Making 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.
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.
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, 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!