We recently covered internal linking strategies on the blog and this week we're diving into a few ways to optimize your external links. With your internal and external links optimized, you're giving your blog a leg up in the game. ?

In this post, we'll cover the following:

There are two kinds of external links: inbound links and outbound links. Inbound links are external links from other sites to your site. An important topic for sure, but in this post, we're focusing on outbound links. Outbound links, are links from your site to another site.

An external link is any link that takes visitors away from your site. Sometimes this is a link to related content to help your audience understand the topic, but it can also be affiliate or sponsored links to products.

Is there a right way to setup an external link?

There are two types of external links: follow and nofollow. You'll want to make sure you're using the right one.

Here's a rule of thumb:

  • Anything that is a link out to a reputable resource (a supplemental blog post, for example), where readers can go to learn more about the topic, should be a follow link.
  • Anything that is a sponsored or affiliate link should be a nofollow and include the rel=nofollow attribute.

Regardless of the type of link, follow or nofollow, be sure to use descriptive text in your link.

There are several reasons to provide your readers with external links. You may want to provide a resource where readers can go to learn more about a topic or do a recipe roundup featuring fellow bloggers in your community. 

And there are also affiliate links, which are a great way to share the products you love and earn a little extra money for your site. The important thing here is to make sure those links are playing by the rules and properly attributed with affiliate disclosures and no follow links. 

For example, if you're showcasing your favorite green curry recipe and you're just dying to tell the world about the green curry paste that makes the magic happen, you may want to provide a link to the paste in your post. Curry for the win! ⭐

You can learn more about outbound link best practices and how to add them to your WordPress site in this article from the WP Tasty Blog:

Here's an example of how to use affiliate links. This is the equipment section from a recipe on Pinch of Yum. This section uses a combination of Tasty Recipes and Tasty Links features to include these affiliate products in the recipe card. For each product, you can easily add rel=”nofollow sponsored” and an affiliate disclosure for each link.

Affiliate products in recipe card

And these are the easy-to-setup Tasty links affiliate product link options.

Affiliate link plugin settings

With a spreadsheet

The Pinch of Yum team uses a handy spreadsheet, similar to this one here:

It's great for tracking content and making sure that each new post you publish is optimizing those internal links! Sign up below to get the spreadsheet, straight to your inbox:

ActiveCampaign Content Spreadsheet

Using Tasty Links

You can also use Tasty Links to optimize external links. Just set up a new Tasty Link for the product you want to feature. Now, anywhere you use that product keyword on your site, it will automagically add an affiliate link to your post. Too easy!

Screenshot of adding a new internal link with the Tasty Links plugin.

A combination of both

For most of us, the best strategy for optimizing our external links is a combination of both a spreadsheet and Tasty Links. With the addition of the content optimization spreadsheet you can also track image optimization, Pinterest optimization, keywords and more!

And that's a wrap on optimizing and tracking your external links. Hope you learned a few ways to best use and track all of your external links. To get your site in tip-top shape, make sure your internal and external links are optimized!