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Chain Blogging – Internal Link Building and Usability

June 10th, 2009 by Brandon Buttars

Chain BloggingSo some of you may have seen the term chain blogging and probably started to think about chain emails and chain mail. That’s not what this article is about. It’s not about putting a curse on someone that doesn’t fulfill their forwarding quota. I’m talking about blogging just like a chain smoker lights the next cigarette with the previous cigarette, and continues this on and on and on. I recommend igniting your next blog post by the previous blog post. Confused yet? OK, I’ll try to illustrate and explain the idea of “Chain Blogging”.

Content Relationship

I cannot speak for you, but as I blog and create content I do not think about the relationships between my content as much as I should. I try and categorize content best I can, but these categorizations are hard to do because some of our information might belong to the same category but it can be so different than the other information within that category. I’m sure most of you have seen “Related Content” or “Related Topics” widgets that will recommend other articles. These are great tools, but these tools are dynamic and most people install them and ignore their results. If leveraged properly the relationships that content have with one another can create a usability heaven.

How Chain Blogging Can Fix Common Usability Problems

Colored Books

One key to creating a successful website is your ability to keep your visitors on your site. Some things that make or help visitors leave are:

  • Articles that are too long.
  • Unhelpful articles.
  • External links.
  • Poor internal navigation.
  • No reason to stay.

There are more things that help visitors leave, but those are the things I want to focus on. I want to recommend some strategies and a technique that may help promote better readership, longer visits, more content consumption, and better usability. I call this technique “Chain Blogging”.

Issue 1 – Articles are too long.

Think of someone who smokes. Most internet surfers are addicted. When they have some free time they have to get themselves some internet. They find themselves with an extra five minutes. They want to find something fast and be able to read something quick. Cigarettes are only so long and only have so much that can be smoked out of them. Well these internet addicts are the same way. They have limited time and need some satisfaction. Short and to the point information is very satisfying to readers. Leave out the fluff. The fluff can make a great topic for an additional or supporting blog post.

Issue 2 – Unhelpful articles.

This one is pretty self explanatory. If your article isn’t helpful in any way, don’t expect much traffic. I know at times you find yourself blogging to blog, but try and make every little article that you make helpful in some way.

Issue 3 – External links.

When I read blogs I will click on links that help with the details. If you are smart about things, you can replace those external links with internal links to pages where you can offer the same information. This allows a “series” type of relationship between blog posts. Many of these series can relate one to another. You may think, this is starting to sound like a wiki. Well duh, it is organizing your blog or content in the same way that a wiki does. Remember to give credit where credit is due, but you can do this with footnotes or create an external resources section referencing these articles, much like wikis do.

Issue 4 – Poor internal navigation.

Poor internal navigation can lead visitors to dead ends or information that doesn’t help support the initial article that lead them to your site in the first place. If you can feed the topic and support the topic that is on their mind, you will have a better chance at keeping them on your site. Issue 4 can be resolved by implementing the same strategies alluded to in Issue 3, creating article relationships. By linking to other internal pages you encourage users to stay on your site. They become aware that your site contains many resources when it comes to the specific topic they entered your site seeking.

Issue 5 – No reason to stay.

I think you probably understand this issue. If you have done things right by resolving all the previous “Issues” we’ve discussed, you’ll find Issue 5 resolved. Giving good relevant content will keep visitors on your site every time.

Search Engine Benefits

search

Since we discussed the benefits to our users for resolving these issues for site usability, I thought we could discuss the search engine benefits of resolving these issues.

  • Great relevant internal linking strategy.
  • Gives you the ability to focus each article on a single keyword phrase.
  • More content to crawl creating a broader search reach.
  • Easy linkable resources for others to link to.

Benefit 1 – Great relevant internal linking strategy.

Relevance is a major element in link building. This strategy when done properly can make for extremely relevant links. The search engines were created to help people find what they are looking for, this strategy helps promote that right within your site. It helps to keep visitors on your site and create an impression that your site has a lot of relevant information on the topics it covers.

Benefit 2 – Gives you the ability to focus each article on a single keyword phrase.

I have found that a majority of my search engine rankings tie directly to the phrases that are used in my “title” and in my URL or “slug”. When you try to create content focusing on too many keywords you aren’t given the ability to nurse all the keyword phrases as they a need to be. By writing multiple articles with a single keyword focus it allows you to do this. It allows you to make sure that every keyword you are trying to focus on appears in both the title and URL.

