In the past, I've avoided placing outbound links from other sites or even hubs that are not my own. My reasons for doing so are both obvious and selfish in nature.
Since the recent algorithm change I've begun to provide my users with additional "sources". In doing so, I'm hoping to add some credibility to the data I'm providing. In turn, I'm hoping that Google adds credibility to my hubs as well.
Is this foolish thinking or wise?
If you anchor and bold the links with some nice keywords you should be able to offset the small amount of traffic loss which is generally associated with a page leak. Consider setting the links to "open in a new browser window"
I have heard conflicting advice on link settings. What is the best policy, or web etiquette?
Foolish or wise you certainly don't lose anything by linking to authority sites - so if you feel like doing it - just do it!
Wise, I think. If you look at the Flagship Hub criteria (set long before the algo change), they require 10 outgoing links to reference sites. And I noticed that in the contests, having outgoing links was also one of the criteria. So it's clear the HubPages team have always considered them important, apparently because Google likes to see them.
I don't see any reason why that would have changed. However I always put all the links in a links capsule right at the end of the Hub, headed either "Reference" or "Further Reading". That way Google can see them but the reader isn't going to until they've read all my Hub first.
I'm not making any changes or writing any hubs until May 1st, at least. That way I'll know what Google is up to with my hub traffic. If I make changes I won't know who to blame or praise.
Adding quality outward links, shouldn't hurt your rankings. I don't know if it will help. But I do think if you're going to do it, you should do it right. Put them in the body of the text, where the reader will see them. Don't try to be cute and add them at the end. I think Google will sniff that one out in a heartbeat.
I totally agree with putting them in the body of the text. But if someone was to put links at the bottom for reference, that should be perfectly fine. Just about every article coming out of Demand Media, including eHow, has links at the end of the article pointing the reader to other sites that add to or backup the information, and they certainly were spared a smackdown. Same goes for Brighthub.
I do it quite frequently and have been ever since I started here, and it hasn't hurt me at all. You just have to be careful who you link to.
I wouldn't link to another site -- no matter how authoritative -- that simply regurgitates pretty much what I'm talking about. I will link to niche pages/sites. So if I was writing about the poodles, I wouldn't link to the American Kennel Club's page on poodles, but when I mention grooming them, I might link to a site that talks about the various grooming tools.
I don't know if it helps with Google, but it certainly does round out an article for the readers.
Perhaps there will be another smackdown for them. It wouldn't surprise me.
That would suit me just fine, as an eHow and Suite101 smackdown will probably see me move up one place in the SERPS for dozens of search terms That is one of the possibilities that I have noted actually, in respect of a possible minor recovery. I can't see Hubpages being lifted back up in the short to medium term, but I can see others being bumped back down, which could effectively have the same result.
I wouldn't be so sure of that. They could just add ehow to the penalty box and let smaller niche sites in.
I always open a new page when it's an external link. Some consider that rude.
I too always add it to open link in a new page. I also think it's fine to list your links at the end of a page as wikipedia.com does that with everything they write.
Anyway, a few outbound links to authority sites is what I'm going to work on the next few days. The truth is it might hurt in the long-run, but I know when I'm reading a site that lists credible sources it adds credibility to that page in my mind.
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