Why and How To Use External Links

why and how to use external links

What are External Links, and Why Should I Care About Them?

External links are links that show up on your website which, when clicked, direct your users away from your website directly to other websites on the internet. It is essential to understand that not all external links are created equally.  Diligent web designers and content authors may be reluctant to use them, concerned that they may harm their site. Some of their apprehension includes things such as:

  • If a customer clicks away, they won’t return to my site
  • Search engines may penalize me if I link to an untrusted site
  • Not linking to sites ranking lower than my own on Google


Very little under the sun is entirely new, different, and unique.  Unless you have invented something, your website’s content was likely acquired from several other places. Using external links to provide some information and references is important to substantiate that your site has reliable information. A site with trustworthy content is one that readers will want to return to for more analysis and use in the future.

All credible authorities provide bibliographies on their papers and journal entries. By linking to sites outside of your own, you show that you have done your due diligence on a particular topic and understand the things you’re blogging about. External Linking can also be beneficial for expanding on a topic you may not have blog space.


You increase your website’s credibility by linking to reputable sites with quality information. There are, however, some types of external links that you will want to avoid:

  • Unmonitored links (such as user-generated links)
  • Undisclosed paid to advertise

Allowing your readers to post myriad random links to your website will quickly turn off your visitors and twist your site into a possible lousy link minefield, leading to penalties by search engines. If you allow comments to be left on your site, moderate them regularly to ensure that they don’t include spam-like links.

Additionally, unidentified paid advertising can be very annoying to readers. Savvy readers will immediately detect these ads and be aggravated by their presence. Still, other readers will be displeased when they click on them only to discover not more information but annoying, unsolicited advertising or complete redirection.

The safest option is to add the ref=”no follow” attribute to all user-generated and paid advertising links. This will ensure that you’re not associating your website with those parasitic sites and should effectively help to reduce comment spam.  It is also prudent to disclose the links that are paid advertising. Many sites will use obvious methods like double-underlining the ads or highlighting them in some obvious way so that if your readers click on the ads, they do so knowing that they are advertisements.


Good external links are links to appropriate, germane sites that will provide additional pertinent information about a chosen topic. Only when you link to spam-filled sites and “link farms” do you risk your website being penalized.

Search engines will penalize your site if you allow your site to be linked to bad neighborhoods.  These are sites that customers don’t wish to visit either, so linking to them is a bad idea no matter what.  Immediately, when someone clicks on a link to a spam site they will take into account that you directed them there and your site will be automatically identified as an undesirable site by association.


If you link to a website with a lower page ranking than yours, you lend them more credibility and higher rankability in Google’s algorithms.  If the site is high quality, you have nothing to be concerned about. Google writes:

“If you’re linking to content you believe your users will enjoy, don’t worry about the site’s perceived PageRank.  As a webmaster, your primary concern should be NOT losing credibility by linking to spam-laden sites. Outbound links are a common-sense way to provide more value to your users, not a complicated formula.”


Many webmasters use external links to connect to other sites and webmasters in their field. This is a common practice in blogging. Many bloggers link externally regularly. The more sites they link to, the more sites link to them. They will see your site in their referral sources when you link to other sites.  This could be the beginning of a beautiful business relationship or partnership between their company and yours.


Your site might stand on its own just fine.  You may consider enhancing it with ties to other information and additional sites.  You never know what opportunities it provides or how your site improves.  Do your homework and see the benefits!

Why Trust Salterra

Salterra has been in business since 2012. It is owned and managed by Terry Samuels and Elisabeth Samuels, a husband and wife team; the staff includes 3 of their children plus several additional developers.

The company has provided business websites and graphic design projects, including business cards, brochures, and catalogs for various industries. Their clients range in size from small and medium size businesses to consulting with large companies and advising their teams on proven SEO strategies. No matter the size of your business, the team at Salterra can promote your business and market your company successfully.

Salterra specializes in professional web design, graphic design, and internet marketing. The team will work with your company to provide you with a user-friendly and striking website but also ensure that the site reinforces your brand, increases traffic, and increases customer loyalty. Their designers use search-friendly design elements, premium software, and trustworthy technology. This will ensure that your finished product is refined and eye-catching and remains stable, secure, and consistent with all your internet business needs. They excel by providing your business with the functions and features that will elevate it and provide value in your marketplace.