What's this [h/t] thing under my post?

You may have noticed a bracketed [h/t ] link at the bottom of some of my posts. A colleague asked me last week what it means, and I thought I should share the answer here.

In brief, h/t stands for "Hat Tip", as in "A tip of the hat to...". It is used on blogs to indicate, thank, and send traffic to the source you learned about a story from. For example, I learned about Autodesk's Project Bluestreak from BD+C's Building 360 blog, so if I wrote a post about it I would link directly to Autodesk's site in the body of the post and include a link to BD+C's post at the bottom of the page like this: [h/t Building 360]

Why do this?  Two main reasons:

  1. It's good netiquette. Someone wrote an article good enough and informative enough that you made use of them; give them credit.
  2. Cross-linking improves SEO. Linking to someone's blog improves the likelihood they will link back to you; search engines like this.
Ok, so that's why I want to give someone credit; why bother linking to the original source then? 

I recommend linking to the original source wherever possible. It's more authoritative, and reduces the number of clicks your readers need to make. Plus, the original source will probably be available longer than the articles linking to it, reducing the risk of dead links on your blog. It also improves the variety of sources you cite. Again, this improves your SEO by connecting you to more corners of the web.

Some people link to the blog's homepage; some link directly to the post they are referencing. I do not think it matters which way you go; the important part, in the spirit of last week's holiday, is that you give thanks.