Have you ever asked yourself why Wikipedia shows up in the first page of Google search results? Almost for all search queries conducted in Google, you will see Wikipediain the first page (usually first position).
Considering this, we may say that Wikipedia has a lot of textual content, and that’s why it ranks high in Google. But the fact is, as far as textual content is concerned, you yourself may have seen many other websites that have at least 10 times more textual content.
One can reason as to say “Well Wikipedia has lots of backlinks pointing back to it” however, that can’t be the reason either because there are thousands of others website with more backlinks. Having large amount of backlinks isn’t the real factor that makes all the difference.
What Can We Learn From All This?
Wikipedia shows up in Google results not because it has great informative content because anyone can modify and create pages in Wikipedia, basically the approval processes for their content is very weak indeed. But for us to understand why you and I see Wikipedia for most search queries, we just have to look at their references section down the bottom of Wikipedia pages. These references are external resources as Wikipedia outlinks to external related content. And it is very unlikely that you will find any other website on internet that uses outlinks (external referencing of related content) as thoroughly as Wikipedia.
That’s the Difference
Because to really understand the importance of outlink, we have to first understand the manner in which internet works. Internet is inter-connected network of networks. Knowing this, think of your web pages simply as URI
URI: The Web is an information space. Human beings have a lot of mental machinery for manipulating, imagining, and finding their way in spaces. URI’s are the points in that space (source w3.org). Because computer’s identify your domain through an IP address using an URI: uniform resource identifier
It is then fair to say that on internet’s natural eco system, your website not only should have backlinks pointing back to it, but also outlink interlinking your website to other related resources. Like most small business owners being reluctant to have outlinks from their website, they think “why should I send my website visitor to my competitor’s website” but if your web pages fail to capture the imagination of your visitors, then, its only fair that you send them to other related resources.
Internet is never static, it is constantly evolving and dynamic eco-system, from the time you started reading this post till now, internet has changed (many shares occurred on Facebook, new videos are uploaded to YouTube, stay at home mums created new blog posts and young teenagers shared their photos on Instagram. Millions of old URI’s are taken out of Google index because they are deleted, and at the same time, millions of new URI’s are now in Google’s index.
So don’t hesitate to have outlinks from your web pages whenever you can, also, if your website is a small business site, then, you can perhaps start blogging which will not only help you target more set of keywords, but also, give you the ability to start out-linking to related external resources so that your website can be on its way to becoming an authority website.