It builds a web of connections on what are supposed to be common topics.
There is no way 1 website can have it all, and if you build your site to be the "hub" of information you will have a ratio of inbound and outbound links and if they fall within the same subjects and good sites it greatly increases the chances of googlebot understanding that your site is good, clean and not just a spam farm or someone spoofing the crawlers.
Good links create a web of neighboors that google can use to judge the popularity and depth of your site.
Actually, the Florida and Austin showed that outbound links were important. Suddenly the serps were dominated by directories, not because have more pr but because they were linking to sites with the best content. One of the ways to get around Google's filter was to develop a directory style site. I did this several times and went from top10 pre-florida to out of top 1000 after Florida to #1 after Austin.
Outbound links are important because google needs you to link out so that they can find other sites. They need links to geed their bot.
If you look at how the pagerank documents are written, it refers to pagerank as a citation ranking system. The idea is based on scholarly works, and how the different works point to each other. Even the most authoritative work will point to other works.
Now if you look at usefulness to the user, a page with not only lots of information, but links to other sites with information on the topic will quite likely be of more use to the end user than a dead end page that just has info. Those links will hopefully have been edited by a human and put there to be useful to the user.
Outbound links are important because they reflect the original nature of the Internet. They're hyperlinks, click on a word, find more info - er... it's a web!
Google respects that - and so should we.
(end of lecture :)
I agree that outbound links are important in building a good website but does Google really look at them. Are related outbound links a part of Google's algo now or something we think they might do someday?
Either way it's till wise to build good outbound links but I'm just curious.
I have all of my outbound links on a page called favorites.html
Is it better to list all of your outbound links on one page or should they be spread throughout the site?
|Is it better to list all of your outbound links on one page or should they be spread throughout the site? |
What works best for the reader?
On my site, I present most links in context: e.g., if I have an article on Shelbyville, I'll have a link to the Shelbyville tourist office on my "Shelbyville tourist information" page and a link to the Shelbyville subway system on my "Shelbyville transportation" page. That's good for the reader, and because it's good for the reader, it's likely to be helpful, not harmful, with Google (where the mantra has always been "do what's natural" and "design your site for users").
|... (external links) increases the chances of googlebot understanding that your site is good... |
How exactly does Google do this? Can anyone prove it? The pagerank calculator I use proves mathematically that an external link passes pagerank from your page to the one you link to. In other words, Google "believes" the page I've linked to is "good" because my page has "voted" for it. If the external page doesn't link back to mine, then Google doesn't think of my page any differently than it did before. As I understand it, this simple principle is the foundation of Google.
This link thing can go too far. I've recently spent time doing web research on a topic I'm interested in, and I've come across page after page with hardly any content except a couple of paragraphs and then loads of links, and these pages are all going round in circles, linking to each other and not much else. It's just bogus content. Sometimes it seems the web is made up of nothing but links, and one is hard pushed to find any real hard content at all.
Personally, I will continue to limit my outgoing links to the very minimum - the ones that add real sense and meaning to my page, rather than ones that are only there because of some notion of political web-correctness or to pad the thing out as if my page is somehow an "authority", and unless my link partners link back to me with a proper html link, I will link to them in a way that does not pass out my pagerank.
And by the way, where is the proof that Google needs sites linking to each other so they can find more pages? I've put up pages of my own - sometimes only test pages: a one-page domain with no links going in - and they've found and indexed them without my ever having submitted them.
|I've put up pages of my own - sometimes only test pages: a one-page domain with no links going in - and they've found and indexed them without my ever having submitted them. |
Google is omniscient, I thought everyone knew that ;)
>Can anyone tell me why this is important?
Personally I think Brett is wrong on that, at least directly for Google purposes. Outbound links leak PR. I have seen no evidence to convince me otherwise. HOWEVER, I can see an indirect reason for not being extremely stingy when linking out. As a general rule, the more freely a site tends to link out, the more likely it is to get inbound links from other sites. The inbound links you get as a consequence of outbound links will improve Google rankings.
Of course, only Googleguy and other Google insiders know for sure, and I doubt Googleguy will provide the answer here. ;)
We have had this discussion a few times. I still don't think that business sites should link out. Create a site, all nicely interlinked and PR spread evenly over all your pages, just to bleed it out from a links page.
