Busting the myths: why linking out will not kill your website

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SEO Mythbusting

In terms of marketing, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) has got the worst reputation by far. Part of the reason for this is that SEO practitioners are constantly hunting for links, and some bad SEOs try and generate links by using spam. This has created a situation where plenty of websites simply don’t want to link to other sites because they think it will hurt their Google rankings or PageRank.

But if you link out to other sites in the correct way you will actually do your site more favours than you would by not linking out. Let’s take a look at some of the myths surrounding linking out to other websites.

Myth 1: Linking out will cause my users to leave my site

In essence, this is true. But look at Google — it tries get users off its site as fast as possible by linking to another site. There are also some other sites that mostly link to other sites, such as Twitter and Reddit. Just because someone clicks a link in a tweet does not mean that they will not come back to Twitter once they have left. In most cases, the user will return. And a very simple solution would be to have links open in a new tab or window. As far as long term traffic goes, there is no evidence to show that linking out has a negative effect on traffic — as long as your links add value to your content.

Myth 2: Linking to other sites will hurt my rankings in search engines

This is simply not true. Unless you are linking to malware installing sites and other things that Google hates, linking out will cause no harm to your search engine ranking position. In fact, linking out shows trust. Not only are you showing search engines that you trust the site you are linking to, but you are also showing that you are smart when it comes to linking to other great content on the web.

Myth 3: I should be trying to get links to my site, not giving out links

Yes, to this day link building takes up a big chunk of the normal SEO day, but linking out might help you get more links. If someone keeps an eye on their website’s traffic they will undoubtedly notice when they get traffic from your site. Then, they might tweet the link to your site where you link to them, or if you are lucky, they might even link back to your site from their own site. Linking to other sites is a great way of “networking” and creating opportunities to build links to your own site.

Myth 4: Linking out looks like spam

It does if you link to things that will be of no value to your users/readership. But as long as the link is relevant to the content from where you are linking, there is nothing spammy about that. The important thing to always remember is that when you link out, it should add value to the content you have created and not deduct from the value.

For example, writing a piece about the new Alpha Romeo and then adding the text “house for sale” somewhere and having it link to a property site is a bad link and should be avoided. The internet would not be the internet without links, that is why we used to call it the World Wide Web. Linking is part of the internet and if you are not linking out, you should not be part of the internet.

There you have it. As a rule I try and link out in every piece of writing I do for any online publication. Even from my own site I make a point of it to link out to anything that my readers might find useful concerning the subject matter. There is such a thing as “link karma” and the more positive links you put out there the more you will undoubtedly get back. Here are 5 reasons you should be linking to others from you website, by moz.com.

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