Do Outbound Links Still Work For SEO in 2020?

2020 has been a weird year. And people have been asking whether or not outbound links are as useful as they were before. And if they can just let go of outbound links, whether or not their websites will still rank highly on Google.

And for everything that’s related to SEO – it depends.

The main criteria for outbound links to work in your favor, is that they HAVE to be used in high quality content. 

But before we dive deeper into this, I gotta give a quick overview of what outbound links actually are for the newcomers of SEO.

What Is an Outbound Link?

Outbound links are external links that lead your visitors to other websites. Now whether that’s for verifying the facts, or for learning more information about what you were talking about on your website, it doesn’t matter.

A link that leads them away from your website is an outbound link.

For example, as many new SEOs ask me: if you could only use one tool to do SEO, which one would it be?

I’d say Ahrefs. 

And let’s say that I’m writing an article reviewing Ahrefs and what features this tool has, I can link out to their features page or even their blog page if you want to learn more about SEO and the right way to do it. 

And since all those links will be leading you away from this website, all of them will be considered outbound links.

So Are These Links Important From An SEO Perspective?

Short answer – yes, they are very important. Here are some of the reasons why:

  1. They improve the reputation of your website

    If you are linking out to relevant websites that will genuinely add value to what your visitor is looking for, then yes, the reputation of your website will improve. Your visitors will trust your website more and take your information seriously, which is what we are looking for.

    Not just that, Google will also notice that more and more people are spending more time on your blog and then going to the websites that you link out to and then spending more time on them as well. Which means those visitors found your links to be relevant.

    You see where I’m going with this?

  2. They improve the relevance of your website

    Relevance is the name of the game in 2020. And search engines like Google want to make sure that they are ranking the most relevant websites on the first page of their results.

    By adding outbound links to your website, you are providing these search engines with info on what your website is about. If you are linking out to high quality, reputable sources of information on the internet, then these search engines will see your website as a highly relevant, legitimate website in your niche.

  3. It builds relationships

    Once you start linking out to other websites, you start to establish a network. A network with other bloggers, companies, journalists and websites. These websites notice that you have linked out to them and since you took the first step and encouraged what they are doing on their website, they would be more willing to link out to your website in return.

    And the more backlinks your website receives, the higher your website will start to rank on Google.

    But here’s the catch – backlinks almost never generate more visitors to your website.

    If you were expecting that, then this is bad news for you.

    Think of backlinks as a vote from your peers about the legitimacy of your website. Once you start getting more and more backlinks, your website is seen as more trustworthy in the eyes of search engines.

    This helps your website rank on the first page of Google. That’s when you’ll start to see an increase in the traffic coming to your website.

Are There Any Best Practices You Should Follow?

Yes absolutely. Just like everything else in life, you should do this in moderation and also make sure that you are doing it right. That’s the only way to have the full benefit of it.

  1. Never do too many outbound links

    Outbound links are a good thing for your website, but if you overdo it, Google might start to see your website as an outbound link farm. That’s the last thing you want for your website.

    As I said above, you want to make sure that any outbound links that you include in your article are relevant and will add value to what your reader is looking for.

    And if that means you will be linking out to less websites, then so be it. When it comes to outbound links and backlinks in general, quality always trumps quantity.

  2. Keep it natural

    Whenever you are thinking about linking out to a website, you want to make sure that it comes naturally. If you’re talking about a subject in detail and think of a tangent, then sure, link out to a website that has already discussed that tangent in detail.

    Not only will that be super relevant for the reader if they are interested in that tangent, you won’t have to cover it on your website because it has already been covered by someone else. If you’re lazy like me, this is a great thing.

    And if you are talking about something technical, make sure you are linking out to the sources that you are citing in your article. That will show that you have done the work and are not pulling things out the wazoo.

    In either case, you want these things to come naturally to you. If it seems like you are forcing it, then don’t do it.


Outbound links in 2020 still work like they always used to. Some websites like might even say that it is working better than before. That’s because more and more people are confusing themselves with whether or not they should do it on their website.

And while they are debating with themselves, others are doing it successfully on their websites and have already started ranking on the first page.

So, now that you know that it really does work – are you still going to second guess yourself and just do it and see how well your website responds to it?


Yes, content is still the king. If you provide good content to your visitors, Google will rank you highly. And if, within that content, you can provide good outbound links that lead those visitors to good quality informational sources, then you are doing it right.