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Advanced Tips for Successful External Link Building in Marketing

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When you are creating content for a website or a blog site, you need to refer to a variety of sources to gain a comprehensive understanding of the subject.  There are occasions when you necessarily need to cite information from research studies and other resources. This is where external links play a significant part in your SEO strategy. In the given article, we will discuss about what are external links, what role they play in SEO and what are the best practices to use external links in your search engine strategy to gain the most out of it.

What is an external link?

An external link is any link that is present on your website and takes you to another website. These links can be typically placed in the following ways:

  • External links can be placed in the images, texts, or CTA buttons.
  • External links can be attributed as either do-follow or no-follow, with the latter indicating search engines not to vouch for the link.
  • External links can be visible or hidden from website visitors.
  • It is common practice to underline or highlight external links with another color, as shown in the screenshot given below.

Highlighted are the external links

The benefits of external links

The benefits of using external links in your SEO strategy are as follows:

Better user experience

Better user experience

When you include relevant links in your content, you make it convenient for readers to explore some more information related to the topic they might be interested in and learn in detail about the facts you mentioned in it.

Better credibility

Better credibility

If you provide a statement in your content supported by statistics and the sources from which it has been taken, website visitors are more likely to believe in it and consider your site a valuable and credible source of information.

Better connections

Better connections

Other websites can find out when you are linking to them, and they might also return the favour by linking back to your website if the opportunity arises. This is great for your SEO strategy; the more quality backlinks you get, the better it will be. It is an easy and effective way to make connections in the industry and bring your content in front of the right audience.

Better SEO

better seo

The external links you add to your site can assist search engines in determining the quality and usefulness of your pages. If you have managed to get quality backlinks, search engines will look at your content favorably. Thus, when you use external links in your SEO strategy, it helps.

  • Indicating to Google and search engines how your content is related to the other pages
  • Deliver value to your readers by offering more information and resources.
  • Building relationships with other sites helps get more exposure and traffic.

The risks and disadvantages of external links

It is possible to reap many benefits from external linking if you do it properly. It means you must carefully evaluate your content as well as the site you are linking to. However external linking is not a risk-free phenomenon and you need to careful when linking your content to the external sites.

Link spam is one of the risks involved in acquiring external links. It involves manipulating search engines using artificial links. Link spam can take many forms, such as excessive link exchanges, automated link generation systems, or buying and selling links for ranking purposes. This method is considered a black-hat SEO technique that can put your site in trouble. Such links can damage not just the linking website but also the linked one.

What makes external links useful for website in SEO?

There are two factors that make external link useful and effective for your websites and its SEO strategy. First, the source to which you are linking should be credible and secondly, the link should be relevant to the content you are putting in it.

Evaluating the credibility of external links using ESL Ranks Pro

Evaluating the credibility of external links using ESL Ranks Pro

As we mentioned above, credibility is an important determinant of the usefulness of the external link to your site. ESL Pro Backlink checker tool can help you to evaluate how credible are the links by providing following metrics

  • Domain rank – A metric that denotes the domain rank referring to target page or domain calculated by adding each page’s rank value narrowed down to a range on scale. 0 means new domain with limited backlinks, 5-50 range means older domains with high quality backlinks, 50+ scale means huge domains with significant authority links
  • Referring domain – The tool helps you to know how many unique domains (referring domains) are linking back to your site.
  • Website security –This make sure the sources you’re going to quote in your content use a safe protocol and have no security-related issues.
  • Anchor texts – Check the anchor texts used by sources linking to your site. If you discover any spammy anchor texts or ones that are stuffed with commercial keywords or brand names, it is better to avoid them. You can use the ESL Pro Backlink Checker to analyses the anchor text.
  • Keywords a website ranks for – If the website ranks well for relevant keywords, it indicates that it has authority and expertise in that area. It is recommended to review the search queries for which the analyzed website has appeared. ESL Rank Pro’s Site Overview provides you with a list of keywords for which a particular website ranks and analyses them for quality and relevance to the industry.
  • Balance between linked domains and referring domains – In the backlink checker tool, you will see the number of referring domains. It is recommended to check the number of linked domains and if there is significance imbalance between linked domains and referring domains, it indicates a low-quality link building source.
  • Quality of backlink – Check the backlinks of top websites you are considering for link building and make sure there are no links from low quality sources or spam sites.’’

The relevance of the external links

Search engines have evolved to help searchers in the best possible way. They have become adept at recognizing any irrelevant content that it is linked to. When you suggest a statement with an outside link, make sure it is from a source that is relevant to what your content is about. Anchor texts also have to be relevant and show readers what they will get if they follow the guide. You should also consider referring to updated information as Google’s algorithm consistently evaluate how fresh is the content of the page.

