This post is part of a series about the Internet marketing strategy I call Inbound Marketing, and is also part of a sub-series about the preparation that goes into a successful Inbound Marketing effort. To access those articles, click either of the links in the prior sentence.

A prior post explained the importance of putting a minimum of one outbound link in every post. This post discusses requirements your outbound links might have.

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These requirements I’m talking about in this post are the ones you self impose, and they will differ depending upon the nature of your business.

Do you provide a local service?

Examples are car repair and home improvement. If this is the case, you do not want to link to direct competitors in your service area, and you do want to link to people who would be direct competitors were it not for the fact that they are elsewhere.

If you fix cards in Mountain View, CA, link to the websites of car repair shops in other cities and states.

Do you provide a regional (state) service?

Some industries are heavily regulated by the state. If you provide an online class to prepare people to take the Notary Public exam in California, anyone who does the same in California is a competitor of yours, but people who do the same in Texas, Florida, New York, etc are not.

Do you provide a national service?

If the service you provide is independent of geography and can be provided remotely, the strategy above will not work for you. Instead, you want to link to websites of businesses with whom you share a common customer. I’ll use the example of a mortgage broker.

It may not be safe to link to the websites of any other mortgage brokers, but you can link to the websites of Realtors and Title Companies at will, provided you link to pages on their websites that discuss mortgages and/or mortgage brokers.

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