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Review Of The SEO Smart Links Plugin

SEO Smart LinksMaking your blog as accessible to both readers and search engines as possible is an important skill to master, in order to create a good reader experience as well as in terms of SEO.

One of the key ways to accomplish this is to have good interlinking habits on your blog – meaning you make sure your posts link to each other when it is relevant or useful to do so. These links make it easier for your readers (and a search engine) to find their way deeper into your site, exposing new content and new information that might be useful.

The only problem is that creating these links can be a tedious, and potentially overwhelming task. Think about it – as your blog grows to contain hundreds, or even thousands of posts, keeping track of them all so you can add their URL’s to new posts is going to be a major challenge.

An added obstacle is the fact that it’s next to impossible to update older posts to include links to new, relevant articles. Let’s say that in your next blog post you go into more detail on a point you made in a previous article – taking the time to search out your old articles and add links to new ones is going to be a time-consuming nightmare!

Unless you automate the process. Enter the SEO Smart Links plugin, by Vladimar Prelovac.

SEO Smart Links

This little plugin does the job of reading through your blog posts, and adding links when it finds anything that matches the title of another post or page.

The plugin comes packed with settings, allowing you to control when, and how often these links are added to your posts – as well as assigning specific URL’s to certain keywords (so you can even automatically link to external sites as needed).

Internal Link Settings

The primary purpose of this plugin is to create links to other pages on your site – and the options in this section help you set that up.

The first two options you are presented with are whether or not you want links to be added to your posts, as well as your pages. Un-checking either box effectively deactivates the plugin for that type of content.

Along with each of those options, you can also choose whether or not you’d like posts/pages to be allowed to link to themselves (not something I personally do, but hey, it’s nice to have the option, right?).

The next option allows you to exclude header tags (like h1, h2, etc) from linking, so your titles won’t be touched by the plugin (turning headers into links could disrupt your layout a bit, depending on your theme).

The last internal link setting is where you define the targets that are allowed – what the plugin is allowed to link to. By checking the provided boxes, you can allow links to be created to posts, pages, categories or tags, respectively.

It is important to note that scanning your category/tag archives involves a bit more work for the plugin, so it can slow things down a bit, depending on your blog.

Other Settings

Another important setting provided is the option to only process single posts or pages – making it so that links won’t be added on your home page, or any other page that lists multiple posts.

Next, you can select whether or not your want RSS feeds to be effected – selecting this option will add links to the content in your RSS updates, just like normal blog posts.

You can also select to activate case-sensitive matching. With this option, if you have a post called “7 Cool WordPress Plugins,” it won’t link if you type the sentence “Here are 7 cool wordpress plugins.” This option comes in handy if you want to exercise a little more control over when the links are added.

The next two settings are extremely useful. There are two text fields that allow you to set certain exclusions – the first is for specific posts and pages (for example, I don’t want a link to my Contact page every time I use the word “contact” in a sentence) and the other for specific keywords.

Custom Keywords

In addition to keyword exclusion, you can also declare custom keywords and define a specific URL for them to link to. This includes external pages if there are sites you link to often, or internal linking, if you want a keyword to link to a post, rather than just it’s title.

A checkbox is provided that will cap custom links per URL, so if you use several keywords for one address, it will only create a link for the first keyword it finds, and then ignore the rest.

Limits and External Link Settings

The final section of the plugin options concern link limits and external settings. You limits for the maximum number of links per post, as well as the maximum links per keyword in a given post. Pretty handy!

You can also use the Smart Links plugin to control the behavior of all of your sites external links – options are provided to open these links in a new window, as well as add a nofollow attribute to them (if you want your blog to be completely nofollow).

Overall Impressions

Overall, this is an extremely useful plugin… allowing you to set up predetermined linking strategies, as well as interlinking automatically. For me, the best thing about this plugin is how much control it gives you – allowing you to use or not use whatever features you want.

To me, there is really only one “missing” feature… Personally, I think this plugin would be made perfect by an option prevent cross-category linking.

Without getting into too much SEO detail, there’s a lot to be said for keeping your categories (and the links within them) organized and linear. If that’s something you strive for in your own SEO strategies, be careful which settings you use with this plugin (hint: you may want to rely heavily on the custom keywords and the case-sensitive matching!)

That’s about all for this one – I’ll be posting a video on all of these settings over in the private video library soon, so if you haven’t already checked it out, you can use the box below!

