What Is an External Link and Do They Help SEO?

What Is an External Link, And Do They Help SEO? 3

While creating content, it is a common phenomenon to refer to different sources for gaining a complete subject understanding. No matter whatever topic or field is addressed, it is significant to cite the information by quoting established figures or from the research studies. In this scenario, the role of external links comes into play.

But the real question is when it is required for external linking. How do you decide if the source is credible or not? Can outbound links negatively influence the rankings? What is the total number of outbound links you can place throughout the entire content?

To find out the answer to all these questions, you have to go through this article. We will help you in taking your business SEO to a higher level by sharing the best practices for external linking.

What is an External Link?

An external link is a hyperlink pointing towards the target or any domain other than the current domain where the link persists and is called a source. In other words, an external or an outbound link assists the users and the search engines in understanding the niche and topic of a website.

It also offers additional resources and value. External links can also assist in boosting the reputation and ranking of the website if they are from relevant and authoritative sources. An external link is the exact opposite of an internal link, where the website links the URLs present in the same domain. External links direct the visitors to a website apart from its own. 

Why Should You Use an External Link?

Links are one of the two aspects that are necessary for page ranking in the top search engine like Google. External links help in improving the ranking by creating a high domain or link authority. Besides these, it is also important to use external links for a website due to the following reasons.

1. Improved organic traffic

External links can assist in increasing the organic web traffic in the below ways.

  • Whenever a reader goes through the article and clicks on the link to a page to learn more
  • External links send a good signal to the search engines to tell them that your website is worth indexing and valuable. It will result in a higher ranking and ultimately will see the changes in the SERP ranking. 
  • Offering better user experience for the visitors by providing related and original content

2. Improved brand awareness from the referral traffic

External links expose the brand to a newer and larger audience, which assists in sending referral traffic to a website. It assists the brand in improving brand awareness and driving high traffic to the website. Getting links from relevant and trustworthy websites to the related content also improves the website’s credibility. 

3. Enhanced SEO

Search engines consider the link’s quality and number to your site. By creating high-quality link equity from reputed websites, you can improve your site’s SEO and rank at the top of the SERPs. Whenever you create outbound links to high-quality web pages, search engines consider it as a good content creation sign that they want to share by ranking it. External links also offer higher value to the readers by providing additional sources and well-researched content to reference in the research.

Thus, do you want to improve your site’s SEO?

Create an anchor text to another higher page rank website to impress the readers and thus Google.

4. Connection and networking opportunities

Creating and writing guest posts and linking to other websites is one of the best ways to remain connected and make new connections within the niche. External links from and to niche websites are vital.

For instance, if you have a food website and you only get backlinks from travel websites, then search engines like Google will never trust you as a credible source. So, for authentic link building, you have to get links from food blogs, restaurant websites, and similar websites. It will then demonstrate that your food website can be trusted.

Creating new connections through external links is a positive and easy way to reach out, make connections in the industry, and display your website in front of the appropriate audience. 

External Link vs. Internal Links in SEO

As evident from the name, internal links are the opposite of external links. It is a hyperlink on a website that leads to other pages on that website. In the internal link, the source domain remains the same as the targeted one. Common internal link types present in a website include:

  • Links in the menu or navigation bar to the vital pages on a website
  • Links from one blog post to another
  • Links to the related posts or products on the product or blog pages

Internal links assist in creating a path for the search engine crawlers. They also assist in prolonging the staying time of the user on a website by leading to a new path. These paths also signal the search engines that the user is highly satisfied with the content provided. In other words, it gives the users necessary clues about where they can find the necessary information on a particular topic.

Internal linking also defines the website hierarchy and architecture by highlighting the necessary pages with the help of link prominence and frequency. It also distributes the SERP ranking power through the website by signaling the page’s importance to the spiders.

External links, on the other hand, are the links where the source domain is different from the targeted one. These links will take a user from the current site to your website. The external links cover both outgoing links and backlinks for the website.

Are External Links Good for SEO?

SEO can help in building the domain and link authority for the site. DA or domain is a website or domain’s ranking strength. 

For instance, if a website has a domain authority of 99, it means:

  • The post topic it creates will rank very high in the SERPs
  • Linking back to these websites will show the search engines that the content is well-researched
  • Backlinks from these websites will improve the website’s DA they are linking to

The higher the backlink you will have for your website, the more authentic and reliable it will be to the search engines, further boosting the ranks. That is why external links are vital for SEO and your website, and also in adding outbound links to a website. 

External links will display the search engines that your website is creating well-researched, high-quality, and fair content. It also assists in building authority and trust with the audience by showing you have the necessary information sources and are not only sharing any opinions. 

Search engines always appreciate these sources when they know that the content is perfect to send to the users. Thus, the external link impact on SEO is dependent on various factors like the external website’s quality and relevance, the use of anchor text links, and the total number of external links. 

What is an external linking strategy?

An external linking strategy is a procedure of following the best practices of external linking to benefit the website and SEO. An external linking strategy, when implemented correctly, can result in higher-ranking content.

External Links: SEO Best Practices

Since external links help in acquiring higher ranking in the SERPs, it is necessary to understand the external linking best practices to your benefit. So, follow the below best practices for external linking that will also help your SEO.

1. Link to relevant content

It is a good idea to have external links directed to your site, but never create an anchor text for the sake of it. Ensure the links will add more value to the content and provide more information to the readers. High-quality external links will point to the relevant content, supporting the main points. 

