5 Reasons Why I Won’t Link to Your Website

16 Aug

When I’m in the middle of creating a new website or an in-depth blog article, one of things I usually do is making a list of which websites to link out to. Sometimes, visitors may find a resource page, a list with links to other relevant websites or a few in-content links very interesting. And when a page is relevant to mine, meets a certain quality standard, and adds value to the content on my page, I’m usually more than happy to link to it. For free. However, you’d be surprised how very few pages meet that quality standard.

1. Ads before content

If I want to see nothing but ads, I’ll go to Google. When I’m looking for content to link to, and I land on a page with a 336×280 AdSense block above the fold, or with bouncing banner ads that have to be minimized before I can read the content on the page, I will definitely not link to it. Why on earth would I want to let my visitors experience something annoying like that?

It’s not a problem that you try to monetize your website, but do you really have to turn your page into a blinking neon sign to do so? Ditch some ads and get more links!

2. Bad writing & grammar

You don’t have to be a best selling novelist, but you should be able to tell me a story without boring me to death. Also, when you’re too lazy to use a spell checker, you probably didn’t deserve that link. Remarkable writers score bonus points, though.

If you don’t like writing, hire someone to do it for you! You can usually tell if someone doesn’t like writing, just by reading one of his or her articles. Try Demand Media if you want to see some examples…

3. Sell, sell, sell

A good salesman knows when he should try to sell something, and when it’s time to socialize or to talk about other things. Bad salesmen try to sell nearly anything, at all times, to anyone, which can be quite annoying. Is your website a good or a bad salesman?

There’s nothing wrong with promoting your services every now and then, but when nearly every blog post is nothing but a lengthy sales pitch with a picture of a kitten, I won’t be linking out to you anytime soon.

4. Link greed and pink illness

The web is a social place. Linking out every now and then is not a bad thing. It might be the link builder in me, but when I see a blog that has zero outbound links in the last 10 or so articles, I’ll go and find a more social website to link out to. The same goes for linking out to your sources. Link out, and thou wilt receive.

Websites that automatically nofollow all outbound links are even worse, in my opinion. I don’t care if it’s company policy, a WordPress plugin going berserk, or ‘something that IT should have fixed two weeks ago’, I’ll do the same to you. Nofollow and thou wilt receive. Yes, karma can be a bitch.

5. Being mediocre

Just recently, I was looking for an article with beautiful city landscapes for an ‘additional resources’ section of a page. I ended up at a nicely written page about city landscapes and what’s beautiful about them, but that page did not contain any photographs. When the SERPS of the topic of your page contain image results (like so), your page should contain images. Period.

Also, when you do a ‘Top 101 Ways to do X’ article, make sure that it contains 101 ways to do X. Not 14, followed by 87 variations of the first fourteen ways. When I send my visitors away from my site to visit yours, I want them to go ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’. Not ‘meh’ or ‘boo’.

Of course, there are several other reasons that will make me think twice about linking to your website (lack of uniqueness, very ugly web design, bad neighborhoods, not having an ‘about us’ section, being a direct competitor, etc.), but for me, the 5 reasons mentioned in this article are the most important ones.

How about you? What makes you link to other websites, or what prevents you from doing so?

24 Responses to “5 Reasons Why I Won’t Link to Your Website”

  1. Laurie Macomber August 17, 2010 at 12:32 am #

    I agree with 99% of this, but what’s wrong with having an About Us section of a website?

  2. Wiep August 17, 2010 at 8:03 am #

    @Laurie; it’s the other way around, not having an about section makes your site look less credible, and may prevent websites (especially media portals) from linking to you.

  3. clickrust August 17, 2010 at 8:33 am #

    “When the SERPS of the topic of your page contain image results (like so), your page should contain images. Period.”


    What about video’s? Same difference..

  4. Bas van den Beld August 17, 2010 at 10:49 am #

    All great points Wiep. Especially the ‘link greed’ one I agree with very much.

    Btw, how did this post, which has the publishing date of August 16 end up in the SEL Searchcap of August 14? :)

  5. Nigel Townsend August 18, 2010 at 9:18 am #

    Just out of interest, are you this arrogant in real life?

  6. Wiep August 18, 2010 at 9:28 am #

    @Clickrust: You could do the same with videos, but that’s not as important as for images.

    @Bas: Probably a wrong Searchcap timestamp.

    @Nigel: not at all :) There’s a big difference between being arrogant and being picky, though…

  7. Jim Rudnick August 18, 2010 at 1:55 pm #

    Great blog piece, Wiep! Especially the note on the NOFOLLOWs…sigh…a WP initiative that IMHO, ain’t such a good idea, eh!



