Your blog should be like a spider’s web, with each article linking to other articles in your blog.
This technique can deliver some nice traffic benefits. Here’s how to do it…
In some circles I’ve read there is no difference between a trackback and a pingback. Many people will use the term interchangeably and in fact I’ve been known to confuse the two myself.
Generally there is one main difference – a trackback is forced by a human blogger while a pingback occurs automatically by the blogging software.
I read a description online which I think is a good way to discern the difference however I don’t agree 100% with the distinction presented. It does offer a simple way to get your head around the semantics of using the two techniques –
Where trackback is “Here’s what I think of that” a pingback is more simply “I’m using that”.
Trackbacks are intentional attention grabbers that give an opinion of another blogger’s work. A pingback merely informs another blog that you are referencing their writing.
I experience pingbacks when I reference to my own blog posts within my blog. I use the blogging system WordPress which automatically sends pingbacks if I link to one of my previous articles, creating a link between the two blog entries.
Linking between your own articles is a good thing, and certainly pingbacking your own entries helps make the process efficient because it’s automatic, but there is a lot more you can do proactively to create links between your own blog posts. As with most things in blogging, there is a “smarter way”.
Interlinking means when you link one of your own pages to another internally within a website.
Since you control your site you can control your blog’s entire internal linking structure. This is important for traffic because of how search engines work.
If you want the search engines to rank every single page of your blog you need to make sure they can find every page.
Search engines use little software programs called “spiders” or “bots” that trawl around the web following links and “indexing” all the content of web pages.
If your site is internally linked well together then you make it easy for the little spiders to index every page of your blog.
I will briefly mention sitemaps because they are a convenient way to tell the search engines where all your pages are. Most search engines do a pretty good job of finding pages but sometimes they have trouble indexing your entire site, especially if your site is new.
I’m not going to cover sitemaps in-depth because it is a whole topic on its own, however I do recommend you have one as the first step to create a good internal linking structure for your blog.
Here are some resources for building and learning more about sitemaps:
- If you are a WordPress user, install the Google Sitemap generator plugin.
Google ranks pages based on how many other pages link to it. That’s PAGES, not SITES, which means when you link one blog entry to another you are helping each blog article earn better search engine rankings so it will bring in more search traffic.
Simply linking to all your blog posts in every new blog post you make is not going to do much for your traffic and will turn away your readers (not a good strategy!), however a few well placed internal linking patterns can be very helpful over the long term.
During the first few months I blogged I wrote definition articles for many key terms in my industry, including RSS, PageRank and other Internet business and blogging topics.
I regularly link back to those articles when I mention the terms in a new blog post so that beginner readers can read my definition article to get a grasp of the concepts. Not only is this great for usability it helps my blog search rankings too.
The most important thing when you link your blog entries together is to choose the right keywords. The keywords you use in the anchor text (the text your readers see as underlined links) help to define what search terms that article will rank well for.
Lets say your blog topic is “share trading” and you wrote a definition of the PE ratio (the price-to-earnings ratio).
Every chance you get you should reference back to it in new blog posts. Each time you do this you would use anchor text along the lines of “what is the PE ratio”, but be certain to mix it up with variations.
This helps that page rank higher for search phrases like “what is the PE ratio”.
Even if I’ve totally confused you with all this talk about search engine rankings there is one very good plain and simple reason to interlink your blog articles as often as you can – to increase your pageviews.
Pageviews are how many individual pages each visitor to your blog reads. Obviously you want to increase the number of pageviews because that means your readers stay longer at your blog and read more of your content.
By interlinking your articles well, and that means placing links between your own articles in a logical manner, you create a nice pathway for a reader to navigate through your blog.
Some of the topics I covered may be too technical for beginner bloggers. If there is one piece of advice you should take away from this newsletter and implement on your blog it is to link back to your previous blog posts regularly.
Use logical anchor text links and don’t worry too much about keywords. If you label your links well for humans you generally label well for search engines too. It’s easy to get caught up with keywords so don’t spend too much energy worrying about how you link to your articles, just do it.
Whenever you write a new article think whether it would be appropriate to link to another article that includes relevant content.
It takes two seconds and can provide fantastic benefits in search engine rankings, pageview numbers and increases the length of time each visitor stays at your blog.