Louis Gray is the Global Program Manager at Google. He is widely respected for his opinions about product marketing over the Internet. In one of his articles he stated that he began to think that links from blogs simply aren’t that important any more. Is he right?
It has been said that the fact is, there are links and then there are links. This doesn’t make much sense until you look at the fact that a fleeting reference to a blog post probably doesn’t yield a lot of traffic even from a very large blog. However, a direct link to a product or service that you’ve described in the post will, most likely, yield almost as many click through to the link as were actually in the article itself.
Even without going into traffic analysis, however, Mr. Gray is probably somewhat right, at least from a traffic perspective. Direct linking between blogs just isn’t as important as it used to be. In today’s world, Twitter links actually work better: you’re confined to 140 characters, and if you happen to squeeze a link or two in there, visitors will inevitably click on it. Today’s discussion is moving slowly from blogs to places like Friend-feed and other similar services. Lately, many blogs are even taking a shorter route and linking directly to Tech-meme.
So, why are links still so important? The answer is that links are still the glue of the Internet in today’s world. Without links, there simply would not be any context. Google invariably has a hard time trying to position you in the search results, and Tech meme cannot find you at all. There are some obvious benefits which go well quite a bit further beyond the simple traffic bump that you get from a link.
However, for all practical purposes, it’s probably a good idea to keep links alive. There may be some times when you actually feel the necessity and must link. Whatever you write is going to be at least partly based on something that you’ve read elsewhere.
And maybe someone has a perfect analysis of some aspect about your topic, or perhaps the idea of your article comes from someone else’s work. A link enriches your article, it provides additional insight to the people who read it, but most of all, links simply make sense.
Linking might be totally from the 1990′s, but even here in the 21st Century, there’s no way that they are out of fashion just yet.