In the world of Search Engine Optimisation, there seem to be an endless number of factors to keep in mind. We alone have posted a number of articles discussing aspects of SEO in great detail. For webmasters, it can be a daunting experience, looking at the list of elements that directly affect your SEO performance, from the different backlinks, to what Search Engines want etc. In this article, we will be looking at two of the final pieces of the puzzle – Inbound and Outbound Links.
First, a quick reminder of what backlinks are. Backlinks are actual hypertext links that direct a user to a website. Simple as that. End of article – but not really. For Search Engines, Backlinks are incredibly important. The reason is that Backlinks, depending on who they are directing to/from, all tell a story. This seems cryptic, lets try an example:
Link Websites A and B
Website A has a link on it that takes a user to Website B. To a Search Engine like Google, this is a chance to evaluate this interaction and reward/punish as necessary. It will take into account the reputation of Website A and how it is interacting with Website B, whose reputation is used to judge Website A. They essentially reflect onto one another what their reputations are. Meaning that if Website A has a great reputation, Website B will be rewarded with a boost in Search Rankings. The opposite is also true if the website has a bad reputation.
Inbound vs Outbound Links
The difference between these is that Outbound links represent the Links that your website has that direct to another website. These are important because Search Engines will take into account which websites you deem to be worthy of being linked to. Search Engines have become sophisticated enough to read into the context of the link and what that means for the topics of each of the websites. Meaning that if you are linking in an inappropriate way to another website, you could get penalised for it.
Similarly are Inbound Links. A good webmaster will know who is linking to their website, and manage those connections accordingly. Mismanaged Inbound Links can also do serious damage as a Search Engine will gauge what the two sites have to do with one another (and the context).
Essentially, Search Engines want to see contextual and logical links being created – all in the interest of maintaining a high degree of user interaction. If something wouldn’t make sense to a user, it means that the website wasnt the correct one, and if a Search Engine can’t find the correct website – then what value does it have?
As a webmaster, it is essential to keep in mind who is linking to you, and to whom you are linking. This can do an enormous amount of both good and bad – and overall consistency is important. Search Engines want to see websites being very particular about who they ‘help boost’ and alternatively who boosts you. So be careful who you link up with this weekend 😉