Most readers will know that I regularly follow ProBlogger’s posts and often link to them and add my commentary. If you’re not yet familiar with Darren Rowse, the Aussie author of ProBlogger.net, his articles pretty much set the standard in the blogging world. ProBlogger is all about blogging and most specifically about blogging for money. Darren has been hugely successful with blogging and has been doing it full-time for a while now.
Much of what I know about blogging has come from reading ProBlogger and checking out the links he points to. Darren links out to other blogs quite often, just as I do here on FreshBlogger. The linking that we both do is pretty judicious, however. You shouldn’t be surprised then to read that these outbound links can have an effect on SEO.
The main point of Darren’s response in this article to a reader’s question is that, yes, outbound links do apparently get considered by search engines. If you have a large number of links to sites that aren’t particularly relevant to the topics of your site, then you could be penalized by not ranking as highly in search engine results. This is one reason why it helps so much to focus on a specific niche when blogging.
Also like Darren, the main concern I have when linking isn’t really SEO. What I’m usually thinking about is whether the article I’m linking to will prove valuable to my readers. If I find it useful myself, I usually feel safe in linking, even if the site isn’t a popular one with lots of traffic or high Page Rank.
I try not to include more than two or three links in an article, though, unless there’s a very good reason. All of those links can be distracting as many readers will feel like they should click on them to find out what I’m talking about. If readers keep clicking away in the middle of an article, it’s likely that some won’t come back. This is something to consider as well when you’re linking from your own blog posts.
So, the bottom line on the issue is that outbound links can affect SEO and a moment’s thought should be given before including those links. Don’t be miserly with your linking, though. Remember that it provides a great way to point your readers to other valuable information as well as reward other bloggers for providing great content. Both will thank you for it.