Writing for Humans: A good place to start
We talk about Content Marketing here: the use of content in the pursuit of FINDING and ENRICHING the lives of your target audience. Does that sound like hype and spin to you? Especially the “enriching” part? Well, hold on a minute! Pretty much everybody has come to see the wisdom in writing for humans instead of for algorithms. So when you’re writing for humans, don’t you think you need to focus on ‘enriching them’? Of course you do! But does outbound links accomplish this? You’re writing in order to answer their question or meet their need. You’re helping them! You’re pointing them toward something that they’ve been looking for! Yeah, you’re meeting a need and actually enriching their lives! O.K., I think I’ve made my point.
Outbound Linking: a clear path to enrichment!
So….what about the outbound links? Why include links that take people AWAY from your site, and carry them right into the lap of someone competing with you for attention? What does outbound linking have to do with enriching the lives of our readers. I just enjoyed a great article, written WAY, WAY BACK in 2009 (!) about the beauty of using outbound links. One of the things that the author (Tim) said, was
“…no matter how hard you try to write quality content, you are never going to be all things to everybody; someone will be writing more relevant, well researched content on a particular area of your industry. Adding an avenue to rich resources will only help add credibility to your own site…”
C’mon man! You KNOW that’s true. Sure, you’re an awesome writer. Granted. You’re way deep inside the subject and have become quite an authority. No question. But you know Tim is right: there’s always something out there that adds some freshness, a unique take, a new angle, a suggestion or experimental idea in embryonic form. Why not hook your readers up to that stuff?
3 good reasons for outbound linking
So here are 3 good reasons (among others) for including outbound links in your posts:
- It’s an excellent way to add value for your readers. The better you get to know your readers (the persona that you’re writing for), the more relevant information you can point them toward. You have an opportunity for a reader to see you and your content as a great way to get to the answers they’re looking for.
- You’ll cultivate natural inbound links. Why not? When readers see that your content is truly a good clearing house for helpful information, they’ll probably want to tell their friends about you. And…voila: inbound links!
- You’ll improve your own site’s rank. Yes. And Tim, from SEO Wizz, even tested this theory, and has some objective data to show you. The search engines like to reward sites that provide the best, more relevant information. If your site is posting great content, but is also pointing readers to OTHER available great content, the search engines consider that a ‘plus’.
So there you have it! Tell me what you think. Tim’s SEO Wizz article is a couple years old now, so I’d love to hear from you in this post-Penguin/Panda world. What do you think? Add your comment!