Okay, half of my friends and family already checked out because the title involves search engine optimization. That's okay. Those of you willing and brave enough to continue, let's get on with it.
As a search marketer, one of the key strategies I employ in on-site optimization includes internal linking strategy. Here's a quick summary of how it works, from the beginning:
Step 1: Keyword Research
Step 2: META Tag Optimization
Step 3: Content and Header Tag Revisions
Step 4: Internal Linking
Step 5: External Linking
If you want an explanation of these basic concepts, visit any one of a hundred SEO blogs and search for these terms. Or, you can wait for a few weeks and I will begin recovering all the SEO basics on another blog which I will announce soon. For now, I'm only covering Step #4 as it applies to a blog.
The thought occurred to me months ago after I had written a blog post about how my wife loves the affordable women's clothing at Papaya Clothing Store in the Grapevine Mills Mall. Actually, it was also after my most popular post was written on the Papaya Clothing website. That second post, written in April 2007 (only three months ago), received more than 1,000 visitors the first month simply by ranking at the bottom of the first page on Google for "Papaya Clothing". After I saw that jump in my analytics, I decided to test something out. I wrote two more blog posts referencing Papaya and linked back to that second post from each of them. My ranking jumped from #8 or #9 to #2 within a couple weeks.
Granted, many phrases are more competitive and getting solid results take much more work. But the results I saw were phenomenal. I now receive more than 13k visitors per month just reading my few posts about Papaya Clothing. It's ridiculous. Of course, it really helps that the company has taken more than a year to build a website and has only an unlaunched tester site to show for the time and money lost.
My point is that I'd never paid much attention to internal linking within my own blogs. I'm all over the map with my blogging, and it just never occurred to me until then that it could be very useful to use some of the same principles for a blog that I use on static websites. It's the visual blog style that probably kept me from thinking about it. I mean, even when I look at my own home page, I only see the most recent 10 posts or so. Everything prior to that is filed in Archives and fades from view.
Blog categories are an excellent way to keep tabs on what you've written before. Of course, you can always do a site search if you've incorporated search functionality. So here's the easiest way to go about building internal links on your site:
Rule #1 – When writing a new post, search your own blog for references to the same subject or keywords. Copy those specific post URLs and use them in hyperlinks on the new post.
Rule #2 – As an alternative, determine which category your new post falls under and search that category's archives for pages to link to in your new post.
There you have it. Basic. Simple. Link to your own posts. I'll give more specific advice on internal blog linking in the new blog which will be announced soon.