For more plugin reviews and tutorials, as well as a video review of this plugin, enter your details below!

14 Responses

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  1. Catmandu says

    Chad, Thanks for the review. There are so many plugins, I don’t bother to keep track or even try to find something that I might need (assuming I were to know what it is that I might need). As a result, my exposure to plugins of value comes by way of hearing about them from others – such as this case. If this plugin works, it will save me enormous amounts of time, plus better SEO my site. Had you not written about this plugin, I would not have heard about it, so thanks. Richard

  2. Chad says

    @Richard No problem! Thanks for the feedback (as always ;) )

  3. Catmandu says

    Chad, interesting thing happened with this plugin (I am making this conclusion based on my observations; of course, I could be wrong. It does happen every once in a while ;-) ). After installing and activating the plugin two things happened: 1) it didn’t work, i.e., it did not create any links to other site content, and 2) all of my “headline” content – regardless of size,etc. (e.g., headline 1, headline 2, etc.) – that I had designated for center allignment, was moved to left allignment. It did this site wide for all headlines. No matter what I did, I could not get the headlines back to center. I didn’t even connect it to the plugin, it was so bizarre. Finally, on a whim I de-activated the plugin, and wham – everything went back to where it was supposed to be. To confirm the experiment, I activated the plugin again, and bamm – all screwed up; deactivated it, everything is normal.

    Any ideas on this? I would love to work this plugin, since adding the links manually is sooo time consuming, but yet important.

    Thanks, as always. Great site. Keep up the great work.

    richard

  4. Chad says

    Hi Richard

    That is very strange indeed. As far as the plugin not working, the only thing I can think of is that the title of the post you were hoping for a link to doesn’t exactly match the text in your content (to the best of my knowledge, a link is only created if you use the title of another post/page word for word). If that isn’t it, I’d make sure you don’t have case-sensitive matching selected, as well as checking the different targeting settings.

    The alignment of your headers is a really interesting one. I’d be curious to see what changes there are in the CSS affecting those elements with the plugin activated/deactived. (Firebug would come in handy for that :) ) I haven’t noticed any alterations in the styles on my own sites, but things could go a little differently on your blog.

    Let me know if you find anything, or need a hand checking out the CSS – I’m curious about what’s happening there.

  5. Mike B says

    Just out of curiousity, what plugin are you using for your ‘shares’?

    It looks great!

  6. Resale Centre says

    Love this plugin, I recently installed the plugin and it helps perfectly with internal linking, and refreshing older posts with new links to other new posts that you have created. Definitely one of the best mods I have downloaded for WP!

  7. Chad says

    Hey mike! Sorry for the delayed response!

    If you’re referring to the sharing buttons at the bottom of the post, I’m currently using the “Sexy Bookmarks” plugin. :)

  8. Marty says

    Realignment of H-tags is common with this plugin, as well as the (interlinking) feature not working. Not sure if it has to do with the WP version or what, but when the author is asked about it, he invariably says:

    “That issue is fixed in the paid version” – sorry but I don’t feel like paying $80 on the word of vladimir, who doesn’t bother to address major bugs.

  9. Chad says

    @Marty

    I’m sorry to hear your running into to trouble – those are two problems I haven’t run into with this particular plugin.

    Have you tried testing for compatibility issues with your other plugins to see if that resolves things?

  10. Piese Auto Online says

    I’ve just installed the plugin. So far it works perfectly. I’ve changed some settings to fit my moods :) I have no clue if it’s really useful or not. The future will tell…

    Thanks for giving me the idea of using it.

  11. Andrea says

    It won’t create any links on my blog. Is there a good alternative to this plugin? Thanks.

  12. Chad says

    @Andrea

    Sorry it isn’t working for you… do you have the option for case sensitive linking selected? That would prevent links from appearing unless you typed the title EXACTLY as it is entered on the other post

  13. Parsa says

    Hi ,
    I think this plugin wont work in non-english sites,
    @ Andrea i think you can use Seo Auto Linker as alternative (http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/seo-auto-linker) ,
    and thank you Chad for this useful post

  14. Deepak Eapen says

    Dear Chad, you taught me how to use this Plugin. Thanks a heap buddy. You know I had given up using this plugin few months ago and today I thought of giving it a shot again, that’s when I stumbled upon your post. Finally i cracked the code to SEO Smart Links… Wooo hooo :D



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