Outbound Links Strategy – How to Rank your Blog by Giving Away Links

outbound links strategyYes, you read that right!

Outbound links, not backlinks.

Now don’t tell me it is your trade secret, because your link sources and targets are open to anyone who cares to check.

I want to tell you of a strategy you may not have been using before now.

Since Google and the other major search engines introduced the nofollow tag, bloggers have been stingy with links, and any outbound link is most likely a nofollow link.

This is clearly an aberration of the linking process, as the nofollow tag was introduced to combat web spam and not meant to dilute legitimate outbound links.

There is even a name for it – pagerank sculpting.

What is the effect of having a selfish outbound link profile on your SEO and readership?

When your fist is closed, it is difficult to collect anything new. Ranking great content on its own merit is not as easy as it used to be.

In fact, it is almost impossible to achieve.

If you want to rank for a keyword, linking liberally to great content offsite may be an easier strategy than concentrating on link building.

Citation Value of Outbound Links

The web is all about association and interconnection.

That is why it is called a web.

As part of their algorithm, Google uses your external links to weigh the relevance of your content, so if you are not linking out, you leave Google with only your content and backlinks as a means of associating you with the rest of the web.

This should make perfect sense if you think about it: Anyone can link to you, you have almost no control over that, but those you link to you can control.

So while your inbound links might be confusing to categorize, your outbound links are more coherent.

When you ask Google to ignore the links in your content, you are telling Google to act as if those links do not exist.

Nothing goes out, and nothing comes in.

Have you been guilty of this very crime?

How to Remedy Your Outbound Links Deficit

It takes a generous spirit to link to content elsewhere.

If you have been tight-fisted in you link giving, it is not too late to turn around.

When next you are doing research for a blog post, do not paraphrase the thoughts of those you gather facts from. Why not allow them speak for themselves?

Provide an in-context link to the resource instead and provide your readers access to the luxury of a new blog to interact with. You lose nothing in the process, but you gain big in trust and recognition as a leader of thought in your subject area.

What if you are writing post on an original thought, without any outside help? It still pays to go out of your way and find those who have voiced similar ideas and link to them.

You may even link to those who disagree, and who knows, your trackback may stimulate discussions that cut across the two blogs.

This serves to introduce your readers to concurrent and dissenting opinions, which gives weight to your ideas and also attract bloggers who will be impressed by your unsolicited link vote.

How do you identify link-worthy blogs?

A good place to start would be with your virtual tribe. Have you given a link to any of the frequent commenters on your blog?

You may have been leaving comments on their blogs too, so you should be a bit familiar with their overall content focus.

When you are writing a post that interfaces with their topic area, be generous and send readers their way.

So, for instance, if you are writing a post on content marketing, why not send a link to some friends who have great posts on content marketing.

If your post is on guest posting, link out to a friend who has relevant content.

Use the search forms on their blogs and search for content relevant to the post you are writing and happily give them a link.

TIP: It is even a good idea to use an excel document to map out those you would wish to reward with links. That way, you can keep track and ensure that as many friends as possible benefit.

Does this mean you should limit your link-giving to your audience?

No, that is just a start.

Charity begins, but does not end at home. (Unless you want to limit your influence to people you already know).

The process below has served me well in identifying and linking to new blogs:

  1. Map potential anchor points: Go through your post and look for keywords that are important to your post idea and bold them to make sure you do not miss them later.
  2. Search for Relevant blogs: Using the keywords you have decided to use as anchor texts , search for blogs that have contents that fits the focus of your post. It is better to use Google Blog search which will give you great blog results.
  3. Select the Wheat from The Chaff: Go through the sites you pick up and select those with an important message.
  4. Rewrite your anchor text: Sometimes despite your good intentions, you find it almost impossible to make a link fit into your writing.  If you are convinced the link is an important resource, rewrite you content and make it stick.

Where do you add links?

Links that appear at the top of a document have a stronger SEO value. I believe in doing people a complete favor when I want to do favors – so place links where they will do the most good.

Of course, you cannot put all links at the top, so let your most important link take the top placement, and spread the rest evenly throughout the post.

Another thought to keep in mind is that linking out with the words ‘click here’ is a wasted opportunity (unless you wish to rank for that term D).

Use keyword rich anchor texts to send your links out and watch to see how this strategy will help you rank for the very terms you are giving away!

About Yeremi Akpan

Yeremi Akpan is the founder of Pro Blogger Tips. Connect with him on Twitter, Google Plus and Facebook. You can also hire him to provide content marketing services for your business.

Comments

  1. Chris says:

    Hi Yeremi,
    outbound links are almost as important as backlinks and content on your site. But we must use it very carefully – as you wrote we have control on those links and there is no excuse for linking to “bad neighborhood”. What’s more -outbound links should be related with the content of your blog and post ;) \
    Thanks for sharing,
    Chris
    Chris recently posted..8 Helpful Tips, How To Promote Your BlogMy Profile

  2. Adrienne says:

    I love to help my fellow bloggers out Yeremi and I love giving them a shout out in my posts. I haven’t put any links in my sidebar though because I don’t want to show too much favoritism.

