David Eaves has taken a look at the linking policies of major US and UK news websites, and found a correlation between the number of outbound links and incoming links.

This, he says, indicates that rather than taking away valuable page views, being generous with outbound links can actually benefit publishers by increasing the number of incoming links.

For instance, the BBC and the New York Times both have over 1.7m outbound links and receive more than 25m incoming links.

But sites that are more stingy, such as The Daily Express and The Star, both receive far fewer incoming links.

There are a few anomalies in the list. For instance, The Independent, which only links out from its blogs, had 1.46m outbound links and 3.7m incoming.

By contrast, The Telegraph sends out 333,000 links from blogs and news articles, and has received 3.7m inbound.

I asked David why this is:

"Up until fairly recently I just don’t think that the Independent fully embraced the internet and SEO. This could explain why they are behind in terms of inbound links.

"The Mail and the Telegraph both do very well despite not linking out very often (although they are getting better with the blogs). This is because the type of content they produce does incredibly well on social sites like Digg."

Related research:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) - Best Practice Guide 2007

Related stories:
The ongoing battle for links
The Google paid link dilemma

Graham Charlton

Published 22 July, 2008 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is editor in chief at SaleCycle, and former editor at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin.

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Comments (2)


Will - ArenaFlowers.com

Getting a link off a newspaper is pretty tricky these days, even if you give a lot of time and so on for interviews or industry info...getting one without nofollow on, even harder. I think it's a bit of a knee-jerk and will loosen in time.

Ref BBC - bear in mind that they were compelled a while ago to link out more to relevant websites, primarily in order to allay fears of their all conquering state-funded web properties steam-rollering privately funded online news and other sites. So they didn't really have much choice.

Wikipedia, similarly to the beeb, has lots of great content and lots of outbound links. However, unlike the beeb, they were free to whack nofollows everywhere to avoid leaking google juice - or possibly to prevent their reader edited model being abused for seo purposes. ;) There'd be uproar, I'm sure, if the beeb nofollowed all its external links.

Totally agree though that, whatever the history, they're both great resources and not surprised at all that such an approach is successful with them and elsewhere as the content is simply likely to be richer and the story perceived as less self-interested.

about 10 years ago

Chris Lake

Chris Lake, CEO at Empirical Proof

We used to link to newspapers in every article, rather than just providing a credit for the story, but it's very much a one-way favour so we have stopped doing it.

about 10 years ago

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