Keep Your Blog Readers On Your Blog With This Clever Internal Links Strategy

Keep Your Blog Readers On Your Blog With This Clever Internal Links Strategy | GoffCreative.com

UPDATED: Tuesday — April 11th, 2017

Welcome to the bounce-free zone.

Not in an "anti fun" sort of way (bring me a bouncy castle any day).

I'm talking about your blog visitors.

This hit and run crap has got to stop.

I know you feel it.

Maybe you're just starting a blog and getting anxious, or maybe you've got an established blog that's simply not generating return readers, or your visitors are bailing after only viewing one or two pages.

It's frustrating. I get it.

Okay, it can hurt a little too...

You work your ass off on your content. People landing on one of your slaved-over blog posts and bouncing soon after.

After I mended my bouncy wounds, I decided to find a plan of action that I could duplicate again and again without taking a ton of time. But something that also helped me keep my content valuable and up-to-date.

And now I'm handing over the bright and shiny keys to that time-saving strategy to you right now.


It begins with Internal Links.

According to Moz...

Internal links are links that go from one page on a domain to a different page on the same domain.

This is important because it's where this whole strategy was concocted from.
And in that same reference from Moz, internal links are useful for 3 reasons. Because they:

  1. allow users to navigate through your website.
  2. help establish information hierarchy for your website.
  3. help to grow your "link juice" (ranking power and credibility) around websites.

In a nutshell, when a search engine bot (crawler, robot, spider) hits your blog post to index it on search engines—like Google and Bing—it can index (file on their search engine) after navigating that page. Or it can navigate that page and all the links within it which link to other pages on your website.

Meaning those connected (internal links) pages get indexed faster, too.

So that's one massive benefit of utilizing internal links.

But how can internal links benefit the blog reader that's about to hit your website right now?

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Give them more.

More options. More to do. More to read.

(But don't overdo it.)

Imagine all the links you have on one page. (You don't have to count, just imagine.)

We're talking about:

  • navigation links
  • footer links
  • body links
  • image links
  • buttons, etc.

That can add up to a lot of links, huh?

Although Matt Cutts, former head of the web spam team at Google, couldn't give a definitive answer to how many internal links are too many on a single page? Google's recommendation is to:

Keep the links on any given page at a reasonable number (fewer than 100).

So, a copacetic practice would be to only use links where they're relevant and beneficial to your readers.

And to make your links even more helpful and relevant, use these quick tips to linking smarter:

  • Avoid using link text like "click here" or "learn more" in the body on your blog pages. If you must use them, save that sort of lingo for buttons. Instead, use keyword-rich sentences and add a link to it where relevant.

    DON'T DO THIS: "[Click here] to find out more about your target audience."

    DO THIS INSTEAD: "[Your target audience] needs you to understand them so you can deliver what they truly want." 

    It's a descriptive sentence that preludes to what the reader will learn when they click the link.
     
  • If you don't have a lot of blog content written and linkable, or you write a blog post that doesn't have any relevant body text to link to—you can:

    a) Don't bother with body links to your own content. Instead, find valuable content from others and link up (your blog should serve your audience, not always just yourself anyhow).

    b) If your other content is in a similar realm or category as the new blog post, add "Suggested" or "Related" links after the viable section. 

    Meaning, if you can't link body text, you can add another blog post title, linked, with a "Related" or "Suggested" ahead of it. Like...

    SUGGESTED: 6 Blog Changes That Tripled My Email Opt-In Rate In 3 Weeks (Twice)
     
  • Link new content to old content, and old content to new content. And this is where our strategy begins...

STEP 1. Have The Tools To Make The Rules

(I had to...)

Now, there are a couple things you need to start implementing now or begin with, if you've got a new blog. Simply put, you should have:

Example of Apple Notes being used as storage for categorically organized blog post URLs. Click through to get my full internal links strategy + a free social planning template. Or pin this for later!
  • a place to store all of your blog post URLs, organized into blog categories. I suggest using a spreadsheet like Google Sheets, Excel, or iWork Numbers, or (what I use) an organized note on the [Apple] Notes app.
  • a spreadsheet to plan your social media posts in. 

STEP 2. Have the written blog post (ready for editing)

So, you've got your blog post written up in rough form.

You're ready to start editing it—adding in examples, stories, relevant links, and making sure it's as helpful to your reader as possible.

It's here—during your editing process—that's where all the magic happens.

As you're reading through your content, note specific keywords and phrases that could become body text links (if you didn't do that, intentionally, as you were writing the first draft). 

Also look for openings to insert those "Related" or "Suggested" links, if you'd like to do something like that too.

Step 3. Find Relevant Links, Proof, And Support For Your Post

Here's where your website's search page comes in handy.

Example of using your website's search page to find related links to include in your latest blog post. Click through to get more tips for building a solid internal links strategy for your blog.

You can add "Suggested" and "Related" links from similar blog categories, like the blog post URLs you listed on your computer's built in note system or spreadsheet.

Using keywords pulled from your headline, your opening paragraph (introduction), and your internal post headlines, search Google for related content from others.

This is where you'll find quotes, resources, and more to build up your blog post's relevance, value, and it'll help to build your authority as an expert.

Because, let's face it: We don't know everything about everything.

Outsourcing some things proves you're not a self-serving "know-it-all".

Once you've gotten all this bonus content to link up and add into your post, it's time to...

Step 4. Add All Your Links (And More) To Your Post

This stage is what I call my "second round of editing".

