It’s sad to say that many sites are still link hogs, with some editorial policies stating specifically that outbound links are not to be given unless under special, and incredibly specific, circumstances. Why all the link hoarding?
Well, luckily, bloggers have a say in the matter when their editorial decisions are purely their own, and it’s good to see that more bloggers are becoming more generous and strategic in their linking decisions, but for those who need some more incentive to link out, or are link hoards entirely, here are a few reasons you MUST give links:
1. You offer value to your readers who then see you are a great resource when you link to informative articles
When you’re sharing more information than what is necessary, you are thought of as the hub to go to for information on a topic, the ‘thought leader’ in your niche, because you know all the other great blogs and posts relevant to what you are writing about.
While, yes, you are pretty much sending your readers over to another site, allowing them to engage somewhere you don’t manage or benefit from, your readers will remember you for sending them to the other articles because if you linked to useful places, you will have given them more value than you could have on your blog unless you were to plagiarize and never give attribution to the source.
2. Stories are more credible when you’re referencing other quality works
Unless you’re a blogger with more than 25 years of experience in a field, or part of a research firm investing tens of or even hundreds of thousands of dollars into a study, not all of your posts will be read with 100% credibility unless you have some solid facts to support your writings, and those solid facts can come from in-house case studies, experiments and surveys, so it’s useful for to increase your credibility by referring to other experts who have similar thoughts and opinions.
You are also being very honest to your community and to yourself when you link to others’ posts because the fact is, 100% of your ideas are never truly yours, whether they were taken from someone else and you happened to forget that you got that idea from them, or if your ideas were derivatives or products of things you may have read on other blogs.
3. You gain (not lose) pagerank when you link to authoritative sites and stories, even when the sites you’re linking too aren’t linking back to you
Since you’re showing the search engines you’re not a link hoard, and are linking to useful sites and stories, your post will be deemed as more authoritative by the search engines because you’re sharing credible content that will clearly benefit your users, and searchers who the search engines may send your way.
Sometimes the most relevant result a search engine can offer, especially for searches that just don’t have one right answer, is the result with a great summary of all the best answers out there with attribution to the original sources for further detail. Think Mahalo.com, but less about content aggregation and more value added.
4. You spread some goodwill when you give links because when you give links, you’re likely to get links from those who you’ve given links to and others too
What goes around comes around. In the karmic linking world, if you give links, you’re more likely to get links from the sites you’re linking too who will be thankful you showed them link love first. You are also more likely to get links from others who see your credible post that is linking to other quality posts. Since you’re linking to those other great posts, your post may look like the most comprehensive post of them all, making you the most likely candidate for link love!