If you were in a crowded room and trying to prove that clouds are purple,  not white, you would look pretty ridiculous saying,  “But, see!? According to this other speech I gave at last week’s dinner party,  I claimed that clouds were purple there as well.  So obviously this proves my point.”

No, that wouldn’t happen.  To prove your point, you’d probably find a expert (preferably one who has studied cloud colors for many years) that said his scientific study proves that clouds are purple, not white. Or maybe you’d have photographic evidence of purple clouds that you’ve taken on a recent trip.

Just as you would back up your opinion at a cocktail party with outside sources, you need to do the same with your content online.

Choose a New Strategy

In a time when guest blogging as a solid SEO strategy is on the decline (due to overuse and abuse) and the focus on having high quality content on your own website (as well as few hand-selected others that take you hours to write content for) continues to increase, we need to choose the content over the links. 

Be above linking to another piece of writing on another site you’ve written just because you can and the anchor text relates to that other article. When actual human people are reading your content, they take that link to mean that it is either:

  1. Directing them to another page that will give them more information about that topic
  2. Reinforce the point or statistic you just offered

Yes, you could argue that #1 is point enough to driving people to other content you’ve written, but in this golden age of content, we should all be above talking about ourselves, over and over again.

You need to choose a new strategy that looks toward promoting other great writers, which does double duty by also offering another expert’s opinion on what you have to say (to reinforce your thoughts) or to cite your sources when you directly give a statistic or study finding.

And yes, of course, there are exceptions to the “no linking to yourself” rule: you did that great study yourself, or the content you wrote elsewhere is information that can’t be found anywhere else, but otherwise, let’s hold off on the purple clouds, shall we?

Build a Sense of Community to Reinforce Your Own Thoughts

This is power in quoting other people who agree with what you have to say. There have been several studies of the “hive mind mentality” where deindividuation happens to the best of us. From a marketer’s point of view, deindividuation is a good thing because you are proving to others to become part of the common thinking, to conform and buy into the ideas or products you are pushing.

In marketing, this idea is called social proof, and its basis in psychology has shaped the way copywriters churn out website content and blog posts. After all, with every post you write, don’t you want to either teach or persuade your audience about something? One of the best ways to do that is through external proof and support from someone else.

In addition to proving your point, social proof is a great way to build community. Everyone appreciates others linking to their content and appreciating all the hard work that went into it. And sending out a tweet or email to let them know you appreciate the content and referenced it in a work of your own is a great way to build your network and possibly get some more traffic to your content, all at the same time.

What are your thoughts on self-linking? Let me know in the comments.


Photo via Pixabay

Kelsey Jones

Kelsey Jones

Founder/Chief Marketing Consultant at Six Stories
Kelsey Jones helps clients around the world grow their social media, content, and search marketing presence. She enjoys writing and consuming all kinds of content, both in digital and tattered paperback form.
Kelsey Jones
Kelsey Jones