Google’s John Mueller’s first #AskGoogleWebmasters launched Friday afternoon and was on the question of does linking to other websites help or hurt SEO? This is a question he was asked and answered several times over the years, see below…
The whole video, with the intro and ending was less than two minutes – so these short clips are nice.
The short answer was that linking out can be helpful to your users but don’t do it for link exchanges, ads or spammy comment reasons – in those cases, nofollow the link. Otherwise, linking out can add value and more context. He didn’t specifically say if it helps or hurts your SEO.
Here is the transcript:
Does linking to other websites help or hurt SEO?
Well linking to other websites is a great way to provide value to your users. Often times links help users to find out more to check out your sources and to better understand how your content is relevant to the questions that they have.
I would watch out for a few types of links though. In particular if you’re linking out to a site because of an arrangement, like you linked to me and I’ll link to you. Or because it’s an advertisement or if it’s being done in your site’s comments and you’re not really sure how good those links are.
In all of these situations your pages aren’t linking out because you think the other page is a great match for users. For these kinds of links we recommend using the rel nofollow link attribute. I added a link with more information on that below in the description.
In the most common cases however if you’re linking out naturally from your content to other sites that offer additional value and more context. Then that’s fine and there’s nothing special that you need to do.
So if we go into our archives, John Mueller basically said, no, external links do not directly help your SEO or hurt it. Here are some articles we wrote on this topic:
Forum discussion at Twitter.
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