Best Practices to Build External Links

Tati Khumairoh

Tati Khumairoh

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Last edited at by Tati Khumairoh

external link illustration

Table Of Contents

    In the world of SEO, links act as the connective tissue that binds websites together in the digital landscape. Among these, external links stand out as powerful tools that can significantly impact a website's visibility, credibility, and authority.

    In this article, we will learn more about external link building that could elevate your website’s performance in the search engine. We will start with the basic definition, its importance, and the best practices.

    What Is an External Link?

    External links, also known as outbound or backlinks, play a pivotal role in influencing how search engines perceive and rank a website. This is a hyperlink that points from one website domain to a different domain. In simpler terms, it's a link that directs users from the current webpage to another webpage that exists on a separate website. 

    Consider you are reading an article on a blog about photography, and within the content, you come across a highlighted text that says "Learn more about advanced camera techniques." When you click on this text, it takes you to a different website, perhaps a photography tutorial site or a camera manufacturer's page. In this scenario:

    • The initial blog is the "source" website.

    • The highlighted text is the anchor text, the clickable part of the link.

    • The destination website, where you learn about advanced camera techniques, is the "target" or "linked-to" website.

    This link from the photography blog to the external tutorial site is an external link. It serves as a pathway for users to explore related or more in-depth information from a different, but presumably relevant, source. 

    Search engines view such links as indications of the linked-to content's credibility and authority, and they play a crucial role in determining a website's overall ranking in search results. 

    Is It Good for SEO?

    External links can have both positive and negative impacts on SEO, and understanding how they influence search engine optimization is crucial for website owners and digital marketers. To make it clear, here are the benefits and potential harm of external links for SEO.

    Benefits of External Links for SEO

    Basically, if you succeed in implementing the links effectively, they will bring more benefits than harm. Below are the benefits of external links for your site:

    • Credibility and Authority: When reputable websites link to your content, it signals to search engines that your site is a trusted and authoritative source. This can positively impact your site's credibility in the eyes of search engines.

    • Improved Ranking: External links can contribute to higher search engine rankings. Search algorithms often consider the quantity and quality of external links pointing to a website as a measure of its relevance and importance in a particular niche.

    • Improve user experience: When the link attached is highly relevant, then it will bring a good impact on the user's experience. By this link, they can explore more and get what they are looking for.

    Potential Harm of External Links for SEO

    Besides the benefits, this kind of link can have potential harm when it's not implemented properly. Below are the harm that may caused due to lack of monitoring.

    • Low-Quality Links: If your site is associated with low-quality or spammy external links, it can negatively impact your SEO. Search engines may interpret this as an attempt to manipulate rankings, leading to penalties or a decrease in search visibility.

    • Broken Links: If the external links pointing to your site become broken or lead to irrelevant or non-existent content, it can harm user experience and, consequently, affect your SEO. 

    • Over-Optimization: Excessive reliance on external links without attention to content quality or relevance can be detrimental. A natural link profile includes a mix of internal links and external links, and an overemphasis on external links may appear unnatural to search engines.

    External Link-Building Best Practices

    Since outbound link for SEO is important, you need to know the best practices that can fix your link-building strategy. Below are the most important strategies when you attach outbound links to your page or content:

    1. Pick Only the Most Relevant Sources

    Relevance is paramount in external link building. Choose sources that are closely related to your content and industry. Links from relevant sources are more likely to be seen as valuable by search engines and can enhance the authority of your website in a specific niche.

    You can do it by identifying websites, blogs, or online resources that align with your content and audience. Look for opportunities to naturally integrate links in a way that provides additional value to your readers.

    2. Link to Authoritative and Reliable Sources

    Linking to authoritative and reliable sources strengthens the credibility of your content. Search engines view such outbound links as an indication that your information is well-researched and supported by reputable sources.

    Choose well-established and respected websites or publications within your industry. You also need to verify the credibility of the source before including a link, ensuring that it adds value and trustworthiness to your content.

    3. Optimize the Anchor Text

    Anchor text is the clickable text in a hyperlink, and optimizing it can provide context to search engines about the linked-to content. Relevant and descriptive anchor text helps search engines understand the content's topic and contributes to improved SEO.

    You should use descriptive and keyword-rich anchor text that accurately represents the content of the linked page. Avoid generic phrases like "click here" and instead create anchor text that adds context to the linked content.

    Let's compare examples of bad and good anchor text for SEO to illustrate the difference:

    Bad Anchor Text Examples:

    • Click Here

    Example: "For more information, click here."

    Why: Generic phrases like "click here" provide no context to search engines about the linked content.

    • Non-Descriptive Phrases

    Example: "Check out this post."

    Why: Vague anchor text doesn't convey what the linked content is about, offering little value to users or search engines.

    • Exact Match Keywords (Over-Optimized)

    Example: "Best smartphones" (when linking to a page about smartphone reviews).

    Why: While it includes keywords, an exact match can be seen as manipulative and may not provide a good user experience.

    Good Anchor Text Examples

    • Descriptive and Relevant

    Example: "Learn more about on-page SEO techniques."

    Why: Describes the content and provides context for both users and search engines.

    • Brand + Keyword

    Example: "Explore OpenAI's language models."

    Why: Combines the brand name with a relevant keyword, enhancing the brand's association with the topic.

    • Natural and Diverse Language

    Example: "Discover tips for a healthy lifestyle."

    Why: Uses natural language that is engaging and informative, improving the user experience.

    anchor text illustration

    anchor text illustration

    4. Do External Link Audit

    Regularly auditing your external links ensures that they remain relevant, functional, and aligned with your SEO goals. It helps identify and address any potentially harmful links that could negatively impact your website's performance.

    Periodically review your external link using Sequence Stats Site Audit rather than manual checks. First, open your Sequence Stats account and head to the Site Audit feature. 

    From here, you have to set up the site audit to your preference. Once it is done, you can check the result about the external link of your site. Here is the result example:

    Picture 2: Site Audit in Sequence Stats

    Picture 2: Site Audit in Sequence Stats

    Ensure that all external links are still pointing to relevant and high-quality content. Address any broken links or links to low-quality sources promptly.

    By incorporating these best practices into your external link-building strategy, you can enhance the credibility of your website, improve its SEO performance, and contribute positively to the overall user experience. 

    To help you monitor your link, you can use Sequence Stats and elevate your SEO games. Register now and enjoy the free trial