Those new to SEO may be aware of something called back-linking. What you may not know however, is the difference between inbound and outbound links, how these two factors work and what you should do when approaching them. Outbound links are the links that send your users to other sites.
But why would I want to direct my users away from the site?
Sending users to useful content is a way to gain authority in your field. If you direct your visitors to high quality content they are more likely to return to your site for advice in the future. With that said there also comes a degree of reputation management with this. You need to ensure that you are actually sending your users to quality of it could be harmful for your reputation.
Search Engine Results
When a search engine is determining your value, outbound links are an important factor to be considered. There is a myth that outbound links can be detrimental to your PageRank. This is just that, a myth. You can’t leak PageRank from outbound links, having quality links increases your reputation, traffic and in the long term probably your PageRank.
Ratio of Inbound vs. Outbound Links
There is conflicting opinion in regards to how many inbound links you should have compared to outbound. This debate however, isn’t really useful. What you should be considering always is that the links, both inbound and outbound, are quality links.
Readers Follow Quality
If there is still quality content on your site, they are not going to leave it and never come back. They will likely open up the article you referenced in a new tab and continue to browse your page.
If you are part of a blogging network, you may want to share outbound links with some sites in exchange for some inbound links to your sites.
Thing to Consider When Creating Outbound Links
Don’t send traffic to your direct competitors
Even though having outbound links will increase your value in search engines, sending your competitors traffic creates a double edged sword as it pushes them up the rankings.
Use the no follow tag
If your website is one that allows visitors to post content, such as comments, then you should use the no follow tag. This is a command that webmasters can give Google that stops the Googlebot from following outbound links. For example if you have someone promoting their new website on your page, that is likely to be considered a low quality back-link and therefore harmful to your search engine rankings.
Embed the links within text
Instead of just having a list of recommended resources, it is much more user friendly to embed the links in your text. Additionally, you can control the text and make it much more appealing and likely for the user to follow the link. Make sure however your description and the link provided are relevant.
Track Outbound Links
You can track outbound links in Google Analytics. This gives you an idea of which links are the most popular and how often they are being clicked. It also can help you decide which links you may want to discard or renew with better resources.
Remember that inbound links are not the only links to consider when generating your campaign. Strong outbound links are also important to the search engine crawlers and assist in providing your readers with quality resources.