Get a Free Audit
  • 1300 852 340

Understanding External Links: A Comprehensive Guide to SEO Best Practices

Click Here - Free 30-Minute Strategy Session

Be quick! FREE spots are almost gone for this Month. Free Quote

Understanding External Links: A Comprehensive Guide to SEO Best Practices

Blog / Understanding External Links: A Comprehensive Guide to SEO Best Practices

Understanding External Links: A Comprehensive Guide to SEO Best Practices

Exploring the Concept of External Links

An external link is a connection between two domains. It involves a link on one website that directs users to another website. External links serve as important connectors between different web pages and websites, facilitating user navigation across various online resources.

Click Here – Free 30-Minute Strategy Session

Be quick! FREE spots are almost gone for this Month

Free Quote

In terms of SEO, external links have the potential to influence search engine rankings and website credibility, as search engines view them as indicators of trustworthiness and relevance.

Importance of External Links:

  • The links play a crucial role in determining the credibility and value of a webpage.
  • When reputable domains link to a specific page, search engines like Google interpret these links as indicators of trust and quality.
  • Essentially, each external link serves as a vote of confidence, suggesting that the content on the linked page is reliable, valuable and beneficial.

What To Do?

To assess the number of external links pointing to your site, you can use Backlink Analytics, which provides a convenient method for obtaining this information.

Benefits of External Links:

  • External links have the potential to bolster the search engine optimisation (SEO) of a webpage.
  • When a webpage garners external links from reputable origins, it establishes a stronger sense of credibility and authority among search engines and users alike.
  • These links serve as endorsements, validating the trustworthiness and recognition-worthy nature of the content, consequently attracting more visitors and elevating the overall reputation of the website.

Learn More: No Follow Links Vs Follow Links – A Comparative Study

In contrast to external links, internal links are hyperlinks that direct users to other pages within the same website.

Here is an example of an internal link from our blog, featuring the anchor text “robots.txt”:

Example of internal link with anchor text “robots.txt” from Semrush blog

It is essential to use both types of links to optimise your SEO.

Benefits of using external links include:

  • Demonstrating to Google the relationship between your content and other pages.
  • Providing added value to your readers by offering supplementary information and resources.
  • Establishing connections with other websites, which can result in increased exposure, traffic and backlinks.

Benefits of using internal links include:

  • Enhancing the user experience and facilitating navigation within your website.
  • Distributing link equity among your pages.
  • Enhancing the relevance and authority of your pages for specific keywords.

Learn More: Internal Links SEO – 12 Pro Tips

In terms of SEO, incorporating external links for SEO on your website can have significant advantages in two key aspects:

  • Firstly, they enhance the overall user experience by providing valuable information, which in turn can positively impact rankings. A better user experience carries various benefits for SEO.
  • Secondly, external links can aid search engines in comprehending the subject matter and niche of your website. By linking to relevant sites that align with your content, you offer additional context about the nature of your website and its position within the broader industry landscape.

Types Of External Links SEO:

Various types of external links in SEO can contribute to enhancing the visibility of a website and its rankings on search engines. Below are some common categories:

  • Natural Links: These links are given voluntarily by other websites, blogs, or online publications due to the value and relevance of the content.
  • Guest Post Links: Involving the creation and publication of content on another person’s website or blog, guest posting allows for a backlink to the author’s website.
  • Directory Links: External links originate from online directories or listing websites where businesses submit their information under appropriate categories. While directory links can offer some value, it is important to focus on trustworthy directories.
  • Social Media Links: External links shared on social media platforms help generate traffic and boost the visibility of a website. When users share content along with a link to the website, it creates external links that can positively impact SEO.
  • Influencer or Blogger Links: Influencers or bloggers may incorporate links to a website or its content in their posts, reviews, or recommendations.
  • Press Release Links: Press releases distributed through online press release services can result in external links when news outlets or other websites pick up and report on the release. These links can enhance visibility and drive traffic to the website.

Learn More: Why Guest Posting is More Than Just an SEO Tactic?

Nofollow external links refer to hyperlinks that instruct Google not to transfer any ranking signals to the linked page.

In simple terms, when you use nofollow links, you are not providing an endorsement to the page you are linking to.

To add the nofollow attribute to an external hyperlink, you can include rel=”nofollow” within the HTML code.

For instance:

<a href=”” rel=”nofollow”>Example</a>

On the other hand, “follow” external links are hyperlinks that automatically inform Google to pass ranking signals to the linked page. No additional attribute is required to designate an external link as “follow” since it is the default option.

Here’s an external links example:

<a href=””>Example</a>

Now, why would you choose to use nofollow instead of following external links?

There are specific scenarios in which utilising the nofollow attribute can significantly impact your SEO.

You should employ the nofollow attribute when you do not wish to endorse or associate your site with the linked page. For instance, you may want to provide a link to a competitor’s page for contextual purposes, but without transferring any authority.

Alternatively, you might want to flag a link as being sponsored or affiliated.

It’s important to note that Google treats the nofollow attribute as a suggestion rather than a strict directive.

Ensure that your external links add value to your content and provide meaningful information to your readers. Opt for external links that support your main points, offer context, and relate to your content. This can include linking to statistics, research studies, infographics or videos that validate your claims or provide additional insights.

External Links Example:

An example sentence linking to a relevant source with anchor text: “According to a recent study, only 19% of employees report receiving this ideal onboarding.”

