The Brave Programmer - Blogging and coding
Not for the faint hearted
 

Blog Posts From The Brave Programmer

Minimize

Is outbound linking worthwhile? Does it add to PageRank?

Apr24

Written by:
2009/04/24 07:44 PM RssIcon

There have been many blogs and posts written in the world of SEO about the importance of Links. Most target the importance of inbound links. But what about outbound links? Here the debate has not quite been concluded. The Jury is still out. Many have the opinion that outbound links are detrimental to your PageRank (PR), while some believe that it works towards a positive PageRank. Here is what I think.

grap_network Credibility

Linking is all about credibility. It is votes that a site is of good quality. While most people worry about and concentrate on inbound links, they fail to see the importance of outbound links. Yes outbound links are important.

Think of it this way, links are the life blood of PageRank. If no one links out, logically no one will get links in. How in the world are you going to get inbound links if no one has any outbound links. Then the only way to get inbound links are from directories and link farms. The latter of which is a bad idea, because Google and the like frown heavily on linkfarms.

You link out to add credibility to your page, article, blog or story. It’s a confirmation of something that you have written. But just linking out to any old site is quite useless. If I write about website development and link out to a bunch of porn sites because they paid me, what value does that have for my page/article as well as the receiving site? None at all. It’s all about being relevant.

Outbound links serve as a reference. The higher the reference the more credible the article. Print articles often include references and pointers to other articles and print media to emphasise their point of view, or to cement a factual idea. Why should we not do that with web pages and blogs. If it is a good idea for print media, why is it not a good idea for online media?

Example: If I write about PageRank, and link to Google, Matt Cuts, and other SEO gurus on the same topic, then my article becomes even more worthwhile. It does not stop there, you might link to an article that takes the opposite view, to prove a point. This can also prove to be worthwhile. The point is, you are showing your readers that you have at least done some research, and not sucked things out of your big hairy thumb.

Google, and other search engines say that they want their ranking to reflect, as much as possible, human behaviour and thought. PageRank is a reflection of how important People think your site or page is. How Google do this is a secret. But think of this; if you read an article, that references other similar articles of good and high quality, articles that themselves have high PR, what would your own estimation of the value of the article be. I know what mine would be. I would think that this is an article of some value.

Directories and Link Farms

What about directories and link farms. Well the former is just a listing and probably has no, or very little if any, PageRank value. Normally listings in directories and link farms are not to enhance PageRank but to get exposure and increase traffic.

Directory listings are normally ok, but link farms are frowned upon. Many have stated that Google and other search engines will ban sites that pose as link farms. Linking to link farms could also have a negative effect on PageRank.

But does it matter which site you link to. Google openly states that links to bad neighbourhoods are detrimental, and could even cause a banning. We all know this. Any SEO guru worth their weight in gold, will tell you that linking to or getting links from bad neighbourhood sites is a no no. If this is true, then logically the converse should also apply. Linking to good neighbourhoods will be beneficial.

Off Page SEO Benefits

So then if we value articles or pages or posts whose links give value to that article and in turn give value to me, why then would this be a bad thing. Especially if the search engines try to mimic human behaviour and thought patterns.  

Outbound links offer more than just a small bit of PageRank score. There are other benefits as well. We speak of “off page” or “offline” SEO, or SEO that you have no control over.  The benefit that outbound links have, is that at some point someone is going to notice your link to them, then at some point return the favour.

So in linking to someone else's article they could link back to you, not only giving you link juice, but also potential traffic. Users browsing their article will naturally follow through to read yours, and vice versa.

Relationships

networkingOutbound linking is about building relationships with other bloggers/webmasters. Linking out and sending traffic to other sites is one way of telling others that you exist and that you are serious about your topic. Relationships are vital to any web 2.0 or blog or even business. The old adage “No man is an island”, “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” is very apt.

Reader Satisfaction

The main reason your blog or website is up is because you want to attract readers, users, or customers, or what ever you might call them. The impact that links have upon your customers or readers is far more important than SEO, even though SEO is important. You want links to outside articles to give your readership as much quality information on any given topic as you can. Remember the customer/reader is King. If you do not please them then it is all pointless, isn’t it?

Keep in mind also that too many links can actually decrease reader satisfaction. Especially if they are not relevant or useful links. Keep it natural. Do not overdo it just for the sake of outbound links. Some articles don't require outbound links, some do.

