By nature, the Internet is a platform that allows for more engagement than any other medium. Not only is it not-linear, but it also combines music, video and writing.
To really utilize those capabilities and, for journalists, publish a story that will best benefit readers, links must be incorporated into the story. But there’s a lot of conversation about linking that centers around the pros and cons of linking to competitors in news stories.
Other than the obvious issue of advertising a competitor’s story when linking to that story, linking to any site potentially takes readers away from your site and from reading your entire story. And, if not used properly, links can be distracting and more of a hassel for readers rather than helping tools.
When writers include relevant links in their work, they act as aggregators for their readers. Just like Google sends users to various sites after a search, and yet always has users coming back to Google for more searches, a writer who uses links effectively should still maintain a solid readership as readers use the site as a homebase for finding news and articles to branch off to.
In addition to using links to build a solid base for readers, linking to other sources gives them the opportunity to link back to you, which boosts SEO, as mentioned above.
But many writers don’t use links, which is not only a disadvantage to their site’s traffic, but also raises an ethics issue.
The Internet is so multidimentional that readers need to know where information is coming from. Anyone can write a blog post and comment about information, so readers should be able to see the original source and determine for themselves how credible that source is.
The Internet might somewhat be a wild frontier, unlimited and unrestricted, but some of life’s fundamental principles still apply. When it comes to links, “link to other’s good stuff as you would have them link to your good stuff.”