Just as inbound links are important for your site’s ranking, controlling your outbound links is vital to your site’s on site SEO strategy.
When someone clicks an outbound link, it simply means that the person is going out of your site into another website.
I think all websites have outbound links. There will always be great souces to cite when sharing information, great websites to share and your personal social network accounts to connect to.
All these ‘other websites’ are entities that are apart from your ownership. Pointing out to them will obviously direct traffic from your site to them meaning you’re giving them an exit opportunity from your site (that is, if you don’t use the target=”blank” attribute of an outbound link, which I highly recommend that you do).
I’m sure you already get the gist that outbound links are not really something to keep a potential customer or a reader in your website, right? Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to antagonize it – in fact I love outbound links as a reader because most outbound links help me find more relevant information.
There’s more to it than meets the eye
The thing you have to know about outbound links is that it passes on link juice to whomever it points to. And yes, the one passing it on of course, loses some of its own juice.
What’s that I hear? Are you asking me to show you how to control outbound links? Why certainly!
There are 2 kinds of links:
- Dofollow Link
- Nofollow Link
The dofollow link is the normal link. It’s the default link. It passes on Google juice to the site it points out to. If you look at a normal link’s source code, it would look like this:
<a href=”http://samplesite.com”>Sample site</a>
A nofollow link is the kind of link that blocks off Google juice (yes I use the term ‘Google juice’ because only Google acknowledges the nofollow attribute. Yahoo and Bing and all other search engines disregard it) and preserves it in your own website.
I know it’s pretty selfish, but if you’re optimizing your own site to the best extent, then this is the way to go – unless you’re really rooting for that website you’re giving a link to (hint: Sean raises his hand*)
The difference with a dofollow link from a nofollow link would be the rel=”nofollow” attribute included in the outbound link’s code.
A nofollow outbound link would look like:
<a href=”http://samplesite.com” rel=”nofollow”>Sample site</a>
Yep, it’s simple as that. Adding a short code as an attribute of your outbound link to control the Google juice flow of your website and keep it in.
In essence, a nofollow outbound link that opens in a new browser tab or window (to try to keep traffic in your website) would look something like:
<a href=”http://samplesite.com” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”>Sample site</a>
Try it out on your next link! Discuss this with me in the forums.
Sean Patrick Si
SEO Hacker Founder and SEO Specialist