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Do outbound links drain ranking?

     
3:41 am on Nov 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

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On a certain site I want to place outbound links for my visitors that are related to the site's niche. Assuming no link exchange is done, will this be detrimental to my google ranking? Everyone knows inbound links give rank, but do outbound ones drain it away?
1:20 pm on Nov 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Everyone knows inbound links give rank...

What "everyone knows" is not always correct.

1:30 pm on Nov 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

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will this be detrimental to my google ranking?

No - I do this all the time. If the outbounds are relevant, you should have no problems. Your users will appreciate it too.

2:39 pm on Nov 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I will second what webdude says.

Relevant outbound links help to reinforce what your site is about.

Plan your site navigation so that visitors are encouraged to explore your own site thoroughly before they follow any external links. Make the external links easy for visitors to find but not too easy!

2:45 pm on Nov 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Out bound links should be high quality, aimed specifically at your viewers and mixed into the content when possible. There does not seem to ba a limit although I would suggest not going crazy with the number of links. Otherwise you appear to be a link site.
3:32 pm on Nov 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

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According to me outbound links are the soul of Internet. Can we imagine web without outbound links? IMO site without outbound links are termed as dead end of web. Will Google or users like dead ends? In my opinion outbound links should help.

This is just my calculation as Google programmer. Page A1 links to Page B1,B2,B3 (site pages or external pages).

For a keyphrase "blue widget"
Page A1 has value C1 and pages B1,B2,B3 values D1,D2,D3 resp. So the value of the page of A1 should be C1 + a(d1D1+d2D2+d3D3), where a, d1,d2,d3 are weights.

IMO outboud link should help pages as it is helping your visitors. Google talks about good neighbourhood links which needs a good debate. Think visitor first, SE second and you can't go far wrong.

AjiNIMC

3:59 pm on Nov 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

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if your question is " does an outbound link affect my page rank?" the answer is most likely yes. you outbound link to quality, you might get some value from it.

if your question is " does my outbound value of my PageRank to the other web site reduce as I ad more links to my page" the answers most likely yes.

is there a benefit it outbound links, the answer is, web users go to those sites that have great content, great readability and great outbound links. I would not be surprised if Google has some calculation for quality ( could it be "trust rank" )

outbound links are the fruit of wine on the net, the better fruit, the better the wine, the better the wine the better people will link ( and Like ) your site.

4:20 pm on Nov 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Please, people, let's put things in perspective. One outbound link may "drain" your pagerank a very, very tiny amount. For the sake of argument, let's say that 1,000 OB links will "drain" your PR all of 1 point. We all know (but most seem to forget) that PR is only *1* aspect of the Google algo. One of dozens. So a 1 point drop in one of a dozen factors is a very small drop in the bucket of the scheme of things.

How much weight in the algo does Google place on relevent OB links? We do not know, but I am willing to bet that the overall postive value of that OB link outweighs any negative "drain" on PR.

As has been pointed out several times by others, OB links are the very structure of the Internet. Is Google really going to punish you for being a good neighbor? No!

5:16 pm on Nov 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

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We experimented with a keyword and outbound links about a month ago. We gave an outbound link to an organization that is very reputable in our field. Within two weeks, our serps went up for all the keyword variations. It was the only change we made for that sector, so I would say yes, it does help.
Experiment with it by linking to an organization..
8:25 pm on Nov 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

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So what is the best anchor text format for outbound links?

If you have a content page that you want to rank for "green widgets", is it good or bad to use that keyphrase in an outbound link's anchor text?

9:21 pm on Nov 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I have two observations about outbound links:

1. Going back to the days when reciprocal links were 'all that', I observed that directory pages with more outbound links, everything else being equal, often received a higher PageRank. Draw your own conclusions.

2. If you have a quality site and you link to quality sites you increase the chance that you will receive links from quality sites. Webmasters will see your site referring visitors to their web site. If they receive enough traffic they will probably visit your sight to see what's up. If they admire your content they might write about it and link back to you. This in turn will drive traffic to your web site. Sure this can be slow. No it's not guaranteed. Yes it is one more bullet (among many) that can help you reach the Tipping Point.

Think about this logically from a search engine's point of view. If you have high quality relevant content and link out to other high quality relevant content you signal that yours is a worthwhile resource with access that extends beyond your own domain. If you were a search engine would you penalize this or reward it?

A final thought: PageRank was inspired by the tradition of academic citations. I am not saying that linking out will vault you to the top of the rankings, but if you keep the academic citation model in mind when planning and creating content, and you don't stuff your web site with garbage, you may be rewarded.

9:22 pm on Nov 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

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And doesn't Google pretty much ignore PR anyway now except as a rough indicator?
9:37 pm on Nov 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I am inclined to believe that outbound links to quality sites that match the theme of your site should be beneficial in the long run. If there are no outbound links, Googlebot has nowhere to go after it finishes your site.

If you link to good sites, you are endorsing them to a degree and if they are of top quality, it tends to lend more authority to your site as well.

I can't see that it would do much harm at all. You just have to check those links frequently to make sure they still go to the expected destination.

10:05 pm on Nov 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Wlauzon, I referred to PageRank only as a visible metric.

