Link Magic — The Value of Outbound Links to your Post

At Gog­glede­Goox I place a lot of impor­tance of the val­ue of a com­ment and occa­sion­al­ly one comes along that is the gen­uine opin­ion of its author, but flies in the face com­mon best prac­tices. this then calls for some research to be per­formed to clar­i­fy the situation.

Search engines no longer place val­ues on links like they did — this hasn’t been true since about 2003.” from a com­ment on The Pur­pose of Reblog­ging

This caused me to re-inves­ti­gate the whole ques­tion of whether links add val­ue to either an indi­vid­ual blog post or the whole site. Find­ing a prac­ti­cal answer to this ques­tion is impor­tant because there are mil­lions of posts cre­at­ed on blogs and gen­er­al writ­ing web­sites each and every day. First let’s be clear for any web­site there are three types of pos­si­ble links:

  1. Inter­nal links, cross ref­er­enc­ing to anoth­er part of the website.
  2. Out­bound links, point­ing to pages on oth­er websites.
  3. Inbound links, where oth­er peo­ple or organ­i­sa­tions val­ue our work and pro­vide a link to our post.

Accord­ing to SEO expert MOZ “Top SEOs agree that get­ting exter­nal links is the sin­gle most impor­tant objec­tive for attain­ing high rank­ings.” I agree, but the chal­lenge is how we obtain a large num­ber of links from oth­er people’s web­sites with­out pay­ing them. For clar­i­ty you should under­stand that the pur­pose of this dis­cus­sion is lim­it­ed to look­ing at the val­ue of out­bound links.

The View of Some Experts

Click here Royalty Free stock Image from Dreamstime        Accord­ing to ProBlog­ger links improve your SEO, Usabil­i­ty and Pan­da Scores and “the best web­sites will link out to high qual­i­ty sources for their arti­cles and it’s great for SEO and web­site rank­ings. While incom­ing links are more impor­tant (from a rank­ing point of view) out­bound links, to valu­able con­tent, is good for your read­ers and that’s what gets reward­ed long term. Too many blogs are scared of link­ing out in order to pre­serve their own Page Rank but they’re actu­al­ly miss­ing out on the oth­er rewards.”

Shout me loud says “Out­bound links give search engines a clear idea about your blog because of rel­e­vant links”.

MOZ says “Exter­nal links are the most impor­tant source of rank­ing pow­er” indeed there are 5 rea­sons cit­ed for using such links:

  1. It encour­ages pos­i­tive par­tic­i­pa­tion and contribution.
  2. Out­bound links pro­vide an incen­tive to link to your site.
  3. Links are reward­ed by Search Engines.
  4. It makes your site a valu­able resource.
  5. The out­bound link gen­er­ates trace­able traffic.

Problog­ger pro­vides 6 rea­sons you should link to oth­er sites from your blog:

  1. Pro­vide resources for your readers.
  2. To cre­ate a ‘top list’ or set of best resources.
  3. Give cred­it for research or facts.
  4. To link to inter­views or quotes from experts.
  5. For charts or data.
  6. Improv­ing your SEO, usabil­i­ty, and Pan­da score.

Both of these experts have pro­vid­ed very dif­fer­ent rea­sons for cre­at­ing out­bound links and I believe all of them to be valid.

The Google Algorithm

The Google Algorithm by searchengineland.com

It is a chal­lenge track­ing the lat­est search rules as they change hun­dreds of times dur­ing the course of any year, but the major­i­ty of these tweaks are very minor indeed and sim­ply cor­rect minor flaws that have become evi­dent. There are occa­sion­al major changes, such as Pan­da or Pen­guin, and at the end of 2015 Google intro­duced a new AI sys­tem called RankBrain whose goal was to “pro­vide more rel­e­vant search results”.

The point is that how search engines gen­er­ates results is an ever chang­ing cir­cle, so we should be aware that how they func­tion does changes from time to time, but most SEO experts will agree that it is not pos­si­ble to keep up with this ever chang­ing rule-set, but there are some impor­tant aspects to remem­ber. Google loves its job of map­ping the web as a part of pro­vid­ing search results and if you think for one sec­ond about this chal­lenge then the links used on any page pro­vide a clue as to what infor­ma­tion the writer con­sid­ers rel­e­vant and will ulti­mate­ly help the task of map­ping the web.

The Blogger’s Battle

Embattled by Lidwien CC0 Public Domain from PixabayThe links used on each new­ly pub­lished page helps Google (and oth­er search engines) know what that post or arti­cle is like­ly about, it if a foun­da­tion for the index­ing process, the val­ue of pro­vid­ing out­bound links are not about writ­ing style, inspi­ra­tion, telling the sto­ry, or cre­ative­ness, they pro­vide some­thing more, they are part of link­ing the web togeth­er. Blog­gers have a con­stant bat­tle with search engines about vis­i­bil­i­ty, yet the major­i­ty of blog­gers do not have the cor­po­rate resources that many web page builders have, they do not have the mon­ey to engage SEO experts to pick apart and improve their pages from a search engine vis­i­bil­i­ty per­spec­tive, they instead guess which are the most rel­e­vant key­words on their page.

Hav­ing out­bound links to exter­nal pages on a high per­cent­age of your pages will make your site more attrac­tive to the search engines because they know you will pro­vide links to explore and analyse (a part of their core func­tion­al­i­ty). The curi­ous effect is that as your site grows search engines will greater under­stand the ben­e­fits your site pro­vides, which in turn aids your sites pop­u­lar­i­ty over the longer term.

In Conclusion

I have been unable to find any experts that agree with the propo­si­tion that links are no longer rel­e­vant for rank­ing of pages on search engines. It is true that links must always be rel­e­vant, but in my view the rea­sons for pro­vid­ing out­bound exter­nal links in your work will:

  • Pro­vide val­ue for your read­ers (it shows you have per­formed your research).
  • Give cred­it for research or facts you have used (iden­ti­fy the author).
  • Encour­age participation.
  • Show that you are a seri­ous resource for infor­ma­tion (the prin­ci­ple being that if you quote oth­ers, they may choose to quote you).
  • As an aid to your search key­words and improve ranking.

Over­all, it must be said that links are about build­ing a com­mu­ni­ty which involves your peers, which is also one of the pur­pos­es of reblog­ging. If you wish yo be tak­en seri­ous­ly as a blog writer then adding links to your work is essential.

 

 

Buy Peter B. Giblett a cof­fee as a thank you for dis­cussing the needs of links to enhance your blog posts. All images used here come from roy­al­ty free or pub­lic domain image col­lec­tions, such as Pixabay.

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One Reply to “Link Magic — The Value of Outbound Links to your Post”

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