What is an External Link?

by | June 23, 2024

One key element of SEO that often gets overlooked is the external link. What exactly are they, and how can you use them effectively? In this article, we’ll explain their definition, importance, types, best practices, and how to use them to boost your SEO strategy.

Definition of External Link

An external link is a hyperlink that points from one domain to another. In simpler terms, it’s a link on your website that leads to a different website. These links can connect your content with relevant resources, information, or references on other websites.

Purpose of External Links

The primary purpose of external links is to provide additional value to your readers by directing them to relevant and credible sources of information. They help enhance user experience by offering more in-depth content beyond what your site can provide alone.

Importance of External Links

Enhancing SEO

Search engines like Google consider external links as votes of confidence from one site to another. When reputable sites link to your content, it signals to search engines that your site is trustworthy and authoritative, which improves your SEO rankings.

Increasing Website Traffic

External links can drive traffic to your site. When other websites link to your content, their visitors may click through to your site, increasing your overall traffic. This is particularly beneficial if the linking site has a large and relevant audience.

Establishing Credibility

By linking to reputable sources, you enhance your site’s credibility. It shows that you’ve done your research and are providing valuable, trustworthy information. This builds trust with your audience and can improve your reputation in your industry.

Types of External Links

Nofollow vs. Dofollow Links

External links can be classified into two types: nofollow and dofollow. Nofollow links tell search engines not to pass on any SEO value to the linked site, often used for sponsored content or comments. Dofollow links, on the other hand, allow SEO value to be transferred, helping to boost the linked site’s authority.

Anchor Text Links

Anchor text links use clickable text within the content to link to another site. The anchor text should be descriptive and relevant to the linked content, as this helps search engines understand the context of the link.

Image Links

Image links use an image as the clickable element that directs users to another site. These make the content visually appealing and provide additional ways for users to engage.

Best Practices for Using External Links

Relevancy and Quality

Always ensure that your external links are high-quality and relevant. Linking to authoritative, well-regarded sites adds value to your content and improves user experience. Avoid linking to low-quality or spammy sites. This hurts your credibility and SEO.

Link Building Strategies

Implement effective link-building strategies to get high-quality external links pointing to your site. This can include guest blogging, creating shareable content, and networking with influencers in your industry. The goal is to earn links naturally through valuable content.

Avoiding Link Schemes

Steer clear of link schemes, which are practices intended to manipulate a site’s ranking in search results. These include buying links, excessive link exchanges, or using automated programs to create links. Engaging in such practices can result in penalties from search engines and a steep drop in SEO.


Incorporating external links effectively can transform your website’s SEO and user experience. By linking to valuable, relevant resources, you can enhance your content and build a network of trust and authority. Stay ethical in your link-building practices, and you’ll see the long-term benefits in your site’s performance and reputation.



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