Definition of External Links in SEO

Through our SEO Agency Optimize 360

on the theme Netlinking SEO

External links, also known as outbound links, play an essential role in a website's SEO strategy. website.

Among other things, they improve the relevance and popularity of a page or site in the eyes of search engines.

In this article, we present a detailed definition of the external link in SEO and the different ways in which it can be used to optimise the positioning of a page or a website.

External links


What is an external link in SEO?

external link, or outgoing linkis a hyperlink that leads to a page or site outside the one on which it is placed. In other words, it is a link that points to a resource located on a domain other than that of the page on which it is located.

This distinguishes it from an internal link, which connects pages on the same site together.

The external link can take various forms:

  • A text containing the link (called "anchor text") ;
  • An image with an associated link ;
  • A clickable button leading to the external resource.

Difference between external and incoming links

It is important to distinguish between an external link and an inbound link. Although they are both links pointing to another site, they differ in their direction:

    • The external link goes from your site to an external site;
    • The incoming link arrives on your site from an external site.

Why are external links important in SEO?

External links play a crucial role in SEO strategy for a number of reasons:

They improve the relevance and authority of a page

By associating a page or a site with other quality resources, external links help strengthen its brand image and credibility with Internet users and search engines. This is because authoritative sites in a domain generally have several relevant, high-quality outbound links.

They are used by search engine algorithms

Search engines such as Google attach great importance to external links when determining a site's position in their results. They consider that a site that links to relevant, quality resources provides added value for users, which in turn leads to better positioning.

They contribute to "link juice

The " link juice "is the SEO value transmitted from one page to another by links. A quality external link can therefore improve the SEO of the site to which it points. The more recognised and popular a site is, the higher its link juice.

How do you choose the right external links to optimise your search engine optimisation?

To take full advantage of the benefits offered by external links, you need to set up a well thought-out strategy and to respect certain rules when using them:

Careful selection of target sites

It is important to give priority to links to quality sites whose subject matter is similar or complementary to that of your page or website. A good criterion for selecting these resources is to pay particular attention to their e-reputation and their domain authority.

Variety of anchor texts (anchortext)

Diversifying the anchor texts avoids being considered as spamdexing by search engines, which can then penalise your site's natural referencing.

Follow search engine recommendations

The main guidelines for external linking are provided by Google. They specify that it is preferable to limit the number of outgoing links on a page and to ensure that they are relevant.

Are there any risks in using external links for SEO purposes?

The use of external links is not without risks, particularly if it is poorly managed or abused:

Risk of penalties from search engines

Above a certain threshold, search engines may consider that the quantity of outgoing links is detrimental to theuser experience and the quality of the content. A penalty may then be applied.

Loss of traffic to target sites

Placing too many outbound links on a page or article can encourage users to leave the site and go to the target sites, resulting in a drop in the retention rate and average time spent per session.

Damage to e-reputation

When external links point to low-quality or even undesirable sites (plagiarism, offensive content, etc.), this can seriously damage the brand image of the source site and create a bad perception among Internet users and search engines.

External links are therefore a double-edged sword in SEO, and should be used with care.

By following these tips and best practices, you'll increase your chances of making the most of it, while avoiding potential pitfalls and disappointments.

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