13 April 2009

Blogging Tips : Interlink Your Old Blog Posts!!

Today is Day 8 in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog challenge. Congratulations on making it this far!

Today I’m presenting you with a task that is perhaps a little less involved than some of the days so far. I wanted to give you something that would both help improve your blog but that wouldn’t take too long to either learn or implement (although it is something that you could dedicate a lot of time to if you have time on your hands).

Your task today is to spend 10 minutes interlinking previously written posts in your archives.

Why is Interlinking Posts Powerful?

There are three main reasons why I regularly dedicate time to go back over old posts on my blog and find ways to update those posts with links to other posts on my blog.

1. Usefulness to Readers - my primary motivation for interlinking posts is to provide a better experience for those people who are reading those posts and to make my blog more useful. If a reader comes to my blog and finds a post that not only answers a question that they have but that also provides further reading and suggestions on where they can explore related topics - they’re more likely to go away from my site satisfied. A satisfied reader is what I’m aiming for - they are more likely to return (it makes your blog ‘sticky‘) and tell their network about their experience.

2. SEO - another great reason to interlink the posts on your blog is that search engines look at the links within a blog to both find content to index but also to work out how to index and rank content. Links from other blogs to your blog are the ultimate way to start ranking highly in Google - but internal links also count.

3. Increase Page Views - inserting links into old posts increases the chances of a visitor to your blog viewing more than just the one page. This has a couple of benefits - the first being that it can help you earn more from that visitor if you’re running some kind of CPM (cost per impression) advertising. The second reason is that you’re creating a bigger impression upon the person visiting your blog. I find that when someone views more than a single page on your blog that they’re more likely to remember it, subscribe to it, comment upon it and become a regular and loyal reader.

While these three benefits all seem fairly small when you think about the benefits that a single link might bring - if you start building the interlinking of posts into your daily blogging experience the accumulative impact that it can have on your blog will be significant.

How to Add Links to Old Posts

There are a variety of methods of interlinking posts from your archives. Here are three main ones that I use:

1. In post links - I find that this is the most natural way to add links to an old post. All it involves is making a keyword (or words) in your post into a link that points to another post on the topic of that keyword.

2. Updates - sometimes post in your archives become ‘dated’ and are in need of an update. There are a variety of ways to update an old post but one simple one is to write a new post on the same topic and then leave a link in your old one to the new post.

For example: One popular post here at ProBlogger is How to Market Your Blog in 2007. While the post still contains useful information on marketing a blog it was obviously written over two years ago. As a result I’ve added a link at this top of this post to a page on How to Find Readers for Your Blog that points people to a variety of resources on that topic.

3. Further Reading - many blogs have a ‘further reading’ section that appears at the bottom of each post. In most cases this is a list of ‘related’ posts that are automatically generated using a plugin. While this can sometimes provide readers with relevant results I find that adding manually chosen links for further reading can produce a more relevant experience. You can add these suggested links both at the end of the post and throughout the post itself.

Quick Tip: When linking between posts always try to make the words that you use in the link relevant keywords to the article you’re linking to. This will maximize the SEO benefits of the link and help you rank higher for those words in Google.

Make Interlinking Posts a Regular Task

While I’m suggesting that you set aside some time today to interlink some of your old posts - I’d also highly recommend that you build this practice into your blogging on a regular basis. I personally spend 10-15 minutes a week hunting for opportunities to do this but also find myself doing it in my daily blogging rhythm as I’m writing new posts.

As you write a new post train yourself to be thinking about what you’re written previously that relates to your new post. As you identify related content start to interlink your posts (you can add links in your new post to old content and/or add links in your old ones to your new content). If you force yourself to do this you’ll start to find that it becomes a more natural part of your daily posting.

Go Do It!

Take 10 minutes now to start identifying old posts that relate to one another and get going on adding a few links between them.

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