Dumb SEO Questions

(Entry was posted by Unique Websites on this post in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Saturday, August 3, 2013).

Do outbound links within your text help or harm your site?

Do outbound links within your text help or harm your site?
 
For example, on a blog page (the blog is attached to my main business site), when I am giving examples of different press release sites, is it best to just type prlog.org and pressbox.co.uk  or should I give the full links?

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OUR ANSWERS

Answers from the Dumb SEO Questions Panelists.

  • Tim Capper: Outbound links in any form will not harm your site. But you are passing Page Rank to the site that you link to, unless you add rel="nofollow" to the link. However from a Penguin algo point of view from the sites you are linking to : they would probably appreciate the branded url that you have described. However, without links the web would collapse. However penguin has caused mayhem and confusion. Google guidelines have not helped with their hidden meanings and even Googlers like JM remain cagy when directly asked about the new guidelines posted. This could all be cleared up if Google stopped playing games and gave crystal clear guidelines - until then we will see questions like this one - which would not have been asked pre penguin.
YOUR ANSWERS

Selected answers from the Dumb SEO Questions G+ community.

  • Tim Capper: Outbound links in any form will not harm your site.<br /><br />But you are passing Page Rank to the site that you link to, unless you add rel=&quot;nofollow&quot; to the link.<br /><br />However from a Penguin algo point of view from the sites you are linking to : they would probably appreciate the branded url that you have described.
  • W.E. Jonk: I am not aware of any ranking increase/decrease but if you are writing about a subject it does help to link to the sources, not because search engines like it, because users like to dig into the subject. And thereby you (the webmaster) are providing more information and you don&#39;t frustrate users.<br /><br />Think your question fits this video from Matt Cutts:<br />
  • Ian Dixon: In the case of the two links you mention  ;then I would use their name as the anchor text then nofollow a link to the actual site.<br />Including those sites on a relevant page is useful to site visitors but less useful to the search engines. So focus on the user and keep the search engines happy in the background.
  • Ashish Ahuja: Another Myth in SEO, just write your content naturally and in user friendly way in if it requires linking to other people websites do it. It will not hurt your rankings in fact it will look natural to Google
  • Unique Websites: Many thanks all for the comments.<br /><br /> ;you say that &quot;Outbound links in any form will not harm your site&quot; but then in my other question (about links in comments) you say that you don&#39;t allow links. I&#39;m by no means disagreeing with you (I&#39;m a web designer not a SEO and I&#39;m genuinely out to learn) but my idea of page rank/link juice flow (from reading a year or so ago) was that you had link juice in (from the number of quality links in) and link juice out (from links out) and that the page rank/link juice of a page was - at least roughly - equivalent to the difference between the two. Is that concept now completely outdated? ;If not, then links out will &quot;leak&quot; link juice??? As I currently understand it, even nofollow links can leak link juice (a Matt Cutts video a year or so ago said that link juice can evaporate with nofollow links).<br /> ;Many thanks for the link - have watched with interest. Although Matt Cutts states that he wants &quot;people to be considerate&quot; and &quot;share credit&quot;, he does state that this is &quot;not ranking advice&quot;. From a reader&#39;s viewpoint, it is obviously better to have links whenever relevant, but I wasn&#39;t sure whether or not this damaged my site??
  • W.E. Jonk: Like I said in my former comment, there is no increase/decrease in ranking when linking to another site. If you link to another web site the web page will not increase/decrease in the search results. In other words, there is no damage/harm or benefit if you link to another site from the web page (document) for the web page (document).<br /><br />However, Google does have guidelines with regard to linking. In short, if you are linking to manipulate PageRank then it is against the guidelines and Google might give you a manual penalty [1]. Bing has a somewhat similar point a view where they say that webmasters should build high quality links that matters [2]. ;<br /><br />With regard to link juice and PageRank leak: It used to be that SEO&#39;s nofollow internal/external links to funnel as much PageRank to a particular page as the can. However Google updated there algorithm many years ago. This is called PageRank sculpting and it is not really effective. Even within the &quot;original PageRank paper&quot; there was a decay rate [3]. In that sense there was always a &quot;leak&quot; and the funnelling of PageRank isn&#39;t effective anymore.<br /><br />[1]  ;<br />[2] ;<br />[3] ;
  • Jackson Ertel: So in response to the above comments. Although an outbound link may not &#39;harm&#39; a site, it can pass page rank. As there is only so much page rank distributed around all sites on the web, by passing page rank are you not effectively reducing (at a minute level) your own pages page rank?<br /><br />I know page rank is an old metric and not really relevant for placement like it used to be blah blah blah... But surely passing on Page Rank will reduce the amount of page rank available for your site and hence reduce authority in comparison to the site you are linking to. Or is the pool of PR so vast that the impact is so minimal it&#39;s irrelevant?<br /><br />Similar to web developers who create a &#39;Websites created by xxx&#39; page to try share the total PR from all the sites they have created (Grey/Black approach). Although this may aid crap sites they have built, it would also restrict the authority of good sites they build.<br /><br />Historically I had been anti-outbound links, these days I feel they are not harmful (if used sparingly) and only if the outbound link will ad additional value to the user (link to local regulations on the topic being discussed). With this being said however, the link must be 100% relevant or otherwise may be seen as manipulative by Mr Penguin eventually.
  • Devin Peterson: My logic is that search engines would like to encourage linking to other sources rather than avoiding it. Even with the &quot;passing of page rank&quot;, I would like to think that a good search engine has found a way to make up for any loss of page rank to encourage people to link to other sources. If I ever found out that linking elsewhere could actually hurt my site I would refuse to link, and I&#39;m sure others would agree. This would probably have a negative net effect on the online community. So my conclusion is that linking to other places is probably mildly encouraged by search engines. So I&#39;d recommend it. This is strictly a logic based argument, nothing to actually back it up though. :)
  • Tim Capper: I agree  ;<br /><br />without links the web would collapse.<br /><br />However penguin has caused mayhem and confusion. Google guidelines have not helped with their hidden meanings and even Googlers like JM remain cagy when directly asked about the new guidelines posted.<br /><br />This could all be cleared up if Google stopped playing games and gave crystal clear guidelines - until then we will see questions like this one - which would not have been asked pre penguin.
  • W.E. Jonk: From the expert panel in this weeks SEO Questions hangout on air on 00:30:29 into the YouTube video: 
  • Unique Websites: Thanks  ;for the video link

View original question in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Saturday, August 3, 2013).

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