Don't Do It Yourself

Why You Might Be Hurting Your Blog by Link Hoarding

Are you a link hoarder?  When writing a blog post are you overly concerned about leaking link juice?  Do you add a no-follow tag to all outbound links, regardless of whether they point to advertisers?  When I first started blogging I was obsessed with hoarding link juice to myself and boy was I stupid!  I even did a round-up post and marked every link as no-follow.  What the heck was I thinking?

So much discussion in the SEO world revolves around retaining link juice to get a good search engine rank.  But zero outbound links is not a good blogging strategy.  I’m not suggesting you treat every post like a link farm, but citing sources and good references will help more than it hurts.

Why you should be generous with your links

  1. The social web is reciprocal.  Give first and you will receive.  It’s human nature for people to want to repay generosity.  They may just link to you for no good reason other than the fact that you linked to them first.  It may seem counterintuitive, but if you want to build your backlinks start by freely giving out links to others.
  2. You’ll get noticed.  When you link to another blog, a pingback is generated and the blogger gets notified.  And when people click through the link on your site, the referral will show up in the “linkee’s” analytics.   All of the bloggers I know love getting links and are often curious enough to click thru and check out your site if the link doesn’t appear to spammy. Building relationships by linking out to other sites has proven to make a difference.
  3. Some webmasters set their blogs to display pingbacks in the comment section of their posts.  It’s not as common as it used to be, but if they do this, you’ll get a reciprocal link with little effort.
  4. Google not only looks at the quality of your inbound links when ranking but also your outbound links to authority sites.  The Big G understands that if your website is linking to educational, high-authority websites that you are attempting to provide a better user experience.
  5. Your readers will appreciate useful outbound links and you’ll develop trust and repeat visitors.  A link to a quality site that helps answer a question will make your post more useful and improve your credibility. It’s also smart to annotate your articles with supporting evidence so people don’t think you’re just pulling facts out of your ass.
  6. Using outbound anchor text that is relevant to your post topic helps Google categorize the content within your page (in a similar manner to anchor text on inbound links from other sites).
  7. Hoarding links can actually have a negative impact in the SERPs as well.

You may be using “no follow” incorrectly

The nofollow tag was created by Google to specify when a link is not supposed to pass any authority or page rank to the destination site.  Their intent was mainly for links to advertisers.  But since its introduction, the nofollow tag has been widely abused by webmasters wanting to prevent any link juice from leaving their site.  The problem with this approach is if your site is filled with nofollow links you are effectively saying that you won’t vouch for any websites you link to.  Do you think Google will consider this type of page as valuable?  I doubt it, so be judicious with your use of nofollow.

When is link hoarding a good idea?

The only time you may want to consider excluding links is when you’ve got a reader in your sales funnel.  If you’re trying to get a user to take a single action on a page then you may not want to provide any options other than your desired one.

So are you guilty of link hoarding?  Maybe just a little?