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January 17, 2008

The Importance of Linking Out & Small Businesses to SEO

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Make Friends, Help Users, Link Out

Over at DigitalPoint, one member asks if it’s okay for him to link out to other sites and expresses concern that if he does link out, his audience will forget to come back! Oh no!

To answer the confused member’s question, yes, you should absolutely link to complementary Web sites. Outbound links to authoritative resources are important to search engine optimization because they show your visitors and the search engines that you’re part of your community and that you know what a quality site is. And when you link to experts, it helps you to become an expert by association. More to the point, if you don’t link out it, your site will look very unnatural to both your audience and the engines.

As long as your site is useful to its audience, there’s no reason to worry that visitors will forget to come back once they go off looking for additional information. It’s more likely that they’ll appreciate the resources you have introduced them to and it will help them to build trust and loyalty with your brand.

If you’re worried about linking to direct competitors, simply don’t link to them. Find complementary sites that can provide visitors with information without trying to sell to them. Also, make sure you keep your outbound links relevant to your industry, helpful to your visitors and free of spammy influences!

I could go on and on but we have tons of great information and linking and link popularity on the Bruce Clay site. So instead of my rambling I’ll just point you there.

Matt McGee: Small Businesses Are Important To SEO

Buddy Matt McGee had a great column over at Search Engine Land today entitled Why The SEO Industry Needs Small Business. I wholeheartedly agree with Matt that small businesses are important to this industry. They’re probably what this whole industry was based on-improving smaller sites so they’re more organized and competitive so they can rank with the big boys. And if Bruce’s 2008: The Year In Preview predictions are correct, small business owners may find themselves with far more options when it comes to picking a search engine optimization firm.

If you haven’t read Bruce’s predictions article, I’d really recommend it. One of the most interesting things he mentions is his belief that SEO services will increase at the low budget price point when newly laid-off SEOs start their own companies and begin offering services at lower, more competitive prices. Prices that would likely fit in very well with the advertising budget of a small business.

Bruce explains:

If this develops, by mid-year we may find many new Internet Marketing businesses able to supply adequate services for well under $1,000 per month. As a result of all of these issues, there will be a rush to SEO training, a surge of new work-from-home SEO companies, and mixed pricing signals. It will be the latter half of 2008 when this really takes off, and it will not slow until 2009.

If, and when, that happens, small businesses will become even more important to search engine optimization, so make sure you’re treating those "little" guys right!

Fun Finds

Gemme is back on Search Engine Journal to let us know what’s going on in search internationally and tells us that China has 210 million Internet users.

Donna tries to search marketers to take Friday off from reading or writing blogs and spend the day /actually/ working. Since my job is to write in a blog does that mean I can stay home? Will someone explain this to Bruce so I don’t get in trouble? Okay, thanks.





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