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How to Link From Your Content to Build Leads and Connections Provide value for your business with the right linking strategy.

By Ann Smarty Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Whenever we create digital content, we reference other web pages, either for further reading or to give a credit. In most cases, we link out in order to create better content and provide the reader with more information on the subject.

But did you know that links can provide further value for your business? If you approach it strategically, linking out can actually bring leads and business contacts. Here are a few ways to achieve more by linking out to external sources:

Related: Why Your Content Marketing Is Failing and How to Fix It

1. If you want those links clicked, phrase them accordingly.

A call to action is an instruction to your audience, guiding them towards your goal conversion. Usually calls to action are designed in the form of a button that stands out on your page in order to trigger some type of an action.

A text link can be an effective call to action as well, provoking an immediate response from your reader. It's obvious that if you want your site readers to do something, you'll get better results if you tell them exactly what to do. Whenever you want your page visitor to read further, it may be a good idea to word your link exactly that way -- "Click here to read further."

2. Keep your links descriptive for usability and accessibility purposes.

While a link that says "click here" can be a good action trigger encouraging your readers to actually click, it's a poor way to word your links from usability and accessibility standpoint. In order for "click here" links to make sense, your readers will have to read the surrounding text to put the link into context. This process requires more effort, both in terms of eye movements and mental processing.

Related: 6 SEO Strategies That Are Hurting Your Online Business

As for accessibility, visually impaired users of your site who use screen readers to navigate your web page will have even more trouble with "click here" links because they will make no sense to them. That being said, there are lots of ways to accommodate both goals of getting people to click and complying with usability and accessibility standards. Here are a few ways to word your links to achieve both:

  • "Click here to read more about ..."
  • "Click here to download the full guide ..."

On top of that, a text link can trigger an opt-in form -- which actually makes it a valid lead generating call to action. These types of lead generation opt-ins are referred to as "two step," and they can be easily built with OptinMonster Wordpress plugin.

3. Link out for relationship building purposes.

Linking to a person is one of the best ways to become friends with them. People love being referenced by other writers, and they usually show up to thank, provide more details and share your piece with their community.

There are a few tricks to turn your linking practices into a relationship building tactic:

  • Reference niche influencers who are active and responsive on social media. These people are more likely to engage with you after you let them know you linked to their content.
  • Use social media tagging to let those influencers know that you referenced them.
  • If you link for relationship building purposes, keep your links as descriptive as you can. Include the author's name, book title, Twitter handle, etc. Many niche influencers use tools to monitor their brand name mentions, so your mention will get noticed. Read about citation tips in a research paper; include "Last Name, First Name. Page Title. Website Title."

Linking out for relationship building is probably only possible for content focused sites (blogs and online magazines). Ecommerce linking is a bit different. But if you have a blog section on your ecommerce website, the tactic will work for you too.

Related: How Real Marketers Create Backlinks That Matter

While links work great for reinforcing your calls-to-action and building relationships with niche influencers, their primary goal is to add value to your content. Always keep that in mind when linking out from your content.

Ann Smarty

Founder of MyBlogU, Brand Manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas

Ann Smarty is the brand and community manager at InternetMarketingNinjas.com as well as the founder of MyBlogU.com. Smarty has been into internet marketing for seven years, she is the former editor-in-chief of Search Engine Journal and contributor to prominent search and social blogs including Small Biz Trends and Mashable. Smarty is also a frequent speaker at Pubcon and the host of regular Twitter chats #vcbuzz and #myblogu.

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