Several months ago, we discussed the importance of inbound links, or "backlinks," to your search engine page rank. We also discussed how to make your internal links work for you (like I'm doing in this paragraph). Finally, we talked about how NOT to use outbound links (also using "nofollow").
Outbound links that appear to be "gaming" the search engines, such as blog rolls, or anchor text to related sites can actually hurt you more than help you, however, because the search engine algorithms are becoming more and more sophisticated and can detect this sort of thing with increasing accuracy. Outbound links, however, are part of a good page rank score, and they help to so what are some good ways to incorporate them into your daily blogging? Remember, most of the time you want to link to sites that have the same or better page rank than your blog has.
Citations and quotes: Linking to expert bloggers or researchers to validate your points is a good way to (most importantly) give credit where it is due, but also to earn page rank points (e.g. paragraph #2 above, where I have linked to two experts in the field of SEO).
Photo and illustration credits: If you're using photos or illustrations from other sites, be sure to link back to those sites, in the form of a photo credit. Note: be sure not to simply "hotlink," because using other people's bandwidth is basically "stealing" in the blogosphere, and because if that blogger ever deletes or changes the photo you've hotlinked, your post will not display properly.
Hat-tips or nods: If you get a story idea from or were inspired by another website or blogger, but didn't actually use any content from that site, you can still link to the site, by giving including a "hat-tip," or "thank you" type of link at the end of your post.
What are some creative ways you have found to link to other bloggers?
Jennifer Pointer (e-mail) is in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking.