Throughout schooling, you were likely told about the importance of picking reputable, or credible, sites for linking sources used in papers and other assignments. Choosing .gov, .edu, and .org websites was the best you could do to show that the site you were referencing had solid information. When linking to other sites in blog posts, this same advice still holds true. It helps to show that the information you’re linking to comes from a reputable source.
But since a blog is posted on the internet, rather than a paper that gets printed and handed in, there are more things to consider when linking to a site in your blog. Now, you have to think about the potential for possible backlinks and the task of building overall authority to your site. That way, your blog can get more traffic and perform better as a search engine result.
Let’s take a look at the three most important tips for choosing sites to link in your blog.
Find Recent, Credible, and Relevant Sources
Just like for your papers and assignments in school, the more credible websites end in .gov, .edu, and .org, but that’s not all there is to ensuring that a site or article is credible. Even if you find an article on a government site that has good information, if the article was from 1999, it might not be the most credible source you can find. If the information hasn’t changed in 20 years, like certain laws or the results of lawsuits, then it could be the most reputable, but more often than not, you should try to find an article that’s more recent.
Ideally, your source’s publishing date should be within the last year. But if you can’t find a good source that is from within the year, then try to find a source from within the last couple years. As said above, though, sometimes the most credible site is outdated, but the information is still relevant. Use your best judgement in scenarios like that.
When it comes to what you’re writing, it’s also important that the information you’re linking to is relevant to your topic. If your source has nothing to do with your blog’s topic, even though it’s credible, you could lower the credibility of your own blog. That’s just to say, don’t link to sources just because they’re recent and credible—they also need to be relevant to what you’re writing.
Look at Your Source’s Search Engine Ranking
If you’re choosing to link a little-known site on the tenth page of Google’s search results, it’s possible that your page won’t be taken as seriously because your sources aren’t considered reputable by the search engine’s algorithm. When you choose a credible source that follows the above guidelines and is in the top search results from Google, it’s likely that your page will gain credibility from that link.
Of course, the search engine isn’t always right—sometimes great information and a credible source doesn’t make the first page of Google’s search results. For instance, if the legislation you’re looking for isn’t on the first page of results, but it’s still a government page, then it could still be a good source. Use your best judgement if it’s not on the first page but fits your other criteria.
Look at the Sites Your Source Links
Another way to find a credible source to link in your blog is to look at the sources that another reputable source links. This doesn’t mean that you should copy everything the other site does. But it does mean that you should take into consideration what sites and articles they’re using and see if those sources could help your blog and its credibility.
If the source you’re looking at links to somewhere even more credible, then it may be beneficial to link directly to that more credible site. For example, if you’re considering choosing a source that’s a blog, but that blog links to a piece of legislation on the state’s official site, then you should generally choose the official legislation over the blog as a source. This method is also advisable when finding useful information on a competitor’s website.
At Legal InSites, we take links seriously. Our job is to help our clients build high-ranking sites that not only provide results due to solid SEO strategies, but also because the content is engaging and creative. Reach out to us if you’re interested in improving your law firm’s website.
Happy (Safe) New Year: Here’s to a Great 2021