If you want to make your blog posts shine, include links to reputable resources online. I do this day in and out, so wanted to give you a few tips on how to get the best links.
Tip 1: Make Them No Older Than a Year
When you’re Googling something, click the Tools button just above search results. You’ll see a couple of other dropdown menus appear, including Any Time. Click it, then choose Past Year.
Why am I telling you that your links need to be a year or younger? Information changes and gets updated constantly. This is particularly necessary when you are using research or statistics, which likely have been updated since 2015. Also, there’s a greater likelihood that the owner of a newer link will see that you linked to his site and help you promote the article. You also look like you’re on the cutting edge of whatever’s happening!
Tip 2: Make Sure Your Resources are Valid
This comes more with experience, I think. While we used to rely on Wikipedia as a valid resource, even Wikipedia tells us not to these days:
The reliability of Wikipedia (predominantly of the English-language edition) has been frequently questioned and often assessed. The reliability has been tested statistically, through comparative review, analysis of the historical patterns, and strengths and weaknesses inherent in the editing process unique to Wikipedia. Incidents of conflicted editing, and the use of Wikipedia for ‘revenge editing’ (inserting false, defamatory or biased statements into biographies) have attracted publicity.
Go for news sites and known industry publications. And if you find some piece of information that you’re not sure about, search for other resources on it to see if you can back it up. Writing about small business and marketing, I turn to:
Tip 3: Hyperlink the Words That Make Sense
There are plenty of opinions out there about this, but I say link more than just a word or two; link the phrase that makes sense. If you’re linking to a research study, do this:
Research has found that certain traits can increase happiness.
Essentially, the words you hyperlink give the reader a sense of what she’ll find if she clicks the link. In my example, she would want to know which traits increase happiness. If the URL you linked to had some other information, she’ll feel duped and won’t trust you again.
Tip 4: Set Links to Open in New Tab
While including links in your blog posts provides immense value, your primary goal is to keep people on your blog. So always set links to open in a new window.
Tip 5: Make Sure Links Provide Value
I have a client who works with a well-respected SEO team, and that team at first wanted me to include 25 links in a 3,000-word post. That’s insane! It was a struggle to find enough links of value, and it started to feel forced and like it watered down the content, so I pushed back.
If you include links, it should be to give readers the chance to explore an aspect of your article further. If you link to research, you don’t have to explain the entire experiment; just link to it for more information.
Always, always include links when you’re citing a source. It’s just like when you were in Senior English, albeit online. If you haven’t been including links in your blog posts, I encourage you to do so because it’s good for the reader, and it’s good for your SEO.