How Important is the Need for External Links on a Website

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External links on a website are an accepted component of SEO. They have an important role to play in terms of recognizing Authority sites related to the subject or niche of a website.

Function of an External Link

An External link is one that points from one domain to another domain and is considered to be of SEO value.  In fact External linking is thought to be one of the most valuable elements of SEO.  This value is due to the fact that the purpose of the External link is to point to an Authority site in a specific niche.

Outward links is another term sometimes used for a link pointing away from one domain to another.  However, External links and Outward links are one and the same in respect to linking between two domains.

External links are placed within a website.  However, the linking process is described as one domain linking to another domain.

Purpose of this Post

In writing this post I have in mind the complexities encountered by those new to working online building their first website.  For this reason, it is intended to keep to the basics of linking within a website.

Importance of Correct use of Links within a Website

Every post should include a minimum of two Internal links and one External link.

The internal links must be between two posts on a website and the content of each post must be relevant to the other.

External Links are more complex.   This is because the link going out from a website must be to an Authority site in a related niche or subject.

For example, this website you are visiting now is clearly about affiliate marketing. Within the affiliate marketing niche there are many, possibly hundreds, of niches.

The important point is, this post is clearly about External Links. Therefore, the link from this site must go to an authority on the use of External links on a website.

What is the Benefit of External Links on a Website

If a visitor to a website chooses to click on an External link the visitor will be taken away from that website to an Authority site. This action provides a good experience for the visitor, and that is referred to as good user experience.  The visitor not only had the opportunity of gaining knowledge from the first site, they were given a chance to find content on the Authority site.  Had the visitor not been on the first website, it is possible they would not have discovered that particular Authority site.

In addition to providing a good user experience, there is a chance the search engines may see the first website as willing to help others find the level of assistance they are seeking. I can see the willingness to help, as well as participation in sound SEO practices, as nothing other than leading to success.

The Power of Knowledge and Sharing

I believe it is common knowledge among internet marketers building and maintaining their websites, that we cannot know everything.  Over the past ten years I have seen very many changes in managing organic traffic, and understanding search engine optimization.  To have the availability of Authority sites is an advantage I appreciate.

We can be certain that nothing is lost, and everything is gained by valuing the specialists who provide the knowledge of technology in a manner the layman can understand.  Over time the layman becomes the specialist, consequently attaining the right of an Authority.

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I trust you found benefit in this post.  You are welcome to leave your comments and questions below. They will be answered.

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34 thoughts on “How Important is the Need for External Links on a Website”

  1. To me a measure of a successful day is when I learn something new, I did that reading your post today in particular about the external link to an authority site.

    I had the opinion that an external link to any site was beneficial, now I know that it must be (to get value for SEO) to an external authority site.

    Thank you for writing this informative post.

  2. Thanks for talking about the links on websites. I have heard that it is good to have internal AND external links on the site, possibly on every post. But I have also heard that it is a tricky business with the external links because we do not have control over them and they might be broken but still on your website. I heard that it is somehow negative.
    Could you expand a little on this subject please?

    • Hi Heidi

      Thanks very much for leaving your comment.

      With regard to your query about linking to other websites. No doubt there is a risk of the external link becoming broken, but the intention is to link to authority sites only. The margin of broken links with authority sites is minimal. Of course, any site can be discontinued and I see that as a risk to take.

      There is the option of alerting broken links by installing a plugin such as Broken Link Checker.

      Whether links are internal or external, there is always the risk of some becoming broken. However, a very valid question Heidi. Thank you.

  3. Hi Valerie, I enjoyed this article very much! I’m a newbie in online thingy. Just published my website a few days ago.

    I’ve learned something valuable in your easy to read piece. Didn’t know external linking boosts SEO. In external linking, do we need permission to link to other authority sites?

    I’ve checked through the conversation thread, how to ‘open in new tab’? I can see 2 posts in my site which can link to external authority sites.

    Thanks Valerie!

    • Hi Song,

      Thank you for your comment. It’s great to know you have just recently published your website.
      To answer your question regarding permission to link to authority sites; we do not need permission. Anyone is allowed to link from their own website to another site.
      Well done for having 2 posts you can link externally.

      Best wishes

  4. Hi Valerie,

    It’s good to know that we should have a minimum of 2 internal and 1 external links. I wasn’t aware of this recommendation so already I have learned something.

