Linking is something most bloggers hear about early on.

Linking to other blogs is a great way to gain more attention to theirs and ours, and linking internally (deep links) may work well to drive traffic to older posts, increase page views and improve our bounce rate. Links may also take a visitor to a site for which we’re an affiliate.

However, as beneficial as linking can be, how well does it REALLY work?
Do links work in blog posts

Today’s Lesson

In the Entice Your Readers To Stay Awhile post, many of you said you don’t click on related post links.

But, what about the other links we include?

When I look at my stats, what I’ve observed is most of the links others are clicking are the those which are displayed via the CommentLuv plugin to posts written by those who commented.

The internal links I provide get far fewer clicks.

Truth be told, I’m not surprised.

When I’m on other blogs, I’m usually under a time crunch and as much as I’d like to follow all of the links included in a post, most times I don’t. If I do click on link, I am more apt to either click on a CommentLuv link of someone who commented before me, or on a related post which has a catchy title or intriguing photo.

That’s not to say linking to others or linking internally is a waste of time. Links are great for:

  1. Showing a courtesy to fellow bloggers
  2. Telling our visitors about other blogs we enjoy
  3. Drawing more attention to our blog
  4. Referencing an article which echos our viewpoint
  5. Directing readers to relevant posts in our archives
  6. Or, ___(fill in the blank)_____

Personally I enjoy linking. I see it as a great way to build credibility and to also bring attention to the accomplishments of fellow bloggers.

Unfortunately, I don’t have the answer to how we can encourage others to click on those internal links.

Do you?

Today’s Assignment

Do you feel linking to others or to older posts has been beneficial?

When you’re on another blog, how could a blogger entice you to click on a link?

And CommentLuv links? Do you click on those?

Care to share?

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Look Who's Talking
  1. Kelvin KaoNo Gravatar says:

    Yes, I do click on the links. I usually just open them in new tabs so they just load in the background without disrupting me from reading the post. I do click on commentluv links if they seem interesting. I do link to my own posts and other sites. The traffic stuff isn’t my primary concern. I just figure that I might as well provide the links there so that the reader can follow them if they are indeed interested enough to do so.

    • Kelvin said exactly what I was going to say! (Kelvin! Get out of my head! Run now while you can! heh)

      I like checking out new blogs and I admit I am drawn to a catchy headline if I see one on through CommentLuv. I also click through links to see what else is out there but much of it depends on my time and what else I have going on.

      And this: ” just figure that I might as well provide the links there so that the reader can follow them if they are indeed interested enough to do so.” – yep – exactly.

      • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

        Hi Lisa,

        You gotta watch out for Kelvin. He’ll get into your head if you’re not careful. :)

        Like you, I also watch for those catchy titles. They’re a good way to find new blogs, as well as fascinating posts.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Kelvin,

      I like your idea of opening links in a new tab Like you said, by doing that it doesn’t disrupt you from reading the post.

      And yes. Providing links for those who want to follow them, makes sense.

  2. It’s all a time issue for me. If I have time then I’ll click on any link that I find interesting – be in in the post or a commentluv link.

    I don’t really worry about how many clicks a link is getting on my own blog. They are there mainly for additional references and if a reader is interested then they will click. Sometimes a reader may not have time during the first read, but they could bookmark it to come back and click the links later. You just never know.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Heather,

      That’s true. We never know if a reader will return or not, so by providing relevant links, we’re helping them to learn more on a given topic.

      My problem is I bookmark posts, but then forget to go back to them. Aurghhhh!

  3. JayNo Gravatar says:

    I second what Heather said. It’s all a time issue for me. If I have the time, with “no particular place to go” (as Chuck Berry once sang), then I enjoy following links to other blogs and posts. Or, if I think the link might be really useful or entertaining to me, then I’ll click on it.

    I almost never think about the links on my own posts, though, unless I’m deliberately trying to send my visitors somewhere else; for example when I write about how someone inspired me with their blog, and I want people to check it out.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jay,

      Oooooh! I like that – how you used the line from the Chuck Berry song. :)

      Like you, I also like to send readers to the sites of others. Although it may not result in a lot of traffic, hopefully they’ll gain a reader or two.

  4. I do sometimes click on internal post links when I am looking for more information related to the current topic and I believe that the link will lead me to more of what I am seeking.

    I also tend to notice featured content sliders that are attractive, fast loading and pull my attention to something interesting. Then I give in and click.

    Even if you don’t get as many people clicking through to your links they still have value. The search engines like it when you have links back to your own articles and the articles of others. Not only that if you have WordPress trackbacks/pingbacks are likely to attract interest from the blogs/sites you are linking to. They will often visit to check out your site.

    All in all, in post linking is valuable. Some people clicking through to related content is better than none. And none is likely to be what you get if you don’t include them.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Joella,

      That’s true. Search engines like those deep links.

