This is a guest contribution from Adam Grunwerg.
The world of SEO and blogging is kind of limited in that most people will tell you the same things: “build high quality content and do personal outreach in order to receive natural authority backlinks”.
For example, this awesome resource from PointBlankSEO.com is genuinely one of the best articles and tools I’ve ever read for link building strategies in 2013. It offers hundreds of tips for building white hat links such as PR, competitions, tools, interviews and tests.
However, I still feel this misses the point.
It focuses entirely on link building tactics, rather than how you can increase the perceived value of your content to users – namely by linking away from your blog.
Why? Well here are 6 great reasons to link out.
1. Useful Resource for Readers
The best bloggers will routinely link out to content on a regular basis because it provides readers with more information about a particular subject. For instance, if someone is looking for charts or tools not hosted on your site then it makes sense to link out for your reader’s benefit.
You can even include a cloaked affiliate link if you’re interested in getting credit for the referral (although transparency about affiliate links is always recommended)
2. Creating a “Top List” of the Best Resources or Products
Creating lists such as “13 Tools and Services that I use Everyday” or the “Top 5 Affiliate Blogs” are extremely popular among readers. By linking out to the best resources, you can improve your relationships with other bloggers and websites. It’s a bit like re-tweeting some else’s status – it’s a way of supporting great content and becoming known to the author.
3. Give Credit to External Research and Statistics
Backing up your articles with research and statistics from external resources helps add credibility and value to your content. If you use someone else’s statistic or surveys in a piece then you should also ensure you quote or link to the original source.
4. Interviews and Quotes with Experts in the Industry
Many bloggers and newspapers will routinely look to interview industry experts in order to get better insight and quotes for their story. If you want to add value to your website this way then you need to build some solid contacts, engage in B2B relationships and use PR enquiry services such as HARO and Response Source (both of these services are free to use).
5. Publish Charts, Infographics and Aggregate Data on your Site
Using visual chart and infographics can make it much easier to get a point across to your readers. If you publish someone else’s infographic, you should give credit to the original source as they’ve taken the time and cost to research, produce and distribute it.
6. Improving your SEO, Usability and Panda Score
The best websites will link out to high quality sources for their articles and it’s great for SEO and website rankings. While incoming links are more important (from a ranking point of view) outbound links, to valuable content, is good for your readers and that’s what gets rewarded long term. Too many blogs are scared of linking out in order to preserve their own Page Rank but they’re actually missing out on the other rewards.
Linking away from your blog can increase the value of your own content; help build real relationships with other bloggers; and in many cases it’s just the right thing to do (a bit like when you use someone else’s images).
If you’re scared of losing traffic to other websites through external links then you can always use the target=”_blank” HTML tag in order to force open the link in a new window, or you can use cloaked affiliate links to be compensated for the referral.
Now it’s over to you. How much link love do you send away from your blog?
Adam Grunwerg is an Internet marketing specialist who runs his own consultancy at http://www.searchable.co.uk. He writes extensively about marketing, PR, blogging and affiliate marketing.
Excellent article. I think a person or business should first ask themselves this question: “How can I create something (content) that would be most valuable to my readers OR will help my readers solve a problem OR make their lives easier?”
Once they ask this question, they will naturally realize that THEY themsleves don’t possess all the knowledge and so they have to link to the ideas or other people’s content. Does it dilute the value of their content? I don;t think so. I think it does the opposite.
Your content becomes more valuable and thus more people will link back to it. It is a WIN-WIn if you are coming from that frame of reference.
Actually most of the bloggers write great content but it is not enough for some topics.So we must include some more information by placing Wikipedia content and some other popular website content that is related t o our article.Then only readers love our blog and keep visiting our blog.This is the main and strong reason to link from your blog.(This is my opinion).
I like to link to a resource page and am part of those who always scared of linking to another blog because of the issue you mentioned, but after reading some article about SEO, i think is good to link to other bloggers page, if their page will benefit your readers or add more knowledge to what they just read on your blog.
