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Why Linking Out To Other Content Is A Great Thing To Do

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.

Communication

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.

Author: jamesm

11 thoughts on “Why Linking Out To Other Content Is A Great Thing To Do

  1. There is no one silver bullet to gaining large amounts of traffic, so as your article suggests, linking and getting your site known is all good.

    Rob.
    Don’t look back … instead look where you are going

  2. @James: I’ve always kept my links relevant and if there were too many links I would question whether I was adding something or just doing a link list. If the latter, the post would get shelved until such time as I had something to say.

    As for no links in your post, I guess that comes under the rule of “if there are no relevant links, why link at all?” It’s a good example that although linking out is good, you don’t need to do it every single post.

  3. @Ryan

    That seems reasonable. I actually always had it in the back of my mind that I would always try to post at least two or three links — even if just to appease the readers.

    @webmann

    That is exactly how you should look at it. That should have been my ending line for the article.

    @smperris

    There definitely can be repercussions to overdoing it with links. That is we must keep those links useful. Google has their ways, but if you use links for a legitimate purpose, nothing should go wrong.

    @oldsailor

    Good point

    @Daniel

    I’m sure search engines will raise a flag if there are a significant amount of outbound links. Truth be told, I think they should as well. External links are good, but if it is being used to cheat the system, I believe it should at the very least be looked into.

    As a little Easter joke, I didn’t post any links within this article! I am shocked that no one called me out on this — especially considering the topic!

    😀

  4. By linking out to other content, duplicate contents are avoided to a great extent.

  5. I have always linked out. I thought that was the point of the internet. I also use it as a time saving device – why should I spend 150 words explaining a background issue to a post if I can direct the reader to the right spot if they want more information. It’s also good manners in my opinion. Why should I take all the credit for the thinking of an issue? Maybe I’m just too nice

    It has only been in the last year that I noticed that linking out was supposedly controversial.

    Of course, the one thing that really bugs me is sites that only link internally, especially for things like company names or products. If you have an article on the iPhone for example, I want a link to the iPhone not a link to your tag for every post tagged ‘iPhone’.

  6. Hello James, another James here.

    For a long time, in the back of my mind, I didn’t feel I should be linking out but did it anyways. Mostly because I believe credit where credit is due and linking to where I gain particular information.

    Now I link out because I want to link to other people. I feel it’s more like a big network and we are just networking between the sites we like.

  7. Hi James,
    At my new site Glamorati, we are trying to link-out to 3 sites per “article” – then I’ve instructed all my writers to click-through on each link as a way of communicating our existence to other sites.

  8. Hope everyone enjoyed their Easter! I personally enjoyed some ham, mashed potatoes, corn, and rolls. 😀

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