    I’m also pleased because I try to add at least one external link and I tend to add quite a lot more internal links. It’s difficult to tell how this affects ranking but it obviously must help rather than hinder.

    One thing I’m curious about though – should the external links have nofollow set?

    • Hi Craig

      Thanks for your comment about internal and external links. Correct linking is really important for good search engine optimization.

      With your internal links, it should be fine to have several in one post as long as they are linking to relevant content.

      To answer your question about external links, I would say do not make them no-follow. If they are no-follow links, Google will ignore them and the intended value will be lost.


  5. This post, how important is the need for external links on a website, caught my eye straight away. I am fascinated with this ranking thing. lol. And one thing that I know for a fact is that we should external link. AS someone once said. The internet is one GIANT popularity contest and he is right lol.

    • Hi Simon

      Thank you for very much for your comment. I agree that website ranking can be fascinating. It can also be troublesome if not done correctly As you mentioned, the internet is one Giant and consequently an excellent reason for getting the processes correct first time around.


  6. I love this post, its very informative!
    I actually already gave WA a try and I still use it because it works!
    One big thing people overlook are incoming external links. These are the links you get from other websites pointing to your own, which tells google you are a serious player.
    Thanks again for this.

    • Thank you Matt for your comment. I’m pleased you enjoyed the post.

      Internal links certainly are important, and the good thing these days is that they are not required in thousands as they used to be.

  7. Good afternoon Valerie,

    This is very helpful I must say. Internal linking I have not done yet and am now thinking if there are posts on my website where this is possible. I have linked between my 2 websites where it was appropriate. To put a link inside my post so visitors can go there for more detailed information I have done too. Now looking back I realize there have been too few links overall. When the time comes to give my old posts a facelift I will definitely keep your advice in mind. Thank you so much.

    Regards, Taetske

    • Good morning Taetske

      Thank you for your comment. I am pleased you found the information helpful with regard to linking to other websites, particularly authority sites. The better experience we provide for our readers the more likely they are to return to our site to find new information.

      Kind regards

  8. Thank you, Valerie, for steering us in the right direction, into the future! I hope you will keep us up to date, as SEO methods change. I do believe you are my Go to for further guidance on the many facets of building a website! You are breaking things down into simplicity.


    • Thank you Lynne for your very kind comment. I’m pleased you found help in my post and also that you appreciated my way of presenting the details.
      I am very aware of how overwhelming the management of a website can be in the early stages of learning. I sometimes wonder if I go too far with simplifying the various steps, but your comment removes that doubt and for that I am grateful.


  9. Hello Valerie. You know I am building my website, and didn’t know much about external links and how important they are for SEO value. I will be getting some external links into my site as soon as I can.
    Thank you for this information.

    • Hi Handres, Thank you for visiting my site and leaving your comment. I appreciate your comment and am pleased you found the information about links, because it really is very important to include links before publishing each post. It’s easy enough to go back to previous posts, but completing all actions prior to publishing the post saves time, and ensures that nothing is overlooked.

      All the best with your new website.

  10. Hi Valerie,

    Your topic on links was beneficial and enjoying. I have not got this far yet being a newbie, but I do feel this is important! So am glad I came across your post, I took some notes from this and also your comments! Some of your comments were beneficial also and added to your post in the way you used them in the middle of your post, I also like the thought of educational sources and the thought of the “New Tab” so when using external sites, the viewer did not lose the original site while going to the external linked site!

    I need to learn more!


    • Hi Tim,

      Thank you for visiting my site and for your comment. I’m pleased you found the information to be helpful so that you can apply what’s appropriate to your posts as you progress with building your website. As you say Tim, the education sources are good to be aware of. As affiliate marketers building and managing our own sites, we can never have too much information. Also, it’s good to compare notes even if we don’t want to accept another’s point of view, it is all healthy food for thought.

      Wishing you all the best.

  11. Valerie, I wonder if there is such a thing as too many links and also if you have any experience in where the links should be in the posts. I noticed that if I have a link in the first few sentences then my blog snippet shows the link code, (which doesn’t look great) so I avoid that, but I’m wondering if there is a rule of thumb.

