Are Outbound Links Good for SEO?

Yes, adding outbound links to your content helps your website’s SEO. This is mainly because citing sources and including useful links improves the quality, trustworthiness, and user experience of your content. To be clear, this is only true when the outbound links are to high quality, authoritative websites and have topical relevance. If the outbound links lead to low quality, spammy sites or are not relevant to the topic, then there would not be an SEO benefit. 

The overall quality of the web content you are creating is a critical ranking factor. This means creating content that is original, useful, experiential, and factual. An aspect of high quality creation is ensuring that you are using reliable sources for your information. Including these reliable sources improves the quality of your content. It is also important that your content is not misleading, or improperly cited. Doing so can decrease the quality and credibility of your page. 

The trustworthiness of content is one of the most important considerations Google uses when assessing Page Quality (PQ). If you produce content with links to authoritative websites, this signals to Google and your users that you are using high-quality sources for your information. When considering the trustworthiness of your content, you must evaluate how ads or affiliate links are used within your content. If the ads or affiliate links or spammy, or if you use misleading language to get users to click on monetized links, this will decrease the trustworthiness of your website.

One of Google’s core philosophies is “Focus on the user and all else will follow”. User experience is a key ranking factor that Google considers when evaluating content. Outbound links, for the most part, improve user experience because they provide users with the resources they need to address their question or pain point. Prioritize outbound links that help your users further their understanding of a certain topic.

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