Internet Marketing Ninjas Blog

Linking out – The overlooked link neighborhood.

Through search engine watch I found a thread on highrankings forum where wowdezign starts by asking:

I always here people say, “don’t link to bad neighborhoods”. I agree with that thinking. Is the reverse true?

If I link to several authoritative sites, and/or sites that naturally relate to my topic, can that add to my credibilty as far as search engines go? For example, when you write a research paper, doesn’t your choice of references add weight to your work?

There’s some good comments and then Michael Martinez makes some good points, and then some people jump all over Michael for not backing up his ideas with “facts” ….kinda silly the whole thing…in fact, the thread is closed now…even sillier.

Does linking out to trusted related sites help? Hell Yea – most of the time doing this will give you a boost. I’m not even going to bother to back this up with specific examples. If you don’t want to believe this, that fine. Many people don’t believe a lot of what I say like “link pages are dead” or “the sandbox is real” or that “pagerank is dead”. People are fee to believe whatever they want.

Showing examples of “proof” or “Matt said this” is often just not possible (BTW, in Mike’s interview Matt did allude to linking out being a factor), but anyways…..”proof”…in SEO there’s so many variables that showing “proof” is near impossible (who only changes one thing (either a clients site, backlinks, or google) which is the only way to show “proof”…often it’s impossible… in what you’re head tells you…think like you think that they (google) think….(If were them, I’d look at …..).

So in conclusion – I highly believe linking out to trusted related sites helps you. I believe good resources often link out to other good trusted related resources….I also believe Google is trying to rank “resources” highly….so in trying to be a good resource, I link out to trusted related sites.

There’s more good info on the closed thread on Highrankings forum where people debate on if they should link out to trusted related sites. (does it really need to be debated?)


21 Responses

  1. Hi Jim,

    I agree that reciprocal links pages are at least dying out, if not dead, but what about niche link directories? Most that I have seen are pure crap and filled with hundreds of horrible PR0 web sites that are desperate for a link with almost no authority sites listed.

    Do these work for you at all?

    Do you think the link directory dead or dying like links pages or is this strategy still viable if you seed it properly & depending on the overall out-bound quality of the inventory, etc.


  2. Directories are only as valuable as their Age, Quality, and Backlink Trust. Problem is, there’s few directories that meet these quality indicators. I can count the directories I’d submit to on one hand…with fingers to spare….
    …if you’re looking at more “nich” directories…there’s few of those of value….but look at cache of page you’re seeking your link on (make sure it’s cached and fairly current), ask yourself if you trust the co citation of the other links on the page (is that the neighborhood you want?).
    there’s a few of those for any industry, but they’re rare.

  3. Thanks Jim,

    I’m actually in the process of developing a large niche directory. Please tell me honestly if my plan sucks or not.

    The plan was for me and my wife to seed it very heavily by hand for the next several months. All the major players in the niche will already be included before we even start to promote it.

    This is the thought prosess… Good niche directories are very rare. No one wants to be listed in an empty directory or a directory that the industry leaders are not already in.

    My plan is to seek out and include all the top 20% industry leaders in the niche by hand so I can attract the other 80% who want to pay a small fee to share the same space as the big boys and possibly pay extra to be on the top of the list.

    Jump starting a Large niche directory like this will be a Very time consuming project.

    I also realise that this is a new website so I will start off with Great Quality… but Zero History or Backlinks. I hope it will work over time, posibly this time next year. (Even the BOTW had to start somewhere.)

    Is this crazy or am I on to something?
    Any thoughts or honest feedback?


  4. hey Jim,

    how funny… I just that topic put up by a client just last week…

    and I also created an additional FAQ entry on my site on that
    explains “what those other links are for” at

    Very good to have it confirmed by a top-notch SEO that linking out is not only good, but actually crucial !

    You’re right – bothering with all sorts of forum-chitchat isn’t worth the time… IMHO people should go and read more from the actual papers like TrustRank and HITS…

    cheers presellpageman

  5. I think your quote explains it perfectly….it only makes since that if linking to bad neighborhoods hurt, that linking to authorities will help.

    I also think many people including myself have known this for a long time, but have always worried about loosing visitors and missing the big picture. I for one have changed this and do link out…even on my home page.

    Also, i think many of us have known that reciprocal links pages have been dieing for a long time, but many of us don’t have the skill needed to get links any other way.