[edited by: SEOcritique at 10:05 pm (utc) on Nov. 16, 2006]

11:31 pm on Nov 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Outbound links will improve your ranking for the keywords in the anchor text in that link. For example, if I link to a site using the text "blue widget", that link makes both the target page AND my own page more relevant for the keyword in the anchor text.

Outbound links also increase your visibility. It lets other websites know you exist.

However, outbound links also drain PageRank. For example, say you have 100 links on a TBPR 6 page, 70 of those links link out to other sites. In other words, you got 4.2 TBPR leaving your site through that page.

Now, if you have no indexing problems, there's nothing to worry about. But if you're having supplemental issues, you don't want alot of those types of pages on your site, because that setup is cutting off PageRank to your deeper pages, and those pages then turn supplemental.

Not linking out isn't a solution, because linking out is good marketing and it *slightly* boosts your SERP ranking. So what do you do? Add more internal links so that regardless of how many sites you link out to on a page, a greater percentage of links point to internal pages.

9:19 pm on Nov 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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What would be a rough benchmark for choosing quality neighborhoods to link to, PR4 or higher?
11:23 pm on Nov 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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" What would be a rough benchmark for choosing quality neighborhoods to link to, PR4 or higher? "

Nope, that ain't it.

Try linking to another quality site .... you'll be in the ballpark then.

It has nothing to do with PR. You'll know one when you visit it. They have real content and can provide your visitor with additional informatation that is related to what you already have on the page you are linking from.

5:27 am on Nov 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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What would be a rough benchmark for choosing quality neighborhoods to link to, PR4 or higher?

Quality check If your visitor goes from your page to that link will they get something valuable. If yes go ahead.

Web is a pretty natural. Noone knows everything so better use collective intelligence and links are the best way for it.

5:36 am on Nov 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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What would be a rough benchmark for choosing quality neighborhoods to link to, PR4 or higher?

The original treatise on page rank made the analogy of citations in research papers.

So, cite your sources, as it were.

One mistake that scraper sites make. No citations!

One of the strengths of Wikipedia - citations galore!

WBF

6:17 am on Nov 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Should the outbound link use the "nofollow" tag or not? And why or why not?
6:37 am on Nov 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Should the outbound link use the "nofollow" tag or not? And why or why not?

Still trying to horde PR?

no follow was instituted to control link spam, particularly in blogs.

Why would you want to (ab)use it for any other reason?

WBF

7:14 am on Nov 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Not trying to hoard pr.

I link out heavily now without no follow.

I am asking for a professional answer to see if we are doing it correctly.

7:17 am on Nov 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Let me add a little more.

Google has specifically said no follow should be used in links given for advertising, has it not? What has that to do with blog spam?

7:40 am on Nov 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Nofollow in laymen term,

"I am not responsible for this link so please don't follow it as a vote".

It can be links,

  1. Added by users without your approval like forum links, wiki links, blog comment links e.t.c
  2. Links for money, you are not recommending it but doing it for money.
  3. You want to talk about a site with active links but not in favor of it. Like a site got banned.
  4. Few more cases like this

AjiNIMC

[edited by: AjiNIMC at 7:40 am (utc) on Nov. 18, 2006]

7:59 am on Nov 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Thank you putting the information in laymans terms. The guidance "a few more cases like this" is particularly helpful.

Now back to my question.

We are in this thread talking about the effect of outbound links on ranking.

So far this thread seems to say there is a drain in PR but they can improve ranking.

I ask my question in the theme of this thread.

Should the outbound link use the "nofollow" tag or not? And why or why not?

8:21 am on Nov 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Should the outbound link use the "nofollow" tag or not? And why or why not?

Just use your common sense:

1) If every link were tagged "nofollow," Googlebot would have nothing to crawl.

2) If every link were tagged "nofollow," PageRank (the formula that Google was built on) would be unworkable.

Given those two facts, wouldn't it be reasonable to assume that Google doesn't want the "nofollow" attribute to be misused? And if you were Google, would you regard the presence of the "nofollow" attribute in most or all outbound links as a positive or a negative "signal of quality"?

8:56 am on Nov 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Thank you for the explicit advice that I can give to my trainees who do html work for me.

"Just use your common sense in using no follow tags." They are sure to fully understand what that means.

And so will every other small web site owner that does not hire an SEO "expert".

Please expand on the quality evaluation rule that you seem to indicate to be tied to the nofollow tag. That is very interesting.

I am still wating for a professioanl answer to my question posted about should it be used and why or why not.

11:20 am on Nov 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Why not go to the source (Google's post of Preventing comment spam 1/18/2005 in their official blog) where they tell you exactly when to use the attribute nofollow
11:34 am on Nov 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Gimp, if by "professional answer" you mean "definitive answer," you aren't going to get one unless your brother-in-law is a high priest in the inner temple at Google.

Also, I didn't suggest that your "HTML trainees" should use their common sense. I suggested that you should use your common sense. Once you've reached a decision, it should be easy enough to tell your trainees whether to link the old-fashioned way or to abuse the "nofollow" attribute in the hope that Google is foolish enough to reward greed at the expense of Googlebot and the PageRank concept.

12:19 pm on Nov 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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One of the strengths of Wikipedia - citations galore!

My theory is that if you copy (not literally) Wikipedia, Google will recognise a pattern similar to Wikipedia which will boost your rankings.

For example, if you have a product page on a new whizz bang widget, you might link to a couple of authority sites' reviews on the whizz bang widget.

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