When it comes to effective link building as part of a SEO strategy, many are reluctant to link out from their own site. When linking out is done, it is all too often focused on the homepage of a website rather than a deep link to a more specific page.
The main reason for this is that many believe that linking to other sites is not a good thing, and that Ranking Power or results will be damaged. The reality of the situation is that linking out can actually do more good than harm, and as such, this should be a part of any SEO strategy.
If you were to ask any SEO in the industry how to implement an effective overall SEO strategy, they would tell you that you should optimise for the user rather than the Search Engines.
In terms of onsite SEO, what this means is that the focus should be on making your website more accessible to users, with easy to read content, effective Meta data, keyword rich headings and quality content. Ultimately, this will affect your conversion chances. Link building plays an important role in this strategy too, especially if it is done with the user in mind.
Link building with the user in mind
The main reason to get links to your website is to improve your rankings and grow your traffic. Linking from your website is a great way to add value to the experience of web users who visit your site. By linking to valuable, enticing and original supplemental information you enhance the user experience. This is essentially optimising for users rather than Search Engines, as the pros have advised.
Linking out may also add to your rankings, as you are in effect networking with other websites when you link out, which may well help you get a good link or two.
Major Search Engine algorithms consider a number of factors when deciding on a link value. You may be surprised to learn that the Search Engines reward you for linking out. Assuming that the link is relevant to your website and niche, and that it provides a valuable user experience, you will be rewarded despite the PR of the link, and who cares about Page Rank anymore anyway?
Link building myths and misconceptions
A great number of website owners assume that linking out will reduce your rankings and even decrease your website reputation. This is in fact a common myth, garnered from random web articles that do not fully understand the linking process.
You could see links as being the basis of the internet – comprising of a large network of data that is connected by the links on each website. Websites that promote accessibility and navigation of the internet can therefore enjoy increased rankings and reputation if they are linking to quality pages.
Yet another big myth when it comes to SEO strategies and linking is that users are given exit signs when linking out. However, there is a lot of evidence that proves otherwise. Sites such as Google, Twitter, Digg and Reddit are just some examples that allow users an exit strategy, but these users return time and time again.
A survey of online newspapers showed that websites that link out are more likely to perform better online than sites that do not link out. This shows that with a solid linking plan as part of your SEO strategy, you can achieve excellent results without the risk of losing ranking or reputation.
- Google’s take on Linking out: Often it’s just applying common sense
- The myths that you shouldn’t send people away from your site, because they will not come back, and the assumption that a page with outbound links has a low engagement are wrong! The Drudge Report sheds some light on the value of linking out.
- Rand Fishkin at SEOmoz discusses 5 reasons why you should link out to others from your site.