Recently, Zemanta wrote a blog post titled Link Love Is the Way We Roll , addressing the concept of linking out to other (similar, even competitive) sites from your own content. This post immediately struck a chord with us here at VigLink, because we feel the same way Zemanta does about “link love.” It’s a best practice.
Blogger intuition doesn’t always work in favor of “link love,” though. You want readers to stay engaged with your content for as long as possible, right? For that reason, the idea of directing them to other, similar content seems contrary to what common sense would suggest. We would encourage content creators to try to overcome this false perception that “link love” is not in their best interest, for several reasons:
1) It exudes confidence
The fact that you’re willing to reference other, similar information shows that you believe your content is compelling enough to share some of the spotlight, knowing that readers will come back to you.
2) It’s realistic
It’s joining in on an existing conversation, rather than ignoring the fact that the conversation exists. It’s acknowledging that there are varying points of view on a topic, rather than pretending there’s just one, which happens to be yours.
“The marketplace is going to sort things out on its own whether you would like it or not. If you’re blogging and not linking due to fear of competition, you may be surprised that you’re not even in the running.”
-Brian Clark, Why Linking Out to Other Blogs is Critical
3) It’s authoritative
It is proof you’ve done the research and examined the topic from all sides. You’re prepared to make an educated argument about something.
4) It adds value
“The more you send people away to more valuable resources, the more valuable you become to your target audience.”
-Kevin O’Keefe, Blogging About Competitors Blogs is Smart
5) People will show you “link love” back
Owners of competitive sites you’ve referenced will be much more inclined to send you traffic. Some call it karma, others call it good old fashioned reciprocity. So give them the gift of traffic, and see what you get in return!
6) It helps with SEO
The more you link out to credible, similar content from your site, the more credible your site becomes to search engines. It’s a practice that’s been going on for years and mastering it will push you up to the top of search results, resulting in more traffic.
“Sharing isn’t just caring – it’s networking,” argues Zemanta. We couldn’t agree more. At VigLink, we think about the power of the outclick every single day. While we work hard to make the hyperlink intelligent, actionable, and profitable, we love to see others acknowledging that links have an innate capability to do good for any content creator. So don’t undervalue the power of linking out – to products or similar content – and, certainly, don’t forget to embrace the concept of “link love.”
Whitney Smith, VigLink Marketing Communications Manager