  8. Bas van den Beld August 20, 2010 at 10:07 pm #

    That must be it Wiep.

    @Nigel, you clearly never met Wiep, he is one of the least arrogant people out there I would say :)

  9. Christina August 22, 2010 at 6:00 am #

    When the article is really useful, something unique and the site itself exhibits professionalism, that I have to link to. Great advice as always, a good reminder of what’s not to do in creating content and how to behave on the web with regards to link building.

  10. Rebecca Haden August 22, 2010 at 3:49 pm #

    It’s not arrogance. As a web writer, I often need to find good sites to link to — a recent assignment, for example, required several good resource sites for a number of different topics. It’s frustrating to be unable to find good sites to link to — and I’d add outdated code that limits accessibility or gives a bad user experience to your list. I think I particularly noticed it in the case of this assignment because it was a set of articles for a PR7 site. Since I also do linkbuilding, I know how valuable those links are, and I hated to give them to sites that weren’t very good.
    As a user of the web, I don’t like being sent to poor quality sites , so I’m not going to do that to my readers. I think it’s courteous, rather than arrogant.

  11. Wayne August 23, 2010 at 10:59 pm #

    Very good post-

    Although you have already alluded to it in your post-does provding a link to another website provide value to your visitors and potential customers. If it does-fine link to the wite-if not move on.



  12. Eric August 25, 2010 at 3:26 am #

    Ha dude your awesome. I enjoy your talk about people that get it wrong and why people won’t link to sites. You just say it straight up. In fact I am guilty of a lot of this.

    On the other hand, have you ever got an email from people wanting to do a link exchange with your site and they say they have a high PR when its actually Fake?

    I had such as laugh when I saw this and I keep getting these emails. Its ridiculous and I can’t stand it.

    Great blog. I am happy I found it.
    P.S. I had a laugh at your talk here: http://wiep.net/talk/link-building/honest-link-requests/

  13. AVP August 25, 2010 at 1:59 pm #

    Funny points.

    Apparently to you, outbound links are more valuable from a site rather than it’s overall content for linking.

  14. Andy Kinsey August 25, 2010 at 3:40 pm #

    great post and all so true, another reason would be if the site design doesn’t match the content… aka you may have great content but if you’ve some awkward layout i wont be linking

  15. Sajith Anandan August 27, 2010 at 6:47 am #

    Great link building check list. I think page rank is also need to check before link to any other site. Explained well. Thx for posting

  16. Anita Campbell September 1, 2010 at 5:47 pm #

    Good points all, Wiep.

    Number #4 aggravates me to no end, because people and companies all too often deliberately out of their way NOT to link to other sites or to add “no follow” tags. Yet, they turn around and write me asking me to highlight their articles on my own sites.

    However, one thing I have learned recently is that some of the non-linking (in the case of company blogs) may be due to a disconnect between the tech staff and the marketing people. I have learned that the marketing people may not even be aware of ubiquitous no-follow tags — that sometimes those are added in by the tech people or in one case I know of, automatically added in by the CMS page for ALL outbound links. Or that someone may have set company policy about not linking out — without understanding the ramifications.

    My hope is that more marketing people (especially those just making the transition from traditional marketing to online marketing) become more aware of this issue and how it is hurting them.

    – Anita

  17. Ross Hudgens September 2, 2010 at 11:56 pm #

    Good suggestions.. makes me want to link out a bit more. I’m glad to have once gotten a link from you, though. I’ll spread the love a little more freely in the future!

  18. bag321 September 13, 2010 at 4:07 am #

    The great link building checklist. I think top still need to check pages connected to any other site

  19. Mark Faggiano September 14, 2010 at 1:57 am #


    Big fan of the blog.

    Just curious how you draw the line on ‘no-follow’…you mention you won’t link out to anyone who no-follows, yet you no-follow your blog comments. Is that because you’re going for quality control in comments? Not a knock, just looking to learn your thoughts.

    Look forward to your response. Thanks for the post.

  20. Wiep September 14, 2010 at 8:43 am #

    @Mark: yes, the comment nofollows are for quality control (when you have left, the nofollow will automatically be removed, though). I don’t mind websites that nofollow user generated links, but I *do* think it’s weird when they nofollow editorial links…

  21. Peter Dunin September 14, 2010 at 2:41 pm #

    You’ve raised some excellent points I hadn’t even thought about,thanks for sharing your words of wisdom!

  22. Hemant Bhargava October 6, 2010 at 1:11 pm #

    the article is good. your information is useful but link building is more valuable then the content of the site.

  23. John October 8, 2010 at 2:59 am #

    Great post, I can’t stand ads before content.

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