I don't really care about "it is the way that the internet was meant to work" - I set up websites to make money, not preserve the purity of the internet. Apart from anything else, if you're running a business, I think it is unprofessional. Links pages are for blogs, geocity pages, directory sites and hobby sites - not for businesses.
|Personally I think Brett is wrong on that, at least directly for Google purposes. Outbound links leak PR. I have seen no evidence to convince me otherwise |
I have. Remember, PR is not the factor that it once was.
After Florida my main site disappeared from the SERPs. I added one outbound and it reappeared. Added another and made it back to as high as #3.
|I still don't think that business sites should link out. |
I don't pretend to be an expert. I think though that the WWW might require a shift in paradigm from the old brick and mortar. Outbounds do not necessarily need to go to competitors, or, how can you compete with yourself? ;)
|After Florida my main site disappeared from the SERPs. I added one outbound and it reappeared. Added another and made it back to as high as #3. |
Most likely it would have reappeared anyway, but what you can be 100% sure about is that those external links didn't add any Google pagerank to your page.
|If the external page doesn't link back to mine, then Google doesn't think of my page any differently than it did before. |
Google might not think of your page differently in terms of Page Rank, but remember that a link and the description you give it can add tasty spider food to your own page. That can be good for your rankings regardless of the effects on Page Rank. Quality outgoing links also help you to keep from looking like a Link Spam Lord. Ponder the new buzzword "signals of quality" ...
|I've come across page after page with hardly any content except a couple of paragraphs and then loads of links, and these pages are all going round in circles, linking to each other and not much else. |
This is a good description of link spam.
>After Florida my main site disappeared from the SERPs. I added one outbound and it reappeared. Added another and made it back to as high as #3.
Correleation doesn't prove causation. Also, what Brett was saying is having outbound links on pretty much every page of the site. Unless your site has just one page, your case is a lot different than what Brett was thinking about.
|I don't really care about "it is the way that the internet was meant to work" - I set up websites to make money, not preserve the purity of the internet. Apart from anything else, if you're running a business, I think it is unprofessional. Links pages are for blogs, geocity pages, directory sites and hobby sites - not for businesses. |
Not all businesses agree. I have a travel "content site," and on most days I see referrals from a number of businesses in my server logs. And not just from media companies like magazines or guidebook publishers, either. For example, I get traffic almost daily from one of the top U.S. luggage manufacturers and a major European airline. Maybe a business has to reach a certain size before it has the confidence to link to third-party sites. :-)
Businesses that want to exist in isolation are welcome to do so, of course. But if they do choose to act as dead ends for Web users, they should have the grace not to cry foul if Google decides to use on-topic outbound links as a factor in determining whether a site is an authority that deserves a boost in the SERPs.
Just search google for your page keyword. If the number 1 page doesn't look too spammy, throw them a link.
|Just search google for your page keyword. If the number 1 page doesn't look too spammy, throw them a link. |
Why? Is there anything other than speculation that this might improve one's SERPS? Where's the proof? And even if it was proved to do more than pass the number one site a little of your PR, and it's just a ranking trick, is it really an internet-friendly thing to do? - otherwise it's just more spam.
|Correleation doesn't prove causation. Also, what Brett was saying is having outbound links on pretty much every page of the site. Unless your site has just one page, your case is a lot different than what Brett was thinking about. |
The site in question may be closer to Brett's recomendations than you think ;)
Also, I can give an example of gaining over 100 relevent top 10 SERPs based primarily on outbound links.
You are of course correct that correlation does not prove causation, but when we don't have the secret ingrediants correlation may be all we have to go on, don't you think?
|you can be 100% sure about is that those external links didn't add any Google pagerank to your page. |
True, but as I stated, "Remember, PR is not the factor that it once was."
|Just search google for your page keyword. If the number 1 page doesn't look too spammy, throw them a link. |
You're missing the whole point if that's how you make your linking decisions!
If you link to other sites, do so first and foremost because you think they'll be useful for your visitors.
I'm not going to argue "proof" with anyone. But I will argue that it is unprofessional for a business to link out.
I run a review site, and other than DMOZ, almost all my high PR links are from businesses. Real world businesses, not some virtual online business. Many of them are 1 to 10 person businesses. But there are also links from a $62 billion company, and several others that are at least in the $100+ million range.
If you sold cars, why wouldn't you link to the manufacturer of those cars? How about some reviews of them in some car magazines?
