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Outbound Links: Do They Help Ranking?

Research suggests that outbound links as well as inbound links may influence your Google Pagerank. Find out what this means to you.

One of the services that I provide my clients is linking campaigns. To do this, I put about 300 to 500 outgoing links on the client's site, and send a carefully written email to each Webmaster asking for them to link back. Typically 20% to 50% of the Webmasters reply, depending on the industry, and then eventually the links that don't link back are eventually removed.

I've seen this boost Google Pagerank from one to two ratings--such as from 4 to 6, for example. Pagerank is Google's summary of their assessment of the importance of a site. Google tells us that Pagerank is influential with regard to position in search results that they provide, so there is a lot of interest in pagerank.

Linking campaigns are conducted largely to get the inbound links, because Google tells us that pagerank is influenced by incoming links and the importance of the sites where those links originate.

For several clients, I watched pagerank as I conducted the campaign. I noticed, more than once, that when I put the outbound links on the site, the pagerank increased right away, long before any of the links could be reciprocated.

I participate in a number of Webmaster forums, and I exchanged these observations with other participants. Time after time, the "experts" told me that this couldn't possibly be happening. However, I've done a number of link campaigns, and I can watch what does happen. I'm an engineer, and when the data is in front of me I believe it rather than pontifications from someone who has not seen any of the data, someone who knows the answer without seeing data.

I've recently joined another forum where I can have experiments conducted. Of course, one of the experiments that I wanted to see right away was the impact of outgoing links on ranking in search engine results. Guess what? The results of an experiment over several thousand sites showed that, in fact, the more outbound links a page has, the higher its rank.

This doesn't mean that we don't have to do the work for incoming links any more. Incoming links increase Pagerank further. However, this result tells us that we don't have to be as quick to remove the links that aren't reciprocal; in fact, we can just leave them, as long as they point to sites that are still working.

The Bottom Line: Build your link campaigns with highly relevant links and send out the link back requests. But leave those relevant links on the site, don't remove the ones that don't link back. Every one of those links helps your Google ranking!

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Dave Roberts provides expert Web marketing services to help you meet your business goals. Visit his Web site at: DaveDoesItAll.com


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