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Hi John T,

Linking out has its Seo benefits when done appropriately:
– More likely to get link backs
– Good for usabilty
– More likely to be seen as a valuable resource

Does linking out provide direct Seo value, in itself?
The closest Google has indicated that there is a direct Seo benefit for the site linking out, is in this blog post from Matt Cutts, from Google’s webspam team, where he said “In the same way that Google trusts sites less when they link to spammy sites or bad neighborhoods, parts of our system encourage links to good sites.”

This indicates that Google has a “Reverse Trust Rank” as part of its algorithm which judges trust by a website’s links pointing externally.

Hope that helps,