SEO best practices – effective external linking

In this article we will look at external linking, why this is important, and how to use this technique effectively.

What is an external link?

An external link is a hyperlink that points at another domain name or website.

For example a hyperlink from mydomain.com to a website called thisdomainname.co.uk

Why is external linking important?

External linking is important for 2 reasons.

This first reason is known as popularity. According to search engines experts and engineers external links are easier to measure and track when compared to measuring and tracking traffic to a website.

External links are easier to measure because they are more visible and easier to store. Traffic is difficult to measure because traffic statistics are usually buried in private server logs.

It is for this reason that external links are a great method for determining the popularity of a given web page or website.

The second reason is known a relevancy. External links provide clues about relevancy and is a valuable tool for search engines.
The anchor text that is used in a hyperlink is usually written by hand by a human and is usually reflects the content of the web page or website that the human is linking to.

Anchor text is usually a short phrase such “best builders in Kent" or the URL of the target page “www.bobbuildersinkent.com”.
It is important to note that the target and source pages and domains cited in an external link provide valuable relevancy information for the search engines.

External links tend to point to related content. For example, a plumbers firm in Kent many have links to a plumber related form and vice versa. This all helps the search engines establish the knowledge hubs that exits on the Internet so that they can then use this information to validate the importance of a given web page or website.

How to do I use external linking effectively?

In order to use external linking effectively your primary focus is to link to good quality and relevant websites that have good quality information. By linking to these types of websites, your website itself will increase in credibility.

There is not point linking to a completely unrelated website about wall paper and DIY if your website is about music and video.

However, the following types of external links that you must avoid.

  1. unmonitored links
  2. undisclosed paid advertising links

Beware that allowing your users to post dozens or hundreds of links to your website will quickly act as a turn off for your users and turn your website into a possible link farm.  This will lead to your website being seriously penalized by search engines.

If you allow users to leave comments on your website, you must moderate them to make sure that users don't leave spammy-looking links. A good tip may be to allow the users to post the URL of their website in a URL section of a comment box, but also to dis-allow any URLs in the comment body.

Undisclosed paid advertising can be very annoying to users of a website and quickly turns users away from websites that use the practice. And other users will just be annoyed when they click on the links and discover advertising and no information.

It is only fair that you disclose the links that are in fact paid advertising. What many websites will do with things like this is to double-underline the adverts, or highlight the advert in some way. This alerts the user to what the link is and then if they want to click on the advert, they may do so, but they will know 100% that it is an advert.

Adam Grannell Web Design, 4A Lancaster Way, Repton Park, Ashford, Kent, TN23 3GB
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