Rel attributes of external links

It is of utmost importance to use the proper rel attribute to provide the clear information about the purpose of the external link to the search engines. It will help search engines to figure out if the link is paid, user generated content or not endorsed by site. This will help search engines to better understand the context of the link and improve your rankings on SERPs.

1. rel=” ugc”

This attribute is used for user generated content. In other words, it indicates all the links naturally generated by the users such as forum posts, blog comment etc.

2. rel= “nofollow”

This attribute is used to indicate that the website owner has asked to ignore the link as he/she does not endorse the link. In other words, such link should not affect the website’s search rankings.

3. Multiple values

It is a common practice to encourage website owners to include a multiple rel attribute value for a single link to indicate the intent tothe search engines. For example, if a link that has both sponsored and user-generated links can include the following rel attribute: sponsored ugc.” Such links can be mentioned both in a space- or comma-separated list (e.g., rel=” sponsored, ugc”). 

How to find external links to your website?

To find external links to your website, you need to use an SEO tool such as Google Search Console or ESL Ranks Pro’s Backlink Checker. These tools show you known backlinks to your site, along with other information such as the anchor text used in it.

Alternatively, you can conduct a technical SEO audit using ESL Rank Pro’s site overview tool to find and examine external links that may be impacting the performance of your site.

ESL Ranks Pro provides several ways to track external links to your website, offering valuable insights into how other websites and platforms are connecting to your content.

Here’s how you can find them:

1. Backlink Checker:

esl ranks pro backlink checker tool

This is the primary tool within ESL Ranks Pro for analyzing backlinks. Enter your website URL in the search bar, and you’ll get a detailed report including:

  • Total Backlinks: The total number of websites linking to your domain.
  • Referring Domains: A list of all websites linking to your site, with details like domain authority, traffic estimates, and anchor text used.
  • Top Pages: Your pages with the most backlinks, showcasing your most popular content.
  • Follow/No Follow Links: The breakdown of “follow” links that pass SEO value and “no follow” links that don’t.

2. Link Alerts:

Set up custom alerts to be notified whenever your website receives a new backlink. This allows you to stay on top of new connections and potentially reach out to the linking sites for further collaboration.

3. Competitor Analysis:

esl ranks pro competitive research

Compare your backlink profile with those of your competitors. See which websites link to your competitors but not you, identifying potential outreach opportunities.

4. Advanced Filters:

ESL Ranks Pro allows you to filter backlinks by various criteria, like domain authority, country, link type (text, image, etc.), and anchor text. This helps you focus on the most relevant and valuable links.

5. Combine ESL Ranks Pro with other tools:

Use Google Search Console and ESL Ranks Pro to cross-check backlink data and gain a more comprehensive picture of your website’s external links.

How to Use External Links in your SEO strategy?

Let’s find out about important aspect of leveraging external links to improve your SEO strategy

1. Choose the right anchor text:

Choosing the right anchor text is essential to get optimal impact on your SEO. When incorporating external links, make sure that the anchor text is directly related to the destination page. Avoid using generic phrases like “click here” or “learn more” and use descriptive words that describe the content of the page. It will help search engines to understand the context of your page and improve your SEO.

2. Strategically place the external links:

Apart from using contextually relevant anchor text, it is essential to fit anchor text where they fit seamlessly. Keep in mind that search engine bots not just consider anchor text but also the text surrounding it while crawling the website.

3. Conduct Regular External Link Audits:

As google algorithms and trends in SEO industry change constantly, it is essential to perform regular external link SEO audits. Such audits helps to identify and deal with any issues impacting your website’s ranking. One should evaluate both internal and external links, scrutinizing anchor text and destination pages.

What are the External Linking Best Practices?

According to Google, linking is one of the most crucial factors for attaining higher rankings. It is important to understand how to use external links to your advantage. Here are the best practices for your external linking strategy to reap maximum benefits out of it.

1. Make sure to add external links relevant to your site:

When you incorporate external links on your site that complement and comprehend the content (articles, blogs, or website content), it enables Google to better grasp the purpose and intent of your page. It also significantly increases your chances of ranking for relevant queries and providing the best solution to users’ requests.

  • When adding external links, don’t add them just for the sake of SEO. Instead, add links that direct readers to the relevant content. For instance, you might link your content to include statistics, infographics, videos, etc.
  • When considering the relevance of YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) topics, such as health, safety, finances, law, etc., Google gives much more importance to all content backed by reliable sources.
  • Google and other search engines want to show the most relevant results to the searcher’s query. Thus, when external links come from websites in the same niche, Google is able to understand them better, leading to a higher SERP ranking.