Expertise and Experience

You give the impression that you have some expertise in the given topic. By linking to other sites you are showing your readers that you are ahead of your game in your particular niche.  When you link to other sites you are showing what other sites are doing. This can increase your readers perception of you as someone who knows what they’re talking about.

Conclusion

So it’s not just about PageRank, or traffic, or outbound value or inbound value, its about everything grouped together.

The problem is that this debate has been going on for years. Because no one knows what the search engines, particularly Google, use as their algorithm to calculate PR, we are all speculating the value of outbound links when it comes to PageRank. But this I am convinced about, if Google wants to represent what I as a user think of a particular article, then outbound links become important. Although it might not be of the same value as inbound links, it will have some small value attached to it.

There is also the other side of the argument, that says outbound links have PR leakage. Based on what I have said here, and read on the net,I don’t think I agree with this. Why would Google penalise you for giving value to your readers? Sounds very unlikely.

I am interested to know what your thoughts are? Comments any one ? …

 

 

Tags:
Categories:
blog comments powered by Disqus

15 comment(s) so far...


Gravatar

Re: Is outbound linking worthwhile? Does it add to PageRank?

We have been tracking this type of activity on our site recently and we agree with your suggestion. So far we have not found anything negative about inbound or outbound linking.

By Glam Gals on  2009/04/24 08:39 PM
Gravatar

Re: Is outbound linking worthwhile? Does it add to PageRank?

Go serendipity, just came across your forum post in probloggers 31day challenge. And what a fortunately reader I am. Really enjoyed your thoughtful analysis of the strength of outbound links. I have been using them extensively in all my online writing (my original site, my many squidoo lenses, and now recently in my growing blog post collection), without even considering how they affect page rank. I just naturally linked information that I thought a reader would want at their fingertips, a sort of pre-filtered information hub.
Thanks for taking the time to write, and for joining the 31 day forums.

By Mark Essel on  2009/04/24 08:47 PM
Gravatar

Re: Is outbound linking worthwhile? Does it add to PageRank?

Glam Gals,

Thanks for the comment. Yes its all about experience. Many artilces written by good SEO specialists try to argue from a technical perspective. Linking is a natural practical thing.

I am glad that you mentioned that you have actual taken time to track this type of activity. It speaks volumes.

By Robert Bravery on  2009/04/24 08:42 PM
Gravatar

Re: Is outbound linking worthwhile? Does it add to PageRank?

Mark,

I believe its all abut natural linking. Not trying to gain PR, or trying to manipulate the system. If it is natural to link, I believe Google will reward. They have made huge strides in blackhat SEO. You can't just bury keywords in your page, it has to make sense, it has to be part of the story, etc. Same applies, IMO, to outbound links.

Thanks for sharing this

By Robert Bravery on  2009/04/24 08:56 PM
Gravatar

Re: Is outbound linking worthwhile? Does it add to PageRank?

Interesting post - what you say makes sense. Am a bit of a newbie when it comes to SEO but I did read that your PR gets reduced and passed on to the sites you refer to - given your comments though, particularly about linking to bad neighbourhoods suggests that google does track your outbound links.. it would definitely make sense to use the outbound link data somehow to determine the value of the referring page. I doubt google would have ignored this so thanks for the insight!

By Wonkie on  2009/04/25 12:18 AM
Gravatar

Re: Is outbound linking worthwhile? Does it add to PageRank?

@wonkie,

I believe that Google do use outbound link data. Take a look at craigslist.com. Pick any category, and drill down to the link. Have a look at the page rank. Most are relatively average-high. But when you consider that those pages are just filled with links It makes it even more interesting.

Admittedly those links are outbound on for pages, and they are in reality internal links. Does this also mean that Google ads value to internal linking as well.

MM perhaps another blog post coming up hey,

By Robert Bravery on  2009/04/25 12:28 AM
Gravatar

Re: Is outbound linking worthwhile? Does it add to PageRank?

@wonkie,

I believe that Google do use outbound link data. Take a look at craigslist.com. Pick any category, and drill down to the link. Have a look at the page rank. Most are relatively average-high. But when you consider that those pages are just filled with links It makes it even more interesting.

Admittedly those links are outbound on for pages, and they are in reality internal links. Does this also mean that Google ads value to internal linking as well.

