Jeff Pickle

Linking out for Quality, Credibility, and Salience

Est. Reading Time: 2 minutes

Linking out sometimes gets the short shrift to conserve PageRank to internal links. But linking out can give your web page something that is important to the search engines. The appearance of a page’s quality, credibility and salience.

Two quotes that back up this claim:

In the same way that Google trusts sites less when they link to spammy sites or bad neighborhoods, parts of our system encourage links to good sites.”  – Matt Cutts

Writing descriptive anchor text, the clickable words in a link, is a useful signal to help search engines and users alike to better understand your content.” – Maile Ohye

So, in much the same way that the PageRank algorithm found it useful to score target pages from anchor text, the text in the  anchor text quite frequently relates to the description of the page content and is used to gather information about that page. More specifically, the anchor text is used in improving page categorization or classification of a page.

Is linking out a ranking factor? Some seo’s suggest it does not influence rankings. Others say yes.

But it appears that Google is giving the anchor text more credence than just the regular text in the content and not just for the pages that they link to.

In my opinion, web-page classification has become more sophisticated and faster since Panda.  Panda has improved the accuracy of  classifiers that use both anchor text and content on the page.

This applies to both internal and external links and influences the  co-training algorithm.

As a result, you may want to follow a few do’s and dont’s:


  • Do create descriptive text links that are related to the page category
  • Do link to pages of high authority on related topics with your keyphrases in the anchor text
  • Do surround the text link with normal language


  • Don’t link out using a large number of unrelated links
  • Don’t repeat the exact same keywords in the text links (use Google Sets instead)
  • Don’t link out to a page that looks spammy








One Trackback

  • By » Google’s Panda Document Classifier on May 1, 2013 at 7:15 am

    [...] a classifier to anchor text, you may indeed have a ravenous panda pulling down link branches and swaths of pages across the web [...]