And the debate rages on: Should you link out to other blogs or shouldn’t you? And if you do, who should you link to and why? And what’s more important, sending traffic away or keeping traffic on your site? Now I have one question for you: Who are you blogging for – the search engines or your readers?
Why do bloggers link to other blogs?
To provide value for their readers: Linking to relevant content on other blogs shows your readers that you know what they’re looking for and you care enough to provide it, no matter where it’s located. Assuming you’re providing quality content on your own blog, your readers will only become even more loyal because you care enough to give them what they’re looking for.
To cite their sources: Citing your sources increases your credibility. It eliminates the possibility of your reader saying, “Oh, yeah? Who says?”
To build incoming links: Linking out to other blogs often attracts the attention of that other blogger, and the theory is the other blogger will now return the favor and link to you. In theory, all this linking helps you establish a network of blogging buddies who’ll link to everything you post.
Should you link out to other blogs?
Yes, you should: Linking out to other blogs to provide additional information adds value for your readers. Linking out to cite your sources adds value, too, but it also helps increase your credibility. When you increase your credibility with your readers you’re also providing value because now they’re more likely to follow your good advice.
No, you shouldn’t: Linking out to other blogs sends readers away from your blog and they may never come back. The solution, of course, is to provide every possible bit of information your readers could ever possibly be looking for in the highest-quality content possible – which is almost impossible.
If you’re writing for your readers it only makes sense
There are some bloggers who never link out and they’ll give you two reasons:
They don’t need to: I suppose it is possible to give your readers every last drop of information they’d ever be looking for, but here’s how I look at it: How much more value and credibility would you be establishing if you occasionally intentionally wrote a post that linked to another blog?
And here’s another way to look at it: You could potentially visit all those other blogs and write about the same things they’re blogging about so your readers would never have to leave your blog. Yes, you’d be covering all the bases but you’d never be able to keep up.
They don’t want to: These bloggers don’t want to send traffic away from their blog, but it’s ridiculous to assume your readers aren’t going to go looking for that information themselves. Yours is not the only blog in your niche.
People have a natural need to look at all sides of an issue before they make a decision. When you link out to other blogs you’re not sending traffic away, you’re giving them a reason to keep coming back because they know you’re the ultimate source for all their information needs – no matter where it’s located.