Is Linking Out Good for SEO?
Google launched a new video series that answers a single question. The first episode was about links but in my opinion it did not adequately answer the question.
The question is: “Does linking to other websites help or hurt SEO?”
The SEO community has thought of outbound links as ranking signals since at least 2002. I hope to show you how and why outbound links for SEO was invented.
Algorithms from before Google existed used outbound links to calculate something called a hub score. Because of that, the SEO community latched onto this approach as a way to help a site rank better. That is the origin of the practice.
In 2002, Brett Tabke (founder of PubCon) wrote the article that became the foundation for modern SEO. That article launched modern SEO. The article was titled, Successful Site in 12 Months with Google Alone I strongly urge you to read that article, it’s an amazing document that formed the basis of modern SEO.
Here is what Brett Tabke advised:
“From every page, link to one or two high ranking sites under that particular keyword. Use your keyword in the link text (this is ultra important for the future)”
This is the background information behind the question, Does linking to other websites help or hurt SEO?
We already know that some links will hurt your SEO. What we really want to know, and what John Mueller did not address, is if outbound links help SEO. He answered that outbound links helped users. But that answers if outbound links help users and that was not the question.
Here is what John Mueller said:
“Linking to other websites is a great way to provide value to your users. Often times, links help users to find out more, to check out your sources and to better understand how your content is relevant to the questions that they have.”
That’s it. Mueller’s answer said nothing about whether it helps your SEO. He answered whether it helps users. Doing things that helps users makes the users enthusiastic for that page. Indirectly that can lead to links.
If you want to watch a video that tells you what’s good for site visitors but avoids answering if outbound links are good for SEO, watch Linking Out: Good for SEO?