The Business Blog Authority

Blog Dos #5: Link to websites within posts

by Brian Brown (follow me on Twitter): September 2, 2006

Today, while reviewing Marshall Lebovits' Show Me the Money blog, I became very conscious of the fact that Marshall makes good use of links within his posts. Most of Marshall's posts are commentary on other websites' articles on the subject his business specializes in. Marshall references these articles with a link to them so the reader can easily check out the reference for his comments.

When talking about something you found on another website or blog, go ahead and give it a link, and link specifically to the post you read if that is possible. This is what the famous "permalink" at the bottom of blog posts is for. Simply right-click on a permalink and choose 'Copy Shortcut' (Internet Explorer) or 'Copy Link Location' (Firefox) to load that post's URL onto your clipboard (Step 1 below). Then paste this into your blogging program where you would normally type out the web address for a link (Step 2 below).

You don't need to create a link every time you reference the same website. Once is enough.

Adding links in your posts will not hurt your search engine rank like a blogroll will. The reason is because this link will only be on your home page temporarily while a blogroll link is a permanent link on your home page. The more outbound links on your home page, the more your home page looks like a 'link farm' which is downgraded by search engines. It's okay to have a bunch of links on your home page, just make sure they are internal links that bring readers (and search engines) to pages within your own site.

Note: I added another post right after this one called Blog Don'ts #4: Don't use too many links in your post. Some links good. Too many links bad.

Step 1 -- Right click on the permalink and choose 'Copy Link Location' (Firefox):
rightclick on permalink

Step 2 -- Paste link into your blogging program (in this case it is Typepad):
Paste link into your blogging program

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The number of links for either posts or blogrolls doesn't matter half as much as the quality and relevancy not only of of who you're linking to, but of who else links to you. Quality and relevancy are a two-way street. If you want to link to someone but don't want your PageRank dragged down by it, put rel="nofollow" in your anchor tags.

Nice to see you back in the PMSBBOTD saddle.

Thanks Michael. Very good explanation and it's great to be back in full swing.

One thing I would add: Whenever I link a site external to mine, I add the 'target="_blank"' to the link tag. This opens the link in a new window thus not completely taking the reader away from my own blog.

As a blog reader I always appreciate this because if I wind up following a string of links I run the risk of completely forgetting where I started if that original window hasn't been maintained. As a blogger I don't want to be luring my own traffic away from my site.

Thanks for the comment Brian. I actually wouldn't create links that open new windows. It's a bit of a personal preference but I hate it when links open up new windows on their own. I end up with 20 windows on my screen which really bugs me. If I do want a new window, I can always right-click on the link and choose 'open in new window.' Jacob Nielsen, who I would consider the main dude in web usability, mentions this in his all time Top Ten Mistakes in Web Design (#9). His ideas and analysis make a lot of sense to me and is worth a read for anyone doing a blog. What I really like is that his concepts are built from research, testing, and data.

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