    I have so many blogs that I love so I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings but I did an entire page earlier this year thanking all those bloggers who have been faithful readers and I’m pointing directly to them.

    I also like giving other bloggers credit if I write some content that I learned over at their place. I agree, it’s important to help other bloggers out when possible but just tread lightly.

    Great post Yeremi, definitely a great topic!

    ~Adrienne
    Adrienne recently posted..How To Take Blog Commenting To The Next LevelMy Profile

  3. Simmeon says:

    Morning, Yeremi

    Within most post I try to provide more information and link to a blog that I feel can further the knowledge of the readers. Linking to relevant content I believe is a must and shows you’re not just a taker, but you do give credit where credit is due.

    Click Here is definitely wasted but many still do it, lack of understanding I think.
    Simmeon recently posted..10 Things You ABSOLUTELY Need To Know Before Starting A New BlogMy Profile

  4. Shalu Sharma says:

    Actually this is a very good tip. Outbound links are very important to create that aura or trustworthiness in the eyes of the search engines. Do you think 1 to 2 outbound links in a post advisable?
    Shalu Sharma recently posted..Ladakh: Visit The ParadiseMy Profile

  5. Shalu Sharma says:

    Indeed, the thing is last thing I want is to link to a competitor, what do you advice about Wikipedia? If not there is always other non-commercial competitor out there that could be linked.
    Shalu Sharma recently posted..Jantar Mantar observatoryMy Profile

  6. Michael says:

    Nice work. Outbounds are in fact significant. I link out to reputable websites on blogs and try to “sprinkle” them thoughout the content of my site. It does make a difference. In my experience your actually improves when link out to credible sources. It doesn’t have to be a whole lot either, but a little goes a long way when ti comes to outbound links.
    Michael recently posted..What is Computer Programming?My Profile

  7. Thomas says:

    So true Outbound links are equally important. I must say you have indeed been very detailed in your post.

  8. Stein says:

    Interesting article, I never really thought of it like that! Are there any online tools available to check the outbound links of your website. Maybe even a tool that shows which ones are tagged as nofollow?

  9. Chadrack says:

    Hi Yeremi,

    Just followed this link from the networking superstars page and must say you have made some very valid points here.

    I confess that I’ve been guilty of this in the recent past. My blog is dofollow and I’ve always freely linked to outside source whenever possible. However, recently because of the page rank issue, I’ve always put the rel=’”nofollow” tag whenever I\m linking to big sites like wikipedia and other news sites. Though if it is a fellow blogger I always leave that as a dofollow.

    Frankly, I’ve not been comfortable with this since I wholeheartedly made the blog dofollow and I was only doing because of what most SEOs are saying about these big sites as regards page rand linkage. From reading your post, I’ve come to understand that is really a good thing to freely give if you truly want to receive.

    Yes, if your fist is closed, you cannot receive. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Give only few numbers of outbound links from your any page and use different keywords for obls from your main keywords…

  11. Samuel says:

    Thanks Yeremi,
    But i have a crucial Question?
    How can i really identify outbound links. I am a fan to some of the world blackhat sites. should i avoid using my site there or avoid their site blasting ???
    Samuel recently posted..Top WordPress Plugins To Reach The Top!My Profile

  12. Justin says:

    I like to use outbound links so people can see where the source of information comes from. So they realized I didn’t just make up that statement. Would you recommend just 1 link per post or page? Thanks!
    Justin recently posted..Rocking Experience with New Hip Hop Songs 2013My Profile

  13. Jessie B says:

    Hi, firstly thanks for this informative article as it really helped me know about the value of Outbound Links of which i was not aware earlier. But now i understood what is the value of outbound links and what should be a good strategy of a blogger for it. thanks again man, you rock… :D
    Jessie B recently posted..Charming Actor Abhay Deol Movies ListMy Profile

  14. Hey, after reading this post I think the idea of sending out bound links to your own site is a good move. I think its also helpful to build my blog presence in social networking sites. The quality of information we provide will gain their trust. Thanks for alerting and helping in such a wonderful way.
    Leena Dasot@top songs recently posted..New Jennifer Lopez Songs List – Top 10 AlbumsMy Profile

  15. Hey Yeremi, I’m totally new in this field and their is lots of things to know and I’m glad that i found your blog. I must say you hit the nail on the head my friend and it’s working. Thanks for alerting and teaching us.
    Noyal Dasot@Dance Songs recently posted..List of Dance Songs / Top SongsMy Profile

  16. Rajesh Kumar says:

    I think original pure content is very much important. Original content makes half the work done. Keep writing more posts. Of course bookmarking, submission, etc are also important.

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