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Outgoing links
outgoing links

 4:14 pm on Oct 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

Hello, I am relatively new to SEO and I am completely confused about outgoing links. I have a list of resources for my forum members (a page that contains approximately 75-80 links) and I have no idea whether Google is penalizing me for this. (The links point to many .gov, .org, and .edu sites. All of these sites are relevant to the topics discussed on my forum.)

Google's webmaster guidelines states,"Keep the links on a given page to a reasonable number (fewer than 100)." So I assume I am okay?

Thanks in advance for explaining this to me. I would hate to have to take down this list.




 4:59 pm on Oct 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

I don't see any problem in such a list, as you describe it. If it's a list of links, pointing at useful and relevant resources for your users, I believe that SE's (search engines) will see it just as it is: a useful resource page for your users.

Is it important to you that your list is indexed by SE's? If not then you could choose to prevent SE's from indexing the page by adding the folowing in the <head> section of the document:

<meta name="robots" content="noindex">
<meta name="googlebot" content="noindex">
<meta name="msnbot" content="noindex">

or maybe even:

<meta name="robots" content="noindex,nofollow">
<meta name="googlebot" content="noindex,nofollow">
<meta name="msnbot" content="noindex,nofollow">

(the above will both disallow SE's from index and follow links in that page)

By doing this your users will still be able to use the list as before but SE's won't index it nor show it in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).


 5:05 pm on Oct 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

The keys are that they are relevant and they are one-way. What you have is fine. If it bothers you at all, then hide them as suggested.


 5:34 pm on Oct 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

Thank you both for answering my question. Could I include this links page in my robots.txt file? I have a phpbb forum that someone seo'd for me and in this file are pages that the search engines are supposed to ignore. (I am only asking this for my own learning purposes. I promise these are not spam links!)



 5:42 pm on Oct 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

Sure you can
robots.txt [robotstxt.org]

Please not that no method is will guarantee the results you want. Well behaved bots will comply.


 5:49 pm on Oct 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

Thanks for this link-- perfect.



 5:56 pm on Oct 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

Please, do hot hide those links. This is precisely the kind of paranoia that has been created primarily by G's fear-mongering, and in this case extends even far beyond the specific comments the SE's have made.

Linking to other sites is *good.* They call it the "Web" for a reason.

Links to other relevant sites from your site is helpful to your users, helps the SE's understand what sites are highly regarded around the Web, and may even enhance the perceived quality of your site in the eyes of the SE's.

The potential negatives are:
1) If the links are not really relevant,
2) If the links link out to "bad sites"
3) If the links are to other sites owned or controlled by you,
4) If the links are all or mainly reciprocated.

The issue of how many links to include on a page relates mainly to questions people have had over the years about length of page and number of links. Generally it's better to keep pages under 100K in size, and with less than 100 links. But I can tell you with certainty that pages with 200+ links get spidered and those links get followed.

Do what makes sense for your users mainly, and keep within general guidelines. Do not exclude legitmate resource pages from the SE's.


 6:07 pm on Oct 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

Agree 1000% with caveman. If the sites are good enough to be resources for your users they're good enough to be seen by the SEs.


 6:23 pm on Oct 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

I also agree with Caveman , The web was built on links and if the resources are good enough for you to include for your visitors they deserve to be full links , I am sure that many of the .edu and .gov you have on your links page do not need the link juice etc. but that is not the point

It would be nice if a Google Rep could give an opinion on this as I believe this is an important point that needs to be answered by Google , because as more and more sites do this the internet as we know it will die.

With the growth in social networking sites making links no follow and webmasters paranoia over keeping the juice they have and doing the same where will it lead to



 6:44 pm on Oct 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

It would be nice if a Google Rep could give an opinion on this

We don't need no stinking opinion from Google as to whether sites should have outgoing links. But, yeah, just the fact you said it shows the state some in the industry are in.

There's a heck of a lot of FUD out and about lately. Let's forget about "penalties" and the little green pixels, turn off the toolbar [webmasterworld.com], and just get to work building good sites.


 7:01 pm on Oct 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

Put me in the group that thinks "if it's good enough to link to, it's good enough for an open and obvious link".

Another side of the link issue is that you need to review your outbound links from time to time. Some links go bad for a whole variety of reasons, and you need to be ready to delete them if that happens.


 7:05 pm on Oct 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

To answer a question I got, my point about fear-mongering is merly that the SE's (mainly G) have got Webmasters scared to death about doing anything...even good things...like linking to other high quality sites. I'm sure that was never G's intent, but it is what has happened. Fear in the greater Webmaster community has extended far beyond the specific issues that the fear-mongering has been attached to.

As for the point of this thread, there has never been any debate about linking to other quality sites being a good thing. Reps from all of the major SE's have repeatedly stressed that sites should freely link out to other sites that they feel offer additional valuable resources to their user base.

That is the essence of why link evaluation exists, and why getting high quality links from other site is so important. Would you like it if some Webmaster chose not to link to your site, or to cloak their link, for fear of what a SE might do?

If you're doing it for the sake of the user, link away, and do so confidently, knowing that even the SE's encourage you to do so.


 6:34 pm on Oct 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

My experience is that linking out from my home page to authority sites in my niche improves my site's position on the keywords in the anchor text.

And the minimal drain on PR is worth it. Google recognizes that searchers come to my site and don't bounce! That's a good thing in Google's eyes.


 8:10 am on Nov 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

re: 3) If the links are to other sites owned or controlled by you

how does the SE knows that the other sites owned or controlled by me?

who is? or dns?
is there any other way to track that?


 8:20 am on Nov 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

Yes, the whois record may (if not cloaked) reveal ownership. The DNS or even the IP class can indicate that sites are related. Search engines can also detect link patterns that would indicate a relationship between sites.

However, interlinking related sites is not necessarily negative. It is a question of whether it's natural and useful for humans and not just done to manipulate SEs.


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