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What are External Links?

External links are simply links from your Web site to another Web site. These could be links that are embedded in your content, or they could be your half of a reciprocal link with another Web site.

Experienced webmaster Mike Herchel states that coding these links to include the rel="nofollow" attribute can reduce the amount of PageRank, or search engine ranking "juice" that essentially "leaks" from your site when you link to another Web site.

Using External Links effectively

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Using external links effectively can greatly improve the content of your site and encourage your visitors to return in the future, as they allow a webmaster to link to sources of authority or other references on the same topic. It is considered good practice to link to other Web sites, and frequently webmasters will return the favor and link back to your site. This can create a mutually beneficial relationship for all involved.

External links should use the special rel="nofollow" attribute. This prevents Google's PageRank formula from passing the search engine ranking juice from your Web site to another, and keeps all of it within your Web site. This alone can improve your search engine ranking, while also providing your users with good external content to draw on.