Here we go with a common question our clients have when discussing search engine optimization (SEO). Should I be linking to other sites? Or, can linking to other sites help me?

The short answer is yes. That short answer comes with a caveat.

How to link out:

You should link to sites that are relevant to your website and to those that have value in the eyes of the search engines. In other words, if you’re running an eCommerce site that sells screwdrivers and you link to a site that sells clothing, probably not the best outbound link to make. Not a logical connection there. On the flip side, if your site is selling screwdrivers and you link to a hardware review site, that makes much better sense.

Why should I link out?

First, understand that hyperlinks are what make the search engines go ’round. Search engine spiders crawl your site and use hyperlinks to do so. It’s natural to think that the spiders will follow those outbound links and try to make a determination of relevance both ways. A strong connection or relevance will help build trust and authority for your site. Those last two factors are very important for you and your website when it comes to search engine results.

Also, when looking at analytics, the destination that you link to might see traffic coming from your site and you now run a good chance of getting a link back if the content on their site makes sense to do so.

What is this importance on links?

Links pointing to your website are akin to ‘votes’ for your site in the eyes of the search engine. Those very links play a strong role in helping your site rank and better rank means more traffic and more traffic means more business.

Are we cool? Cool.