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Thread: To link out or not to link out? Thats is the question

  1. #1
    WebProWorld MVP inertia's Avatar
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    Angry To link out or not to link out? Thats is the question

    Ive heard a few murmurs recently about outward bound links being beneficial to a sites SE performance. What!? I was always under the impression that outward bound links were bad! For 2 main reasons - You risk people leaving your site through them and they dilute page rank.

    Now, when i think about it... outward bound links should be rated as a good thing. The search engines should actively encourage us to link out as this is the way the Internet works and it enhances user experience. Now I'm confused. What should i do? Should i provide my visitors with a wealth of resources out side of my site or should i completely forget about them and try and provide it all myself.

    Second question!! If it is indeed true that outward bound links are now seen as favourable should i put "no follow" tags on them to sustain my page rank or will that defeat the object of having them??

    As you can tell, im confused. SOS.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member tamecrow's Avatar
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    Re: To link out or not to link out? Thats is the question

    Forget PageRank. Linking out to other sites does nothing to your PageRank. The PageRank you see on your toolbar is irrelevant anyway as it's hardly ever updated and has no impact on your search rankings.

    You should link out to authoritative resources (not competitors, obviously) without nofollow attributes. Search engines will see this as a concerted attempt to network and help your visitors find useful content and information.

  3. #3
    WebProWorld MVP ctabuk's Avatar
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    Re: To link out or not to link out? Thats is the question

    Tamecrow is correct - think about it logically - if you were a travel agents website or wikipedia, what possible use would the sites be without relevant outgoing links?

    Have you seen Wikipedia penalised?

    Also - think searcher - let your site be of interest. And if possible find local .gov sites that are topic related and add their links.

    And what about the biggy

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  4. #4

    Re: To link out or not to link out? Thats is the question

    Outbound links that contain reference materials can be good, giving your page authority, like footnotes in a technical paper. I always open them in a new window, so we do not lose the viewer when they close the linked window. I would place NOFOLLOW just to keep the spiders on my site, and make sure they finish the job before leaving!

    Remember, keep your outbound links to pages that enhance and reinforce your site's message, without being so interesting that they close your window, and stay with the linked page! Wikipedia is a good example of a page to link to that can give the viewer additional insight to your message, without trying to sell them on a different product/concept/service.
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  5. #5
    WebProWorld MVP Peter (IMC)'s Avatar
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    Re: To link out or not to link out? Thats is the question

    Second question!! If it is indeed true that outward bound links are now seen as favourable should i put "no follow" tags on them to sustain my page rank or will that defeat the object of having them??
    That has been true for years already,.. Just that people generally feel really bad about giving things away for free.

    "no follow" is useless, but do use them on links you got paid for. Especially Google is hating paid links because they're unable to detect if they´re paid for or not and are on a cruisade trying to find sites that do not hide their paid links.

    Forget PageRank. Linking out to other sites does nothing to your PageRank.
    That's not correct. Linking out does affect your pagerank because you could have given that pagerank also to internal pages. However, I agree that it is better to forget about PR when thinking about where to put your links and where to let them point to.

    But to get back to the original question:

    Imagine you´re in your car driving around hapily and then you drive into a neighborhood and the only way to get out of that neighborhood is by destroying your car (closing the window) and buy another car (opening a new window) to start driving again.

    Nobody likes dead end streets, neither do search engines.

    So now you know that linking out is not a bad thing. But that doesn't necesarilly make it a good thing. You need to stay on topic in order to really benefit from links. That means, linking to related pages and using the correct keywords in the links.

    Here you hit a problem,.. but I'm sure you can already imagine what it is..
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  6. #6

    Re: To link out or not to link out? Thats is the question

    pagerank is semi-relevant, kinda like alexa.

    It's logical. Linking to quality sites is good practice.

    Now as far as the nofollow is concern i doubt anyone can say for sure. According to Monseur Cutts, "nofollow" is a paid link which doesn't pass pr.

    I would not use nofollow unless it was a paid link. If i simply dont want to pass pr i'll js the link.

    Most of the time i use direct links.
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  7. #7

    Re: To link out or not to link out? Thats is the question

    Almost 4 years ago I was saying that outbound linking has an affect on your rankings as to me it is blindingly obvious that if google say linking to a bad neighbourhood will affect you negatively, then by the laws of physics and maths, the opposite must be true!

    YES link out to on topic sites, get on topic links in to that page, and bingo, you theme your site and also gain the potential to become a hub.

    The HITS algo (Hypertext Induced Topic Search) creates hubs and authorities, so how on earth can HITS work if you have no outbound linking strategy? Not shouting at you, it is just that to me for as long as I can remember, outbound linking dtrategy has been an important part of SEO.

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  8. #8
    Senior Member thegypsy's Avatar
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    Re: To link out or not to link out? Thats is the question

    Quote Originally Posted by Old Welsh Guy View Post
    Almost 4 years ago I was saying that outbound linking has an affect on your rankings as to me it is blindingly obvious that if google say linking to a bad neighbourhood will affect you negatively, then by the laws of physics and maths, the opposite must be true!

    YES link out to on topic sites, get on topic links in to that page, and bingo, you theme your site and also gain the potential to become a hub.

    The HITS algo (Hypertext Induced Topic Search) creates hubs and authorities, so how on earth can HITS work if you have no outbound linking strategy? Not shouting at you, it is just that to me for as long as I can remember, outbound linking dtrategy has been an important part of SEO.

    Darnit I need to type faster
    Hey OWG .. haven't ran into U in a while... Nice 2 C U

    Anyway, I am with OWG on this one folks. We have always used well targeted OBLs to market authority sites to our advantage. IMO if your page not only serves the viewer but also offers further related resources to 'trusted' documents, it is a more valuable page.

  9. #9
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    Re: To link out or not to link out? Thats is the question

    "no follow" is useless, but do use them on links you got paid for. Especially Google is hating paid links because they're unable to detect if they´re paid for or not and are on a cruisade trying to find sites that do not hide their paid links.



    How can google detect if a link is "paid for". And isn't it a dead giveaway if I use a "no follow". If all my non paid linss don't have "no follow" and the paid ones do use a "no follow"

    Does a "no follow" keep google from figuring out its paid? If so How. If I work out a payment arrangement over the phone with a customer how can anyone determine the link is paid for. Do they plan to call all these people I link to and ask them if they are paying for the link?

  10. #10
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    Re: To link out or not to link out? Thats is the question

    One way out bound links is like giving a vote to that website but if you have a high pr say 8 and the out bound link has a low pr say 3 that helps them. If you don’t want to give a site a vote use the no follow in the link Google will ignore it. Outbound links have no effect on your own page rank unless their totally irrelevant to your sites content ie: shoe sales to porn sites Google kinda frowns on bad neighbor policey

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