links of interest” at the end, where you can recommend other content, your own or external.
4. Link to Other Bloggers in Your Sector
Whether you do Guest Blogging or not, it is highly recommended that you follow other referents in your same niche or sector and link to content that you consider useful.
This will make you gain credibility in front of your users.
In addition, it will allow you to maintain good relationships with other professionals in your sector.
We bloggers usually keep track of our backlinks.
And almost always we are curious to know who is linking us.
Surely in a short time, you will start receiving incoming links.
5. Put Links in Your Listings
If you create a comparison of products, a list of applications, or websites, it is an excellent idea to put links to them.
With this small detail, you will gain a lot in user experience, since you are given the opportunity to take a look at what you are describing with a single click.
In these cases, it is convenient that you pay close attention to the following links since you could be losing part of the authority of your site to others through your links.
In short, it is indisputable that all links are important, not only as an SEO factor but also so that your content has greater credibility with users and your site gains authority.
You must maintain a good profile of both backlinks and outbound links.
And neither neglect the internal linking of your website.
If you want more information, here you can read the results of an experiment carried out by the Reboot agency that shows that outbound links can affect the positioning of a web page.
I hope this article has helped you understand the importance of outbound links.
And, as always, I will be happy to answer your questions or suggestions in the comments.
Thanks for Reading.