Benefit 3 – More content to crawl creating a broader search reach.

More content can equals more results. This can help to get the desired “double” search engine listing results that many people seek after, along with Sitelinks in Google’s listings. It’s a matter of more is better in this situation. Remember you can always write other articles that piece it altogether after you have put together all the pieces.

Benefit 4 – Easy linkable resources for others to link to.

When I link to external resources I like to link directly to articles that are straight to the point at explaining what I need help explaining. When you create short to the point articles it makes people that link like I do more likely to link to you.

Operation

I thought I would discuss operational benefits to following this blogging/content management strategy but there are a few difficulties in managing it this way too. So I’ll discuss them all at once.

Quicker Blog Postings

By focusing on shorter, more straight to the point blog posts this allows you to publish and create blog posts more quickly. This is great because it can allow you to create a lot more blog posts in a day.

Easy Topical Decisions

If you have a hard time trying to figure out what you are going to blog about, this strategy should make things easier. By continuing off of the previous blog posts topic, it makes it easier to decide what to write about. While writing some blog post you’ll even discover other ideas you’ve missed and may want to link to later when you write supporting articles.

Requires More Upfront Organization

Using the “Chain Blogging” strategy does require a lot more upfront planning. You have to think a lot further ahead up front on what direction your blogging is going to go. What is going to be discussed. Things of that nature. You can always drop a random blog post here and there but it’s best to keep to the strategy.

Requires a Better Understanding of All Your Content

If you are going to be referencing other articles you’ve written it will require you to know your content and where to link to. It will require good planning while writing your articles.

May Require Retroactive Edits

It would benefit web masters to retroactively find articles that they can add links to. You may find yourself creating additional content that relates to previous articles that have been written. Creating retroactive links can help your new articles because old article already have credibility and have rankings in the search engines. Locating articles can be easily done through your site search.

Conclusion

I hope you’ve learned from this big long article. I know this article goes against all that I wrote above but I thought it would be easier all at once. This strategy may not work for every article, but where it will work, it can help out tremendously. So the key things that I hope you’ve gotten out of this article are that even though it may require better management of content, you can use large quantities of relevant posts using relevant internal linking strategies to influence your site credibility and web relevance.

Input Anyone?

Please leave your input and feedback below. What has worked for you? Are you already doing something similar? Are you a better SEO than me and have better suggestions about this strategy? I am no SEO prodigy and I’m sure I can learn a lot from you as readers. Please contribute by commenting to help increase the value of this article.

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Filed under: Marketing — Tags: , , , , — Brandon Buttars @ 1:40 pm on June 10, 2009

4 Comments

  1. One of the best articles I have read in quite some time.

    I have been working on the internal link structure on my blog and it has had a tremendous impact.

    This is an even better strategy because it will also give your readers something to anticipate to keep them coming back for more.

    I think you should coin the phrase “Chain Blogging” and create a product out of it.

    You are on to something with this one.

    Thanks

    Comment by Tommie — June 12, 2009 @ 4:51 pm

  2. Thanks for your feedback. Yeah I’ve been brainwashed in the past of how much value internal links can have. I hope people credit me for the term “Chain Blogging”. That would be cool. I’ve really been implementing these strategies over at http://blog.mycollegesandcareers.com and it seems to be working well. I’ve been using the “Similar Posts” plugin to automate a lot of the internal linking. It will display articles in the same categories. If you set WordPress or any other blogging system up right and really organize your categories it will make managing internal linking a lot easier.

    Thanks again Tommie. You are the man. Visit Internet Marketer, Tommie at http://tommiepowers.com everyone. He’s got some good stuff over there.

    Comment by Brandon Buttars — June 18, 2009 @ 7:25 am

  3. Textlinks.com…

    Great info, thanks for sharing. I will be sure to bookmark and check back frequently. I’ve really been looking for quality blogs like this and it’s nice to finally find one….

    Trackback by Textlinks.com — November 10, 2009 @ 12:55 pm

  4. Chain Blogging – Internal Link Building and Usability Strategy « PMA Media Group…

    A blogging strategy that will create rich content relationships and best practice internal link building….

    Trackback by pligg.com — May 31, 2011 @ 1:35 pm

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