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5 Factors That Determine the Value of an External Link

Meka is an affiliate marketer with passion for building marketing blogs. His marketing style centers around SEO traffic and list building.

Without links, the internet would be an unorganized mess of disconnected pages that would be difficult to find and navigate because the internet is built on links.

Generating links should always be a top item on your SEO checklist, no matter the niche or market you operate in or how big or small you are currently operating.

Google was called BackRub back in 1996, and its original concept of organizing page hierarchy through a citation system was brilliant but unsound. It has been a gradual exercise of trying to perfect the system since then so that some links can have value to count and spammy ones don’t.

When optimizing your website for search and earning respectable rankings for your page, links are a major factor. They aid search engines in crawling and index your domain and pages.

In the eyes of search engines, every link carries its own weight. Some are capable of distributing sweet link juice from one website to another and thus influence the position of the latter in Google’s SERP for the relevant keywords. Others either just carry traffic or, in a worst case scenario, send negative signals about your website and may even wreck your current search positions.

There are a lot of different factors and elements to take into consideration when it comes to building links. The rules of the game have changed from what it used to be some years ago due to Google’s constant algorithm updates. Also, the list of factors that affect how search engines will judge your links has grown significantly longer.

In the following segments of this article, I am going to take a deep dive into the subject of external links and the factors that affect the value of an external link.

What is an external link?

An external link is any backlink or hyperlink on a website that points to any other website (target) other than the one it exists on (source). Because search engines value external links as external votes of confidence/popularity on a web page, they have a more significant impact on search engine rankings than internal links.

In consideration of how external links support the ranking of the target website, its volume, quality, and relevance are important sources of ranking power.

A good example of an external link is a link from any forum like Hubpages or Quora to your site or from a page on your website to another website page where a more detailed explanation or examination of a topic has been made (e.g. Linking from your site to Wikipedia).

The major difference between an external link and an internal link is that an external link is a hyperlink that directs the reader to a creditable page on a different website. In contrast, an internal link is a hyperlink that directs the reader to a target page on the same website.

How do I build external links?

Create great content

Creating great content that users want to read is the most natural way to ensure that your website is a place worth linking to. People will link to your content if they are useful and well written. When trying to build external links to your website, creating great content is the method that you are in the most control of and certainly the easiest.

Guest Blog

Just as the name goes, this simply means creating original content for another website’s blog. You can do this by creating an account with an article directory like EzineArticles or HubPages. Then guest post on the article category your content best fits in. You can as well contact the people who run websites with similar contents to yours and ask if you can create a guest post for them.

You will have to include a link back to your website where users can find similar contents whenever you create a guest post.

Reach out to other websites

Here you can reach out to authoritative websites that have similar content to yours. For example, if you create content for Laptop accessories, reaching out to laptop manufacturers would be a great way to build external links. Try to find websites with users that could benefit from the contents of your own website.

How do I make an external link?

  1. Highlight the anchor text or image you want to use to create a hyperlink and click on the insert/edit link icon. A drop-down menu will appear.


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2. Complete the URL field with the full URL of the website you are linking to.

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3. Click “Apply” or “Enter” to save and create the link.

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The text or image will now be a clickable hyperlink to an External Website.

Factors that affect the value of an external link

Trustworthiness of the linking domain

Bad links will get you into trouble, while good links will drive targeted organic traffic to your site and increase your search engine ranking. It is a strong trust endorsement when you receive links from sources with inherent trusts, such as the homepage of a popular and trusted company or a well-recognized brand. Domain authority and the strength of external links are principal parts of the search ranking algorithm.

The popularity of the linking page

Any page that has many other quality websites that are externally linking to it is known as a popular page and is regarded to be important on the internet. The more authority a site has, the more value a link from that site will have, just like the concept of academic citations links are considered to be votes to another site.

Relevancy of the content between the target page and the source page

It is always necessary and wise to consider how relevant the link is to the content on your website when building external links.

Does it naturally fit in for that page to be linking to your page? Ensure that the content between the source page and the target page is similar. A page about fitness diets would not naturally link to a page about laptop accessories.

The anchor text used in the link

On external links, anchor text should be a range of natural keyword variations and natural language pointing to your target page. They maintain the flow of your page and doesn’t distract users from the purpose of their visit to the page. According to Google, anchor text should be descriptive and provide an idea of what the page is about, but Google frowns at using the exact keyword anchor text across all backlinks.

The number of root domains to link to the target page

In a case where we have two websites with relevant quality links, it is more likely for the website with a higher volume of links pointing to it to be ranked higher. It is better to go for relevancy and quality over volume when building backlinks because the most important metrics for external links are quality, authority, and relevancy of links.

Conclusion

External links are the most important source of ranking power. Your website position on search engines is affected by the number of high-quality external links pointing to it. External links are considered as third-party votes by major search engines like Google and Bing that your website contains quality content.

External links improve the credibility of the entire website, provided it is coming from an informative and trusted website. They also help improve your website authority once it is valuable (linking to popular and relevant pages). External links are also a great source of free traffic to your website.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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