Outbound Links – Definition

Cite this article as:"Outbound Links – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated April 8, 2019, last accessed November 26, 2020, https://thebusinessprofessor.com/lesson/outbound-links-definition/.


Rarely will you go through 100 words on the web without coming across a link. The web is a world of links. When you click a link, it directs you to another webpage. The outbound link plays an important role in the onsite optimization process of SEO. This article looks at Outbound Links, hidden keywords in links and more.

Outbound links take you to another webpage or website. You will find outbound links on most websites, except for a few.

Two Sides of a Coin

Outbound links can be classified into:

  •      Nofollow link
  •      Dofollow link

Dofollow links are the regular links on websites. The link does not require coding or modifications. Anytime you create a link it is a dofollow link by default. A dofollow link allows a target webpage to leverage the Google PageRank of your webpage.

A nofollow link is an abnormal link. Rather than give you leverage with a webpage’s Google PageRank, it blocks you from ranking with the page. A nofollow link has a code rel=”nofollow” tag which prevents the Google spider from following the link.

Why Add a Nofollow Tag to a Link?

When you add a nofollow tag to a link, the search spider will not crawl the targeted webpage. Webmasters use nofollow links to deny targeted webpages their Google PageRank juice.

For example, you want to link to a social media platform like Facebook or YouTube. Social media sites have millions of inbound links, so your link towards them has little to no effect on ranking. A nofollow link allows you to keep all of your site’s PageRank juice to yourself while linking to the targeted webpage.

That is the main reason most people use nofollow tags. But if you are providing links to general information sources, dofollow links work fine.

It’s the Right Thing to Do

Nofollow tags establish you as an authority on a specific resource, and this translates to higher rankings. A target webpage’s webmaster may link back to you if they think you deserve it. However, not every outbound link should carry a nofollow tag because it affects your Google PageRank despite getting none from your targeted webpage. Some target webpages deserve a dofollow, so don’t be stingy.

What Is Your Destination?

An anchor text describes your link to visitors. Users see it as clickable underlined texts usually in blue highlights. Since anchor texts describe a link, it serves as a keyword to rank a targeted webpage.

Your SEO efforts will receive a significant boost with a good anchor text from another webpage. This is because an anchor text can increase your webpage’s keyword rankings on the search engine. If a blogger gives you a link, the anchor text you get can increase your site/webpage rankings through target keywords. But you need to allow the blogger to use the keywords as the anchor text to enjoy the rankings.

Hidden Keywords

Many webmasters pay little attention to the Anchor Title element of a link. This attribute can keep your keywords within while increasing awareness about your targeted webpage. By keeping your title attribute up to date, you have leverage over your competitors since most people ignore this simple but rewarding activity.

Weighted page rank algorithm based on number of visits of links of web page, Tyagi, N., & Sharma, S. (2012). International Journal of Soft Computing and Engineering (IJSCE) ISSN, 2231-2307. This paper looks at a page ranking mechanism called Weighted PageRank Algorithm. The algorithm ranks web pages based on popularity. This study proposes the new ranking method to deliver relevant information in line with the user’s browsing behavior.

Evaluation of emergency evacuation strategies for downtown event traffic using a dynamic network model, Kwon, E., & Pitt, S. (2005). Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, (1922), 149-155. This study examines the possibility of using a dynamic traffic assignment model for emergencies in downtown Minneapolis. The research shows that the access capacity from downtown areas to outbound freeway links and traffic management are essential to effective evacuation exercises.

Network analysis for Wikipedia, Bellomi, F., & Bonato, R. (2005, August). In proceedings of Wikimania. This article looks at the macro-structure of the Wikipedia network using HITS and PageRank as benchmarks. The research also examined cultural biases on specific Wikipedia topics.

Bringing PageRank to the citation analysis, Ma, N., Guan, J., & Zhao, Y. (2008). Information Processing & Management, 44(2), 800-810. This study aims to create a Google PageRank-based method of ranking scientific publications. The paper attempts to determine the influence of individual papers in a specific field using citation analysis.

A combined facility location and network design problem with multi-type of capacitated links, Rahmaniani, R., & Ghaderi, A. (2013). Applied Mathematical Modelling, 37(9), 6400-6414. This paper aims to improve transportation by reducing cost and increasing efficiency through optimized facility locations. The model used aims to solve problems in regional planning, emergency, telecommunications, energy management, and logistics, among others. The researchers also suggest a fix-and-optimize heuristic on the fire-fly algorithm model.

Quantifying information leaks in outbound web traffic, Borders, K., & Prakash, A. (2009, May). In 2009 30th IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy (pp. 129-140). IEEE. This paper proposes a framework to measure the capacity of network traffics to leak information. The research offers a measurement algorithm for the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) which could discount 98.5 percent of measured bytes and identify information leaks.

Page ranking based on number of visits of links of Web page, Kumar, G., Duhan, N., & Sharma, A. K. (2011, September). In Computer and Communication Technology (ICCCT), 2011 2nd International Conference on (pp. 11-14). IEEE. This paper looks at a proposed page ranking system called Page Ranking based on Visits of Links. The aim of the new ranking method is to provide users the most valuable pages based on their browsing behavior. The researchers also compared the VOL and PageRank algorithm and provided a system for calculating the link-visits of webpages.

Removing web spam links from search engine results, Egele, M., Kolbitsch, C., & Platzer, C. (2011). Journal in Computer Virology, 7(1), 51-62. In this paper, researchers propose a new method to detect web spam pages in the search engine results. Using multiple page ranking features, the study created a technique that differentiates spam sites from legitimate resources. The paper concludes that removing spam sites will provide more slots for relevant content and reduce the risk of malicious attacks on unsuspecting web users.

Self-organization and identification of web communities, Flake, G. W., Lawrence, S., Giles, C. L., & Coetzee, F. M. (2002). Computer, 35(3), 66-70. The authors of this paper created a new method of identifying related webpages. Their approach has elements of co-citation and bibliographic coupling. However, it can also identify web communities without a defined structure. The method can help developers create better search engines, content filtering and a balanced web content analysis among others.

Optimizing IP networks for uncertain demands using outbound traffic constraints, Mulyana, E., & Killat, U. (2005, March). In Proceedings of INOC (Vol. 2005). In this paper, the authors examine an offline metric-based traffic engineering problem common to IP networks for uncertain demands based on simple outbound traffic challenges. The framework uses heuristics and compared the impact of uncertainty models on link usage among other performance metrics.

Inbound and outbound open innovation: organization and performances, Michelino, F., Caputo, M., Cammarano, A., & Lamberti, E. (2014). Journal of technology management & innovation, 9(3), 65-82. This paper aims to analyze openness of companies regarding their R&D, financial performance and context features. The research concludes small and young companies are more innovative and also looked at the inbound and outbound practices of companies vies-a-vies their performance.


Was this article helpful?