Blog It Forward

A new research study from Yale suggests that outgoing links, even to competitors, builds traffic. The argument goes: outgoing links can help a blog’s readers answer their informational needs, even if the content isn’t originated at the linking blog. Therefore, blog readers will become more loyal to the blog even though they are being directed to competitors.

This argument sounds OK as a theoretical long run explanation, but I think there’s another explanation for the value of ongoing links that has significantly more short-term currency. Many bloggers maintain vanity monitoring tools which notify them when another blogger links to their blog. An outgoing link triggers these notification tools. It’s like sending the other bloggers an email, except that these notifications aren’t blocked by spam filters. Therefore, outgoing links bring a blog to the attention of other bloggers, some of whom either establish reciprocal links immediately or become regular readers and start linking to the blog in the ordinary course of blogging.

HT: Kevin at LexBlog