Outbound links are links from pages on your website to web pages on other websites.

A study of the effect of outbound links was conducted and demonstrates the positive impact of outbound links.

All things being equal (which of course they never really are) pages with an outbound link or two rank higher than pages without outbound links.

Other studies have shown outbound links provide people a greater sense of credibility when the other sites are being referenced are topically relevant.

This post is part of a series and here is the link to the main glossary page.

Best practices: Discovery links

A discovery link is a link in a webpage that provides the reader with either a citation to support a claim or statement being made, or that provides further information on the topic.

What is an outbound link?
I’m not sure what you’ll discover here. This is just a picture of a few links.

Discovery links are quite literally THE Google origin story.

Please note that in this post I do not tell the Google origin story, but in the sentence above I link to a post that does.

That is a discovery link, although in this instance it’s an internal link as it links to another webpage on this website.

SEO Impact

As stated above, a study of the effect of outbound links demonstrated that posts with outbound links tended to rank higher than posts without.


Since discovery links are deemed “good” by Google, go with it.

We all perform various levels of research when we write content. We all search for webpages that support what we’re saying, provide further clarification, or more information.

The strategy for this is simple.

Link to those sources as part of “showing your work”.

Won’t you lose visitors?

What if your visitors follow the outbound links and never come back?

Since this COULD happen, configure your outbound links so that when someone clicks on one it opens the new page in a new browser tab.

You can do this either link by link, or through the use of the WordPress plugin External Links in New Window / New Tab.


Be sure you follow the goldarn rule of discovery links: link to relevant sites.

If your site links to webpages of unrelated content topics or low quality content, people will think YOUR website is low quality.

Take the perspective that content curation is part of every post you publish, and that content curation shows up in your posts as outbound links.

The key is to link to things that genuinely help your visitors. By linking to topically relevant and quality pages you improve your reputation with search engines first, and readers second.

In Closing

If outbound links can spoil your reputation, is there any need to add outbound links? Yes.

Recall the “studies show” from above.

Links are a form of content and provide value to your website visitors.

Use them, but use them effectively.

Need to boost your topical authority?

Kevin Carney
Kevin Carney

Kevin "fell into" SEO by accident, like many others. The SaaS platform to help writers boost their topical authority came years later after various SEOs said it was something they would like to see.

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