In this post we’ll take a look at inbound vs outbound links and how they are regarded by the search engines.
Good quality inbound links have become more and more important in how the search engines rank web pages yet many website owners still have misconceptions about building links for link popularity and how links figure in their search engine optimization efforts.
How the Search Engines View Inbound vs Outbound Links
Link pop, link popularity, page rank, PR, inbound links etc. are all industry lingo for the same thing; but understanding the meaning and importance of links is essential to your website’s success.
Most people think that good quality inbound links from other sites is what the search engines use to determine if your website is an authority site. In fact, inbound links are only part of the equation.
The search engines actually look at three areas of website links equally to determine if your website is an “authority” within your industry;
- Internal Linking
- Outbound links
- Inbound links
In organic search engine listing results, an authority website is considered an industry leader and that is why they are listed above the rest, at the top of the search engine listing results. The leader (or authority site) is a resource on a specific market or industry. A leader would be able to provide answers, news and information on specific topics. They would also share their knowledge in the industry as well as link to other sites who share additional or related resources about those topics.
An “authority” is not afraid to share, because whether it is a brick and mortar store or an on-line website, the leader is considered to be the most knowledgeable resource that customers remember; not just the one who pushed their sale the hardest.
For instance, when you want to make a purchase you usually have a lot of questions. You may visit three or four different places but the one who was most knowledgeable and gave you the comfort, security and trust you needed, is likely to be the one you make your purchase with.
Internal Links for SEO
These are the links that you place from one page within your site, to another page within your site. If done correctly this provides a “map” for the engines to follow and when they do they should be following and finding pages that are related to one another.
If all of your internal links are about one subject and use that subject as the link text (anchor text) it helps you create the thought that you are an “authority” on a specific subject. You have to determine if you will be an authority on a keyword, a topic, or an overall theme. This can be done with the keyword phrases and with the pages you choose when linking from one page to another throughout your site.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Often times I will review the inbound links of a site with the special site:www.domain.com operator within the search engines. When I do this I may see 500 links as the total number of returned results. What I find is that the site may have 5 good quality inbound links from quality sites; but then the remaining links that were counted came from their own internal linking structure. Some may ask how is that so? Well if you have 500 pages that have achieved their own page rank, what you are considering an internal link from one page within your site to another page within your site can also be considered an “inbound” link from one page to another on a page to page level.
Relevant Outbound Links Can Be Good For User Experience
Often times commercial sites are reluctant to place outbound links to other sites; they feel it may cost them sales and traffic; but having links that leave your site and point to sites that are relevant to your industry, as well as being considered industry leaders (or authorities) helps to build your website’s relevance as an industry leader.
Be sure to truly review the site you intend to link out to, find a specific page that discusses what your pages is about and feel comfortable that you are helping your web page relevance as well as providing a resource for visitors to your site.
Importance of Inbound Links for SEO
A common misconception is that inbound links are the key determining factor search engines use to rate and rank a web page within the top 10 listing results; this is simply not true.
All the factors listed above help to determine if you will rank well in the major search engines. When sites find success with creating large inbound links it is usually because they had to compensate for not providing outbound links, or having a good link structure within their own site; and the search engines had to rely on inbound link text to figure out what their site was really about.
Important Note: Quality over quantity is the tone the search engines have set as of late. It is no longer a race to see how many links you can achieve, but how many you can achieve that are in your industry, that are related to the keyword phrase you are trying to rank for, how this site is considered as an industry leader, the other websites this particular website has chosen to link to and how relevant to your theme is the content that is shown on the page supplying the inbound link.
Understanding this concept will save you a lot of time and make the links that you decide to go after more meaningful; as well as helping your site achieve the rankings you want.
Additional insight and information can be found within our Natural Link Building Services are of our web site.