You’ve no doubt heard of the concept of SEO Juice, right? Your PageRank potential is likened to juice, and your site, re-imagined as a juice carton. Inbound links (aka backlinks) are thus viewed as yummy rivers of SEO juice flowing into your website, nourishing your PR potential with all it needs to grow into a strong and healthy site (read: strong PR stature). But beware! Outbound links can cause your site to “leak,” and your PR potential can dribble out of your cyber carton if you’re not vigilant. Enter a compelling image of a carton or water pail with band-aids plugging leaky holes, and you’ve got the concept mastered.
[UPDATE: MARCH 2016 ~ New irrefutable research referenced below]
NEW DEFINITIVE RESEARCH
Reboot Online have just conducted some ground-breaking research that proves conclusively the value of linking to authority websites. They say,
We [have] disproved the old myth of Pagerank retention which in my opinion has done nothing but harm to the internet as a whole as webmasters try to keep the ‘link juice’ in house slowly eroding the building blocks of the web.”
Do yourself a favour, and read the study for yourself.
Build Trust: Link to Authority Sites
The co-founder of Moz, Rand Fishkin, said: “No matter how great a website you build, you can never be all things to all people, nor contain all the relevant information and value a user might be seeking on your given topic. As such, it makes great sense to leverage the power of the web—the power of links—to create an easy, scalable path to making your site’s experience better and more rewarding for those who visit … Use that same power on your own site and you, too, can become a reference resource in your niche.”
And with “authority” and “trust” becoming increasingly important terms in SEO circles, adding outbound links to strong, authoritative websites is very much a part of building your own site’s authority/trust coefficient.
Consider this article. In a little over 1,000 words, I’ve linked to seven outbound sites (just so you don’t make Dean’s guideline your straitjacket). Without the outbound links, this article is merely an opinion piece, waffle without research, fluff without validation. You’d be right to chalk it off as mere ramblings if I wasn’t in good company making these points. And this is one reason Google approves so highly of outbound links.
And for those looking for a few more tips: Yes, I’ve made sure that the outbound links open in new tabs (so I don’t lose my audience). Plus, I’ve included a few inbound links (and added them early and in the closing paragraphs) to keep you hanging around. You know, “bounce rate” and “dwell time” and all 🙂
Bottom line? While the SEO juice metaphor is helpful, don’t let it dissuade you from adding outbound links to good sites.
And by the way, there are some good tools around that help you manage and monitor your backlink profile. Linkio is one such tool. It’s SEO management software that helps you plan and deliver backlinks more effectively.