Too Many Outbound Links? Think About Your Visitors Before SEO

In the world of search engine optimization, there is a certain tendency towards keeping visitors within online properties as much as possible. SEO professionals strive on building user experiences that reduce the dreaded bounce rate, which denotes visitors who arrived on the website and quickly left, presumably because they were not impressed with what they saw.

To a certain extent, any website exit can add to the bounce rate. The two main strategies in this regard include creating engaging pages that visitors will enjoy staying in for a little longer; for example, longer in-depth articles. Another strategy is to entice them to click on links that take them to another page within the same site. Google search engine algorithm coders have acknowledged that a couple of internal links per page are useful to visitors, thus boosting SEO rank.

With the above in mind, it stands to reason that if you put too many outbound links on a page, you will be giving visitors multiple opportunities to escape, thus increasing negative bounce rate. Let's say a website lists seasonal beer festival across a large region of the United States; we are talking about 150 external links, which means that visitors would have many escape routes.

The bottom line of outbound links is that they don't really hurt at all as long as they are relevant. SEO content authors know that if they are writing articles that reference the New York Times, for example, linking to the publication is highly recommended because this is one of the signals that the Google search engine algorithm acknowledges; moreover, we all know that the NYT is a high-authority website, thus providing SEO juice.

Granted, you could use rel="nofollow" tags on outbound links in order to protect your SEO bottom line, but this is a bit of a weasel move. User experience and SEO do not always have to match, and in the example above, you want to point visitors to the right beer festivals because that is the experience they expect. You should worry more about how to promote the website based on what it delivers than on the number of outbound links. For more information click here

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