eMarketing – Outbound Links / Authority Site Linking

To appreciate how outgoing links can assist your site’s ranked position one look beyond ‘my site’ and the site (page) being linked to in order to see the bigger picture.

Many SEO firms are stuck on a bad premise ‘ linking out is a bad thing.

They believe:
1. Outgoing links are a drain on their hard fought Google’s PageRank (a version of link popularity) development campaigns

2. Outgoing links reduces rank position in search engines, and

3. Outgoing links can also give away valuable visitors to other sites

Some will attempt to protect themselves from these occurrences by using JavaScript on outgoings links (where search engines cannot follow JavaScript) to avoid passing on PageRank. They will use a Meta Robot Tag with ‘Noindex’ (to avoid the page being indexed thus no loss of PageRank) or ‘Nofollow’ (to stop the search engines indexing robot from following these links). They will use their robot.txt to disallow search engines from pages with outgoing links on them, so not to have these pages indexed. They will also hide the link ‘ making it appear as simple normal text on the page stopping visitors from easily finding these links.

Although these firms are successful, their original premise is flawed. Google (and other search engines) value outgoing links particular if the ‘linked to’ page is of the same topic as the page being linked. More
importantly, your visitors will benefit from such links. If these outgoing links are to an authority site (a trusted source of information e.g. NASA website for the topic of space) you stand an enormous chance of gaining far more than you lose.{mospagebreak title=Showing Appreciation&toc=1} To appreciate how outgoing links can assist your site’s ranked position one look beyond ‘my site’ and the site (page) being linked to in order to see the bigger picture. PageRank transfers not just to the ‘linked
to’ page (this so-called PageRank drain) but all subsequent links down an endless link path and not just a single path but also millions of endless new links paths as you move further away from your own website. Links by Proxy

By adding a link to an authority site on a related topic, Google immediately recognizes the stature of that link. As many SEO contend ‘ you also transfer PageRank that if no link were present the PageRank would be passed within your website internal links (the so-called PageRank drain).

If your investigation stops here, it is obviously that no benefits are apparent (if no reciprocal link is return). PageRank is however, ‘liquid’ it follows all available paths every link through a site and out of the site, and to other sites. Authority websites have many incoming links they also link appropriately to other authority sites, and sites of lesser authority, thus your passed PageRank (like a river) flows to all of the new sites. In turn, these sites, link to more sites, some of which are lesser of an authority and your passed PageRank continues expanding outwards. Most of the fore-mentioned sites additionally, have listings in many
directories such as DMOZ.org. DMOZ.org (and others) is considered a hub (an aggregation of topics by linking out to sites deemed to have quality information). As hubs, contain a vast assortment of quality topical information many of the authority sites link to hubs again passing your PageRank on. {mospagebreak title=Pieces Of The Puzzle&toc=1} Your PageRank passes through all the naming link conventions (categories) and if you have a listing that PageRank you passed to the authority site comes back to you. Additionally, many of the sites along the link upstream also link to hubs for the same reason (more quality information) and your PageRank that followed these paths filter through all the naming link conventions (categories) and again if you have a listing that PageRank you passed comes back to you.

Additionally, any site that was not even in that authority link upstream yet has a listing in DMOZ.org receives some of your passed PageRank from those authorities linking to DMOZ.org. If these sites have, a link to you that PageRank you passed comes back to you. Not forgetting all other major hubs, both general all encompassing directories and specialty topics oriented ones, if any of these authorities sites link to these directories and you are also listed, and/or sites linking to you are listed again your PageRank is passed back to you. In my opening comments, ‘many SEO firms are stuck on a bad premise’. I submit that few, if any, have taken the time to investigate all ‘link paths’ to ensure there was nothing ‘downstream’ that sends their PageRank drain back.

The essence of the World Wide Web is ‘connecting’ and the more you ‘actually connect to’ the more you get in return. The simplicity of the web is “getting linked” and forward thinkers make meaningful linkage, but if you only look at your immediate adjacent returns ‘ you are not seeing the whole picture.
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