How to automate getting new readers – Internal links
You put a lot of effort, energy and time into posting good content – now make it work for you to get new readers and to better engage the ones you already have using internal links.
Links glorious links. What can internal links do for us? Making this complex ever changing subject easier by looking at the practical applications for the blogger.
Around 2003, when I first owned websites, linking was the biggest thing. We had programs that helped us do hundreds of reciprocal links to anything and everything. As that became over-exploited more relevant linking became popular. We would place our websites on hundreds of directories just to get the coveted incoming links. Links going out from your website were looked upon as watering down your SEO. It was thought that if your site was content rich why would you need to link out.
Links in 2016
Linking is still paramount and more complex. I want to write this post to be both practical and relevant to the blogger who is still learning. We can’t learn it all at once, so I am thinking gentle steps in the right direction that can be built upon when the time is right. Laying a strong foundation to automate the task of attracting and engaging new readers.
I often hear bloggers say that they are not interested in analytics, and then at the mention of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) they block their ears. The fact is this process of search engines using thousands of little robot things going about their job of searching your content, goes on whether you are interested or not. So you can make it easy for them, or make it hard. You really don’t want them to go away before their job is done.
The one thing that most bloggers have in common is that they would like more readers.
How do you get more engaged readers?
Some bloggers are happy going to dozens of link parties to get to know others and hope to gain some readers, or at least the party host will read their post. This party life can be fun, but also time-consuming and constant, even frustrating at times.
Optimizing your posts so that they are friendly to the little robot spiders when they come calling to take note of what you are writing about makes a lot of sense. Because if you do this right you can start to automate your site to get more readers. Linking is only a part, a vital part of this process, we are taking little steps in the right direction.
The passive or automatic method of getting more readers
Let’s do a search, for example, ‘Best natural products to clean bathroom.’ In under one second, I have 39.9 million pages to choose from. Most people never look past page one, some will look a little deeper or do another search. One of the top websites on page one is ‘Stay at Home Mum‘ with this amazing website that will help me clean my bathroom with non-health threatening budget products. In fact, “thank you Mr Google” for bringing me this website that has just what I searched for and has a lot more that I am interested in. I am a happy searcher. The little robot spiders did a great job finding just what I wanted. If Stay at Home Mum did not have a crawlable internal link structure her posts would not make the first page of searches. She just would not get the readers.
Laying a strong foundation and building on it – the readers come to you.
Basic Practical Linking
There are lots of different kinds of links- today our focus is on Internal Links.
Internal links go from one post in your blog, or website to another post/page in the same website.
Kissmetrics puts it this way
“Internal linking strengthens the overall search-optimized value of a website. Inner linking does so by providing clear paths for spiders, prolonged sessions for users, and a tight-knit network of pages and posts.”
1. Readers often go to your site to check something out and then leave. To entice them to stay longer and to go deeper into your pages, have a relevant link that will interest them to click on and go to another page. The second page may have another link that expands a relevant subject. There can be more than one ongoing link from a page.
2. You can see how a reader can follow the links through your site. The second practical use of internal links is that the robot spiders can use these same links to get around. They want to know what your pages are about, what your keywords are, what words your internal links use. These links make it easy for them.
Without this information from the robot spiders, your posts would not show up in search engines that bring you passive traffic. Getting to the front pages of search engines like ‘stay at home mum’ in our search example, takes more than internal links, but we are laying a strong foundation for that to happen.
NOTE: in the above graphic, the two pages with no links, neither readers or spiders will find them. It is like they are a waste of your time writing them. They could be linked another way through your categories, but page to page is more natural.
Here is an excerpt from an expert MOZ learn SEO
“On an individual page, search engines need to see content in order to list pages in their massive keyword–based indices. They also need to have access to a crawlable link structure—a structure that lets spiders browse the pathways of a website—in order to find all of the pages on a website.
Hundreds of thousands of sites make the critical mistake of hiding or burying their main link navigation in ways that search engines cannot access.”
How to link one page to another
When I say page I am referring to post pages and pages – if you need to clarify posts vs pages check here.
For those unsure how to do internal linking I will show you how I did the link above. It will take another post to explain what words to use as the anchor text. In this example, I put my keywords (post vs pages) right next to the anchor text. The anchor text is ‘check here’. Select those words and click on the link icon. With the new WP update, you will then click on the settings icon. In the search bar search for the post you want to link to – select it – check the ‘open in new page’ then at the bottom of the form click on ‘update’ and you have linked two pages.
The method of placing keywords next to the anchor text is one of many strategies that we can explore at another time.
Internal linking is helpful for your readers and it is vital for the spiders who will help bring you more readers.
Don’t miss out on spending the time to lay a strong foundation for your blog by using relevant internal links.
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