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Confession Time

I use a WordPress plugin that interlinks my content.

Why? First off, linking is a critical component of SEO. External links (or backlinks) to your site from other respectable sites are important. But internal links within your site interlinking various pieces of content together:

  1. Signals Google what your content is about.
  2. Shows Google your content's interrelatedness.
  3. Helps Google by giving your content context.
  4. Above all, provides a better user experience.

What does this mean?

Through something called “topical clustering,” internal links tell Google the major topic an article is about, falls under, or is related to.

You might have various topics, whether directly similar or not, that have a certain theme or idea. Many articles may even have more than one. By clustering topics together, it creates content relationships.

Why is this important?

Websites are largely structured based on a tiered hierarchy. For example, you have your main, top-tier pages. Then you have child pages, and child pages of child pages, and so on. Like a pyramid.

You may have blog articles usually filed neatly under categories, too. It's often referred to as a “silo” architecture, which is still very common. Think of filling your content in folders, if you will.

But a content architecture that makes more sense is the hub-and-spoke model. And rather than falling under categories, they are tagged or connected together by a certain theme or topic. Think of labels as opposed to folders, like Gmail.

Simply, it's more of an in-out model as opposed to a top-down one.

Allow me to be a bit geeky, for a moment. You'll soon understand why.

Google's natural language processing algorithm (called BERT) allows it to understand context and not just content based on mere keywords.

Say people are looking for soap and you have content with the keyword “soap” in it. But is it dishwasher soap? Soap bars? Soap operas? SOAP apps?

BERT identifies the context of a word based on all of its surroundings — including other words, images, and of course, links from other content. Linking content together amplifies SEO because it provides context.

Now, here's the #1 reason why you should use internal linking.

It helps to improve your site's user experience. UX is now a major ranking factor. After all, that's what Google wants: to give users a more relevant and positive search experience. It's part of what I call SXO, or search experience optimization.

Internal linking encourages readers to navigate throughout your site. It engages them with related content and decreases bounce rates, too.

Think of the Internet's biggest rabbit hole: Wikipedia. Try to read just one article, if you can. I know I can't. With my ADHD, I can often waste hours on that site if I'm not careful.

Back to my plugin…

Since I have 200+ articles, it would be time-consuming for me to go back to older content, one by one, and adding links to content I recently published. 

So I use a WordPress plugin called Pretty Links (that's my affiliate link, by the way). I use it to dynamically linkify specified keywords in my content to other pieces of related content on my site. It also tracks link performance, too.

But you don't have to use a plugin.

(As an an aside, keep in mind that these links are not hard-coded, too. So if you ever deactivate the plugin, your links are gone.)

Just do this: from now on, when you post a new piece of content on your blog, try to link keywords and phrases to your other, relevant content.

You can be a little more strategic, too, by linking to higher quality content, optimizing the keyword text, mapping user journeys, etc.

But that's more for SEO experts like me.

Just realize that if you don't link to your other content, you're missing out.

In fact, your users are the ones missing out.

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