Ever since Google sent out the manual actions for outbound links, mostly targeting bloggers linking without disclosing compensation, there has been new focus on outbound links and the possibility of it hurting the site doing the linking. Google has already said webmasters shouldn’t nofollow all their outbound links and there is no outbound link penalty unrelated to the manual action. But webmasters continue to be concerned about their outbound links.
Another question came up related to outbound linking in the last English/Hindi webmaster hangouts if sending visitors off their site via outbound links would hurt their rankings.
Here is what Aaseesh Marina from Google said:
No. I mean, on your own if you provide links to some website that you think is relevant, it doesn’t really hurt your rankings but if we detect that on the other hand that if you are selling links for other websites, then it violates our policies.
But there’s a pretty huge difference between both types, so obviously it is totally fine if your friend wants you to review one of his products and you do it and link back to his site and it’s relevant, there’s nothing wrong with that. On the other hand, if you’re doing this in multiple instances and we notice that you are trying to manipulate the search rankings, then it could affect your site.
So conclusion, what you plan to do, it won’t hurt your rankings, but on the other hand if you are planning to do this with the aim of manipulating search results and selling links and stuff, then Google can take some manual actions on it.
If you go through the webmaster guidelines on links, that should explain most of this.
So again, most webmasters don’t need to be concerned that outbound links will hurt their own site, provided they are not selling links or placing them in exchange for compensation. But it is clear that webmasters are still concerned about the negative impact of outbound links on their own sites.
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