When you have a blog and you’re writing up original content (as you should be), you might wonder how to attribute any sources you may use. That is, how do you let people know what resources you used to write the article in the first place? Recently, a webmaster got in touch with Google engineer, Matt Cutts, to ask him this very question and how it relates to SEO. And the answer may surprise you.
You see, where you attribute your sources actually doesn’t matter. At all. When building up the SEO for your site and while you’re trying to stay within the Google Webmaster Guidelines, you might think that where you put source links in articles matters for building your site’s rank and encourage PageRank flow. However, this is not the case. In fact, Cutts was only able to offer up tips in terms of what he found to be preferable as a reader.
With that in mind, Cutts prefers that people place links to the original source for an article (the article that the writer got their information from) near the top of the post. So, the first paragraph would be great. It’s not enough to just say, “According to a popular tech blog…” or even, “According to Wired…” You need to put an actual link in there that directs people to the source material. Otherwise, you are technically attributing your source but your not participating in PageRank flow and you’re not being very considerate to your readers who want to know where to find out additional information. Now that is important for SEO.
You can certainly place the link to the source at the bottom of the article, so long as it’s clearly defined, perhaps like this: “Source: Website” with website being the link. If it’s a really long article though, the odds that someone will make it to the bottom is slim and that can make it like you’re not really giving any credit at all.
Basically, Cutts advises webmasters and bloggers to be courteous to those they obtain information from. This means always citing your sources, of course, but it also means being considerate in where you place this attribution. Make it easy for your readers to find so they can pursue additional information if they want it easily. Being responsible on the web is about more than just SEO.