    • Wenda,to be honest I don’t know if there is a rule of thumb for the number of links on a post. I follow Yoast’s recommendation of a minimum of two internal links and one external link on each post or page. However, that minimum of one external link recommended by Yoast is linking to an authority site. In reality, included in a number of posts on an affiliate site are outgoing affiliate links.

      They way I deal with links is to insert at least 2 internal links, and maybe up to 2 more links if the content provides for such linking. In other words, there needs to be relevant posts on the site to warrant those extra internal links.

      You mention linking within the first few sentences. I try not to link until at least the middle of the post as leading visitors away soon after landing on a post is not helpful in respect to SEO. I also think about the visitor’s experience of being taken away from something they were interested in.

      With outwards links, it is seldom that I find it worthwhile, or necessary to link to more than 2 other websites.

      I hope you find this helpful, and thanks very much for leaving your comment, Wenda.

  12. The linking is an important topic – and a tricky one, too.
    It is very important, I agree, but it needs some care.
    I once changed my url for the website and was totally unaware that, after changing the address, I had to go manually through the whole website and adjust the links which led to 404 errors
    For the external links: we don’t have the control over the changes which other people do with their websites, so the danger of “broken links” is there and we (should) check all the links every now and then. I know that there is a tool for that, but I have forgotten what it was.

    When we lead people to another website we should open the link in a new tab in ways that they don’t completely leave our site. The duration of people on your site is also very important.

    • Thank you for your comment Heidi

      Linking is certainly an important factor contributing to the success of a website, as are so many factors in building and maintaining a website.

      Broken links are something we certainly do not need. I have used the plugin by the name of Broken Link Checker, although I haven’t used it of recent times. I did find it helpful though.

      Your point about opening the link in a new tab is important, along with the duration of people on our sites. As webmasters, it’s our job to give visitors a good experience while on our site, then some will return at a later date.

  13. Wow I hit gold with this post and the other I just commented on in here earlier……about the 20 useful words and phrases. I’m really going to need your help with links as I’m just starting out. My niche is a little over a month old and I have alot to learn. I’m very knowledgeable about my niche but I already know it takes more than that

    • Hi Lisa

      Thanks for visiting my post and leaving your comment.

      How to use links is not as difficult as it first appears. With your niche being so new it is my belief that you get as much content on your site as you are able over the next several weeks. The reason being is to insert the minimum two links in a post, you need to have other posts on your site that contain content relevant to the latest post. It’s a matter of networking between the posts on your site. Because you are very knowledgeable with your niche I’m sure you will not have a problem with linking your pages.

      The external links need to be well thought out. Depending on your niche you may find some good educational websites to link to. is a site some people link to. And that is good, but we need to find other authority sites as well.

      If you need help with linking you are welcome to contact me through my website.

      Wishing your all the best.

  14. You have really given a clear explanation of external links. I like the point you made when you noted that search engines may see an external link as an attempt of the author to help readers gain more knowledge. I had never thought of it in this way before. From now on I will try to make sure I have at least one external link on my sites. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Judy,

      Thanks so much for leaving your comment. Yes, I thought it was good too when I found out search engines recognized our attempt to help readers. It’s rather like giving and receiving which is always a good thing.

      I certainly recommend you use external links to authority sites as much as possible.

  15. To be honest, I was always a bit confused about the correct usage of External and Internal Links and the importance of SEO.

    I am glad that I have come to your website and found your article addressing this topic I always was a bit uneasy with.
    I do now understand their validity and importance and how to implement it into my posts.

    Thank you 🙂

    • Sylvia, Thanks very much for your comment.

      I’m very pleased your found the post helpful in respect to understanding how to use links in your posts.

      Wishing you continued success with your website.

  16. Nice one, I always love to read about the linking and sharing strategies. It is never enough knowledge we have, thank you

  17. I love your points about external links. I have noticed more bloggers using this technique now. I agree it does provide for a good user experience. That is most important in my view, because one main point of a visitor landing on our website is to provide them with the answer to their problem.

    I believe if we focus on that by even giving them more knowledge by sending them to an authority site on the subject they are more appreciative and will not forget that experience.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • As you say, it is about providing information to people who are searching for an answer that will solve their problem.

      I believe it is a matter of what we give will come back to us, and all concerned will be rewarded.

      Thanks very much Nate for commenting.


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