Advice for Beginning Bloggers: Linking to Earlier Posts

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DSC_1930This is the third part in my series, Advice for Beginning Bloggers.

Part I: Allow Full Feeds

Part II: Blog Under Your Real Name.

Linking to your old posts is called internal linking. Here are some tips for drawing readers back into your blog and increasing traffic.

Why Include Internal Links?

  1. It helps long-time readers feel at home and reminds them that you are already a friend.
  2. New readers get to know you better. Links to older posts encourage them to read more and subscribe to your feed.
  3. You’ll get more page views. A page view is when a reader pulls up one of the pages on your blog, and is higher than the number of visitors.
  4. You’ll lower your bounce rate. The “bounce rate,” another important metric, is the percentage of visitors who leave your blog after viewing only one page.
  5. You invested in those posts. Why not share them with more readers?
  6. Google Page Rank—that mysterious number that rates your status for Google searches— looks at internal links as well as back links (other websites that link to yours).

Linking Effectively

  1. Use relevant “anchor text.” Instead of writing, “Look here to see what I mean,” write, “Look at my great recipe for potato kugel.” “Here” and “great recipe for potato kugel” are  anchor text. Both readers and search engines prefer more descriptive text.
  2. Include links both within the post itself and afterward. You can insert code into your Blogger template or use a WordPress plugin to automatically list related posts. But it’s best to do this manually. I find that more readers click on the links at the end.
  3. WordPress users can install the Insights plugin. When you edit your post, Insights lets you  search your blog for a phrase and lets you choose which posts to link to. It can also search the web for images, Wikipedia articles, books, and more.
  4. Try this for Blogger: Add Related Posts Below Every Blogger Post.
  5. Remember to update older posts with links to your newer ones. Create pages listing links to popular posts or posts on a range of topics.
  6. When linking to posts on other blogs, include the name of the blog and a direct link to the post (not the home page), using relevant anchor text.

Do you have questions or comments on internal linking? Share them in the comments.

Related posts:

A Peek at the Inbox of an Influential Blogger with a Loyal Following

Commenting on Comments: Building a Blog Community

Why I Moved My Blog to WordPress

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Comments

  1. How do you choose the related posts, or is this a wordpress function? I really should read the switchover post, so perhaps I’m asking the wrong question. But I’m heading to bed and just quickly checking my favorite blogs.

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  2. you can also tags to the end of the post.
    however, on the old blogger (which i still use), i think there is a limit on the number of posts it will return.
    (personally i don’t find this feature to have been popular on my blog, but maybe it will work for someone else)

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  3. Good ideas. I like when it’s done manually, so it really fits in with the topic. I have tags at the end of each post that people can click on for more info – I wonder if anyone clicks? I haven’t noticed much of that in my stats.

    “Remember to update older posts with links to your newer ones.” – yes, I’m going to do that now!

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  4. LOZ, I agree with Leora that people don’t click on tags.
    Leora, another advantage to doing it manually is including other topics. If someone clicks on a recipe I want them to look at more recipes, but I include one or two posts from different categories as they are all related.

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  5. Great post and great ideas. I do this occasionally but not as often as I should. Another idea is, if you are out of ideas for posts, link to a group of older posts. For example, “A year ago, I was….” or something along that vein.

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  6. I just love this practical post. It is so true to link backwards and inwards… I have been using “linkwithin” – http://www.linkwithin.com/learn?ref=widget – with great success at the end of each post it publishes a couple of thumbnail pictures and links to related posts. Really cool and gets a lot more (deeper) traffic than the “related posts” list… pictures really do tell a thousand words. Thanks again!

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  7. the links to earlier post is something Examiners are encouraged to do. The powers that be hope that gets visitors to stay on the site longer. In their arcane formula for payment “quality” of visits one of the factors cited.

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  8. Thanks se7en! The article in the post was a little to technical for me and linkwithin was great and easy. I thought I had to tag/label my posts to get it to work, but I guess not. It seems like it justs adds random posts, so I’ll manually add some as needed.

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  9. Aviva B
    Twitter:
    says:

    For WordPress, in addition to the “Insights” you mentioned, there’s a plugin called YARPP (Yet Another Related Posts plugin – http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/yet-another-related-posts-plugin/) which will automatically choose “related posts” from your website and put them at the end of your blog post. It does a pretty good job, although I did read recently (I think on a post that you sent me, Hannah), that it’s a drain on your server, meaning it can slow your site down more than other plugins.
    Aviva B recently posted..How The Internet Turns Us Into Two Year OldsMy Profile

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    • Thanks for your comment, Aviva B. Apparently you can do the same thing without a plugin, adding some code that is easily available. Now that WP has made it easier to add links I much prefer to do it manually.

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