Outbound Links: Are They Important for SEO?

Ed Pronley


November 24, 2021 (Updated: January 24, 2024)

People stand around and analyze a document.

External outbound links are a crucial factor in your content’s search engine optimization (SEO) and ranking. In fact, Databox conducted a study in 2019 where over 25% of SEO experts agreed external linking is one of the most important SEO factors. That means you want other domains and websites to link to your content so Google will think it’s high quality and helpful to searchers.

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But what’s the benefit of linking to websites that aren’t your own? Other brands do it, otherwise, external links wouldn’t be so important. However, there can be fear when linking to other domains in the middle of your content. After all, you don’t want your audience to get sidetracked and lose a potential sale. So, what exactly is the point of giving someone else an external link? Let’s find out.

What Is an Outbound Link?

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An outbound link is a link you put in your blogs, articles, and other content that leads to a different website or domain. Once it takes someone away from your website, that link then becomes an external link for the other domain. That can help the domain’s SEO strategy and improve its search ranking.

Let’s look at an example. Say your company sells shoes. You write a blog about a new pair of boots that a supplier, Boots Emporium, just released. You decide to link to Boots Emporium’s blog with the new style announcement and all the benefits for customers. This link is an outbound link on your own blog because it’s directing your readers away from your content and website. However, for Boots Emporium, it’s considered an external link because it’s an outside domain linking to their content, improving its ranking.

When Should You Use Outbound Links?

Outbound links are important and helpful when you’re stating a fact, sharing a statistic, or you’re citing a source. In the above example, it was helpful for the shoe store to link to Boots Emporium. Even though the shoe store’s blog would probably list a lot of the same information as Boots Emporium’s blog, it shows readers where they got their information. You can say the same about outbound links for facts and statistics.

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If you list a percentage or hard fact in your blog, it’s important to show where you learned the information. It’s helpful for citing sources and avoiding plagiarism, but it’s also useful to your readers. They might want to know that information and do more research about it. Your link provides an easy way for them to do that, which reflects well on your brand and content.

Do Outbound Links Affect SEO?

This is a highly debated topic in the SEO community. The short answer is no, outbound links do not directly affect SEO, although following good content marketing practices like using good placement of outbound links can improve your page’s authority. Regardless, outbound links still provide benefits to your content and its quality. Two of the major benefits that outbound links give you include:

Developing Authority

Outbound links help you establish authority in your industry. When readers see that you’re sharing helpful information, it can increase their trust and loyalty in your brand. That means they’re more likely to come back to your content for information and help in the future. Also, when you link to authoritative domains, it allows you to show an understanding of the industry and that you know where to find the best facts and statistics.

Building Relationships

When you link to other websites, it’s possible you can build ongoing relationships with them. By linking to their site, you’re helping them develop their SEO and search engine ranking. If they aren’t a direct competitor, consider reaching out to the brand to develop a partnership. If they can link more to your domain and content while you link to theirs, you can both improve your SEO and ranking to increase your organic traffic and audience outreach.

What’s The Most Important Factor in SEO?

This is another highly debated topic. Unfortunately, there’s no simple answer. From keyword research to link building, there’s a lot that goes into a strong SEO strategy. But remember that study from Databox we mentioned earlier? In that study, almost three-quarters of the SEO experts said the most important factor in SEO was content. They also unanimously agreed that content was never the least important. Essentially, by focusing on your content and its quality, you can improve your search engine ranking and develop a stronger SEO strategy.

But why not do both? Content marketing companies, like CopyPress, have the experts to help you create excellent written content while following practiced SEO guidelines. Whether you need a series of blogs or thoroughly researched white papers, we can help you develop content that’s primed and ready for Google’s search algorithm. Schedule a free call with us today to learn more about our services and how we can boost your content marketing campaign.

Author Image - Ed Pronley
Ed Pronley

CopyPress writer

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