There is a lot of debate in the SEO world about whether or not you should link to other websites. People are concerned for a number of reasons; they think linking out could:

-Damage their search engine rankings
-Cause users to drop off by directing them elsewhere
-Cause a decrease in page rank
-Harm their reputation

So far in my experience, these concerns are largely unfounded. Linking is common practice across the internet and it's very unlikely that it will harm your reputation. As long as you're not linking to malware pop-ups or 404 pages your searching engine ranking and reputation should be fine.

As for page ranking, there is some truth in this. The original formula for page ranking asserted that equity spent out linking to external pages would be a waste when you could be linking to internal pages however, there is strong evidence to suggest that linking to external sites does not harm a site's rankings, but in fact, seems to have a positive impact on trust, ranking, influence, etc at both a page and domain wide level.

The most discussed reason, that users will leave the site, ignores all the positive benefits from those links. A survey of major newspapers found that those that link to external sites tend to outperform those that do not. If you need an example closer to home just think of Facebook, Twitter, Google etc, their core business model is directing people away from the site, but the users still return.

Now that we've dispelled some of the rumours about linking out, let's look at some of the benefits. 

Linking Out Provides Trackable Traffic
Linking your page to relevant websites is a great way to build up your credibility. Say you have a blog posts that mentions, for example, Tabl. If it brings in views, Tabl is more likely to link to that blog post in the future. That's true for most sites. We all have the ability to attract relevant, important, and valuable visitors to our site.

Linking Out Makes Your Site a More Valuable Resource
No matter how great of a site you build, you can never be everything to everyone. If you're a vegan cheese maker, it will be very time consuming to educate your users on your product while also trying to educate them on the importance of a vegan lifestyle. By linking to relevant articles and sites elsewhere you can provide your users with the information and resources that they need. 

Search Engines Most Likely Reward the Behaviour Algorithmically
Quality vs Spam plays a large role in how search engines spit out results. Low quality sites tend to link to more low quality sites, while great sites link to other great sites. The more you build trust and value, the more you'll be rewarded by the search engine.

Linking to Others Encourages Them to Link to You
With a few exceptions, websites that get linked to tend to link out as well. When you link out it sends a message that you're a willing participant in the natural linking environment of the web and that you aren't shut off. It's a positive signal to send.

Linking to Others Encourage Participation, Contribution and Community
There are loads of people out there that can help your efforts or inhibit your growth. When you link out in a meaningful way you create incentives for bloggers, social media influencers, journalists, brands etc. to engage with your site. When you're small and just starting out, the incentive may seem small but don't underestimate the value it can bring. Rewarding your community is powerful and has helped several brands grow both online and offline.

Linking to other sites, including your Tabl page, will help build up your own site in the process. We have built some handy widgets that will link to your shop in a fun and creative way. The instructions on how to input a widget are in your dashboard settings but if you have any questions just message us at support@tabl.com

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