Search Engine Optimization Tip: Check Your External Links

What is an External Link?

An external link is a link that points to another URL that is located on another domain name. Usually when we refer to external links, that means that a website has a link pointing to it from another website. That website is on another domain name. External links are the opposite of internal links, whereas internal links are when one web page on a website links to another web page on the same website (which is on the same domain name).

When was the last time you checked all of the external links on your web site? Who are you linking out to?

Hopefully, check your external links from time to time. You can’t just put them out there and then assume they are always going to work. Nothing is more frustrating to a visitor then seeing a link, clicking on it, and the link is broken. Or, the domain name has expired and you’re linking to some web site that you don’t want to link out to.

Broken and undesirable links can make your site appear to be very unprofessional. It can also result in your site dropping in terms of where it is placed on the search engine rankings. Checking those external links frequently will aid you with your various SEO efforts. It is very simple to check them, but you do need to keep track of where you have links. The more your website grows, the more external links you will have out there.

Then you can routinely just click on them and make sure every single one of them works. If they don’t, immediate action to find out what the problem is and to correct it. If you have a links page that is quite old, then it may be time to update it all. You also want to make sure the links are to sites that you are happy with. You may be out there involved with sites that you don’t think are a good fit for your business such as one that offers adult materials.

Find sites that offer you plenty of link value too, which means that they get a decent amount of traffic on a regular basis. You can use various tools too so that your efforts for checking your links are very simple. One that I highly recommend is called Xenu Link Sleuth, which has been around for years.. You can add all of the links to your website here and then get regular reports about them. Others that come to mind are OnCrawl and Screaming Frog’s SEO spider.

You always want to make sure your links work and that you aren’t linked to any type of site that you would rather not be associated with. Links are a vital resource for effective search engine optimization, but they can also hurt you if they aren’t good links.

Final Important Note About External Links

One final note: you could be linking out to a website that, when you wrote the content, was a valid link. In fact, it could have been a great resource at one time. However, that link might not be valid anymore. The page on the site could have been removed. The site owner could have taken down their website. The domain name could have been purchased by someone else–it could be redirecting to undesirable content. If you’re linking to undesirable content, that can have an effect on your site’s credibility.