For instance, you can create external links to statistics, infographics, videos, or research to offer more information and back up the claims. 

Search engines only want to display the most related results for every query. Whenever you link out to another website in a similar niche like yours, both users and search engines will understand your content better.

2. Link to trustworthy websites

The external link quality also matters a lot. It is best only to link to professional and credible websites. 

For example, you can link to a page with low-quality information and clickbait content by mistake. In that case, you will lose your credibility in the eyes of search engines and users, hurting your SEO and reputation. 

But in some circumstances, if you want to link other sites you need clarification on, add a nofollow attribute to it. 

3. Use anchor text correctly

Anchor text is a clickable text indicating a hyperlink. It assists the search engines and the users in understanding the external page or website. It can influence the page rank and improve the user experience. Thus, using the anchor text correctly is important for SEO.

For instance, if you have an article on the ways to write a blog post, you can anchor text like Know more on how to write a blog post by clicking here. You can hyperlink “here” as the hyperlink. But this anchor text will give less information to Google. Instead, hyperlink the anchor text “how to write a blog post,” which will show Google what the content is about. 

Do you want to make your anchor text SEO-friendly? Well, below are some tips for it.

  • Use short, concise, and descriptive text
  • Use relevant text
  • Format the links so they are easier to spot

4. Avoid over-linking

Over-linking is one of the worst ways to get penalized by Google, resulting in a lower ranking of your website. In worst-case scenarios, your website will be blocked and will not appear on the SERPs at all. Common over-linking activities that you should avoid are:

  • Selling or purchasing links for ranking purposes
  • Exchanging services or goods for links
  • Linking to other websites with low-quality bookmarks or directories
  • Implementing automated programs for getting external links

5. Monitor your external links

Regularly audit your website to monitor the external links. If you ignore it, your website can include errors that will affect your SEO strategy and ranking. Look for broken links, links with unnecessary nofollow attributes, no anchor text links, and non-descriptive anchor text links. Readers will lose faith in your website’s credibility if they encounter any outdated or broken external links. 

6. Don’t link to competing websites

It will be damaging for your website to link to websites in the same niche and target the same keywords. Instead, always link to the websites that will add content value. 

For instance, if you are targeting the keyword “best SEO practices,” never link to a website that is already at the top of the SERPs for this keyword. Instead, you can link to a video mentioning the best practices for SEO and not your rival’s website.

How to Find External Links?

To find the total number of external links on your website, you have to use a tool like Google Search Console. It will show you the known backlinks to your websites and other information like the used anchor text.

Benefits of External Linking

Using external links for a website offers the following benefits to the website owner:

Offers the users more value

Adding external website links offers a better user experience for the users. External links provide information to the visitors and add value to the content without duplicating the original one. When visitors see that you are continuously offering external links that are helping them to understand the topic better, they will start to associate more with your website.

Improving the authority of the website

If you include useful external links on your site and content, search engine spiders will understand that you are providing extra value to the readers by offering them credible sources. It will help strengthen the website’s authority and also improve the SERP rankings.

Enhancing the relevance of the website

When it is a question of content analysis, data combined with external links to the research sites will be highly valuable for the visitors and search engines. Including external links complementing your content will help the search engines know the intent and purpose of the website. It also improves the chances of related queries and offers the best services or products to the users.

Ways to Make Your External Guest Post Links Super Strong

To combine the power of guest posts and external links, the tips below are the best. It will make your external guest post links super strong and make it effective.

Use branded and shortened URLs

Branded and shortened URLs are hyperlinks that are edited to include your website name. While using them inside a guest post, you will promote your brand passively and also boost your SEO. You can also easily track them, making it simpler to understand the most efficient links. 

For instance, you can use any website offering branded and shortened URLs. All you have to do is enter the URL like www.abc.com/products/product_id=1. The website will be branded as www.abc.com/products/productname. This unique URL slug will then select a redirect type with the help of automation and management settings for customizing it. 

Linking to the landing page of your website

Landing pages are meant for particular purposes like selling a service or a product or gaining a subscriber list. These are not blog posts and can convert an interested visitor into a potential customer. Landing pages direct the bots deeper into the website, making the guest post easier to find. 

Relevant landing pages will enhance conversions and click-through rates. But you have to make sure that the posts are not too much promotional. 


When should you link to other sites in SEO?

The external link points to an external domain and is one of the most powerful tools in SEO for SERP ranking. External links pass the link equity or ranking power differently compared to the internal links. 

What is the difference between backlinks and external links?

A backlink is a hyperlink created whenever one website links back to another domain. An external link, on the other hand, is a link leading to another website away from the current one.

What is the difference between Nofollow vs. Follow External Links?

Nofollow external links are hyperlinks that tell the search engines never to pass any ranking to the linked pages. It means you will not be endorsing any page you are linking to. 

For instance, <a href=”https://abc.com” rel=”nofollow”>abc</a>

Follow external links are hyperlinks that tell the search engines to pass the ranking signals to the linked page. Since it is present in a website by default, you do not need to add any attribute to make external links. 

For instance, <a href=”https://abc.com”>abc</a>

Do outbound links affect SEO?

Yes, outbound links on your website can affect the SEO. It is best to use outbound links for your website as they show the search engines that your website is trustworthy and relevant. 


Using high-quality external linking to relevant content will offer more resources to the readers and create a website authority. When done appropriately, it can also boost the SERP ranking. So, it is now time to implement all you have known from this writing and reap the benefits of external linking for your website.

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