What Are External Links And How To Use Them Correctly

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An external link, also known as an outbound link, points to a page outside a website. This is the opposite of an an internal link linking within the same domain. Backlinks are also known as external incoming links or inbound links.

External links connect the internet together.

Without links, you would have no way of navigating the web. It would just be this huge mess of disjointed pages and make absolutely zero sense.

But external links have become more than just a way of navigating the internet.

They play an important role in SEO and are a huge part of how search engines like Google prioritise the websites they rank in their search results.

You are about to learn everything you need to know about external links and why you should be taking advantage of them right now.

What Is An External Link?

An external link (sometimes known as an outbound link) is a hyperlink that leads to a page outside of a particular domain. This is the opposite of an internal link which links to the same domain it is on. Inbound links are sometimes referred to as external incoming links.

Simply put:

If someone links…

…from a page on their website to any page on your website, this is an external link.

If you link…

…out to another website from your own website – you are also creating an external link.

External Link VS Internal Link

Internal links are simply links that are within your own website.

For instance, if you link from one page on your website to another page on your website, this is an internal link.

Think of it like this:

  • External links are links to other websites
  • Internal links are links within your own website

difference between internal and external links

External links are considered more valuable by Google, but good internal linking is still essential for SEO.

If you are looking for some quick SEO wins you should look more into Internal link building.

What Makes A Good External Link?

Not all external links offer the same value.

Some links will be more valuable for your website than others.

These are the kinds of links that you want to focus on building in order to increase your domain authority and rankings.

There are three factors that determine the quality of an external link:

  • Relevancy – The contents of the page that has the external link should be relevant to your website.
  • Domain/Page Authority – The authority and trustworthiness of the website linking to your website.
  • Anchor Text – The text used for the hyperlink to your site.

These three factors can help you understand how powerful an external link is. The more relevant and authoritative the site is, the more beneficial it will be for your SEO.

good links vs bad links

Why Are External Links Good For In SEO?

External links are one of the best ways to improve SEO.

It’s also the biggest aspect of SEO that you have the least control over.

Here’s what I mean:

To get an external link, you rely on another website owner to place the link from their site.

This makes link building one of the most challenging parts for all SEO and also one of the most worthwhile. It is why many website owners choose to hire reputable link building services to take care of it for them.

The reality is this:

Getting more links pointing to your website is a lot of work. But there are three reasons you should be focusing on it:

1. External Links Are Official Google Ranking Factors

External links have been a Google ranking factor since 1998.

They have become more important as Google has improved its algorithm. It is now at the point where link building has become an essential component of all SEO strategies.

But you might be wondering… Why does Google place so much value on these links?

Google views external links from other websites to yours as ‘endorsements’.

The more endorsements (external links) you get from trusted sites, the more trust you build with Google.

What is link building - more links equal higher rankings

If Google trusts your website, they will rank you higher in the search results and show your content to their users.

Simply: More quality links = Higher rankings

2. External Links Increase Your Visibility & Search Traffic

Improving your search engine rankings is just one reason to build external links.

External links improve your visibility in:

  • Google’s search results
  • The internet in general

Here’s why:

When people visit the page that links to your website, they will see the external link. This improves your visibility and will likely result in you receiving some referral traffic.

But that’s not all…

We know that external links improve search engine rankings.

When your website ranks higher in the Google search results you will naturally gain more visibility. This leads to an increase in organic search traffic directly from Google.

And the best thing is that this traffic is super targeted which means you can generate business leads and sales as well!

GROWTH ALERT: Sign up for my free link building training.

3. External Links Contribute To Your SEO Success

Website links are an important part of SEO campaigns but they are not the only thing that matters. Indeed, you could use the best link building strategies to build a ton of external links to your website.


If you don’t have good on-page SEO it’s very unlikely that your rankings will change. Your website still needs to be optimized and have high-quality content on it.

Check out my 45+ steps SEO checklist to build a solid SEO foundation for your site.

increase search traffic with on page seo

Think of external links like fuel to a fire. You need to have a fire going before the fuel actually does anything.

Good on-page SEO and great content combined with quality external links can considerably boost your SEO.

Check out this ecommerce SEO case study to see how we implemented link building within the SEO campaign to triple the client’s revenue in less than a year.

google analytics revenue report

How To Find External Links?

Now you know why external links can be so valuable but how do you build them for yourself?

Use any of these three methods below:

Use Ahrefs To Find Links Opportunities

The best way to find quality external link opportunities is to use Ahrefs.

Ahrefs is one of the best SEO tools available. They also have the largest database of links – second only to Google themselves.


With such a big database of links, it’s no surprise they are the best tool to help you find appropriate link opportunities.

Read my Ahrefs review to learn how you can find high-quality links for your own website.

In this review, I’ve also included a ton of other powerful features that Ahrefs has and how you can take advantage of them for your own SEO.

Use Effective Link Building Strategies

Ready to take your link building to the next level?

You need to master a quality link-building strategy that can consistently get you results.

Thankfully I have put together a list of the 15 best link building strategies and show you how to use each of them.

link building strategies content example

Before you start building tons of free backlinks with these awesome strategies, consider this advice…

Beginner link builders tend to get shiny link-building strategy syndrome. This means they are always after the latest and greatest strategy at every corner.

The truth is that all of these link-building strategies can (and do) work.

The key is consistency. Choose just 1 or 2 link-building strategies that you like the best and focus on mastering them.

Avoid being swept up by shiny object syndrome when mastering link building!

Outsource Your Link Building

Here’s the truth:

Link building takes a lot of time and effort – especially when you are just beginning.

And there’s a chance that you don’t end up getting that external link even after committing all that time. Link building can be frustrating, to say the least.

It’s easy then to understand why many website owners outsource their link building needs to a reputable link-building service.

Link building services offer a lot of benefits:

  • You only pay per guaranteed link placement
  • High-quality links that benefit your website
  • Improved SEO rankings and growth

Ultimately you get the value that external links offer without you needing to commit any time or effort. You can focus on growing your business while your link building is taken care of by someone else.

If you are looking for a link building service you can trust, I recommend LinksThatRank.

links that rank link building service

They have a reputation for building high-quality links that Google loves and improves your rankings.

Good link-building services can save you time and effort while fast-tracking your results.

PRO TIP: Before outsourcing your link building, it’s best to determine how many backlinks you need to archive your goals.

Wrapping It Up

External links offer a lot of value to your business and SEO.

You’re missing out if you aren’t taking advantage of external links right now.

They are one of the most important ranking factors and can help you get:

  • Better visibility
  • Higher rankings
  • Increase in search traffic
  • More leads and sales

Start using external links to improve your SEO today.

Download the link building checklist PDF

If you can’t build them yourself, hire a trustworthy link-building service like LinksThatRank to take care of it for you.

But remember:

Before starting building links, make sure you have read the full link building checklist that explains all the link building process.

Frequently Asked Questions

External links are links that point from one domain to another different domain. Internal links are links that point from a page on a domain to a different page on the same domain. Both external and internal links are important for SEO.
To make an external link, you will need to use a proven link-building strategy. This will help you find opportunities to get external links and reach out to the website owner to get them placed. You can also make more external links by hiring a link-building service to build links for you.
External backlinks are links from other websites that point to your website. External backlinks can be considered "endorsements "by Google. The more backlinks that you get from higher-quality sites, the more trustworthy your website is in Google’s eyes.

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