External linking is the use of hyperlinks that point from one page to another webpage on a different website. These are different from internal links that link to pages within the same website. A good link strategy is important for both Search Engine Optimization [SEO] and user experience.
Internal links are links across web pages from the same domain. You essentially use internal links to help users and search engines better navigate your site. Whereas, external links are outbound links from your website to another, which add to your content with supporting information and provide positive trust signals.
External linking, along with internal linking and backlinks form part of your SEO link strategy. Here, external links pointing out from your site and internal links between your web pages can be categorised as on page SEO, while backlink building is considered more as off-page SEO.
The main types of external links include:
Follow and Nofollow links play a key part in external linking. While follow links give Google the go ahead to pass on link equity to the linked site, a nofollow external link will prevent Google from passing ranking signals to the linked page.
In simpler terms, a nofollow link means you do not want Google to relate that link to your site, and do not fully trust it. It also means that your external link is more for the user’s benefit than the search engine’s or the linked site’s.
You can use this by adding a nofollow attribute [rel=”nofollow”]. Dofollow links, on the other hand, are default links.
External linking is good for both SEO and user experience, since it provides context to both users and search engines, while also potentially helping you to rank better by linking to quality pages. There are 3 key benefits of external links:
If you’re linking your web page to high quality external links, it adds to your site’s credibility as well.
We already covered how external website links help provide related information and content sources to users.
With that in mind, putting up quality content and then linking externally to good content, improves your site’s trustworthiness in the eyes of both the user and search engine.
SEO wise, this concept is similar to link value which is passed across internal links, except here the external link’s quality may help your site.
Linked sites pass on link equity, or ‘link juice’ across each other. Different websites are assigned importance by Google’s PageRank algorithm, through the presence of backlinks. Link equity is the spreading of that authority across different websites through external link building.
Your money pages are the web pages you expect your conversions to come from. For an ecommerce store, this could be the category and product pages.
Since these pages are often the final leg of a customer’s journey, your goal should be to keep users on it until a purchase has been made. Including external links here may divert their attention to other websites and end up costing you your conversion rates.
Instead, consider limiting your external links to blog posts and other content heavy pages where these links can help without taking away from your sales revenue.
Link building is a tricky art, and can fall prey to link schemes. When working on your SEO strategy, make sure to stay away from those. They are planned attempts at improving your search engine rankings with links.
Many link schemes are against Google’s spam policies and can get you a penalty, which pulls your rankings down and is really bad for SEO. These could include:
If you already have external links added to your site, consider running a site audit to evaluate your existing links. An audit could help you:
Building external links is essential for a successful SEO strategy. It not only helps with on page SEO, but is also needed for a positive user experience. To have a transparent and quality external link strategy, consider reaching out to a professional SEO agency and get the rankings and organic traffic numbers you need.
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