Before Facebook, before Twitter, there was something called blogging. Remember that? Well, blogging hasn’t exactly gone out of fashion; only, this form of online content publishing has evolved since the time of LiveJournal and Open Diary. (That was so 1998!) And it’s certainly attracted the attention of more and more business owners who have recognized that the interactivity and SEO benefits of blogging go a long way in establishing – and enhancing – their visibility online.
Now, any SEO expert will tell you that incoming links are a great way of boosting the popularity of your company or business blog – that they increase your PageRank (PR). But few ever counsel linking out to other sites or blogs, which should actually be just as integral a part of your linking strategy as generating incoming links. Why? Well, here are only some of the reasons:
It’s good practice. Bloggers tend to get obsessed about getting as many incoming links as possible. They monitor their SEO and analytics dashboards every day, they get disproportionately excited about links from sites with a high PR, they get carried away with traffic stats and Google rankings. Avoid getting caught up like that. Recognize that, in its most essential form, blogging is about interactivity and engagement; it’s about communicating with readers. Says Rohin Guha of Blue Phoenix Media, who advises business bloggers to get in the habit of linking out: ““As a company, you want to present the impression that you know what’s happening in the world around you, and unless your daily archives can fill that role, you’ll have to turn to other sources.”
Not everyone is your competitor. Some bloggers refuse to link out because they think it will weaken their page and leak precious PageRank to competitor sites and blogs. But the truth is that not everyone in your industry is a competitor. Some of them are actually your friends and partners; if you want to gain respect and authority in the eyes of these friends and partners – as well as the rest of your industry – then don’t be afraid to “share traffic” and link out to whoever you’ll do well to associate with.
Linking out helps you get noticed. Just starting out with business blogging? One way to get noticed immediately is by linking out to other related sites and blogs. Webmasters and blog owners will not only thank you for the referral; with their dashboards and analytics tools, they’ll also notice why and how and where you gave them a new link. Which in itself is tremendously helpful, because when it comes to communicating online – via blogging – getting noticed is half the battle.
It gives credit where credit is due. Blogging isn’t for know-it-alls. Or at least know-it-all bloggers never go anywhere. By linking out to other sites and blogs, by crediting the sources of the information you’re publishing, you are promoting engagement and reciprocity, two basic principles of blogging. So give some love! Besides, you don’t want to be known in the blogosphere as regularly committing plagiarism.