I recently stumbled across a Blog-That-Shall-Remain-Nameless that refuses to link out. If they review an event, they won’t link to the event page. Writers don’t get links back to their own blogs. It’s the reader’s job to find relevant information if they want it.
This was something I noticed, but never commented on because I know a lot of Big Sites do the same thing. Over the past few months I’ve been quoted in articles for CNN, ABC, TIME Magazine and MSN Careers. I was featured in Real Simple Magazine and on their website. None of these sites linked back to me.
I’m sorry, but this shit needs to change. In my mind it’s the equivalent of using a Flickr photo or quote without giving credit. Retweeting an article without sending us back to the source. While the articles used my full name, I gave those interviews thinking I’d be properly credited. On the internet that means a link back to your website or blog. Apparently high traffic sites aren’t required to play by the rules.
Fifty percent of the interviewers simply ignored my request for a link; others said they’d ask their editor. None of them actually followed through. I honestly don’t understand – what are you afraid of? Linking to a site that’s not “TIME approved material”? Well then don’t feature people you don’t want to credit. Worried about SEO? I don’t know a lot about it but I highly doubt CNN is going to lose any juice by linking to my site (that, to be perfectly honest, has a pretty kick ass page ranking). Are they really that worried people are going to leave their site for mine?
However, while annoying as all hell, I was obviously honored just to be mentioned. But then I came across Blog-That-Shall-Remain-Nameless. Not only do they refuse to link out, and aren’t big enough to get away with it, but someone finally commented. I won’t rehash the whole dialogue but it went something like this:
Commenter: This is a great article except for the complete lack of links.
Blog owner: That’s what Google is for.
Not only is that a douchey thing to say, but this highlights their lack of confidence. While I don’t know the blog owner personally, I can only imagine she won’t link out because she doesn’t want people to leave her blog. I call these people Analytics Addicts – being so concerned with bounce rate that you neglect to provide value to your readers. (See what I did there? I linked out. Also, there’s this nifty thing you can do called “open in new tab.” Means you won’t leave this post when you click it. You’re welcome.)
Why You Seriously Need to Get Over Yourself
One of the first things I tell my clients who have blogs is that they need to start linking out more. Not obsessively, but reference articles, define a term, offer up further resources. And definitely interlink between your own posts.
I don’t know anything about SEO other than the most basic concepts, but this post isn’t about page ranking or Google results. This is simply about providing value. On top of that though, a reason I always suggest bloggers link out is so that they get on the radar of other blogs.
Most of us have Google Alerts set up for our name and web address. So if anyone links to marianlibrarian.com I’ll get notified. When I get notified the first thing I do is go to the blog. I read your post. I thank you for the shout out. If I like the site I usually bookmark it. We become besties. The end.
I realize linking out takes people away from your site. Like I said, it’s easy to combat this. Still, get over it. If the purpose of your blog is to provide value, generating clients/leads/etc doesn’t mean “talk-about-your-shit-all-the-time.” It means you need to occasionally send people elsewhere. If you love them, let them go and all that
Think of it this way: If you’re at a store and they don’t have what you need, the manager isn’t likely to send you to another store. But how much do you love that sales clerk when they secretly (and without prompting) offer up another store where you might take your business? A lot, that’s how much.
That’s what it means to be a blogger. I’m pretty well-versed in social media. In fact, people pay me lots of money to help them navigate the interwebs. But this doesn’t mean I have all the answers. Sometimes I need to send you guys somewhere else. And hopefully you’ll still like my content, be grateful, and come back.
So without further ado, three interesting articles from around the web on the subject of outbound links:
- Outbound Links and their Impact Upon Your Blog ~ProBlogger
- Who’s Afraid of Outbound Links? ~Free Blog Help
- The Rule of Outbound Links ~SEOmoz
Just remember guys: Be generous, link out, offer valuable information to your readers, even if it isn’t yours. And above all else, don’t be douchey.