If you never link to any other sites from your own site, could it be considered a penalty? While most know that linking out to high authority sites doesn’t make a site seem higher quality, recent outbound manual actions have definitely made it so that some site owners are a little bit leery of linking out to any outside site.
The question was asked in today’s Google Webmaster Office Hours with John Mueller today.
I heard that there is a penalty if I don’t link out from my domain to different domain from any of my pages. Is that truth? Is not linking out from any of my page harmful?
I suspect this question came from the mass manual actions earlier this year that saw many site owners receiving unnatural outbound link manual actions, most of which were connected to bloggers who were linking to sites in exchange for payment or other compensation. Many site owners decided to simply nofollow every single link on the site – including internal links – as a solution, something Google said was not a great solution.
While Mueller said this is not correct, he did talk a bit about the power of outgoing links, but from a visitor perspective.
No, that is not correct. So no, there’s no penalty for not linking out, that’s definitely not the case. Obviously for users, it sometimes make sense to provide references on other websites that they can visit to get more information on certain topics. So I think from a user experience point of view, it’s probably a good idea to have links on your pages, but purely from a web spam point of view, from a Google indexing point of view, you don’t need to put links on your pages.
I guess from a personal point of view, I really like to see links to other pages because it really kind of helps keep the web vibrant and that people go of to visit other things from time to time and they want to see different viewpoints for the same type of information, so that’s something I wouldn’t suppress.
John Mueller also recently talked about how links to other sites influences quality of a page in Google’s eyes. But it is one of those things where the site owner needs to think about it from the user perspective – if a visitor would find the links useful or helpful, include them. But don’t link to Wikipedia simply because you think there is a perceived ranking boost.
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