In the 1990s, websites offered five main pages: home, about, contact, links, and blogroll.
There were variations, of course, but this was the general standard. There wasn’t a ‘resources’ link because the web was new, and most people created websites for self-expression. Resources, according to the early web, were links to interesting but often useless websites.
Over the years, and rightly so, the ‘blogroll’ and ‘links’ pages have mostly disappeared. By today’s standards, blogrolls are distracting. However, linking to other websites is still valid. However, it’s not just about getting backlinks for SEO. Linking to other websites is about providing useful information to visitors, and establishing authority in the process.
Say you’re in the marketing industry and provide advice for new marketers. No matter how good you are, you can’t be everything to everyone. Link to other websites that provide information and expertise you don’t offer. Also, always link to industry experts. It shows visitors you’re not pretending to know everything.
For example, maybe you’re great with internet marketing but aren’t skilled in direct mail. Link to materials produced by marketing greats like Dan Kennedy. He’s the highest paid copywriter in the world for a reason. Link to content created by Gary Halbert and David Deutsch. Give your visitors the opportunity to learn from other people who are established experts in your niche.
Imagine linking to a website you find exceptionally useful, and receiving an email from the owner asking if you’d like to create a partnership. What would you do?
By linking to other authority websites, you’re sending them traffic. When a webmaster notices large amounts of traffic coming from your site, they’ll check out your site to see who’s generating that traffic. When they check you out, they might end up interested in your products or services, or they may want to partner with you or link back to you.
If you don’t provide the links first and start flowing traffic to people who deserve it, there’s little chance they’ll notice you first. Become a source of traffic for deserving websites in your niche, and you might end up with a good partnership.
You’re going to have links spread out amongst your inner pages, but you can also gather the most important links and put them on one page. A visitor might find an interesting link somewhere on your site and lose track of where they found it. Put all your important resources on one page, and that visitor can rediscover it quickly.
Providing all of your resources on one page, organized by subject, creates an easy user experience. For an example of easy-to-navigate link organization, this resources section on Foster LLP’s website displays several must-have elements. First, the links are organized with headings. Second, the typography is smooth on the eyes. Third, the anchor text is descriptive rather than a vague domain name.
It’s nearly impossible to be the authority on any topic without gathering information from other sources. While some people gather information and present it as their own, that’s not always the best decision. You want some outbound links on your website. That’s how search engines know you’re a legitimate website.
If you’re running a business, it makes sense to link sparingly. In that case, link to government websites, statistics, and cream-of-the-crop articles you discover online.
If you’re creating an ultimate resource for a subject you’re passionate about, link to high-quality sites that provide a 360-degree view of your subject. Link to original sources, too. Consider accepting guest posts to provide a well-rounded view of your subject.
Nobody wants to be seen as selfish, but if you don’t link to other websites, that’s exactly how Google sees your website. Selfish webmasters don’t generate organic traffic. The most selfish webmasters around are spammers who create sites filled with ads, hoping people will visit and click. Google suppresses these low-quality websites from turning up in legitimate searches.
If you don’t link to other high-quality websites, Google might mistake your website for spam.
Having a page dedicated to resources linked from the main menu gives your visitors a reason to trust you and come back for more. If your site is an authority site, providing a multitude of information will cause others to link to and promote your site as an authority in your niche.
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