In a post Google Penguin world, it is still okay (an natural) to link out to other websites. Here in June of 2013, I am horrified that I actually have to have this conversation with other website owners and bloggers. I mean, really. Why would it possibly hurt your search engine rankings if you linked out to a company’s website when you mention them in your blog post?
Well, apparently there is a rumor going around. The rumor is that if you write an article or blog post and put it on your website, you should NOT (ever) link out to another company’s website–even if you mention them in the article. Supposedly Google will somehow mistaken your outgoing link for a paid link and penalize your website in the process. So, apparently the answer to all of this is to stop linking out to other websites.
What?!? When I heard this from a fellow blogger, the first thing I thought of was the fact that that is one of the most ridiculous rumors I have ever heard (and I’ve certainly heard a lot of them). But I can honestly say that with all of the information (and misinformation) out there about the Panda and Penguin Google Updates, I can see where people could get confused.
Let’s first start with this. At the Pubcon conference (yes I just linked out to another site), in April 2013, I gave the following presentation about Google Panda and Google Penguin. It’s important to understand the basics–what Panda and Penguin are about.
If you look at the following article (there again I linked out yet again and it won’t hurt my rankings), Guillaume Bouchard writes for Search Engine Watch and mentions the following about what constitutes a fishy link:
Outbound links using exact match anchor text from low quality sites (or penalized by Google), or from the same IP address
Well, that certainly could be confusing. He’s talking about LINKS THAT ARE POINTING TO YOUR SITE, not links that you have on your site pointing to other websites. What you don’t want is exact match anchor text links on low quality sites pointing to you. Get rid of those. Get them removed. Or disavow those links.
Remember, linking out to other web sites is natural and part of one of the core principles of the internet: other websites links to you and you link out to them. Want more proof? Here is what Web Page Mistakes has to say:
Providing Relevant Outbound Links is Good
Why is linking out good? Because as you write your article and make statements you should provide links to related and respected sources to backup your statements. This can be done by quoting a source and providing the link to the original article you quoted from (besides being good manners on the net).
Another way to provide relevant outgoing links is to provide a further reading or resources section at the end of your article.
Wait, what?!? Look at the sentence just before this quote. I linked out to another website, another web page that has all sorts of information to back up what I’m talking about. And, technically speaking, you probably came across this article because it ranks well in the Google search results. So, don’t be afraid to link out to other websites, especially when it is appropriate to do so.
You are not participating in a link scheme that Google will penalize you for if you link out to a company’s website when you mention that company in an article on your blog. That’s just insane to think that way.
In a post-Google Penguin world, yes, it is still okay to link out to other websites. In fact, if you don’t link out, it’s unnatural. That’s what might actually hurt your rankings.