Linking Strategy and why Back Linking is OK

A few weeks ago there was a dust up criticizing bloggers who only point and link to themselves called “back linking”. Whether it was because they were wanting to keep people on their own site or are too insecure about losing traffic to others it doesn’t really matter.

I think we’re missing the heart of the matter, the real objective of blogging and other online communications is to share with others, and hopefully, you will gain a greater opportunity than by not sharing. One such goal of sharing is to add more value to the community than it previously did not have. As a blogger your goal is to link to sources that continue to add more value to your community and readers.

Therefore, if your content (on your own website) can add more value linking elsewhere, than it’s certainly ok to do this.

Zoli summarizes it nicely in Scoble’s comments:

“Not all “double linking” is bad. There is a whole world of difference between linking to yourself instead of a better source, or linking to a previous post, simply because you already provided deeper review / analysis on a subject, and simply don’t want to repeat yourself.”

Let’s not be insular and even for a moment think that your community isn’t using other websites than your own, or that they’ve magically forgotten how to use the browser or Google since they’ve arrived to your site.

I frequently back link to myself, it’s not because I want the SEO benefits or want to ‘horde you on my site’ but it’s because I don’t want to repeat myself, and there are important theories you need to know before we can discuss more advanced topics.

In any case, the goal of linking is to provide more value to your readers and community, and if you’re confident linking to yourself will help them, so be it. It’s true, some of the web magazines mentioned in the posts are certainly guilty, they can’t possibly be the only sources of value for the particular subjects.

Methods to find out similar content
On a supplemental note, there’s a couple of techniques to find out what people think of your blog post or website, as well as find out where else they find value on the same subject:

1) Drop the URL in Technorati and see who else is linking to the site, if it’s just you, that’s pretty sad. 2) Go to Delicious, (or other bookmarking tool) and see if the page has been marked, and what else was ‘like’ it or ‘similar’ to it. 3) There’s a bunch of other advanced techniques such as using Analytics to find out how the user came to your site, or what keywords were searched, and lastly, what did they do on the page.

  • I’ve never been referred to as a “dust up” before. 🙂

    The issue I was presenting was in the absence of sourcing information when reporting news, some sites led us through a maze of internal stories rather than ever presenting the original data. Internal linking is not all bad – but in some cases, as I stated, it is too heavily used.

    Of course, we could have another post on direct linking to the original source, like my site, instead of TechMeme, but that might be taking it too far…

  • Personally, I find it quite helpful, when done right, to see links to internal blog posts. After all, as a reader, do I have any idea if you have a body of work out there about the subject at hand if you don’t link to it?

    Certainly internal links can and are overused. (Search result pages are pointless links and lazy blogging) But so are off-site links. I see many forums, for instance, that link every key word to an ad or some off-site link. Many blogs do the same.

    At the end of the day, I think it’s about creating a fun experience based on the goals of our own blogging desires.

  • By the way, one other technique is to use Ma.gnolia’s Roots application.

  • You’re an expert on drawing on your past archives to provide new readers with the background info. It would be just too exhaustive to reiterate it over & over. You teach & build which is precisely why referencing previous posts works. In the past it also encouraged me to browse around with the thought in mind – that was really interesting, I wonder what else is here on that topic.

    It’s an effective tool for the reader. (I’m just amazed at how you remember all that you have archived – I want to know that secret?)

  • I’m not very sure how it works, but how is it that you can see yourself linking to your own sites.

    I’ve linked to myself before but I’ve never got any blog reactions from it shown in technorati or am I looking at the wrong thing?

  • If you remember those books when you were young – the ones that you would read a page and at the bottom it would say “if john should eat the tiger, turn to page 14 or if josh should kiss the goat, turn to page 34” – this is what internal linking is about. Keeps the story going and can help new site visitors learn about your other content.

    I do think many of the large blogs forget that what made them large is people linking to them and they decide to no longer link out. It’s a shame.

    The key is to look at each link you make (in or out) and make sure it’s valuable to your reader.

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  • I have been trying to do some back linking to my site ( and was wondering which scenario was better.

    1. Posting a fewer link to a greater number of other sites.
    2. Posting a greater number of links to a fewer sites.

  • back linking has always been a very difficult task for me to achieve. Its difficult to get someone to link your site to theirs when you can’t really put theirs up on yours. I think to answer your question Pete, I would personally post fewer links to greater number of sites just because I think the more sites you have your website on, search engines will recognize that more effectively. I don’t have any professional education on this, its just my own testing and common sense.

  • When I write articles, I believe they should make sense on their own, so I don’t link to other articles on my blog. I’m afraid if I were to link to other posts, readers may not come back to the original posting they came to read and that takes away the whole point of writing the article in the first place.

  • as i have heard that back linking is one of the necessary tool for a website to get more popularity.

  • Backlink is very complicated subject and we are all refering google for this

  • Sharing information is very important for the public. By allowing link backs, it allows the reader to investigate further. For instance, if I leave a comment on someone’s blog and have some knowledge on the subject it will be reflected if I have a blog related to that topic or my business revolves around that topic. So yes, links are not only information beacons but also regulators. Keep up the good work!

  • Nice article, I sure do think backlinking is ok. Maybe because i am an affiliate so i am a bit biased. But you know what! What comes around goes around, and for me being a beginner affiliate i dont really know what else to do.

  • Thanks for the info. There seems to be a 1000 different theories about backlinking. I know it is very important, but which way is the best? Or, should you include a combonation of all. Again, Thanks for the information and I look forward to reading more of your post.

  • Ira, I suggest you go the other way around and see what should be avoided when building backlinks to your webpages. I made a 14 points checklist and included it on my blog. Check it out (and don’t see this link just another method of building links :-)):

  • Let me try…

    Dennis Smith

    Global Royalties
    Royalties of the World

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