When linking to a page for the purpose of reference, it seems better to me to link to the archive of a given page, rather than to the original site itself.
This ensures that after some years have gone by, my article is guaranteed to be consistent. Due the changing nature of the web, there is a chance that after some years, the link could lead to a:
- 404 / Not Found (most common)
- Changed or edited content, or entirely replaced content
- Content that, due to a rise in popularity, is now shielded, demanding the user to make an account to read the entire article.
Linking to an archive is probably more authoritative than linking to unstable dynamic web content.
Take defensive measures. To future-proof your content, rather than reference the general web, its far more reliable to link to an archive.
The Epoch Times wrote an article on Smartphones data-mining their users. This is the archived article here:
Article Content Before
You can see its perfectly “normal” readable useful content.
Article Content After
Now it’s spam from a site suffering financial need.
So in Feb 14 2019 your users would have seen the content you intended. However in Sep 07 2020, your users are being asked to support independent Journalism instead.
If an Archive Record Doesn't Exist, Make One
Its worth the extra moment, in referencing a site, to make an archive of the page you wish to reference, if one does not exist. After that, immediately use the link from the archive.org entry, rather than the blog, news, info, or forum site you wish to refer to.
In Unstable Times, Take Measures for Stability
The web is a fast changing place. Even more during the Covid pandemic and suffering financial markets. Since times are financially harder, websites are disappearing, heaping up advertising, demanding user response, and things like this.
To avoid your content losing quality due to these things, linking to a solid, unchanging static copy of the page is far more reliable.
Author Leo Blanchette