Link Magic — The Value of Outbound Links to your Post

At GoggledeGoox we value reader comments. Occasionally one comes along that is the genuine opinion of its author. However, it flies in the face common best practices. Such is the case here, discuss­ing the value of the link. This then demands research 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 this question. Do links add value to either an individu­al blog post or the entire 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 get links from other people’s websites without paying them. For clarity you should under­stand that this discus­sion looks solely at the value of outbound links. These are links to other people’s work.

 

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. Make your link relev­ant! 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, links are about build­ing a community which involves your peers. If you wish to 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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