    I have deleted all my reciprocal links and finally out of that trap, rut or what ever you want to label it. It actually felt great to finally make that leap. Reciprocal linking is almost the most Amateuristic way of link building there is.

  6. Another point about linking out to good sites.

    If you link out to them using anchor text keywords (or variations, modifiers, and related terms thereof) you want to be found for, then you can extract even more benefit from the link.

  7. Aloha Esoos,

    Here is an example of that.
    (Notice how I avoided the words “Proof” and “Facts”) LOL

    Jeremy, (Shoemoney) foolishly asked people to try to out rank him for his name and several people created outbound links to accomplish this.

    Cristian Mezei’s SEO Blog used outbound links to become the #2 result for the keyword “Shoemoney” in Google. She’s been there for quite a while now. (Or did she use something else?)

  8. I just did a quick modification on one of my sites. The site ranks quite well (2nd page) for a few competitive terms so I thought of giving this a try. I already had links out to authority websites but I added three more and removed some unrelated affiliate links that weren’t earning me much anyways.

    Let’s see if this will help make the big jump from page 2 to page 1.

  9. Well certainly yes… this doesnt need any debate what so ever… Linking to trusted related sites not only gives you credatibily but also improves you rankings as these are the sites voting for a newer site… so search engines feel this is a good site…

  10. Google values out bound links because that is exactly what a normal (non-seo) user would do i.e. link to authority sites when discussing that topic or issue.

    The problem with SEO is that too often people take a good idea and use it excessively – i.e. now go away and write page after page of outbound links or add 500+ to every post! Funnily enough that stops your site linking pattern looking natural and down the road you will get problems. ‘Natural SEO’ is where it’s at – and balancing your efforts in each technique.

    This is – of course – just an opinion but then again what isn’t in this industry! 😉

  11. IMO, outbound links tell the search engines that YOU know where the authorities are, and if you know where the authorities are you might be able to be trusted as an authority yourself. The “takes one to know own” theory, if you will.

    Someone made a comment about reciprocal links being dead or dying. I fully disagree. Jim says link pages are dead, which I do fully agree with, but there is nothing wrong with well thought out reciprocal links (or even natural ones, for that matter). Cutts only mentions EXCESSIVE reciprocal linking. Moderation is key.

  12. Hey Jim, nice post. In addition to what you said:

    “Showing examples of “proof” or “Matt said this” is often just not possible (BTW, in Mike’s interview Matt did allude to linking out being a factor), but anyways…..”proof”…in SEO there’s so many variables that showing “proof” is near impossible (who only changes one thing (either a clients site, backlinks, or google) which is the only way to show “proof”…often it’s impossible… in what you’re head tells you…think like you think that they (google) think….(If were them, I’d look at …..).”

    …I’d say why the heck should you care about taking time out of your day to prove something to someone else? Even if it is possible to find and provide such proof, what’s in it for you? Personally I’d rather spend that 15 minutes working on a project that interests me or doing paid client work than providing insight to some skeptic who wants me to prove the information I’ve so generously provided for free! 🙂

  13. Another Good Post Jim

    I totally agree with you. Reciprocal linking may not be as effective as it once was and sometimes you have to consider linking to others for reasons other than search engine ranking. Its good to share some link love from time to time, and it makes your linking structure appear more natural. I say that you should give credit to your resources and and use moderation when reciprocal linking.

  14. i completely agree with iTraffic:

    “I say that you should give credit to your resources and and use moderation when reciprocal linking.”

    my clients only link to sites where there is actual value add to the content. and these sites happen to be authority sites.


  15. Hello Mr. Boykin,
    Let’s see what this does for the new guide we just published today for beginners. We’ve
    linked out to you – one of the best authority sources on SEO going today. Thank you for the time you take to post your terrific topics.
    See your link here:

  16. i agree that backlinks give a lot of importance and advantage on one’s page. i joined a certain SEO contest, and the top site has 35,000 backlinks (though mostly cloaked, which is a bad thing about link building). I guess the more relevant the linking page to your site is, the better you score on SEs.

  17. I first read about the importance of linking out in Aaron Wall’s SEO book and did just that for one of my website recently. Still haven’t seen a jump in my rankings yet so I’ll continue to keep a lookout and hopefully have something nice to report back 🙂

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