Linking To Popular, High-Authority Sites Doesn’t Always Help SEO.

Linking to popular, high-authority sites ( outbound links) doesn’t always help SEO. It can sometimes hurt SEO if the links are not natural or relevant. Linking to popular, high-authority sites can help with SEO, in some cases where links should add value for users. When you link to high-authority sites, you are telling search engines that your content is related to a particular topic and that you cite reputable sources. This can help to establish your website as a trustworthy source of information and can help to increase your own website’s authority in the eyes of search engines.

In a recent discussion on the r/SEO subreddit, Google Search Advocate John Mueller clarified that linking to sites like Wikipedia will not impact search rankings. This dispelled a myth that has persisted among SEO practitioners, who have long believed that linking to high-authority sites could help improve their rankings.

Mueller explained that Google’s algorithm does not consider the authority of a linked site when ranking a page. Instead, it focuses on the quality and relevance of the links. This means that links should be placed naturally within the content of a page, and they should point to sites relevant to the page’s topic.

Mueller also emphasized that links should be used to benefit users, not just to improve search rankings. He said that “links should add value for users. Don’t link solely for authority and rankings.” This means that links should be used to provide additional information or resources relevant to the page’s content.

Here are some additional points from the article:

  • Linking to high-authority sites can still benefit SEO, but it is not the only factor that Google considers when ranking pages.
  • The quality and relevance of links are more important than the authority of the linked site.
  • Links should be used to benefit users, not just to improve search rankings.
  • Natural links are more effective than forced links.

What Google’s John Mueller says on this

“Sometimes links on the page can improve the quality of a page, but I think that’s something where you wouldn’t want to see that as kind of an artificial factor. Just because there are links on a page doesn’t mean it’s necessarily good.

We saw that, I don’t know, way in the beginning, when people would put links to Google, or Wikipedia, or CNN on their website, and assume that search engines would be naive and think, oh, they’re linking to these well-known websites, therefore, the content itself must be good.

And that’s definitely not the case.

So you can add value to your website by having links on those pages, but it’s not the case that just because you have links then we’ll suddenly see your website as being higher quality.” – Google’s John Mueller

User Question
The user was asking about a common SEO question: whether linking from a smaller website to a popular high-authority site like Wikipedia or CNN can impact the search ranking of the smaller site.
John Mueller stated, “Nothing happens. Why should it?”

Mueller further Say, “Here’s my affiliate site about handbags – and here’s a link to CNN & Wikipedia, please take me seriously now, k?”


In conclusion, it is clarified that linking to high-authority sites is not a reliable way to improve search rankings. Instead, SEO practitioners should focus on creating high-quality content with natural links relevant to the page’s topic. You can do it inhouse SEO or outsource it.  This will help ensure their pages are ranked highly in search results. There are many myths about link building you can read here.

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