The first round I'm checking for spelling errors, punctuation, and other technical things.

The second is where I really cut up my content, add in extras, and make it as valuable as I possibly can.

Every post you write on your own blog or on someone else's is your online reputation. Might as well make yourself the go-to guru of your niche.

Step 5. While it's all still fresh, plan your social strategy

This is where I really used to time manage poorly.

I scheduled Thursdays as my "Social Planning Day" and Friday was the day I'd plug it all into Buffer (social media scheduler) since it was so much faster for me to split it up than do both (plan and plug) on the same day.

But, as I've discovered through thinking I was going ahead and just creating my social plan for the week right after I finished a blog post, I found that my social planning time went from about 30 minutes to plan one week of my own content down to 10 or 15 minutes.

A screenshot of Buffer social strategy scheduling. Click through to tips and strategies to better your internal linking (and social media strategy).

Maybe that's not much to write home about to you, but as a mom of three, that's huge for me.

So here are my semi-quick suggestions to help you set up your social planning spreadsheet and use it to:

  1. Set up your publish day (if you're new to social planning) and highlight that day in green. Simply drag your single-clicked cursor across whatever publish day(s) you choose and change the background color to green.

    EXAMPLE: My blog post publishing day is Tuesday. So, that's green for all five Tuesdays a month.
     
  2. Add in rows and columns to the spreadsheet, depending on how many social channels you [will] use and how many times per day you'll post to each. Keep in mind that, although it may seem wise to be in a ton of places, that the more channels you use, the more time it takes to maintain them.

    I suggest finding your main two social channels and putting your effort into them. You can find that info out once you've gained a little traction online through Google Analytics. Go under Reporting > Acquisitions > Social > Overview to find your highest social referral source.

    BONUS TIP: In Google Analytics, click on the social referral source to see which posts are most popular so you can utilize that content as "Hot Button [Category] Posts" to list them around similar new posts. That's a great way to continually bring in higher, quality traffic week over week.

    You can create another Note or spreadsheet to keep an ongoing list of popular content within each category, too.
     
  3. [SUGGESTION] Copy and paste that template over onto new sheet tabs for at least 6 more months of planning now that you've pre-highlighted your publish day(s).
     
  4. Fill out the surrounding spaces in your social plan with your own content used in your post, or content related to it from your URL category list. Talk about an easy way of pre-populating that content.

    And all you have to do from there is to know what to put in those spaces (which I wrote a whole post on setting up your social strategy for you), and you''re golden.

Now I'm going to throw some bonus tips at you...

BONUS TIP: Use Buffer or another social post scheduler to pre-schedule all your social media posts with. 

But don't forget that you still need to get on all your social channels at least a few times a week to, well, socialize.

Plus, you can find a lot of great content to schedule and share around your own posts, too.

ANOTHER BONUS TIP: Master the internal linking game by freshening up and linking newer content to all the older posts you link back to from your new posts.

(I really tried to make that make more sense in one sentence, but I'd say it needs further explaining, so...)

All those "older posts" that you linked to in the body text and "Suggested" or "Related" links, put aside time each week to re-read and edit or add to those posts.

They could use some freshening up (you know, with your more experienced Blogger skills), as well as some fresh links to all that newer content—where relevant.

This strategy is going all the way back to the beginning of this post when I was talking about the search engine bots. 

Search engine bots will index older posts faster than they will newer posts.

So when you add newer post links into your older posts, you're much more likely to get those new posts indexed on major search engines like Google and Bing, faster.

Sounds pretty darned valuable, right?

So, you could make up a million-and-one excuses as to how you can't add all that extra work to your schedule right now. But what I can tell you now is, you're only hurting yourself if you don't tackle at least one older blog post refresh each week.

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Where will you start?

Wish you could find another way to keep your blog post readers reading? Here's my simple strategy to keep your blog posts fresh, up-to-date, and to keep your blog readers engaged. Click through to get the whole post plus a free social planning template, or Pin this for later!

Follow through on the steps, and don't forget to add new internal links to older posts.

(As well as the other way around.)

Keep your content fresh, circulating, and valuable with these 5 main steps and you're good to go in the social planning and internal linking departments:

  1. Maintain and update your planning tools.
  2. Strategically edit your written blog post.
  3. Find relevant internal links, proof, and external links (those linking to other website's outside of your own) and quotes support for your content.
  4. Add all your bonus content and links into your post.
  5. Plan your social schedule setup while it's all churning in your head still.

And that's it. Every week (especially if that's how often you publish new posts).

Although it may seem like a lot, consider that these steps will fully develop your social plan for an entire week, every week.

From your own content to relevant content from others that you can not only reference in your post, but also pad your open social schedule slots with.

Win, win.

Happy planning!

—Sara

P.S. Comments, emails, running a business and being a mom of 3 were just too much for me to handle. So, blog comments got the boot. But the lack of a comment box doesn't mean I don't want to hear what you think! Share your thoughts with me via @GoffCreative on Twitter or directly via email.


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Sara Eatherton-Goff

Goff Creative, P.O. BOX 877, PARRISH, FL 34219, USA

I'm Sara. Mompreneur of 3, wife to super-awesome Brian, business coach, infopreneur and printable product creator.

ABOUT SARA

Hey! I'm Sara—mom of 3, wife, and an organization-slash-productivity junkie who's a wee bit obsessed with bags... Learn more about me + Goff Creative right here.

Connect with me on Twitter, follow me on Pinterest, and get your blog posts indexed on Google Search faster with me on Google+. *Winks*