Should You Be Externally Linking for SEO Best Practice?


External linking is a key part of any on-page SEO strategy.

Staying ahead of the curve in the SEO world is no easy task. With search engines often changing their algorithm and the level of competition you find online in almost every industry, staying ahead is more difficult than ever. One powerful strategy that often takes centre stage in SEO discussions is external linking. As a leading UK SEO agency, this is something we talk about regularly, what is best practice for external linking? There is no right or wrong when it comes to external linking however, there are some key rules you must consider when placing an internal link on your web page.

The Power of External Linking

External linking, also known as outbound linking, involves linking from your website to other authoritative and relevant websites. While internal linking (linking between pages within your website) helps with site navigation and user experience, external linking serves a broader purpose.

external link planning

Establishing Authority: Search engines like Google consider external links as endorsements or citations from other websites. When you link to reputable and relevant sources, it signals to search engines that your content is well-researched and credible. This can positively impact your website’s authority and trustworthiness in your industry.

Enhancing User Experience: External links can provide additional value to your website visitors by directing them to more in-depth resources, further reading, or related content. This improves the overall user experience and encourages visitors to spend more time on your website, reducing bounce rates.

Building Relationships: Outbound links can also:help foster relationships with other businesses and websites in your industry. When you link to their content, you’re acknowledging their expertise, which could lead to potential partnerships, collaborations, and guest posting opportunities.

External Linking Strategies:

Let’s explore how these strategies can be applied to the unique needs of UK-based companies in which we work with every day.

Accountants: For accountants, staying updated with the latest financial regulations and industry news is vital. External linking can be used to reference government websites, authoritative financial institutions, and regulatory bodies. When writing a blog post about tax-saving strategies, you can link to official HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) resources or reputable financial publications to back up your claims.

Locksmiths: Locksmiths often work in tandem with home security and safety. To boost credibility, consider linking to reputable security blogs, home improvement websites, or manufacturers of quality locks and security systems. If you’re discussing tips for enhancing home security, linking to official police advice or well-known security experts can add weight to your recommendations. The Master Locksmith Association and your local police authority are generally great sources to link with.

Driveway Companies: For driveway companies, the construction and landscaping sectors can benefit from linking to trade associations, local planning authorities, and sustainable construction resources. When writing about the benefits of different driveway materials, you might link to studies conducted by reputable environmental organisations or government agencies promoting eco-friendly practices. No matter what niche you’re in, you need to consider where you are externally linking too. As business owners, we often speak with customers and suppliers, these can be great sources for external linking.


The Balancing Act: Quality Over Quantity

While the benefits of external linking are clear, it’s important to emphasise that the quality of your external links holds greater significance than the sheer number. Search engines value relevancy and authority above all else. Here’s how to strike the right balance:

Relevance: Ensure that the websites you’re linking to are directly related to the topic at hand. For instance, if you’re a locksmith writing about improving home security, linking to a blog about gardening might confuse your readers and signal a lack of expertise.

Authority: Prioritise linking to high-authority websites with strong reputations. Aim for well-known industry publications, government websites, educational institutions, and established experts. A link from a reputable source carries more weight and can positively impact your SEO efforts.

Diversification: Avoid over-relying on a single source for external links. Variety in your linking strategy shows that you’ve done thorough research and are drawing from multiple reputable sources to support your content.

Contextual Integration: Integrate external links naturally within your content. Links should enhance the reader’s understanding and offer additional value, rather than interrupting the flow of your writing. Consider using anchor text that is descriptive and relevant to the linked content.

Link Monitoring: Periodically review your external links to ensure they’re still active and relevant. Broken or outdated links can harm user experience and credibility. Regular maintenance reflects your commitment to providing up-to-date information. SEO tools like Ahrefs, Semrush or SEranking can help with this.

Navigating Potential External Linking Pitfalls

While external linking offers numerous benefits, it’s important to be aware of potential pitfalls:

Over-Linking: Excessive external linking can distract readers and come across as spammy. Aim for a reasonable number of well-placed, high-quality links per page.

Link Farms and Low-Quality Sites: Avoid linking to low-quality websites, link farms, or sites with dubious reputations. Such links can harm your own website’s credibility and SEO.

Paid Links and Link Schemes: Never engage in paid link schemes or manipulative tactics to artificially boost your rankings. Search engines penalise such practices, which can lead to long-term damage to your online visibility.

Google search

External Linking Final Thoughts

External linking is an art that requires a blend of SEO expertise, industry knowledge, and a commitment to providing valuable content to your audience. As a leading UK SEO agency catering to SME’s, mastering the art of external linking can set you apart in your respective industries. By carefully selecting authoritative and relevant sources, you can enhance your website’s credibility, improve user experience, and contribute to a stronger overall SEO strategy. Remember, quality and relevance should always be at the forefront of your external linking efforts.

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