Yesterday, we discussed what internal links are, and why they are important. We mentioned that, internal links help you with reader retention and loyalty. So, today, let's talk about how your internal links can encourage your readers to stick around.
Make sure your links open in a new window. Actually, this advice applies to both internal and external links. You may have noticed that nearly all of the links here on the WebRev blog open in a new window. This allows your readers to follow the links you have referenced, while leaving the original post or article open, so they can find their way back, and continue reading. If the links do not open in a new window, it is likely the reader will follow the link, and then just keep going, forgetting about the original link.
Most blogging and website editing software includes an option to have hyperlinks "open in a new window." If you are in HTML mode, you will want to add target="_blank" within your hyperlink like this:
Use internal links to direct readers to related posts, tags, or categories. For example, in the first paragraph of this post, I included an internal link, which directed readers to yesterday's, post. I might have also used a similar opportuntiy to link to our SEO tag, or our Blogging category, here at WebRev, as appropriate. Note that these internal links might be contained within the posts, or in the sidebar.
Provide a link to your RSS feed(s) on every post and page of your site. The easiest way to do this is to put these links in the sidebar or header. Subscribing to your RSS feed is usually how your readers will make sure they can find you again. Again, make sure the link to your RSS feed opens in a new window, so that if your reader can come back to his or her starting point on your site and continue reading.
Next, I'll show you how to strategically use keywords and anchor text in your internal linking.
Jennifer Pointer (e-mail) is a trainer and tech writer in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking. Her weakness is the mocha frappuccino.