- What are external Links?
- Why are outbound links important?
- Correct use of external links
- What to look out for in external linking
- External Link Analysis in the Site Experience
What are external Links?
A link from my own domain to another page outside my domain is called an external link. External links are used to provide users with additional information and sources on a particular topic. In other words, they act as a recommendation of another website.
External links are divided into outbound and inbound links, the latter being called backlinks.
This article is about outbound links.
Why are outbound links important?
Helpful external links offer added value, especially to users, as they save time and effort in searching for further information. Google also recognises this as a quality feature. Even if linking to trustworthy pages has no direct influence on the ranking, Google increases the trust in the page. Furthermore, linking to other websites can generate important backlinks if they refer back to your own page. And backlinks in turn have a positive effect on the ranking.
Correct use of external links
You should always make sure that you only link to thematically relevant websites that complement and enhance your own content and thus create a positive user experience. The assessment of the quality of a link should not only be based on the consideration of the individual linked page, but should be based on the entire domain as a whole.
The ratio between outgoing and incoming external links (backlinks) should be balanced as far as possible. The use of too many external links results in less link juice being passed on to the linked internal pages and more of it being lost to external pages.
Exceptions to this are so-called link hubs, which collect all possible links to a certain topic and make them available to the user as a summary.
In addition, the use of too many paid links should also be avoided, as this gives Google the impression that the page only exists to generate links. In this case, the page may be penalised by Google.
Often, the use of external links goes hand in hand with the concern that external links will lead users away from your own site and that you will lose them as a result. By using target="_blank" in the HTML tag of the external link (see example), a new page is opened when the user clicks on the link. Thus, the user is not really lost.
What to look out for in external linking
One of the biggest challenges with linking to domain external sites is that there is usually no control over them. You may not notice changes to linked content or pages. Even small changes in the website structure or in the content on the "foreign" pages can lead to a negative user experience if the user ends up on a page that is not related to the topic or even no longer exists. Therefore, we strongly recommend regular checks of external links.
Off-topic links or links to pages that you do not completely trust should be marked with the NoFollow attribute so that they do not have a negative impact on the quality of your page.
In addition, it is recommended to mark user-generated content (comments etc.) and paid links as such in order to avert link spam accusations. Use rel="ugc" and rel="sponsored" for this purpose.
Site Experience > Link Analysis > External Links
After you have navigated to the external link report, you will find the following pie chart. This provides information about the distribution of image and text links. Furthermore, the two link types are then subdivided into several attributes.
In our example, we can see that of the 56,646 external links, 25,770 are text links and 342 of them have the Nofollow attribute.
At the bottom of the page is a table listing all externally linked pages. In addition, it provides further information about the link types and the traffic index.
So from our example we can see that 7,255 of the pages link to twitter.com and the page is mostly linked to in the form of an image. Furthermore, we can see that 40.39% of the links are marked with NoFollow. In addition, we can see that 14 URLs of the 7255 pages rank with the keywords stored in the project and thus produce a traffic of 152.
External Link Details
If you click on the number of source URLs, you will get a list of all your URLs that link to the respective domain. For each URL listed, you will also get information on the SPS and CheiRank, the absolute numbers of outgoing (internal + external) and incoming links, the indexation, and the level at which the link is located.