Link building basics: What’s the difference between inbound, outbound and reciprocal links?

Featured Articles, Search Engine Optimizationon July 15th, 2011Comments Off on Link building basics: What’s the difference between inbound, outbound and reciprocal links?

A link is a link, right? Well, not exactly. As SEOs we use a lot of jargon that, if you’re not “in the business,” might seem a little confusing. If you’ve heard of search engine optimization at all you’ve probably heard the term “link building,” but there are a few kinds of links that one needs to know about for SEO purposes. You’ve probably heard of inbound links, outbound links and reciprocal links, but what’s the difference between the three? Read on for the answer!

What are inbound links?

An inbound link is a link from another website pointing to your website. Inbound links are an important part of search engine optimization because Google and other search engines use inbound links as a criteria in their algorithms for determining a site’s relevance and authority. Inbound links should be topical and related to your site’s content, and the anchor text (the actual text that you click on in a link) should be keyword inclusive. Example: If you have a site about search engine optimization, you’d want a link to say something like “SEO services” and not “click here.”

What are outbound links?

An outbound link is a link from your website to another website. While outbound links are not as important as inbound links, linking to high authority sites relevant to your topic can also help your site rank well. This reinforces to the search engines that your site aims to serve up quality content. On the flip side, avoid linking to low quality or unrelated sites, as the opposite is also true.

What are reciprocal links?

A reciprocal link is a two-way exchange of inbound/outbound links between two webmasters, usually for SEO purposes. Generally speaking, reciprocal links are less valuable than standalone inbound links, but they’re still better than nothing provided they link to high quality, relevant content.

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