Nice tips! Thanks for the shared knowledge
I link away a good bit (but internally even more). Since I write a lot about our experiences with children in poverty (and their education), there is so much out there to help my readers learn.
Great article, Adam. The notion that outbound links are holes in a ship that have to be sealed in the interest of PageRank is an antiquated one for sure. If it were true, sites like the New York Times would have lost all their authority ages ago.
Thanks for a different perspective on SEO, Adam.
I agree, sometimes it makes perfect sense to link out. While I keep my social media profile links at the bottom of my site for the purpose of keeping people on my web pages, I definitely believe in linking out to great content from within my blog when it expands on the point I’m making in a post, or offers a different, but valuable, perspective to my own.
Like you mention, it’s about being useful to your audience, and I definitely want to provide extra resources to my readers whenever I can. As you say, “it’s just the right thing to do.” : )
I always wondered if this practice was actually beneficial for SEO, so it’s good to know that outbound links to valuable content are good for rankings.
Thanks for sharing these useful observations!
Thats realy a great tutorial, i will apply on my blog
I have always modeled my blogging practices on the blogging styles of those blogs that I find useful and/or enjoyable to read. And they all seem to be willing to cite and/or link to their sources, and provide links to useful resources. It is how they get people to link to them–by being darn helpful to others. Therefore, I am always puzzled by those who are unwilling to cite sources and link to other sites–I have no idea why they believe that they are going to be viewed better than the blogs that play the game fairly.
I’m sorry, but what is a “Panda score”? There’s no such thing. Panda is an algorithm that Google constantly refreshes, that has now been folded in to the regular algorithm.
Wonderful information- thanks for giving us something to think about in terms of linking out. I do have a question, though. Is it bad SEO to link out to too many sites? I was thinking of setting up a resource page on my blog, but if it’s full of links out will this look bad?
Great list! Thanks for sharing the 6 reason to link away from your blog.
I disagree with you a bit…. in the conclusion lines you mentioned that one should link to other blogs extensively.
whereas i have read somewhere that Google can severely punish you if you link to non authoritative sites and can consider it as a part of link selling.
Great advice. I’m always learning something new that I need to be implementing on my website. Another reason I link out, albeit a bit less noticed, is so those bloggers find me. Bloggers can check their referrals and see that I linked to them. It’s not a guarantee that this will always work but it’s a way to possibly gain another follower, and as you said, it helps to foster new relationships within the blogging community.
I link away from my blog but not that much…the mostly away links are to my main site..but when its about the content and information demand . I simply make the link away from the blog to the more deeper source of info so that reader can get the fullest material of information they are looking for…Well you have also mentioned some of the great tips which we should follow and that will surely make our blog much better
So its a nice write up to get over these things
Thanks for sharing
Hello Adam, I love this post, and I’ve shared it with my peeps on Facebook.
Linking to top and informative blogs not only helps you build relationships, but it also helps to expand one’s authority
Clear and concise post, Adam…
Dan, the web content writer….
My blog is relatively new but I am going to start looking at some of the ideas you have mentioned.I especially like No 2. Creating a “Top List” of the Best Resources or Products. I might start doing this once per month. I am also thinking of installing CommentLuv to link out from my comments with a follow link in order to try and encourage more comments on my posts. What do you think of this strategy?
I should link out to other sites more than I do – unfortunately I’m stuck in the rut of thinking “I worked so hard to get these visitors to my site, why would I want to give them a way out?” however obviously this isn’t the correct train of thought. You’ve provided some great reasons to use frequent outbound links, but it’s also a great way to connect with other bloggers.
Excellent post. I think that all these points are new but hard to get. The best things are infographics and Guest posting now a days.
Since people read your site, link to whatever will provide the best quality experience (and information) for them. If that means linking out, then so be it. If it means linking internally, so be it.
