How many external links should I include in my blog article?

Michael Marchese
June 29, 2021
how many external links should I include

How many external links should I include in my blog article?

Michael Marchese
June 29, 2021

As search algorithms have evolved over the years, one of the key things that they look for is links. Inbound, outbound, and internal links all play a key role in your search engine ranking.

There are three basic types of links:

  • Internal links – To another page on your site.
  • External links – From your site to another website.
  • Inbound links – From another site to your blog.

The basics of inbound links

Inbound links are arguably the most important of the three. They are like a vote of confidence for your website from a third party, and they tell search engines that your page is a trustworthy source that other people would go to for essential advice and information.

While they are critically important for SEO, inbound links are also some of the hardest to obtain. It’s important that these types of links come from trusted sites, and not artificial links created through fake or spam sites like:

  • Blogs.
  • Wikis.
  • Social media profiles.
  • Directories.
  • Guestbooks.

These low-quality inbound links could actually have the opposite effect and harm your SEO if a search engine punishes you and moves your results down on the page. With algorithm updates throughout the years, such as Google’s Page Experience, search engines are getting better at evaluating page and link quality and spotting artificial links.

The best way to get high-quality inbound links from trustworthy sources is simply to create great content and promote it so others will read it, see it, and want to share it with their own audience. As you get more votes of confidence through these links, search engines will start to notice.

Examples of good external links for your content strategy

External links are links that lead a reader from your website to a site elsewhere in the world wide web. External linking happens when you link to an outside source that you reference in your blog article.

Any SEO practitioner worth their salt knows that it helps to include links in a piece of content. External links greatly benefit your website in terms of building visibility and adding credibility to your content. Just as important is that they add value to the readers’ experience because the links connect them to other valuable information while reading your content.

Content marketers should not use just any link though. As with any source of information, there are good and bad examples of external links. 

How to identify a high-quality external link:

  • The website you are linking to is regarded as a high authority in the industry. A well-respected source will boost people’s confidence in your content.
  • The link leads to a source known for content relevant to the subject matter.
  • The source links to mostly informational websites instead of your competitor companies.
  • The site you are linking to has attracted regular readers and a substantial number of visitors.
  • The source has valid information that gets fact checked (for example… the opposite of Wikipedia)

How many external links should you have in a content article?

Because external links encourage readers to click away from your blog article, you must limit these links and set them to open in a new tab. That way, readers won’t abandon your site entirely. Abandoning your site increases bounce rates, which hurts your website traffic. Ahhh… a perfect example of why SEO can be so tricky!

What, then, is there an ideal number of external links that you should include in your article?

With Google constantly making algorithm changes, no number can ever be set in stone. Some say 2-5 external links, depending on the length of the content, would work. Still, others would not put a limit on the number of external links. Many industry experts, however, advice against linking more than once to the same page.

Based on what we’ve found from our own research:

We recommend 1-2 external links for every 500 words of content. Limit your total number of external links to 5 (which would be for a very long blog article that is approximately 2,000 words long).

What is the best way to include an external link in a blog article?

An external link should be placed within the body of the content. Readers appreciate knowing what they’ll get if they click a link. That is why an external link should be properly emphasized using a concise, relevant and contextual anchor text. This hyperlinked text within the sentence you are linking from should convince the reader that clicking it leads to more valuable information.

What external links should be avoided within the content?

Not all external links are created equal. By all means, take great care and thought into including external links within any quality content. 

Tempesta Media writers and editors meticulously check all external links to ensure they do not lead to competitor websites. They make sure each link works. A broken link is not a good thing. No one wants to be greeted by a web page that is inaccessible because it has moved or the target website is offline. A working link leads to a good reader experience and increased traffic.

Finally, no content should be caught linking to outdated sources with information that may now be incorrect or irrelevant. At Tempesta Media, all external links within a content piece are verified to ensure they are accurate, current and up to date.

Now that you’ve learned about external links, want to learn about internal links? Read our recent blog article: 8 tips on how to incorporate internal links to your content.

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