You can’t do much in isolation – particularly not when it comes to marketing. Linking to other sites is social and collaborative, and it makes the internet what it is. Some people are confused about the effect that lots of linking can have on their ranking on search engines, but as long as you’re linking to the good quality sites that are relevant and provide something of value for your readers, then you’ve nothing to fear.
Make sure you have your users’ best interests at heart and remember that other sites benefit from your links – just like how you’d benefit from linking out of your website. Find out why you need to link to other sites, and how you can get the best results from doing it.
With a very short-term mindset, linking out can be seen to be counterproductive – you’re literally sending users away from your site – but what you’re actually doing is increasing the internet traffic between your site and the ones you’re linked to. Traffic tends to be two-way, so you’ll get a lot of users returning – particularly if you’re producing your own high-quality content.
It’s important to stress that you need to link out to sites that are reputable, relevant and interesting for your users. If the sites they’re being sent to are worthwhile to them, and relevant to their searches, they may come back to see what else you’re linked to. Either way, if you’re providing them with access to good quality material, then you’re providing a service. This is a great way to building up a rapport with them, and eventually your reputation.
Having lots of links, if they’re good links, is a great way to ensure that the information in your content is not only reliable but is easily verifiable. It’s a convenient way of giving your content all the authority of having a resource page – it’s just a more user-friendly way of doing it.
There’s a lot of misunderstanding about the way linking affects your ranking on search engines. If you link to low-quality websites, there is a risk of being mistaken for one by search engine algorithms, but you should be avoiding this practice anyway. Linking to reputable material will associate your site with that material in the algorithms’ calculations, so remember it this way: you are what you link out to. You must, however, be careful about the amount of links you place within your content/website. If you over-link, then you can be misconstrued as a ‘spammy’ website. Choose only a couple of links – for example, 4 or 5 links for a 1000-word piece of content, etc.
Very little goes unnoticed on the internet. It’s a place for collaboration, and when you’re sending your users to other sites, you’re doing those sites a big favour. If you’re consistent then in all likelihood your endeavours won’t go unnoticed, and other friendly sites will direct some traffic back your way. You’ll also get noticed by some of the many hardened internet users, from bloggers to web designers – the people who keep the wheels of the web turning – and they’ll talk about and engage with the material you offer. You just need to put your website out there and reach out to like-minded individuals.
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