What are external links and what is their importance? As explained by Moz:
“External Links are hyperlinks that point at (target) any domain other than the domain the link exists on (source)”
Simply, when you attach a hyperlink to a certain word or phrase and that word or phrase is clicked on, it directs the user to another external website; this is an external link. A perfect example of this is the “Moz” external link above. Now it is important to remember that external links can be both provided and received and how build your external links in both aspects.
Why are External Links Important?
External Links are connected to Google’s EAT (Expertise, Authority & Trustworthiness) which all play a key role in determining SEO performance. For instance, external links authority and trustworthiness are especially important. When Google presents its organic search results to a user, one characteristic in Google’s algorithm that determines how high or low your webpage is shown is its authority, both in terms of page and domain authority. Page authority is deemed high most people believe the information you provide on a topic is the best information possible, and hence there are many links to your webpage. Essentially saying that the majority of people trust the information you provide compared to other people.
There are a number of reasons why using external links to other sites can be beneficial:
- Linking to another external website on your page allows for your readers to easily navigate to pages that are related to your content (better user experience).
- They build your reputation and sygnal you as being trustworthy. Only linking to authoritative and trustworthy websites can aid in building your reputation with readers.
- In some cases, sites that you link to may be willing to reciprocate and link back to your website. Building on your domain and page authority.
However, one myth that it is important to dispel is that while external linking can play an important role in SEO, linking to other reliable and relevant websites will not harm your SEO Rank. But it is true that it is better for your SEO to receive backlinks than give them out, therefore it is important to know some industry best practices to secure those sweet external links.
1. Create an Infographic
- Everyone loves a good infographic as it effectively shows information in a way that is easy to digest for users.
- Creating an effective infographic that shows important and relevant information means it is more likely it will be used by others to demonstrate the same point.
- Once the infographic is used they will then cite you as the source and more than likely link to you as well (external link).
2. Become an Authority
- Building relationships with relevant and important stakeholders in your industry can be a highly valuable asset in relation to external links. Not only will you both be producing content that is highly relevant to one another, but it can also help to organically grow backlinks through relationships. For example, if you are constantly posting on social media or guest blogging on sites then you can build yourself up as an authority. Before long you can have companies linking to your articles or asking for you to write a piece for them.
3. Conduct an Original Study (Produce your own statistics)
- People generally look to use statistics to backup their arguments. If you can do your own study/research and provide trustworthy and relevant statistics then it not only adds weight to your own argument, but may also be utilised by other individuals and businesses within your industry. Adding more external links to your website.
- Note: The study needs to produce legitimate and viable information, producing false information just to get links can be highly damaging to your business and its SEO efforts.
4. Write New & Exciting Content
- While the most obvious of tips, it is also one of the hardest to effectively achieve. Everyone will look to link to you if you break a completely new and exciting piece of content, as it gets people talking and interested in the topic.
1. Link to Low Quality Websites
- Some people believe that as long as you have a high amount of links, then the authority of their website will increase. This is only partly correct, links are very important to page and domain authority and overall SEO performance however this is only when they are positive and trustworthy links that are coming from relevant websites. High spam pages with low authority can actually hurt your SEO performance, regardless of how many are provided.
2. Buy Links
- An example of a Black Hat SEO technique and as highlighted by Google, buying links is strictly prohibited under the Google Webmaster Guidelines.
- If the threat of Google sanctions isn’t enough in many cases links that are bought are low quality which, as previously discussed, can negatively impact SEO performance.
- Overlinking to the same people with a “link for a link” system can cause Google to take action against your website. On top of this, it will more likely harm your SEO performance especially in relation to your authority and trustworthiness as the majority of your links will be coming from the same source.
External link building is a highly effective tool for improving SEO performance, when utilised properly. To find out more about link building opportunities for your business, contact the team at Redline Digital today.