I was not planning on posting much this week but this subject is something I had to address as it is something that I preach quite regularly. Google seo advice with regards to outbound links on a page has been to keep them below 100, however this theory has now been dumped, kind of.
Matt Cutts has just issued a post which seems to put an end to the above theory however there still are 1 or two warnings. Matt says that the reason Google gave this advice was that at one time in history Google would only index 100KB of data, therefore it seemed only natural to give the “100 links advice”.
Google never officially came out with it but there also seemed to be a common consensus in the SEO world that hundreds of outbound links on a page could be interpreted as a link farm by the search engines. (It was for this reason I advise to keep site maps down to 30 links per page)
With regards to the spammy looking outbound links Matt states that a webpage is not automatically classed as spam if it has over 100 links however if the links are hidden or stuffed with optimised keywords this could be flagged as spam.
This got me thinking…
A) most links we send out are optimised somehow
B) outbound optimised links must have some SEO benefits
When we link out we usually link through relevant text or use the name of the site, this surely is optimised linking as it passes on relevance. In this case having a lot of these links on one page, even if innocent could be classed as spam. Matt explains that “Google may choose not to index all the links” and that a page with that amount of links passes very little in terms of PageRank.
Most spammy techniques manipulate search rankings and help “black hat” sites reach top positions. Google penalises spam sites (rightly) because they do not occur naturally, however these techniques still work for short periods.
If Google considers optimised outbound link text as “spammy” thats maybe because it carry’s weight in terms of SEO. I would say this is pretty good evidence that optimised outbound linking (done proportionately) can increase your sites rankings.
So the bones of this post are;
- Google crawls more than 100KB
- More than 100 outbound links on a page are not automatically spam
- Excessive optimised links and hidden links will be classed as spam
I guess like anything with SEO it’s all about striking the right balance, keeping everything as natural and original as possible. My advice would still be to keep outbound links on a page to around 30, just to be safe of any possible penalties.
Author: Tim (294 Articles)
Tim Grice is the owner and editor of SEO wizz and has been involved in the search engine marketing industry for over 7 years. He has worked with multiple businesses across many verticals, creating and implementing search marketing strategies for companies in the UK, US and across Europe. Tim is also the Head of Search at Branded3, an SEO agency in Leeds.