Should You Link Out to Other Sites?
A controversial topic
Links are one of the most cutthroat aspects of the competitive SEO game.
Whenever you get a link you feel like you’ve “won” some type of battle. Is the opposite the case? Do you “lose” when you link out to someone else? It might feel that way, but feelings can be deceptive.
Is linking out to other sites bad?
The real answer is - like everything else in SEO - “it depends.”
You first have to realize what exactly a link is and what signals it sends to Google.
At its most basic level, when you link to another page you can view it as “casting a vote.” Your vote shows two things:
That you think the other page is trustworthy.
That you think the other page is topically relevant.
Point #1 is the reason why links spread link juice - aka page authority - between different pages. This is what Ahrefs is measuring with their Domain Rating (DR) and Page Rating (PR) score.
If a site has a lot of highly authoritative links pointing to its domain, then its DR score will rise (Moz’s Domain Authority (DA) and score measures the same thing using a slightly different algorithm).
Google also uses links as a way to establish Topical Authority. If a particular page has a lot of links from pages that are about a similar topic, then Google assumes that it’s a good resource and ranks it higher.
Both points apply to both internal links (links from one page on your site to another page on your site) and external links (links from other sites).
Obviously, linking out to other sites has a HUGE benefit for the site that’s receiving the link.
This is why most SEOs are so stingy with links: they want to hoard all of the link juice and relevancy signals to themselves.
According to this thought process, linking out is only beneficial to other people, so why bother doing it?