Is Linking Out To Authoritative Sites Good For SEO?
John Mueller recently weighed in on the practice of linking out to an authoritative site for the purpose of improving Google website SEO. He explained the history of this website SEO technique, as well as the search engine company’s perspective on the matter.
It’s widely accepted in the SEO community that linking to a reputable site will improve a website’s position in the search results. However, Mueller said that this practice doesn’t really have that big of an impact.
The practice of linking to an authoritative site has no connection to anything that Google has said or posted, which implies that it isn’t actually a ranking factor. It’s a technique that evolved from an algorithm research paper published in 1998 and the seminal SEO document created by one of the early fathers of modern SEO.
In 1998, an SEO published a paper describing their ranking algorithm study that employed a new type of link analysis known as HITS. The new method assigned two scores to each web page: an authority score and a hub score.
The HITS algorithm was made based on the notion that some sites offered hand-curated pages that linked to authoritative domains. Websites that link out to other excellent ones and are referred to as “hubs”. They were also given their own “hub score”.
The second concept behind HITS is that high-quality sites receive links from hub pages. Authorities were the name given to these web pages, and an authority score was assigned to each of them. The concept of an authority score and a hub piqued the interest of the SEO community, which then accepted the ideas of authority and hub scores as part of the best website SEO practices.
However, there’s something to consider: Google has never actually used the HITS algorithm.
The idea of hubs and authority sites, on the other hand, was gradually incorporated into SEO practices on the assumption that Google either used the algorithm in the past or would use it in the future.
In 2002, an SEO published an article that formed the basis of contemporary SEO. It was a 26-step guide to having a successful content marketing strategy. One of the top SEO practices that the article recommended was to link to another site.
The article wrote that from each page, SEOs should include a link to one or two high-ranking sites that are relevant to their keywords. The guide recommended using the chosen keywords in the link’s text. Soon after, the majority of the recommendations in that 2002 article were adopted as official SEO practices.
Even though Google has never stated that linking to an authoritative site is beneficial for SEO, many of these 2002 SEO techniques, such as linking out to a reputable source, continue to be used by SEO experts.
Fast-forward 19 years later, and linking to authoritative sites is still a thing. In the Google SEO office-hours on 1 October, a person asked Mueller whether or not outbound links were still useful. Mueller responded by providing some background on the practice of linking out.
Mueller said that this is something that people did in the past when they would make a spammy website with a link to Wikipedia and CNN at the bottom, hoping search engines would see it and believe it’s a genuine site. This was something done a long time ago, and it was a highly conventional spam approach. Mueller admitted that he was not sure if it ever really worked, so from that standpoint, he said he does not know if it makes sense.
However, Mueller didn’t discount the importance of using outbound links entirely. He said that using outbound links could be a good practice when content references other web pages. Mueller added that if one’s website has good material and part of it points to other existing content, then having that sort of link structure would make sense and could benefit SEO. However, simply creating a link to a reputable source does not alter how Google sees a website.
Outbound Links Don’t Change Anything for Google
From an algorithmic standpoint, Mueller said that outbound links are useless. Moreover, no one can really explain why linking to a reputable site is a good SEO practice because there’s nothing to reference. There is no statement, patent, or even a research paper that conclusively declares that this practice is beneficial for Google website SEO.
According to Mueller, there’s no evidence that linking to “authority sites” is beneficial to SEO in and of itself. With that being said, it’s a fantastic way to improve a site’s user experience.
Although outbound links aren’t the first factors that online businesses and site owners think about when developing successful SEO tactics and auditing their sites, there are reasons why they should be given more attention.
First and foremost, it improves a piece of content’s topical signals. Linking out to related material helps to enhance the topical signals of a web page and aids Google in understanding the content.
It should be noted that linking out will not result in any negative consequences, contrary to what some might believe. Outbound links may be used to improve the quality of the content, add complexity to the subject, and enhance topical signals.
Finally, outbound links are the best way for SEOs to credit their sources when publishing content online. Google officials have even confirmed this on numerous occasions.
Outbound links have been a hot topic among SEOs for a long time. There’s no escaping the reality that linking to authoritative sources may provide context to a site’s content and help foster trust with users.
Work With A Professional SEO Agency
After reading about the significance of outbound links, they’re certainly something that should be considered developing content. However, many businesses don’t know the best practices for connecting their website to others.
Here at Position1SEO, we can help you build links to authoritative websites while boosting your own authority as well. We can also help you make a great impression on your readers and make them trust your content more.
We are experts in link building, website optimisation and development, converting site traffic to paying customers, and many other aspects of SEO. By working with us, you can target any keyword at any competition level while still guaranteeing a spot on the first page of Google’s search results.
If you are interested in our affordable SEO packages, you can dial 0141 404 7515 or email us at email@example.com.