Should you link to other websites from your page? What about including a resources page on your site? How does it impact your SEO?

I recently got a marvelous question from Kim, a doula in Portland, OR and a member of my SEO Action Heroes group:

“Would you suggest having a resource list on your website? What are the pros and cons of having one listed?”

I started to write a response in the comments, but had such a strong opinion that I wrote this post instead. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Because the answer to whether or not to share outbound links on your website (whether all on one page or throughout the site) is a resounding YES.

4 ways external links help your website’s SEO

It makes you look more credible & trustworthy to your audience

When you share connections to businesses who you’ve worked with or tools that you’ve used, it shows you have experience that your audience can benefit from.

For a local business, that could mean sharing businesses in your community with a similar audience. These local links will position you as a valuable member of your local community, and show that you’ve developed relationships with your peer network.

  • If you’re a realtor, share links to your favorite interior designers, staging consultants, plumbers, inspectors, housing attorneys, electricians, roofers — anybody your clients could need during the home buying process.
  • If you’re a doula, share links to the hospitals were you’ve attended deliveries, the midwives you’ve worked with, the lactation consultant you love, the chiropractor who specializes in spinning breech babies.
  • If you’re a copywriter, share links to courses you’ve taken and loved, tools you use to gather customer data, software you use for billing, books you’ve read that will help your customer understand your process.

The sites you recommend will appreciate the love

Is there any better feeling than getting an unsolicited compliment? (As long as it’s not creepy … I’m looking at you, cat-callers)

And that’s what you’re doing when you recommend another site: you’re building goodwill with that other business owner or company. It’s sort of like tweeting about a person — there’s an acknowledgement happening, an exchange of “I see what you’re doing and I dig it.”

Let’s say that realtor above recommended an electrician, and lots of homeowners start reaching out to him. While they’re scheduling a consultation or getting their lights installed, the electrician will hear that this realtor recommended him, and his website’s analytics will show the realtor’s site as a great source of referral traffic.

And when homeowners are fixing up their houses to sell and ask the electrician for a recommendation, guess who will be top of mind for him?

And that doesn’t just apply to resources pages, but to all outbound links from your site. Here’s an example I love from Moz:

So, if I write an article on, actual example, SEO copywriting, and I link out to Copy Blogger because they are a great resource, Copy Blogger saw that I linked to them. They not only tweeted about my article, but they linked back to me in their weekly roundup. So by linking out I actually got a link back. … Every link that you put out is actually an opportunity for outreach, and … adds value to your content.

Whether or not your link is reciprocated with a cross-link, it absolutely could result in warm leads in your inbox.

You align yourself with resources you love, and make yourself Google-able for those recommendations

Let’s say, using the same example, that I’m a homeowner looking to have new outlets installed and somebody on Facebook recommends this electrician. I google his name, and right below his website, I see the recommendation for him on the realtor’s website.

Well … I wasn’t even looking for a realtor, but now I’ve seen this one, and I know she has a relationship with my facebook friend recommended,  and maybe I should think about hiring that realtor too!

And if you’re recommending sites that are Google already thinks are credible & trustworthy (sites with high “domain authority”), Google recognizes that you have good taste, and is likely to reward you for that. There’s a slight bump in your SEO score when you rank to a high-authority website.

See what I did there? That link is to SEJ, which has a domain authority of 80/100, and my link above is to Moz, which has a DA of 90. By recommending supporting documentation that Google already trusts, I’m showing Google, “See? I read things that are credible. Please rewards me appropriately.”

Likewise, if you’re linking to spammy websites, you’ll see a drop in your SEO score because you’re aligning yourself with crappy websites. So choose your recommendations carefully.

Want to look up domain authority for yourself? Here’s a Domain Authority checker.

((Also, writing this today is lighting a fire under my butt to write a blog post about Domain & Page Authority, so I’ll link that back here when it’s ready.))

You can include affiliate links

If your resources page is full of software that you use, there’s a good chance those software companies have affiliate links to encourage you to promote them. (For example, I don’t do a ton of affiliate promotions, but I make enough being a ConvertKit affiliate to pay for my account fees!)

If the resources you’re recommending are products, you can sign up for an Amazon affiliate account and make back 2-4% of the sale price … which might not be a lot, but it can add up over time!

In other words: You can provide value to your readers AND get paid for it. What’s wrong with that?

Pro tip: Make sure to include an affiliate disclaimer so people know that you’ll get paid. Wherever I talk about my love of ConvertKit, I include a little statement that says something like, “Heads up:  if you click on that link and sign up for ConvertKit, I get paid. But I’m a ConvertKit user & raving fan, so even if I didn’t get any commission, I would still highly recommend CK as my favorite email marketing tool.”

But Meg … won’t outbound links hurt my SEO? I’m sending people away from my site!

Yeah, I can see why you’d worry about that. I preach often about how we need to keep people on our websites for longer sessions, so they have the opportunity to learn more about us and trust that we know what we’re talking about.

But here’s the thing (as I’ve said before): SEO is a relationship, not a formula.

By sharing resources that you think are useful, you’re not just aligning yourself with relevant service providers and products, you’re also being a good web citizen. You’re sharing your knowledge with your customers. You’re showing your readers that you’re generous.

And one more suggestion to help you decrease your bounce rate …

Pro tip: make sure these outbound links open in a new window, so that once your readers have clicked away to the other site, they can still easily come back to your tab to pick up where they left off.

Have a question like this that needs an expert answer? Join my SEO Action Heroes group to ask your Q’s and get regular trainings about how to improve your SEO in small, digestible live trainings.