December 3, 2014

Easiest search optimization trick: give links to old blog posts

If you ask me what is the Search Engine Optimization (=SEO) best practice that you can follow without much effort and with great impact, I will say, link quality material in your website’s archives with your current post. (If you do not understand SEO, please go to this ITB post; look here for all ITB posts on SEO.)

Called ‘internal linking’ in SEO parlance, linking to archives leads to deeper visitor involvement in your blog/ website and better discovery of the its quality content that would otherwise lay hidden. This results in higher positioning of your site on search engines, higher traffic, higher chance of making money and so on.   

But internal linking is not just routine SEO and that is the reason I called it as SEO best practice! By linking your old content with a new post, you give the reader additional information on the subject without your having to repeat it.

You can give links to earlier posts by many ways such as -

  • Text links within passages, mentioning specifically about the earlier post (an example from IndianTopBlogs is linked here)
  • Text links using relevant keywords or as examples (The present post is a great example of use of keyword / example linking)
  • List at the beginning or end of the post (an example of 'related posts' list is given here). Many bloggers generate a list of earlier posts with ‘Related posts’ plugin, which is fine but not that effective. You should do it manually.

You MUST link your earlier posts when you run a series of posts. (an ITB example of serial posts is given here).

Consider taking the link to a new window instead of letting it open on top of the current post. This gives the reader the freedom to keep browsing the present post and looking at the link later, or going to the link and coming back to the present post, without a need for pressing 'back' button on the browser.

To open the link in a new window, you need to add target="_blank" within the link tag as given below:
Best Indian Blogs Directory: This link will open the ITB directory on top of the current post. Its html is: <a href="">Best Indian Blogs Directory</a> 
Best Indian Blogs Directory: This link will open the ITB directory in a new window. Its html is: <a href="" target="_blank">Best Indian Blogs Directory</a> 

If you are on Blogger platform, the post editor gives you the option to open the link on top of the current window or in a new window, as shown below.

internal linking is great SEO when done within limits

You should not overdo internal linking (The present post does it a bit on the higher side, for a reason). 

Putting convoluted keywords with the sole purpose of giving a link is a bad way of internal linking as it often irritates the reader and is also not supposed to be good SEO.

Before linking to a previous post, take care to see that the old post is relevant to the present discussion and has valuable, not routine, stuff.

Best of blogging!
- Prabhakar