Why should anyone bother linking to other content on another website? Why send people other places when you could include internal links only? These readers should stay on my site! So, forget about linking out, and as a result, those visitors should stick around longer. Well, not so fast — if that were true, then why would any site have external links?
This all leads up to the question of why should a blogger even bother with linking out to other pages? Well, there are plenty of reasons, and some of you might be shocked to learn that outbound links can actually help your blog to grow in more ways than one. It might take time, but here are a few reasons why linking to other quality content is a great idea.
Most smaller sites owners would very much appreciate a link to them for the hard work they must do to stand out in the crowd. I made it a habit when I started blogging to check my visitor statistics on a daily basis, and I took note of any larger blogs or news sites that would link to me. However, I noticed that I would acknowledge this with a link back to the referring article. Now, regardless of whether or not I’m just a nice guy or was hoping to get future links from any particular site, at the very least it established some communication.
Appreciation = Backlinks?
If you think about it, this is an excellent way to build links to your blog because if your blog is larger than that of the one you are linking to, the blog owner might be inclined to simply post a link back to the article that was referencing his or her blog. If you use your imagination, you can imagine how many links can be built back to your site simply by linking to another author’s content. Do this long enough, and all those generated backlinks will be valuable in the long run.
Giving Credit and Fact Checking
Remember back in school when you had to include a works cited page for your reports — I generally disliked (okay, honestly, I flat-out hated) creating those, but thankfully, with the development of the internet, we rarely have to deal with those nowadays. A link can act as verification and fact checking for your work — it is all inline. If your writing an opinionated article, you could use links to reference other material that will help you support your argument. Again, it is also a way to allow your readers to check the facts as well.
Sharing Great Content
There just comes a time when a blogger needs to share something amazing he or she has discovered on the web. This happens a lot on the blogosphere as word travels quickly (especially with sites like Digg and Reddit around). Directing your readers to amazing content will give readers the opportunity to see the other author’s hard work, but will also add value to the referring blog. It could generate backlinks, and the readers will likely appreciate the discovery of quality content elsewhere.
Other creative reasons for linking out:
- Point readers to a site that explains content which a particular blogger might not fully understand
- Link to other content the author has written elsewhere
- Link to a company, service, or product that is being discussed
- Link to content that will compliment existing content (e.g. an image or video)
So, as you can see, linking out can be a great way to help out readers, but also a way to help a blog to grow. Keep in mind that links should be beneficial to the readers — if a particular link is not useful, then don’t use it. Far too many links can appear overwhelming or even spammy. Not many people would appreciate that. However, using links correctly is just one more step to becoming a great blogger.