Outbound links are also known as external links, are when you place links from your website to a different site. There are several controversies regarding outbound links, the first one being that they lead people away from your website. However, one of the biggest things that had been said about outbound links is the fact that they are good for SEO.
Outbound links that we usually put on other sites are not relevant when it comes to SEO. When talking about backlinks there´s a lot of confusion, even up to this day. So, it’s a good idea to go back to basics from time to time. The main reason for people adding outbound links to higher authority sites is done with the intention that maybe Google can rank us in the same level as those sites.
However, during a chat with John Muller, more information was unveiled over this. He said that this kind of tactic has been something that Google has never considered to be a definitive ranking factor. He was explicit in stating that this has no relevance.
Why is the Outbound link strategy so popular then?
If this kind of technique does not matter at all for SEO, why are so many people using it?
After a long investigation, several sources found its origins back to 1998, to a paper that presented an algorithm for a search engine and how to optimize content for the functioning of the algorithm. The interesting part is that neither this paper nor the algorithm has ever been used by Google on their search engine.
SEO has changed a lot in the last 20 years. With that, it would logical to think that nobody would be using old strategies from the Mesozoic era of search engines. However, this outbound link thing… is still a thing!
We are still being obsessed over something that was suggested over 20 years ago. Even Google representatives are telling us that we should stop doing that. From an algorithmic point of view, outbound links have no use in SEO.
So, should I keep adding outbound links to my website?
Adding links to your website is not something that will harm you or something you need to be concerning when it comes to SEO performance. But when it comes to the user experience in your website, that’s a completely different story. Adding high relevant links can be helpful to the story you are telling. Also, you could link to other sources that are in your niche and are offering great value and are lesser-known.
One of the good parts of outbound links is that they help build trust in your content. Readers nowadays look for authoritative content, and having outbound links could be a good indicator that your content is well researched, valuable content not based just on opinions.
Also, outbound links can help you create relationships. In this era, networking plays a really important role in expanding your business. When you link to other experts, they might eventually link to you, or even better it can open for beneficial contributions.