I’ve read dozens of articles about why and when you should link to another blog but I’ve never read any that explain how you should do it.
Is there such a thing as link etiquette and if so, what is it?
After all, your link affects that other blogger, it’s like a handshake or an introduction.
In other types of personal interaction there are always rules of etiquette involved so it only makes sense there should be some in linking, too.
Link To The Original Source
There have been times when the original source of information I want to link to hasn’t had the best reputation.
Not that they’ve had a bad reputation.
It’s just that there are others who’ve used the same information and they’ve had a better reputation as a reliable source.
Your first impulse may be to link to the site with the highest rank or reputation, but what about that little guy who did all the actual leg-work?
He’s the one who broke the story, he deserves the link.
I always link to the original source of information and if I think there may be a problem with credibility I use a second source for more information and link out to them, too.
Make It Clear When You’re Quoting Your Source
If you’re using a direct quote from your source you should use quotation marks or block quote formatting, and use italics to highlight the text.
If you’re only summarizing information from another blog no quotation marks are necessary but it’s still good etiquette to cite your source.
After all, they’re the original source and they deserve the credit.
Introduce Your Source
Preface the quote with your own personal remarks and include an introduction to the source which includes the name of the website, the name of the author and any particular identifying information he uses such as Phd., or “author of…”
Linking To Your Source
If I’m only going to include one link, I use keyword-rich anchor text relevant to the content I’m linking to.
Steven of Dukeo.com wrote a masterful article about WordPress and S.E.O. titled, “WordPress SEO: Get Insane Traffic From Google.“
If I’m using two links I’d also link Steven of Dukeo.com to the homepage – but only if it’s not the first sentence in the first paragraph.
If it is the first sentence in the first paragraph, I would only use Dukeo.com as anchor text.
In the past, Google didn’t like you to start your very first sentence with a link.
Before republishing a complete article, get permission from the author.
Mind Your Manners
Just like when you’re introducing friends at a party, it’s important to get that other blogger’s name right, especially the spelling.
Not only is it a sign of respect, but your incoming link is going to help his SEO but it won’t be as helpful if his name is spelled wrong.
Observing good linking etiquette just makes you both look more respectable.
The other blogger because you’ve presented him in such a professional manner, and you, because you’ve been so respectful of the other blogger and your audience.