What Is an External Link?
An external link is a hyperlink that points at (target) any domain other than the domain the link exists on (source). External links have a greater impact on search engine rankings than internal links because they are valued by search engines as external votes of confidence/popularity in a web page. The volume and quality of External Links to a website are an important source of ranking power, according to inbound marketing specialists like Moz.
According to Moz, major search engines use many metrics to determine the value of external links, including the trustworthiness of the linking domain, the popularity of the linking page, the relevance of the content between the source page and the target page, and the anchor text used in the link. Add the External Website Links metric to your SEO performance dashboard for a deeper dive into your data.
External Website Links Benchmarks
Monitoring the number of external links to your website and measuring them against those of competitors can be an important digital marketing KPI for companies that depend on inbound web traffic to generate business.
External Website Links Best Practices
Major search engines use many metrics to determine the value of external links. Moz provides the following list of best practices to ensure your website’s popularity puts it on consumers' first search page:
- Is your page trustworthy? Receiving links from sources with inherent trust — such as the homepages of major university websites or certain government web pages — is a strong trust endorsement.
- How popular is the external link? Is it important on the Internet? A popular page is one that many other quality websites are externally linking to as well.
- Consider how relevant the link is to the content on your website. Make sure the content between the source page (your website) and the target page are similar.
- Don’t just throw the URL on your page, use anchor text! Anchor text maintains the flow of your page and doesn’t distract users from the purpose of their visit to the page. Be careful though, there is good and bad anchor text:
- BAD: The article “Back to SEO Basics: Why Relevant External Links Matter” by Andy Franco on Business 2 Community is a helpful resource for expert opinions on external website links. Click here for the article.
- GOOD: Andy Franco’s article on Business 2 Community is a helpful resource for expert opinions on external website links.
How to Monitor External Website Links in Real-time
Once you have established metrics for measuring Website External Links, you’ll want to establish processes to monitor this and other marketing KPIs. Dashboards can be critical in this regard.
Learn more about how to track your External Website Links Metric on a Digital Marketing Dashboard.
External Links: Top Resources
External Links, Moz