One of the basics of Search Engine Optimization is building links to your web site. The more reputable links seen by the search engines can correlate to a higher ranking. Yes, there are things to consider when evaluating a link exchange request; relevancy, the reputation of the other web site, etc. But, when your customers, users, or re-sellers want to simply place a link to your web site from their own web site, and they are not asking for a recipricol link, why are so many major corporations still requiring “permission” to do so?
You’ll hear several reasons why:
- Brand recognition
- Legal said we had to
- Doesn’t everyone have to ask for permission to link to another site?
Yes, there are still people out there that think linking to a site requires permission by the site owner. And yes, there are legal departments that still want to control who links to the corporation’s web site. And yes, there are marketing people that believe it tarnishes the corporate brand.
In fact, the opposite is true. And requiring those who do business with you to ask permission and sign a 3-page legal document just to simply put a link to your web site is only going to discourage them from doing so. This causes your corporation to lose out on a one-way link that can help you with the search engines.
Make it easy
Your corporation should make it easier for those who do business with them to link to their web site. And at the same time keeping the brand in-tact. Provide logos, content, landing pages and any other applicable items to encourage and make it easier for people to link to you and link to you correctly. Don’t require permission or a signed legal document.
But legal still says…
Keep in mind our discussion here centers around a direct link to a page on your web site where the link clearly indicates to the user they are leaving the web site currently being viewed and onto your web site. We are not discussing inline links where another site is ”stealing” your images or content and making it look like their own by appearing on their web site. A pure and simple link like:
The question would be how can your legal department argue with that? Most times, the issue is the legal department does not understand what is being requested. They’ve heard about cases where one site is stealing another site’s content and presenting it as their own. Or the reverse link, the corporation links to another site for information, and it turns out to be false or mis-leading information, and customers hold the corporation responsible for providing false or mis-leading information (thus invented the disclaimer interim page of “You are now leaving thiscompany.com web site and we are not responsible for the content”).
The bottomline: Stop the roadblock! Encourage those who do business with you to link to your web site. Your company will benefit with increased visitors, possibly conversions if applicable, as well as the search engines.