MM perhaps another blog post coming up hey,

By Robert Bravery on  2009/04/25 12:29 AM
Gravatar

Re: Is outbound linking worthwhile? Does it add to PageRank?

Robert- this makes sense to me. There are times fellow craft sites have a fun kids craft or additional parenting tips and I link to them. It is an asset for my readers in my opinion because they don't have to search for those additional resources I do. I can't imagine google not noting relevant outgoing links as positive.

Stopping by from 31dbbb. I'll be back. Love your blog!!

By Onna on  2009/04/25 07:10 PM
Gravatar

Re: Is outbound linking worthwhile? Does it add to PageRank?

@Onna,I think Google is all about logic and common sense. They work hard at weeding out the rif-raf who try to exploit the system. Things like Black-Hat SEO, Keyword Stuffing, Dorway Pages, Link Farms, Paid links, etc, are all part of their hard efforts to clean up so that the PR is a much better and natural ranking tool.BTW, aint the 31dbbb great, learned such a lot so far, as well as having increased traffic and comments.

By Robert Bravery on  2009/04/26 02:03 PM
Gravatar

Re: Is outbound linking worthwhile? Does it add to PageRank?

Great post Rob!

By Calvin on  2009/04/26 02:00 PM
Gravatar

Re: Is outbound linking worthwhile? Does it add to PageRank?

Thanks Calvin, Much Appreciated.

(BTW, saw your blog. I love Soccer, Liverpool Rocks.)

By Robert Bravery on  2009/04/26 02:07 PM
Gravatar

Re: Is outbound linking worthwhile? Does it add to PageRank?

Great post Rob!

By Calvin on  2009/04/26 05:15 PM
Gravatar

Re: Is outbound linking worthwhile? Does it add to PageRank?

@Rob, thanks for passing by, I'm a soccer freak, had no other choice but to right about it....

By Calvin on  2009/04/26 05:15 PM
Gravatar

Re: Is outbound linking worthwhile? Does it add to PageRank?

i have been trialling this on a directory site of mine now for a number of months (2-3) and i am seeing a slight improvement for those pages that link out to competitors.

I think that i need a few more months tho to be 100% certain that its true.

By JamesUK on  2009/05/12 12:45 AM
Gravatar

Re: Is outbound linking worthwhile? Does it add to PageRank?

James,

Yes, time is always the great decider. Many bloggers seek instant results, but in the real world, it often never works like that. Although, with large sites, you do tend to get a higher click through ratio. This helps Google with their algorithm in deciding the importance of a particular link.
But I am glad you're tracking this. Please come back to us if and when you have some more positive result. I would, as well as our readers, be very interested in what you have to share.

By Robert Bravery on  2009/05/12 07:46 AM
 
Blog Updates Via E-mail
 Blog Updates Via E-mail
Minimize

Do you want to receive blog updates via e-mail. Then just click on the link below. You will be redirected to Google's feed burner, where you can fill out a form. Supplying your e-mail address.

The subscription is managed entirely by Google's Feedburner. We cannot and do not collect your email address.

Subscribe to The Brave Programmer by Email

Print  
 

 

Latest Comments
 Latest Comments
Minimize
Powered by Disqus

Sign up with Disqus to enjoy a  surprise box of features

Print  
 
Blog Roll
 Blog Roll
Minimize
Print  
 
Categories
 Categories
Minimize
Print  
 
<h1>Search Blogs From The Brave Programmer</h1>
 

Search Blogs From The Brave Programmer

Minimize
Print  
 
Archive
 Archive
Minimize
Archive
<June 2017>
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
28293031123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
2526272829301
2345678
Monthly
Go
Print  
 
<h1>News Feeds (RSS)</h1>
 

News Feeds (RSS)

Minimize
Print  
 

Follow robertbravery on Twitter

Blog Engage Blog Forum and Blogging Community, Free Blog Submissions and Blog Traffic, Blog Directory, Article Submissions, Blog Traffic

View Robert Bravery's profile on LinkedIn

Mybyte

 

Robert - Find me on Bloggers.com

Tags
 Tags
Minimize
Print  
 
Contact Us Now
 Contact Us Now
Minimize
 

Email  us now or call us on 082-413-1420,  to host your website.

We design and develop websites. We develop websites that make a difference. We do Dotnetnuke Module development.

Web Masters Around The World
Power By Ringsurf
Print