PUBLISHED: JUNE 28, 2015 – ARTICLE: WHY AND HOW TO USE EXTERNAL LINKS
How to use external links is a question people email me about all the time. There are lots of different thoughts on how to use external links, most people do not like to include external links in their articles or posts to other websites as they feel they will loose their visitor when the external out bound link is clicked. Another thought is why give a site your link juice or a vote. One important factor that can get your site a Google penalty is if Google thinks you are selling links. So what should you do when it comes down to external links? Will they harm your site?
Should I link to sites with a lower page rank they my site?
Whats best do-follow external links or no-follow external links?
Should the external link open in the same page or should it open in a new page?
How many external links should I have on a page or post?
Will search engines penalize my site if I link to a spam site?
Should I have blog comments and allow out going links in the comment?
These are just a few questions that I have been asked to answer.
What Should I do?
The first thing you should do is some research on what Google says on how to use external links. After all if you take Google’s advice you should not get a Google penalty for your outbound links that you place on your site, as you are following what they want.
What Google Says:
Linking out: Often it’s just applying common sense.
Relevant outbound links can help your visitors.
- Provide your readers in-depth information about similar topics
- Offer readers your unique commentary on existing resources
Thoughtful outbound links can help your credibility.
- Make visitors want to come back for more analysis on future topics
- Build relationships with other domain experts
When it comes to the less-than-ideal practices of linking out, there shouldn’t be too many surprises, but we’ll go on record to avoid any confusion.
The bad: Unmonitored (especially user-generated) links and undisclosed paid advertising outbound links can reduce your site’s credibility.
- Including too many links on one page confuses visitors
- Hurts your credibility—turns off savvy visitors and reduces your authority with search engines. If you accept payment for outbound links, it’s best to rel=”nofollow” them or otherwise ensure that they don’t pass PageRank for search engines.
- Allows comment spam, which provides little benefit for users. Also, from a search engine perspective, comment spam can connect your site with bad neighborhoods instead of legitimate resources. Webmasters often add the nofollow attribute (
) to links that are user generated, such as spammable blog comments, unless the comments are responsibly reviewed and thus vouched for.
You may also like to check the below links out.
- Linking Out: Often It’s Just Applying Common Sense
- Link Schemes
- What Is rel=”nofollow”
- Webmaster Guidelines
- Linking In: Help Your Posts And Pages Get Found
What We Do
What do we do when it comes to using external links?
I do offer guest posts on how to create a website as long as the posts are about website design well written and longer than 500 words. The reason someone offers to write a guest post is to have a link either in the content of the post or in the Bio.
They look for high page rank sites with good authority that are the same topic and offer a do-follow link in the post. I used to offer one do-follow link if someone wrote a guest post but since I got hit with a Google penalty I have stopped.
Google reduced the PR5 on my site down to PR2 and my rankings dropped.
Google thought I was selling links for money even though I did not. I had to remove all the do-follow links on this site and replace them with no-follow links. What a mission. Then submit a reconsideration request to Google and wait.
About two weeks later all was good again and my site went back up to PR5 and my rankings started to increase again. Now I only offer no-follow links in guest posts.
Please if you offer do-follow links in guest posts be careful, my advice is stop. Its not worth it rather write your own articles or offer a no-follow link in the post.
Matt Cutts (of Google) tells us about guest posting.
Another way you can have out going links is to allow people to leave a comment on your post. I thought this was a great idea, it would give people the opportunity to express themselves about what was written. They could have there say so to speak.
The problem is spammers. Every day I would have at least 300 comments to approve. They write the biggest load of rubbish and think you are going to allow the comment. I don’t have the time to deal with these people and have closed comments.
If you allow comments on your site make sure the sites that you are linking to are the same content as your site. Also be careful about the anchor text you allow in the link. Make sure all links have the rel=”nofollow” and links should open in a new window.
See what Google says about keeping spam of your site.
Out-Going-Links In Your Content And Blog Posts
One of the best ways to try and rank your page for its keyword phrase is to use the keyword phrase in the page title, page description, headings and also have it a few times in the text. This will help Google to know what the page is about what search term it belongs to and where to place the page on its search engine. Having a few good quality backlinks pointing to the page from websites with the same topic as the the page will also help to boost the page in the search results.
Now if you do a search for the keyword phrase you are trying to rank the page for, find the top sites for that search term on Google and some where on your page link to one or two of those sites it will also help your page rank for that search term on Google.
In other words use inbound links and use external links to help Google place your page on its search engine for the keyword phrase you are using. Make sure you open the page in a new window and use the rel=”nofollow” to any external link.
See what others are saying.
Check Your Site For Broken Links
If you have take my advice on how to use external links then you will be linking to other sites. The problem is some sites may go down for what ever reason and you could have linked to them. This is bad for your visitors and search engine robots. Having broken links will damage your sites reputation. Check your complete site at least once a month for broken links, remove or replace any dead or broken links on your site once found.
Remove any broken external links quickly and easy with a broken link checker tool.
Its a good thing to have out going links from pages on your site as long as – When you add a link on to any page on your site always link to content that is relevant to the pages your linking out from.
This will also help to tell Google and other search engines what the page is about.
If you have written a page on website builders then you could do a search on Google for website builders and link to one of the top 3 sites on the first page.
Always open the link in a new window (target=”_blank”) and use the (rel=”nofollow”) .
<a href="http://www.yourlinkhere" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Keyword here</a>
Never sell links on your site for money, you will get busted by Google. If you are a web developer or SEO expert writing about how to use external links then please feel free to add this page link in your article. If you require any help to create a website please contact me.
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