Outbound links in marketing are links that you include on your web pages and other digital platforms that direct your audience to other websites. They are often referred to as external links or external hyperlinks and are a key component of SEO - or search engine optimization.
When linking to external sites, you should consider the user experience, search engine optimization (SEO), and overall content strategy. Outbound links have several benefits, including giving your viewers more content to read, helping to establish you as an authority in your industry, and improving your SEO ranking.
So then, what should you look out for when designing your outbound link strategy?
1. Appropriate External Sources
In general, linking to reputable websites with authority is best. In terms of SEO, there is no substitute for linking to trusted, legitimate sites with content-rich websites. However, be mindful that you don’t link to too many similar sources, as this could reduce the overall quality of your content.
2. Incorporating Links Gracefully
Outbound links should be used naturally, and as a way to further develop your argument. Your content should always be strong enough to stand on its own, with outbound links merely used as an additional resource. It’s often best to link to sources that attendees may find valuable, not to websites you’re affiliated with or trying to promote. The aim is to provide an additional level of insight for readers, not create spammy links.
3. Outbound Link Diversification
It’s important to diversify where possible when it comes to outbound links. Don’t be afraid to link to content in locales other than your own, such as international sources or news stories. Not only will this benefit your readers by helping to provide additional perspectives, but it could also prove valuable when it comes to helping you rank higher on search engines.
4. Share The Link Love
The general rule of reciprocal linking means if you link to external websites, there’s a much better chance that those websites will link back to you. This is a long-term play, because reaching out to other websites in the hopes that they’ll link back to you won't always yield results. Plus, search engines don’t always like this technique and may punish you if you overdo it.
5. Analyzing And Optimizing Your Links
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It’s also important to analyze your external links on a regular basis to make sure they’re working correctly and providing value to your readers. In addition to confirming your links are working, look at the CTR rate (click-through-rate) of your outbound links to help you track performance and understand what type of content your readers find to be most useful.
6. Connect With your Audience
Any outbound link should be chosen carefully to ensure it reinforces the value of your content and makes it easier for readers to learn what they’re looking for. You should also make sure you’re targeting the right people with your content by ensuring you link to relevant sites for your world. This will help you to create a better connection with your readers and encourage them to return to your site.
For a successful outbound link strategy, follow these guidelines and best practices:
• Link only to reputable websites and sources with authority
• Use a natural and appropriate placement of external links
• Diversify your outbound links to provide additional perspectives
• Make sure to return the link love, whenever possible
• Regularly analyze and optimize outbound links
• Connect with your audience through relevant external links
By following these guidelines and best practices, you can ensure your outbound link strategy helps you to successfully meet your wider digital marketing objectives. Happy linking!