Creating outbound links, or in other words links that point visitors from your site to another site might seem counter-intuitive, after all, most people spend most of their time trying to get links from other sites to point at their own site.

You might even have a feeling that you want all of the oomph from your own website for yourself, and you’re not going to share it with anyone else by giving them links – it’s mine, all mine!

You might also have heard people talking about Page Rank (PR) and Page Rank flow, where a link from your page to another page will see some of your hard earned PR flow to the other website. Yikes – give away my Page Rank – no way!

So why would you even consider creating links on your site that point to someone elses?

Well, first of all if there are resources elsewhere that could really help your visitor, and you truly do want to give your visitor a great experience and also of course help them to find what they’re looking for, then outbound links are a must.

Second of all is that links are what make the internet go around. Without any links whatsoever from any site to another, all the internet would represent would be a collection of millions of independent sites that sat there isolated from everything and everyone else.

Links to and from your website are totally natural, and I have a sneaky feeling that a few outbound links to a few high quality sites are probably extremely beneficial for your websites rank.

Wouldn’t it strike you as a bit odd if you were a search engine if you came across a site with thousands of links pointing into it, and not one single link going out?

It wouldn’t look quite right, or more importantly, natural – and un-natural sites are what search engines are going after, since un-natural sites are usually the spammy ones that are breaking the rules and providing poor visitor satisfaction.

So yes, if there are some sites that have related topics that could help your visitors, then outbound links are good.

You should of course watch where you’re pointing to. If you point to “bad neighbourhoods” then it could harm your websites rankings.

Similarly if you own more than 1 website then it isn’t a good idea to start pointing links backwards and forwards between them, especially if they’re on the same server, or owned by the same entity.

Otherwise it might look like you’re trying to game the system (or cheat in other words), and this too can have a negative effect on your websites rankings.

So in summary just a few links pointing out to other helpful, related sites is in my opinion a great idea.

That’s just about it for outbound links, next we’ll look at inbound links, which is part of the off-site optimisation.