In a Google hangout chat session, a Google employee mentioned that there aren’t any SEO benefits to link to another website. However, back in 2009, The webspam team leam Matt Cutts mentioned that some parts of their system valued external linking.
I have done some tests and a while ago, I have noticed small benefits of having external links. Maybe, this benefit has been removed. As I am writing this post, I have no proof that pages with external links get a boost to better rank in the Google search results.
I know for sure, that major webpages from many websites with many nofollow links rank very well. The best example is Wikipedia.
The previous statements from John Mueller have been confirmed by another Google employee during another Youtube hangout. He clearly mentioned that
Do links within the page to other pages influence quality of that page? How can you tell that the user found what he was looking for when he landed from the search results of the page containing links to other pages?
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.