A good blog to model is Doc Searls: http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/doc/
Might not be the “best” SEO strategy, but it IS the best “Reader Experience Optimization” strategy.
Great post. Very interesting to read your thoughts on why it’s good to link away from a blog. I for one am certainly considering doing some infographics and interviews with key people regarding my blog topic.
Very nice post.
I think Useful resource for reader is really important. I usually focus on that for my blog. Short and informative content always work.
Thanks for your valuable information.
I’ve only just cottoned on to this idea. I’m relatively new to blogging and had the thought that I should try and keep visitors on my blog. The idea of linking out makes you look like you know what you are talking about because you have researched outside material.
for me SEO play a vital tole in Blogging field because if our blog is not optimized then it become difficult to get traffic from search engines.
So we have to do implement ON page SEO as well as Off Page SEO
While putting external links in our post we must keep in mind that:
1) It is not of our closest competitor
2) It should not have more or less same contents as that on our linking post
3) It should not have so much pre-selling in it
4) It should not have any spam-like appearance
5) It should not have any contents in sheer contradiction of yours
Basically by linking to others blogs/photo/ charts, we are giving ourselves a more professional look. We are not self promoting, and we recognized good works.
Wanted to ask that should we dofollow the the outgoing links ?
Great post! I link often to the “authority” sites. However, maybe I should try linking to some of my peers and fellow bloggers more often as they will be more likely to take notice.
Yes, I agree. As inbound links are important in improving the SEO of our blogs, outbound links that are highly relevant are also important in improving the reliability of our blog. Outbound links can become references that will support the accuracy and increase the value of our blog posts.
This was really helpful. I realized on my own blog that I’ve linked to other websites and resources on a very limited bases. I love the idea that it’s like retweeting someone else’s statuses and that they’ll see it. Do blogs really see it when you ping to their website? Cause I don’t always see the pingback.
Nicely Explain Tutorial Darren. Thanks.
Hi, thank you for sharing this great info.
I am currently practicing this way of blogging. There is nothing to lose. I have learn it before.
Linking out is also one of the ways to get noticed by other bloggers. If one sees a Blog that is sending them good traffic, they are more likely to check you out and perhaps link back thereby increasing your rankings in Google.
Linking out is another way to learn how to give credit fairly and still deliver quality content to our own readers. We use content curation as part of our posts. I enjoy commenting on another’s observations and make it a point to credit those views with a link back to the poster.
I also use affiliate links to inform and guide my readers as well. I tell them up front that I expect my readers are mature enough to know what an affiliate link provides. It is also a powerful tool to lead our readers to important materials that can help and inform as well. Taking a reader to the affiliate site does not obligate them to purchase – but it does inform of what is available. That alone is worth a lot to our readers.
I appreciate your notes thanks for your insights.
Linking away from your blog is a smart idea. List like you mention are probably one of the best ways to link to other sites or “best of” series.
I always try and throw some authority links in whatever I’m writing to give it a more well-rounded look and cred.
The article is really good and informative.
After 3 month of relax i am back in blogging. Linking to top site will will helps you build relationships..
Thanks for such a great article
Interesting, I thought only external backlinks helped with SEO, but I can see how linking out helps too. Thanks for the tips!
Hi Adam, thanks for the great article. I’m new to blogging but have been adding quite alot of links out in my posts thinking it would provide further information, but I didn’t ‘actually’ know if it was a good idea…so nice to hear your good points around it. Thanks
Hi. And thanks for the article. I was Always scared to Death to linking out from my pages becuse of “leaking” pagerank. Google want us to link external but also in my opinion punish us. Know i know better after i was Reading the article. Thanks! Sorry for my English
Informative post. The Top reason I unsubscribe from email is being constantly sold to. I subscribed to this very helpful blog, but every other email was something about their product. He had great content, but his salesmanship killed it.
Thanks for kind words ,A very informative and timeless article.