Do Outbound Links Improve SEO? [Study + Tips]

My outbound link study shows a correlation: More external links, higher rankings.

Written by
Torbjørn Flensted
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April 24, 2024

Discover the powerful impact of outbound links on SEO.

What is Outbound Links?

Outbound links, also known as outbound hyperlinks or external links, are links that direct users from your website or webpage to another website or webpage on a different domain. These external links are created when you include a clickable URL or anchor text that leads to an external source or reference.

Why is Outbound Links Essential?

Outbound links are those that point from your website to other domains. These links provide several benefits:

  • They help search engines understand the context and relevance of your content.
  • Linking to authoritative websites boosts your website's trustworthiness and reliability.
  • Outbound links can bring direct traffic to your site.

Listen: Do outbound links still play a role in your SEO strategy?

What if I told you that there's been a confusion circulating in the SEO community recently?

Analysis: Do Outbound Links Improve SEO?

Yes, outbound links can improve SEO. A huge study I conducted in 2022 showed a correlation between the number of outbound links a website has and its search engine rankings.

The graph below illustrates this relationship, demonstrating that as the number of outbound links increases, the website's ranking tends to improve. This highlights the importance of incorporating helpful outbound links strategically into your content to enhance your content and SEO efforts.

Outbound links may not directly impact rankings, but the study suggests that they serve as a sign of the overall effort and quality behind top-ranking pages.

Pages that consistently include well-curated outbound links, helping users discover relevant resources, often demonstrate a higher level of dedication to providing valuable and comprehensive content.

While the specific impact on rankings may be indirect, the presence of thoughtful outbound links speaks to the level of commitment and attention to user experience on those pages.

So, leveraging outbound links can be a valuable strategy for showcasing your content's quality and authority.

10 Expert Tips for Effective Outbound Linking

  1. Link out at least twice per page: Incorporate outbound links into your content, aiming for a minimum of two links per page to provide additional resources and cite relevant information.
  2. Link in Content: Place your outbound links naturally within the body of your content, ensuring they seamlessly blend in and enhance the user experience.
  3. Refer to statistics and analysis: Support your content with outbound links to reputable sources that provide data, statistics, and analysis to back up your claims and increase credibility.
  4. Conduct a Gap analysis: Identify areas where your content could benefit from external resources and link out to fill those gaps, providing comprehensive information to your audience.
  5. Refer to the manufacturer: If applicable, include outbound links to the official websites or sources of the products or services you mention in your content, demonstrating credibility and authority.
  6. Bust myths: Debunk common misconceptions or myths in your content by linking out to credible sources that provide accurate information and clarify the truth behind these misconceptions.
  7. Avoid linking to competing pages: Instead of linking to direct competitors, focus on outbound links that enhance the user experience and provide supplementary information that complements your content.
  8. Link to Wikipedia's sources: Utilize outbound links to reputable sources cited on Wikipedia to provide additional references and reinforce the reliability and quality of your content.
  9. Insert links in context for full effect: Ensure that your outbound links are contextually relevant and seamlessly integrated into your content, maximizing their impact and user engagement.
10. Bonus Tip: Communicate your outbound links: When you link to external sources or websites, consider reaching out to them and letting them know that you have referenced or linked to their content, fostering potential collaborations or partnerships.


1. Why is Outbound Links Essential?

Outbound links is essential because it helps search engines understand the context and relevance of your content. It also boosts your website's trustworthiness and reliability by linking to authoritative sources. Additionally, outbound links have the potential to bring direct traffic to your site.

2. How do outbound links boost a website's trustworthiness and reliability?

By linking to authoritative websites, your website gains credibility by association. Outbound links to reputable sources demonstrate that your content is well-researched and backed by reliable information, enhancing the trustworthiness and reliability of your site.

3. Can outbound links bring direct traffic to my site?

Yes, outbound links can bring direct traffic to your site. When users click on an outbound link, it can lead them to your website, increasing your visibility and generating potential new visitors.

4. Are there any best practices for outbound linkbuilding?

Best practices for outbound linkbuilding include linking to high-quality and relevant sources, using descriptive anchor text, and incorporating links naturally within the context of your content. Regularly reviewing and updating your outbound links is also recommended to ensure they remain active and relevant.

5. How many outbound links should I include in my content?

The number of outbound links may vary depending on the length and nature of your content. It is generally recommended to include outbound links that provide additional value and relevant information, aiming for a balance between usability and not overwhelming your readers.

6. Should I solely link to websites within my industry?

While linking to relevant websites within your industry is important, it is also beneficial to link to authoritative sources from various industries. This demonstrates a comprehensive approach to your content and provides users with a wider range of valuable information.

7. Can outbound linkbuilding negatively affect my SEO?

When done correctly, outbound linkbuilding does not negatively affect your SEO. However, it is crucial to ensure that the websites you link to are reputable and relevant to your content. Avoid linking to low-quality or spammy sites, as this could have a negative impact on your SEO efforts.

Do Outbound Links Improve SEO? [Study + Tips]

This is an article written by:

Passionate SEO expert, Torbjørn Flensted, boasts two decades of industry experience. As the founder of and having run an SEO agency for 13 years, he's spent the last decade pioneering cutting-edge tools, transforming how agencies and professionals approach Search Engine Optimization.