And as someone else said, you can feel free to not link out, but don't complain if google decides linking out is important and ranks other sites higher.
|Actually, the Florida and Austin showed that outbound links were important. Suddenly the serps were dominated by directories, not because have more pr but because they were linking to sites with the best content. One of the ways to get around Google's filter was to develop a directory style site. I did this several times and went from top10 pre-florida to out of top 1000 after Florida to #1 after Austin. |
Is this because of Google's rewarding outbound links, or because of some anchor text effect (one that I haven't seen explained yet)?
On one site I take care of, we have a mini site-map page that's simply not finished... no descriptions as are (were) eventually planned... and it's ranking ridiculously well on Google for terms contained in the anchor text, which is almost the only text on the page.
On several other sites I optimize, there are "tips" type pages that are links, generally to related manufacturers, with short descriptions following each, and these aren't doing any better now than they were before Florida.
I agree that it's a good idea to be a participant in the web community, and I trust Brett's instincts a lot... he's got almost a prescient sense of what's going on... but I never understood his comment about linking out either, at least not in terms of SEO. I don't think we should confuse this comment, though, with the anchor text effect we saw in Florida. I don't think they're the same things at all.
Now the point in case is post brandy how does google algo function? a lot of my sites have come back in top ten for major keywords. But one thing which I noticed in particular was the sites which have been for long & also have good number of inbound links have come up whereas new sites having lots of outbound links but lesser inbound have been left out. So, though outbounds are important, I think only those which are having a link coming back to your site (from some other page to avoid reciprocal links) have holding, all other outbounds neither do harm nor good. This purely I say from more than 50 sites performance which have been changing stats rapidly.
Someone in a recent thread had put forth an intersting point - "Route Optimization" Am not able to locate that post. (Some one?)
It said, Google credits the pages which provide shortest path to complete knowledge (Authority sites). May be some one would like to shed more light on this?
My 2c worth.
With the massive changes that Google has made it has become very difficult to identify what is important anymore. The Florida update brought in many sites into my SERPs that had many outbound links. Austin extended this to my secondary three word terms. Brandy seemed to move these mainly directory pages down the SERPs for my main two word phrase but they are still there for the three word phrases.
It is my index.html page which ranked well and now ranks well again for the two word phrase. I've made a number of changes to this including adding seven links to significant sites including variations on the term I'm targetting in anchor text. These links include the ODP cat that the page is listed in, the Google directory cat that the page is listed in etc.
Many people have reported over the last few months the dropping of domain root index pages from SERPs. One of the things that smaller niche market sites typically do not have on their root index page is out bound links. Very often they concentrate their outbound links on a links.html page. If Google disregards this page then many have no outbound links at all.
If Google had been stable and I'd only added outbound links I could report that this was an important factor in the algorithm. However in terms of my site/pages the changes that Google has made at its end are far more significant than the changes I've made at my end. So I just can't be sure.
The anecdotal and circumstantial evidence does suggest that they are now more importnat than they were before and I beleive using the terms that you are targetting in anchor text pointing to significant pages on that topic are very important.
My site is content rich, has good outbound links throughout the site on appropriate pages, is updated several times a week and never gets visited by the freshbot.
In contrast, the #1 and #2 sites for my top keyword phrase each has several links pages with their outbound links. One never updates their front page, the other does it monthly. Yet they get visited by the freshbot several times a week. (same page rank for all of us.)
I've often wondered if the outbound links page is the deciding factor here. Any thoughts?
Supppose your main keyword can be defined as "A", "B" or "C". If you have a thousand lessser keywords on your page that can be associated with "A" and are often used at the number one site about "A", if someone is searching for "A" along with some of this other text, it would only make sense for Google to send you some traffic if you link to the other site. It helps to define what your site is about.
|From every page, link to one or two high ranking sites under that particular keyword. Use your keyword in the link text (this is ultra important for the future). |
We all know Brett's rules have helped so many of us, however my view is that search algos have reached a new phase. Now any simple rule like the one stated here, is most likely not going to work. It's like efficient market stock prices. Once people know that a certain rule works, it will no longer work. I think people should follow their own styles.
If I am a company like Patagonia and the visitor to my site is completely engrossed, there is no need to send her to an external site through a link. On the other hand a page on book stores linking to Amazon and Barnes & Noble because these two rank high for this keyword is going to be of limited usefulness to the visitors. Most peoplw know about these sites. On the other hand if I went through the serps and found a book store site at #421 that provides something unique to its customers, say by having Dave Barry write interesting reviews for many of its books, linking to it might be more useful to my visitors.
It's my opinion that in the long run linking without following rules will be better for positioning.
I think google has been decreasing traffic to amazon sites.
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