Late last week the BBC Editors blog came out with a post explaining the policy for linking out. Speak to any SEO individual worth their salt & they will say links from good sources (such as the BBC) are great for your site. So it was with interest I read the general jist of their policy – particularly the first point:-
“Related links matter: They are part of the value you add to your story – take them seriously and do them well; always provide the link to the source of your story when you can; if you mention or quote other publications, newspapers, websites – link to them; you can, where appropriate, deep-link; that is, link to the specific, relevant page of a website.”
Right, so if you quote somebody, then link to them. Fair enough – I’d do the same (in fact, I’ve done so already in this article). Ignore the SEO context & the whole marketing aspect, if A quotes B, A should link to B, it’s just polite.
I’ve been linked to before from the BBC website (when I’ve been on the radio to discuss blogging), and surprisingly it doesn’t bring that much traffic, sure a link’s a link though, but I can imagine if you’re quoted on a relevant news story then your traffic goes through the roof. But still, I think it’s just good practice, you quote something, you link to the source. Ben Goldacre talked about it for Scientific Jorunals – which is crucial as often they state fact rather than opinion, but should it also cover opinion pieces whereby websites are quoted? Here’s my example.
Last November, Orig Williams – a local legend in North Wales & in the world of Professional Wrestling – died. We have an area of the Britannia Wrestling (henceforth known as BWP) website called The British Wrestlers Directory which features bios of British Wrestlers past and present – often written by people who knew the wrestlers or the wrestlers themselves, and Orig Williams had a page because he was well known & had a large part in training 3 or 4 of the guys on the current roster. This, coupled with Orig’s fantastically stubborn nature against technology and my knowledge of SEO, meant that we were often high in Google for searches related to the great man, and when news broke of his death, the site was quoted (although more of a “fansite”, rather than a “wrestling promotion”).
Despite being quoted, we never got a link, not to the home page & not to the page in question from the article.
I’m not one to complain, particularly as I felt that it would be a bit off complaining about something so trivial for a linkback in tragic circumstances, the website itself is a commercial entity rather than a fan website (which may go against BBC’s linking policy) & the BWP in an ironic twist has gained commercially since Orig’s death. I’m also aware that mistakes happen – our site was just not linked to – and in this case I’m not sure I want it rectified. From a technological standpoint I didn’t even mention it at the time because the server that the site was on did nearly buckle under the weight of search traffic. Make no mistake – Orig was a popular man.
I believe that it shouldn’t just be scientific research papers that BBC should link to, but also to opinion pieces as well, particularly if they are quoted within the material, it makes everybody more accountable for what they say. Journalists because they can state even one opinion that agrees with them, and writers, commenters & news makers to word their pieces in such a way that they protect reputations & not be misquoted.