Off-Page SEO

External Links

Shahid Maqbool

By Shahid Maqbool
On Apr 4, 2023

External Links

What Are External Links?

External links are hyperlinks that direct users to a web page outside the website they visit. Websites can use external links to link out to other related content, resources, or even promotional pages.

They are also a great way to direct users to helpful content that can enhance their overall experience on the website. 

External links can be nofollow or dofollow and can allow "link juice" to flow between the sites. Nofollow links block this flow of link juice. Dofollow links allow the link juice to pass from one site to the other.

When using external links, you should make sure the links are useful for your visitors. Also, they should only link to good information from websites that people can trust. The sites you link to should be related to the content on your own website.

External links can be extremely powerful when used properly. When linking to other pages or websites, it is important to research the content and ensure it is a reliable source. 

Additionally, when adding external links to content, it should enhance the user experience by providing helpful information and resources that relate to the topic. 

This can help create a better overall web experience for visitors and make them feel more connected with the content they are reading. 

How are external links different from internal links?

There is a clear difference between internal and external links. Internal links direct website traffic from one page to another on the same domain, while external links send users to a different website.

Simply put:

Internal links: within your website

External links: between two different websites

What are the types of external links?

External links point toward the pages within two different websites. Based on this idea, it can be categorized into two types:

  • External links that point toward another website from your website are called outbound links.

  • External Links that point toward your website from another website are called inbound links. They are also called backlinks.

Nofollow vs dofollow external links

Nofollow links show Google or other search engine bots not to pass the link juice to the linked pages. This is done by adding a rel=“nofollow” tag to the link’s code. It does not pass on the authority to the linked website.

On the other hand, dofollow links do not use the rel=“nofollow” tag. They tell the search engines to pass the link equity or link juice to the linked website. You tell the search engines that the linked page is valuable and must be accredited with the page authority.

Google introduced the nofollow tag in 2005 to avoid comment spamming. It indicates to Google that this page has no connection with your page, nor should it be crawled.

Google introduced nofollow tag

However, in 2019 Google made another update to its nofollow tag and modified it from a directive to a hint. That means even if you have given a nofollow directive, Google may still pass on the link authority as it will treat this tag as a suggestion rather than a directive.

Google update nofollow tag

Are external links good for SEO?

Adding external links to your website content can help searchers find valuable content on other websites. This builds credibility, and visitors keep coming back for more accurate information. This enhances user experience. 

However, “Do they increase the ranking of a website” is a topic that SEOs have discussed for a long time - Not even a single citation tells that external links are a ranking factor.

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