External linking is an SEO term used to refer to the process of linking to other websites from your own website. By linking to external websites, you are creating a connection between the two sites that can be beneficial in helping to improve your site’s search engine rankings.
The process of external linking involves pointing links on your website to other websites and pages which are related to the topic of your website and the content outlined therein. This is considered to be the ‘outbound link’. In return, those other websites should link back to you. This is referred to as the ‘inbound link’. Both of these types of link are correlated with higher rankings and increased search engine traffic.
External linking is an important aspect of SEO as it helps search engines to identify and crawl your website, as well as helping to create and establish relationships with trusted websites, which can help to ensure you are ranked highly in searches and, ultimately, can help to drive traffic to your website.
So what are the best practices for effective external linking? Here are some recommendations:
1. Quality Over Quantity – Quality trumps quantity when it comes to external linking. Be selective and choosy when it comes to the external websites you link to; focus on authoritative, related websites with a good reputation, with content that is of high quality and trusted.
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2. Relevance – Links should always be relevant to both the content of the website you are linking to, as well as your own website. The content should be related and, equally, the website should not be of a lower quality than your own. In addition, be sure to check the content you are linking to is regularly updated and of the highest quality.
3. Avoid Link Farms – Link farms are multiple websites which link to a single website. Google and other search engines look very unfavourably on this sort of activity, so it is best to avoid them.
4. Avoid Link Exchanges – Link exchanges are where two websites agree to link to each other. This can lead to a large number of outbound links, which is bad for SEO. Google tends to think that websites engaging in this practice are trying to manipulate search engine rankings and can even penalise those sites.
5. Anchor Text – Anchor text describes the visible, clickable text of a link. To get the best from external links, use relevant and descriptive anchor text that reflects the content.
6. Monitor and Review – Make sure to regularly monitor and review your links, both inbound and outbound. Check that the websites you are linking to are still of a good quality, with content that is regularly updated and relevant, and that has not been blacklisted by Google or any other search engine.
If you are serious about improving your website’s rankings and visibility then external linking should be part of your overall SEO strategy. Links to other related, quality websites are an important tool which help to confirm the relevance and quality of your website, as well as helping to enhance the user experience for those visiting your site. An effective external linking strategy, when done in a responsible way, is a powerful way to increase your website’s visibility, recognition and authority.