Home > seo > external links

External links – Types, Best Practices and When to use them (2024)

Ask a Question

Any link pointing from one domain to another is called an external link. This external link is termed “inbound link” if any website links to your site. It is also called an “outbound link” if your site links to another site.

Most of the Search Engines algorithms consider External links as votes to decide the popularity of a webpage because these links are the toughest metric to get or manipulate.

It is an important metric in deciding a page’s ranking in search results for the user’s query.

The value of an external link(inbound or outbound) to a page is determined by some of the factors below.

  1. The Domain Authority of the linking domain
  2. Spam score of the linking domain.
  3. Relevancy of Anchor text is used to link to the destination page from the source page.
  4. Content relevancy between the source page and destination page.
  5. The number of Anchor text variations used to link to the target page. Example: Benefits of SMO, Benefits of Social Media Optimization.
  6. Check the Spam Score of the Linking Domain(<5%).
  7. Also, check the quantity of quality relevant linking domains to the targeted page.
  8. It is also important to consider the association between your domain and the external linking domain.
  9. Location of the link on the linked page as links mentioned in the content passes more value than links obtained from sidebars, footer, and header sections.


Many SEO backlinks and external link checker tools are available on the internet. Some of the Best SEO tools used are:

  1. Moz Link Explorer
  2. Ahrefs
  3. SEMrush
  4. Link-Assistant

Link juice, also called link equity, is a ranking value or potentiality passed from the linking page to the destination page.

Example: If a highly authoritative ranking page includes a followed link to a less authoritative site page. 

Search Engines consider this link as a vote from a high authority website to the less authority linked page and will pass a certain amount of ranking value, pushing the linked page to rank higher in SERPs.

DoFollow links indicate search engines to pass some ranking value to the linked pages in the content to improve their rankings.

Destination Page
NoFollow link: 

 NoFollow links indicate search engines not to pass any kind of ranking value to the linked pages in the content.

Destination Page

Paid links:

 External links from paid advertisements should be mentioned as nofollow links to prevent link equity from being passed from one site to another site as it results in negative ranking or search penalty.


Many sites allow users to post their content (UGC) in the form of comments, photos, articles as social media strategies to promote their products to provide authenticity and credibility to prospective consumers. Links from UGC should be moderated, and add a nofollow attribute to avoid low-quality and spammy links.

Sometimes, you may need to add credit to another site for an image or content in the form of a source link. If you do not want to pass link equity, you can use NoFollow Tag.

When to use NoFollow Tag on Pages?

Add NoFollow Tag to pages when you need to restrict search engines from crawling the page, and still, it should exist for users when they land on your site. Below are some of the pages that generally have nofollow links pointed to them.

  1. Registration Pages
  2. Sign-in Pages
  3. Terms and Conditions Page
  4. On Forms that search engines can’t get resources.

Sponsored links hint to search engines that some commercial intent is behind the link. These links by default considered as nofollow links.

Destination Page

These are user-generated links(UGC) created by registered users on dedicated forums. These links are by default treated as nofollow links.

Destination Page