There has been a common misunderstanding that linking some how affects your ranking negatively, as though you bleed page rank or something. This is of course wrong and many websites have been penalised when not enough out bound links have been established. However, it doesn’t seem to affect bloggers as much as linking is one of the high lights for a post.
For the most part, links make blog posts more interesting than they really are. They provide added information for the readers and allows bloggers to slack of so that they don’t need to write as much. For example, Darren Rowae of Problogger has already blogged about the benefits of linking to others and how it is a golden rule of blogging, and by linking to him and his posts, I have established that there is backing to my claims (as someone of a higher social status has written about the same topic) and have given the reader an additional source of information to look into.
Not to mention, linking actually adds a little bit more volume to your text, in terms of presentation and readability. It gives your text a little bit more colour and helps ease the reader into understanding and actually reading your text. The linked text also acts as a subject highlighter for skim readers as more often than not, the linked text are the main topics or related topics of the blog post.
I won’t go into detail about how it gets you more traffic as Darren Rowae has already written about in his post regarding the benefits of linking, but after linking to a few different blog sites, I started to notice the increased referral traffic I get from the site I link to. Adding to this, I recently went into a small contest over at Seomoz.org and was linked dropped by Rebecca for my subtle incorporation of a link for the Greatest Living American challenge.
Linking also provides a sense of community within the Blogosphere, by linking you are establishing a relationship with the person you are linking to. Much like how you speak of person B to person A during a conversation or a discussion. If linking is done properly within the blogosphere, you can start to mentally (and algorithmically) determine the network a blogger is in and how relevant the posts are to each other.
So instead of putting link condoms on (nofollow) or not linking at all, how about you open your mind and share the link juice. Linking is what makes the blogosphere go round and it also motivates us to write more, as links are seen as ego boosters.