On-Page SEO

External Links to Popular Websites Have No Impact on SEO Ranking, Google Affirms

Shahid Maqbool

By Shahid Maqbool
On Aug 1, 2023

External Links to Popular Websites Have No Impact on SEO Ranking, Google Affirms

Key Takeaways

In a recent exchange with the SEO community on Reddit, Google's Search Advocate, John Mueller, set the record straight on a widespread misconception in the industry.

He clarified that linking to popular and high-authority sites like Wikipedia does not have any direct impact on a website's search rankings.

Question regarding linking to high authority websites

Nothing happens. Why should it? This has been one of those things that SEOs have claimed / hoped since literally decades.

"Here's my affiliate site about handbags - and here's a link to CNN & Wikipedia, please take me seriously now, k?"

Treat links like content. Does this link provide additional, unique value to users? Then link naturally. Is this link irrelevant to my users? Then don't link to it. Name-dropping a dictionary doesn't fix your speling mistakes.

John Mueller

For years, there has been a belief among some SEO practitioners that linking to well-established and reputable sites would boost a website's authority and improve its SEO rankings.

However, Mueller's statement debunks this myth, emphasizing that linking to authoritative sites alone will not lead to ranking improvements.

Mueller emphasized the importance of focusing on useful links that genuinely benefit users. When a link adds value to the content and enhances the user's experience by providing relevant and additional information, it becomes a valuable asset.

On the other hand, linking solely for the sake of authority and ranking benefits is not a recommended strategy.

Mueller denied the importance of linking to high authority sites

The discussion serves as a reminder for SEO professionals and website owners to prioritize the quality and relevance of their links.

Instead of seeking external links purely for the authority of the linked sites, practitioners should aim to offer value to their audience and cater to their needs effectively.

Websites that focus on delivering high-quality, valuable, and user-friendly content are more likely to see positive results in their SEO efforts.

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