As consumers of news and information, we see more and more links within text. Some links take us to previously published articles that shed more light on a particular topic within an article. Other links take us to completely irrelevant pages. The latter is annoying at best and, personally, it makes me leery of clicking on any links in text because I want to avoid falling prey to the link trap.
What’s up with all the links on news publishers’ sites? The short answer is monetization. Publishers are increasingly inserting links into articles to keep readers on their site longer to increase the value of advertising dollars, point readers directly to advertisements, and sell their traffic to other publishers – all to generate revenue.
If you’re a marketer, your link strategy shouldn’t mirror this approach. While backlinks are still important for SEO purposes, the game has changed. With Google’s Penguin algorithm update, relevancy trumps quantity of backlinks. This means pumping contributed articles and press releases that will be published by third party sites with multiple links to your website to generate backlinks can now negatively impact your SEO efforts.
Aside from SEO though, there’s another aspect to consider when thinking about your link strategy for press releases, blogs and contributed content. We are an easily distracted society. The average human now has an 8 second attention span. If you offer too many links to too many various destinations, it’s likely your target audience will get distracted, possibly forget to come back to the original content, and they’ll miss your message.
If you’re trying to make a statement, you want your target audience to stay with you long enough to absorb the message you’re communicating. Inserting more than one or two hyperlinks makes that nearly impossible to accomplish because you are essentially pushing your readers off the page.
So consider the balance between link building and public relations (PR). The best way to approach both is to always be authentic. For instance, don’t create content only as a keyword, link-stuffing SEO ploy. Simply think about the links you insert into your content which is (hopefully) part of your strategic communications plan and ask yourself this: Are they absolutely necessary and relevant?