Too many times a journalist or a local news website has swiped ideas off of one of the websites I’ve been working on, mentioned a brand and not linked, or not linked to an article which would have made it better. What gives?
Last week one of our clients was mentioned by CNN, which was totally awesome, but then the content was syndicated on 385 other websites. This was awesome as well, but 375 out of the 385 sites stripped the links out! The article contained text quoted from my client’s site with no link. This is unheard of on the Internet, unethical, worthless to the reader, and stupid.
Why don’t news organizations link out to other websites?
I am clueless here and can only speculate. Below are some possibilities as to why news organizations don’t link out.
- It is bad for SEO. Some SEOs have said in the past that linking out reduces the power of your page. This is stupid; the opposite is true. Linking out makes your page more powerful.
- Link rot? This is a valid concern but easily maintained over time. When linking to others , eventually the link will die. Not a big deal- I check for link rot on over 30 of my own sites, 30+ client sites, and hundreds of other people’s sites. You just crawl your site, it is literally a click to locate external 404s.
- Links cause people to leave. Sure, people are going to leave. So what? They’ll be back. You’re the NEWS. If you provide any value at all to people in your area, they’ll be back.
Why news organizations should link out
- Links are good for SEO. If you are linking to something which provides additional information on the topic you covered or cites a relevant resource, it does indeed help your content perform better. It is a fact. (You’ll just have to believe me here since I didn’t link to the source! See what I did there?)
- Link rot? Have one of your lazy employees go through your site twice a year to fix this, although it is not a big deal.
- Links cause people to leave. And enhancing an article by linking to the source builds value. Duh. Plenty of websites that link out have visitors that return. Have you ever heard of reddit? This is sort of how the Internet works.
Generally speaking, any site that does not link out is very likely behind the times on many other aspects of technology. These are the same sites that don’t allow comments or are covered in ads, have under paid employees and are generally not very successful.