External links, also known as back links are simply links from one website to yours. There's really no need to overcomplicate it beyond that.
The beauty of external links is they enable increased traffic to your website. I wrote a financial blog a number of years ago. Traffic was OK for a while.
That is until I was able to get my articles featured on what is today, one of the biggest websites in the financial community.
Literally within a few hours my traffic was off the charts. It gave me a first hand experience and love of external links.
Not All Are Equal
But beware of growing links at any expense. Literally and figuratively. Don't sign up for a service that offers X amount of links for a set amount of money. They are likely poor quality links. Spam if you will.
And once Google catches on, your website will take a hit. Traffic will suffer. To Google, it appears you are gaming the system. And you are. Cutting the line ahead of higher quality sites more able to to meet the needs of searchers.
For more on spam links, read about Google Penguin.
Don't let the word root domain scare you. It's only ten letters, eleven if you count the space! The root domain is the domain, or website that is sending you links. For example, assume UpEarlyDesigns.com has five links to ILoveBourbon.com (don't think that exists, but I do love bourbon).
ILoveBourbon shows five external links attributed to UpEarlyDesigns, but only one root domain. Same with social media. You may have a ton of links from Twitter or Facebook. But even though both perhaps attribute to 10,000 links (nice work) they only count for two root domains.
You should care about root domains and total links. You should make a distinction. There should be a focus on not just growing total links but root domains as well.
In the end one may say links are links, assuming they are not spam. But adding more links to one site that already represents you is likely doing little to drive traffic. But adding more domains, well that is new traffic. Untapped, low hanging fruit if you will.
So be conscious to what is driving your total links. Be cognizant that increasing root domain growth plays a key role in traffic growth.
That's how far a lion's roar can be heard. Learn more about links and SEO and nothing about lions by visiting our Archives Page.