What Are External Links?

January 17th, 2012 by | Print

Most SEO experts will tell you that having quality external links is probably the best thing you can do to help your branding site rank well with the search engines. But exactly what are external links and how do you need to manage them?

External links are hyperlinks that point from one domain (the source) to another external domain (the target). They can be links coming from external websites back to your site or they can be links going from your website out to another website.

Here are three things you must consider when you set forth on a strategy of increasing your number of external links.


1. Understand how search engines and human visitors determine the quality of external links.

While you have greater control for creating outbound external links than inbound links, both strategies require you to focus on certain types of sites if you want to benefit from the best SEO practices, and if you want to create the best experience for the prospects and customers visiting your site. Here are the characteristics the search engines use to consider the quality of the external link (and in many cases, so do your site visitors):

• The popularity of the linking page
• The relevancy of the content between the pages
• The trustworthiness of the linking domain
• The number of domains linking to the target page
• The anchor text used in the link
• The amount of variations that the source domain uses as anchor text to the target domain
• The ownership relationship between the two domains


2. Embed your links into keyword-rich anchor text.

When linking from your site, when possible, embed the hyperlink link in anchor text that matches the target keyword phrase for the page. For example, we are writing a blog about external links so we would embed the link into the phrase “external links” like I did at the beginning of this post instead of anchoring it to a phrase like “click here” or some other non-targeted keyword phrase.


3. Check your external links occasionally.

The Internet is a dynamic, virtual marketplace. Sites come and go; page URLs change. The links you create today may lead to sites that no longer exist or have pages with new URLs tomorrow. As a result, you may have a number of links on your site that don’t provide any value to your prospects and customers visiting your site. Plus, linking to dead domains or to pages that no longer exist can hurt the usability of your site and its SEO. Here is a Text Link Checker Tool you can use to check if your external links are still connected to active pages so you can make adjustments accordingly.

All the Best,

Doug Dolan
The Solopreneur’s Guide


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