2. Link your site to reputable sources:

When it comes to external link building, quality is more important than quantity. If you provide useful and relevant external links to your content, search engines will recognize your site as a valuable resource engaged in directing visitors to credible sources. It will help to improve your website’s authority and increase your chances of being ranked in the top positions in the SERPs.

Thus, when linking externally, it is important to link only to authoritative and trustworthy sites. If you link your site to the site that promotes clickbait content, it will have a bad impact upon your reputation and credibility and it could also negatively affect how search engines rank your content.

3. Make sure to avoid spam sites at all costs:

If you are getting external links from spam sites, it can put your website in trouble. Such sites are usually those supporting false information, violence, and other spammy practices. If your website supports any sort of spam activity, it may get penalized. Thus, try to avoid backlinks from spam sites that will only hurt your rankings. You need to keep monitoring your site for spammy links, and if someone has linked your site to a spam site, turn those links into no follow. It is a way to indicate to Google that you don’t support such websites. It is recommended to include only those links that are from relevant sites and have a decent domain authority. You can use ESL Ranks Pro to check the domain authority of the site as well as other SEO insights related to the domain

4. Create and share valuable content:

Content creation is one of the most effective ways to initiate link-building relationships. For instance, if you are writing blog posts on top SEO tools and include links to each of them, you can contact the owners or representatives of their site and encourage them to include your article in their newsletters and social media. Or, if your site represents one of these apps, you can reach out to a media source that you found useful and provide references, and they might promote your product in response.

5. Guest blogging:

Guest blogging is the standard link practice that helps you get links from the relevant sites. To get links in this way, you need to write content relevant to your business blog in exchange for a backlinks to your site. It’s one of the fastest ways to gain proper backlinks and build your authority and network. Just make sure to provide valuable resources packed with information and actionable tips. Only then will you be considered an authority too.

6. Look for natural links:

There is nothing better than getting a link to your site organically from relevant sites. Natural link building refers to establishing a balance between getting links to your site and not forcing links into your text.

7. Make sure links open in new tabs:

When establishing an external linking strategy, make sure that your links open in new tabs so that users can quickly return to your website without hitting the back button countless times.

8. Don’t stuff your text with outbound SEO links:

Make sure to use external links in your site in a moderate manner. Using too many external links can do more harm than good as you might risk confusing users and distracting them. It will have a bad impact on your ranking as well.

9. Identify broken link:

Broken links can have damaging impact on both user’s experience as well as your search engine rankings. When search engine crawlers stumble on too many 404 errors, it leads to diminish your website’s authority. To avoid it, use tool like ESL Ranks Pro to identify broken externals links. Once you have discovered all the broken external links, the next step is to reach out the sources you referenced and replace links with updated links or simply remove them. Another way to improve your site ranking is to identify broken or dead links on other people’s websites and ask the page owners to replace them with one of your links. I

10. Promote the content:

Promoting your content is an effective way to get natural link is to your site. For this, it is recommended to share your content to your email list, social media channels, and through PR pieces. The more people see your post, the more they are likely to link back to it. You can also sue social media to build relationships with other bloggers and site owners that leads to links and referral traffic.Make sure to include social media in your external linking strategy. Although social media links are no follow, they are a great way to drive traffic to your site. In

11. Always test external links:

Before publishing your page. You want to make sure you’re not adding a bunch of broken links to your site, or worse, links to spammy content.

12. Make sure to include external links in the first few paragraphs:

Make sure to include external links in the first few paragraphs of your post to make them more visible and clickable by the readers. It is more important if you are using a YMYL site–your money, your life–because information on these sites can impact individuals’ financial standing or health.

13. Use tools to monitor your backlinks:

If you’re struggling to stay on track with your backlinking efforts, you should be using external linking monitoring tools such as Ahrefs, Semrush, Moz and ESL Ranks Pro. These tools make it easy to keep eye on links, keywords, audit info, positions, and more for your own company as well as your competitors.

Every successful SEO strategy use quality backlinks to boost its domain authority, reputation and ranking. Apart from using the right tools and techniques, it is also important to stay patient to get the results as SEO takes time to bring the desired results. Keep in mind that backlinks are important but they are just one of the factors used by search engines to evaluate your website and it works in conjunction with quality content, the way the page renders, and site structure.


Backlinks are like votes for your website, influencing how high you rank in search results. The more trusted sites that link to you, the higher you climb in search results. To build them ethically, create awesome content others want to link to, guest blog on relevant sites, and avoid spammy tactics and focus on quality over quantity. It is prudent to use backlink tools to track, monitor and refine your backlink strategy. They track new & lost links, expose spammy ones, and alert you to competitor attacks. ESL Ranks Pro’s backlink Checker is one such reliable and valuable tool that helps you in maintaining a clean & powerful backlink profile, giving your SEO the boost, it deserves.

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