If you were to ask a group of marketers the value of links to your site, there’d be a roar of praise on how qualified visitors are more likely to convert. Yet, when you ask the same group about the value of external links, praise turns to debate and a laundry list of concerns start pouring out. There is a lingering uncertainty about external links and this blog is written to clear the air. Here are three common misconceptions that marketers have about external links:

  • It will create exit portals from our site

By design, an external links point at a site that is outside of the source domain. Going by this definition alone, creating external links can sound counter intuitive to the goal of keeping visitors on a site for conversion. However, there is a fundamental truth about site visors: they want to view content that meets their needs. While a well-tuned team of content writers will help keep visitors on the site, a curious visitor is likely to shop around other sites until they’ve found what they’re looking for.

An external link grants you the advantage of directing where the site visitor will go for more information. For example, if your site is selling software, you can point site visitors to reviews, news articles, testimonies and other sources of information about your product. Directing the flow of traffic outside of your site can yield many benefits, so long as you’re directing users to the content they want.

  • It will negatively impact our search engine ranking

Search engines hate spam and will discourage poor site practices. In the early days of SEO, search engines like Google would use basic qualifiers in their algorithm like the number of links, meta data, and keywords. As a result, webmasters would stuff their pages with links to other high-ranking pages that were irrelevant to their content.

For some time, this technique would work and those pages stuffed with irrelevant links would show up high in search. However, once search engines caught on and actively optimized their algorithms, sites were hit with massive penalties – some had their domains blacklisted all-together.

The key to using external links and avoiding a negative impact to your search engine ranking is link relevancy. The more relevant the external link is to your content and visitors; the less likely search engine algorithms will grade it as spam.

  • It will harm our reputation

Inserting external links to your site is highly unlikely to hurt your site’s reputation. Unless your site is leading users to harmful or expired content, your users will not devalue your reputation for using external links. This isn’t to say that so long as your links aren’t harmful or expired your users will always be appreciative.

Like with most other things in digital marketing, your SEO team will need to be vigilant in maintaining a healthy portfolio of relevant and useful links to see their benefit. If you focus on bringing value to your visitors, the benefits will settle in place.

Adding external links to your content is a common practice to build brand trust and a wealth of information. Sharpen your SEO toolbox by speaking with an expert today by filling out our form! With 10-years of experience in developing successful SEO strategies, Strongpages has generated significant results for clients in a variety of competitive industries.

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