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.