  • Google prioritises displaying the most relevant results for search queries. By linking to websites in the same niche as yours, both Google and users can gain a better understanding of your content.
  • The quality of your external links is crucial. It is important to only link to credible and professional websites. Avoid linking to sites that feature clickbait content or provide low-quality information, as this can erode trust with your readers and negatively impact your reputation and SEO.

For example:

An example sentence linking to an authoritative source with anchor text: “Learn more about content entrepreneurship from reputable industry sources.”

If you need to include links to websites you do not fully trust, consider using the nofollow attribute to indicate that these links should not pass ranking signals.

Remember, maintaining the credibility and relevance of SEO links to external sites are essential for effective SEO practices.

Learn More: The Zen Way of Creating High Quality Backlinks

Optimising Anchor Text for SEO

Anchor text refers to the clickable text that represents a hyperlink. It plays a crucial role in helping users and search engines understand the content of the linked external site or page, ultimately enhancing the user experience and influencing search engine rankings. Therefore, optimising anchor text is of utmost importance for effective SEO.

Here are some SEO tips for your anchor text:

  • Choose anchor text that accurately describes the linked content, avoiding generic or unrelated terms. Opt for descriptive text that provides context and aligns with the topic of the linked page.
  • Keep your anchor text concise and to the point. Shorter, focused text tends to be more effective and easier for users to comprehend.
  • Format your links in a way that makes them visually distinguishable from regular text. This helps users easily identify and understand that they are clickable links.

For example, in the image below, the anchor text “disavow file” clearly communicates to readers and search engines that the following page is about the topic of “disavow file.”

However, using generic anchor text like “here” lacks clarity and fails to provide any context.

What To Do?

  • To identify and address anchor text issues on your website, you can use our Site Audit tool.
  • Simply input your domain name, initiate the audit, and configure the settings according to your preferences.
  • Once the audit is complete, navigate to the “Issues” tab and search for “anchor” to view a list of anchor text-related issues detected on your site.
  • Click on the “Why and how to fix it” link beside each issue to gain insights and receive recommendations on how to rectify them.

Learn More: Anchor Text and Best Practices

Link schemes involve deceptive practices aimed at manipulating Google rankings using links. Engaging in such activities is against Google’s spam policies and can result in penalties for your website.

These penalties can lead to a drop in your site’s rankings or even exclusion from search results entirely.

Common link scheme activities include:

  • Buying or selling links solely to improve rankings.
  • Exchanging goods or services in return for links.
  • Using automated programs to generate links on your site.
  • Linking from low-quality directories or bookmark sites.
  • It is crucial to steer clear of these practices.

Additionally, it’s important to note that sponsored or affiliate links should include the rel=”sponsored” or rel=”nofollow” attributes. These attributes indicate to Google that the links are not intended to influence rankings.

Remember to regularly audit your site’s external links to ensure they comply with SEO best practices and avoid any involvement in link schemes.

If you are planning to conduct an audit of your website’s external links, start by:

  • creating a comprehensive inventory of all the external links on your website.

    What To Do?

    • You can accomplish this manually by reviewing each page and documenting the URLs of the external sites linked to your pages.
    • Alternatively, you may employ tools like Google Search Console, backlink analysis tools, or website crawlers to extract the necessary data on external links.
  • Once you have the list of external links, evaluate their relevance and quality. Consider whether the linked websites are reputable, trustworthy, and aligned with your content.

    What To Do?

    • Determine if the links offer value and contribute to a positive user experience.
    • Remove or substitute any links that are irrelevant, of low quality, or have the potential to damage your site’s reputation.
  • Check the status of each external link to ensure they are active and accessible. Be on the lookout for broken links (resulting in 404 errors) and redirect links (using 301 or 302 redirects).

    What To Do?

    • Repair or replace broken or redirected links to maintain a favourable user experience and prevent negative SEO consequences.
  • Analyse the anchor text used for your external links. Ensure that it accurately describes the content being linked and provides appropriate context.

    What To Do?

    • Avoid using generic or vague anchor text. Optimise the anchor text by incorporating relevant keywords or descriptive phrases that align with your content and target keywords.
  • Validate whether any sponsored or affiliate links have the required link attributes, such as rel=” sponsored” or rel=”nofollow.” These attributes inform search engines that the links are not intended to manipulate rankings.

    What To Do?

    • Apply the appropriate attributes where necessary.
  • Evaluate the backlink profile of your website by examining the external links originating from other domains. Look out for any toxic or spammy links that could potentially harm your SEO efforts.

    What To Do?

    • Disavow unwanted or harmful backlinks using the Google Disavow Tool or by contacting webmasters to request their removal.
  • Perform periodic audits to keep your external links up to date. As your website evolves, you may add, remove, or modify pages, resulting in changes to external links.

    What To Do?

    • Remain vigilant and ensure that your external links remain relevant, functional and aligned with your SEO objectives.

By conducting a comprehensive audit of your website’s external links, you can enhance their quality, relevance and compliance. This, in turn, will contribute to improved SEO performance and a more favourable user experience.

  • To create a robust and organic backlink profile, aim to obtain links from a diverse range of reputable and pertinent sources.
  • Instead of pursuing a high volume of low-quality backlinks, prioritise securing high-quality links from authoritative websites.
  • A few top-notch links from trusted sources can have a far greater influence on your SEO than a multitude of inferior links.

Click Here - Free 30-Minute Strategy Session

Be quick! FREE spots are almost gone for this Month

Free Quote


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

      I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

      If you want to get more traffic, Contact Us

      BOOK A CALL Protection Status