So it has taken me about 6 years and a lot of mistakes to figure out how to slowly but surely build links into your site (and across your site) and thus build your Page Rank as well. I will describe the techniques and ideas that I have used with THE Canadian Personal Finance Site .
Old “Dead” Content
This is the big problem, if you don’t have internal links to your old content, it is as good as dead (not making you any money, or giving your readers a feel for your ideas). If you do not link to it, once the post is off your front page, and it does not have any links to it, the only way that a reader will find it is via SEO trickery (which is snake oil in my opinion) to manipulate searching, or via a blind luck search hit. This is why you need to create a tight lattice of internal links to your own content, to make sure your old content is still useful (and by useful I mean money making).
I have heard many times that External Links are the most important thing for a new site, and existing sites to pick up, to increase Page Rank and other ratings, but I like to think that an internal linking structure is also a key to making sure that all of your content has the capability to make money for you, which is really why you are running this business.
Best practices for internal linking? Read on, here are some of mine:
Favorites or Best of Page
This is the first and easiest thing to do. There are posts that you like, and that other folk have liked over time, that you should make available to them in the easiest way possible (eye catchers in the marketing world). How do you do that? There are a few ways that I have seen:
- Have a title and short description rolling widget on your front page, that simply runs through these posts and may catch a new reader’s eye, and thus cause them to read more of your content (and increase their stay on your site). This is a great idea, if that is the way your web site is laid out (don’t just shove this widget on your page, if it doesn’t fit with your theme).
- Create a Best Of/Favorites Menu item at the top of the page. This is really useful too, you then create a static, Best of Page, where you put links to your Keystone posts, that hopefully grab you more readership.
These two methods are easy to implement, and is a must for any new web site, after it has been up long enough to have some older content you still want to monetize.
Weekly Round Up Links
In my weekly round ups on Friday (which I may move to another day since everyone seems to be doing one now), the first set of links on this page is a set of links to all my previous posts for that week. Is this sneaky? Not really, it’s pretty darn obvious. Have a look at Random Thoughts Slash Into Lent, and see that the first section of links are actually all to my own posts.
Why do this? My guess is that most folks who end up at a page with lots of links, get overwhelmed with the sheer number and will stop clicking after the 3rd or 4th link (I checked with a few other bloggers on this theory and they tend to agree as well), so make sure it is my content that they get to first (yup, self-serving stuff like this is how you get more eyes on your stuff).
Another trick I have been doing lately is posting a lot of my older content onto Twitter (with the tage OBG, (Oldie but Goodie)) to see if I can get more eyes on my older content. I didn’t touch on that in Twitter Etiquette (see what I did there, I linked to some older content on this site, tricky eh?), but it is another way to get older content a little more life (but I will talk about that in my post about External Linking). With these OBG posts, I sometimes try to link them into my new content as well, thus creating a more complex linking map on my site.
Linking old content from new content just freshens your money making capabilities that much more.
These are just a few of the tricks I have tried to keep my older content fresh, but you must make sure that the old content is “Green and Fresh“, so linking to a post you did about something that happened 5 years ago, and has specifics about it isn’t going to help much (unless you couch the link with a title like Historical Background: then you can sneak those in as well.
Next post will be about external linking, hopefully soon. Sorry my writing here is not as prolific as my regular site, but I need some spare time to think about these things (and discuss them with my blogging peers as well).