There seems to be a visible decline in outbound links. I think a lot of it has to do with changes Google made in their algorithms, but I also think some of it has to do with bloggers who just don’t feel the need to link out. Here are some of the reasons bloggers are backing off on outbound links and some of the reasons why I still link up.
1 – Greed
I think this is the number one reason bloggers aren’t linking out anymore and it makes me kinda sad. In the past, bloggers linked out to each other as a way of promoting the entire blogging community, but these days everyone seems to be concerned about grabbing up as many readers as they can and hording them on their blog, whether they have anything to offer those readers or not.
2 – WIIFM?
Jealousy is another reason. Smaller bloggers don’t want to link out to larger blogs because they already have plenty of traffic. The thought is, “I’ll link to you after you link to me, you already have more than your fair share.”
3 – Page Rank Drain
Some bloggers don’t link out to other blogs because they don’t want all their page rank to drain away, which is absolutely ridiculous when you think about it. It’s not like you have 16 ounces of link juice per page and every time you link out it drains another ounce. All you’re doing when you link to another blog is recommending it. Google then awards that other blog with more authority based on your link, but they don’t “take” anything away from your blog.
4 – Ignorance
Some bloggers just don’t link out because they never realized they should and they’ve never been educated on the benefits. If you’re sharing information or ideas that you read on another blog, linking to that other blog gives you more credibility and it’s just the right thing to do.
All that said, here are some of the reasons I’m still linking up with other blogs:
1 – Support the community
In an earlier post I talked about why it’s important to avoid being a greedy blogger. The biggest reason I link out is because it helps support the entire blogging community. The blogosphere is like a marketplace and I believe each of us has a responsibility to help support the entire community as a whole.
2 – Credibility
Linking out to cite your sources increases your credibility with your readers. It eliminates the possibility of your reader asking, “Oh, yeah? How do you know?”
3 – Etiquette
It’s just good manners to link to another blogger if you’re using information or ideas you found on his blog. And if you’re copy-and-pasting it word-for-word it’s not just good manners, it’s the law.
4 – Usefulness and Value
Your readers won’t abandon your blog simply because you link to useful or valuable information on another blog. They’ll thank you for it. They may follow that link and read that other blog, but they’ll keep coming back to yours as long as you continue to provide useful, valuable information.
5 – SEO
Part of your blog’s Google Page Rank is based on your blog’s usefulness. When you provide outbound links to useful information, your readers get extra value and social shares and incoming links increase. Google sees all this activity and awards you with increased page rank.
6 – Relationships
While I don’t believe you should look at outbound links as a way to get more incoming links, there is that potential benefit. Your outbound links should always be done to provide additional value for your readers. But there’s always the possibility that other blogger will see that link and want to make a connection with you. So outbound links can help build blogging relationships, too.