What is the OutBound Link Used To? (OBL)



Anjana
Hi everyone, outbound links are usually an indication that the content is high quality and trustworthy as it links out to other high quality and relevant content on third-party websites. Is it ok to use outbound links in service pages as well? or will it affect the search intent?
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Truslow
I tend to have somewhat different opinions on this than just about everyone else in the industry – so take that into consideration as you look at what I'm going to say.
I agree 100% on your assessment of the value of outbound links. (You'll likely see people in here suggesting that your entire premise is off – but IMO, it's not). And as far as where you're linking from… I always look at it like this…
So long as it's information that helps the user get what they want without detracting from your ability to make them want to get the end result from you – frellz yeah… link to it. If that link will provide a distraction from goal or is JUST there to get credibility from Google – probably not.
Keep in mind, we have new ways to help Google "understand" what we're talking about and sourcing information without it appearing on the page. It won't work exactly the same as an outbound link, but it does help a lot with disambiguation (i.e. does the word "bark" mean something a dog says or the skin of a tree?) and generally helping Google see what's what. This is the "About" and "Mention" attributes that you can attach to your WebPage schema.
Here's a post (basically this is a post to promote the InLinks tool – but it's also the best, easy to understand example I've found to give an overview so… here it is.) https://inlinks.net/p/case-studies/case-study-does-webpage-schema-about-mentions-improve-rankings/
Case Study: Does Webpage Schema (About & Mentions) Improve Rankings?
INLINKS.NET
Case Study: Does Webpage Schema (About & Mentions) Improve Rankings?
Case Study: Does Webpage Schema (About & Mentions) Improve Rankings?
Nallawalla
In a word, no. Why would a crappy page linking to third-party sites make it high-quality and trustworthy? Say, a page justifying avoiding the vaccine linking to the CDC does not suddenly become high quality.
You can link out from any page, but how will the page know the search intent of the searcher?
Tim Capper πŸ‘‘
I have no idea how you linking to another site would make you more "trustworthy" or better quality.

Truslow
I have gone against the mainstream train of thought on this topic for a decade or so now. I do that a lot. lol
The biggest thing is that it helps with disambiguation. It's also very useful in giving context and clout to something you're saying so that you can more easily connect to or actually take some control in building out the knowledge graph.
Here's an example.
Let's say I'm writing an article about using links to establish or influence an entity or attribute connection in Google's knowledge graph. As far as Google knows now, I know nothing about the subject and I could be making this up. It might have a bunch of words its expecting me to use if I DID know what I was talking about, but it can't be certain if I hit on those by accident or by design.
Now… let's say that I'm backing up my hypothesis based upon some things I learned from a Google Patent – and then a https://patents.google.com/patent/US20180046717A1/en to said patent.
This – and many other trusted sources and doctypes – are things that Google already understands pretty well. So when I talk about something mentioned in there and I'm connecting it to some other entity or subject in the knowledge graph it knows EXACTLY what I'm trying to connect it to. It also knows that the words I'm using are connected to this – probably in the same or similar way those words are connected in the document it already understands. This gives Google some confidence that – at least in this case and on this particular subject – there's some credibility here. And that can drive Google to spend extra time and energy on trying to figure it all out.
Over the past 8 years or so, I've basically dropped the whole "Let's match the keywords, get inbound links, and rank pages" game. That still works in many places, but not so much in others. And as the knowledge graph grows, if you aren't (or can't) get connected to it in a meaningful way, you're doomed. And I can say with certainty that outbound links are a key element (not the ONLY thing, of course) in getting connected quickly, accurately, and meaningfully.
PATENTS.GOOGLE.COM
US20180046717A1 – Related entities – Google Patents

Gossage
You're probably thinking about it the wrong way around. Simply adding external links for the sake of it doesn't improve your content.
However, if you make a claim or provide statistics then linking to the source to justify your claim adds trust and authoritiveness to your content.
As Truslow says, it doesn't matter what page it is, if your content helps the user and adds trust then its worth making it good.
Just don't link to a competitor.
Micha πŸ‘‘
I would not link out to other sites from any page that is selling a product or service.

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