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Does adding outbound links to your content help with SEO?

Does adding outbound links to your content help with SEO?

Search engine optimisation (SEO) experts and content writers have added external links to their websites for years in the hope that it will boost their rankings, but what does Google have to say about this practice?

Recently, a Redditor asked “What will happen if I external link to a popular website like Wikipedia?” and then got a reply from Google’s John Mueller, who began his response with:

“Nothing happens. Why should it?”

However, he went on to note that content writers and SEOs should “link naturally”. If a link provides additional value to users, it may be worth adding.

Some studies conducted by big names in the SEO industry, including Rand Fishkin, have suggested that adding external links on a page has made a positive impact on those pages’ rankings within search results. A study conducted in 2015/16 found the opposite of what Mueller says about adding external links to your content, and returned similar results when it was conducted again in 2020.

Mueller’s comments suggest that links within your content to external websites should provide additional value, and should be natural and relevant to the user, so in a way Mueller is contradicting himself by saying “nothing happens” and then going on to say that you should only add links naturally if they provide additional value to your users.

Generally, there is no harm linking to external websites if the content you’re linking out to is relevant and useful to your users, and it may help give authenticity and context to what you’re saying. However, don’t just add links for the sake of adding links, hoping it will have a magic SEO effect.

Content is a powerful tool for getting in front of your prospective customers. Find out more about how we can help you at Engage Web by giving us a call today.

Jonathon Roberts

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