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. Similarly, if another website links to your content, this qualifies as an external link. The preferred term, however, is “inbound” link.
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)
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).
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.
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.