      And you’re right. If we don’t include links, we’re not going to have any clicks at all.

  5. Tony SingleNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara, I sometimes look at the links provided. I sometimes don’t. Like you, it depends on how much time I have and if said link seems even a little bit intriguing. :)

    I don’t think there’s any way to make people click on these. I include them if there’s something I want the reader to see, but the ball is always firmly in their court as to what they’ll do with that link. Click or move on? Their choice. And there are certainly no hard feelings if they do move on.

    I think Joella makes some interesting points that I’ll certainly keep in mind when I next include links in one of my blog posts.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Tony,

      Time is an issue, isn’t it?

      Yes. With regard to links, the ball is in our readers court. What they do is up to them, but hopefully we entice them to click once in awhile.

  6. Mike GoadNo Gravatar says:

    I’d have to echo the time issue. With several projects in progress and/or traveling, when I’m reading blogs, I don’t do much clicking on links, except on the niche blogs where I’m quite interested in the topic.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Mike,

      I hear you. When we have a lot on our plates, there’s not a lot of time left to follow links. Similar to what you said, if I’m researching for a blog post, I often click on the links provided in hopes of finding more corroborating material.

  7. Lori HoeckNo Gravatar says:

    When I’m researching, I link hop like crazy, tracking info leads. When I read blogs that I like, I’m more interested in what the author is saying at the moment.

    I find the same pattern with my readers. Some just want the down and dirty info they are looking for. Others seem to be researching a topic, like narcissism, and they click more links.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Lori,

      That’s a good point. If we’re reading our favorite blogs and a link will take us away from the site, we may be less apt to click.

      It’s good to know you’re seeing that with those who appear to be researching – the clicking on links for relevant material. That’s a good reminder for us to provide quality sites when we’re linking, too.

  8. When I have the time, I enjoy clicking on the links of the other commenters to find other interesting blogs to read. Sometimes this sends me down long interesting rabbit holes where I never know where I’ll come up! But I’ve met some very interesting people that way. It probably happens less often due to time though, but I do enjoy it,

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Wendi,

      I remember once before when you mentioned rabbit holing. In fact, your previous comment inspired me to write a future post about that particular activity. And you’re right. We never know where we will land. :)

  9. Debbie YostNo Gravatar says:

    I like to put links in my posts that refer back to older posts and I think I get some hits on those. I often write about the same subject so I think it helps readers to get a feel for the history of the subject. For myself, I often click the internal links but no so much the commentluv links from others. I guess I’m the opposite of most people. Of course, time is an issue for me as well, so I may not read the links as thoroughly as the original post and sometimes I think I’ll come back and read it later and never do.

    I don’t know what the answer is either! :-)

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Debbie,

      That does work good, doesn’t it? – when we link back to posts on the same topic. For new readers it often gets them up to speed, plus helps to increase page views and maybe even pick up a new reader or two.

  10. JodithNo Gravatar says:

    I do click on internal links if it’s something that is referring to information I either don’t know or don’t understand clearly. However, for blogs that I subscribe to, internal links are often to posts that I’ve read in the past.

    I find most of the internal links people click on in my blog are either from my landing page or from series posts.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jodith,

      That’s a good point. If we’ve been reading a blog for some time, chances are we’ve already read the post(s) the blog author is linking to.

      I’m glad you brought that up about series posts. They can be a great way to get more clicks on previous posts, especially if each post of the series ties to the next.

  11. I mainly link for SEO benefits – don’t mind too much if people click or not!

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Vered,

      Yes. Linking for SEO benefits is a great idea. Even if others don’t click on our links, it appears the search engines like them.

  12. George AngusNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    That sure is a great question. I too am much more inclined to click a comment luv link if the total grabs me.

    On a blog that is new to me I may be inticed to go see an internal link but for the regulars, it’s a rare event.

    This is me putting on my thinking cap…

    George

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi George,

      Those CommentLuv links can be enticing, can’t they? I’m always amazed at the catchy titles bloggers come up with. Such talent.

  13. Alien GhostNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    Links have definitely been beneficial for me since the majority of visitors I receive come from my previous visits to other blogs, I know because I don’t do any SEO work and have no clue how to do the optimization thing for google rankings or whatever might be. I just read other blogs and make comments when I feel the need to say something, that’s all, so I suppose linking does the job.

    To be tempted to click in a link while in another blog is mostly about an intriguing title or picture, if the link will bring new light to the content of the post, etc and that’s the reason I use links to older posts in my blog, when I’m trying to complement the post with something written before.

    To be honest, I don’t know if those links are used since I don’t know how to see the statistics as you mention or even if I have implemented the required software to do that.

    I do click in CommentLuv and thanks to that I’ve come to know many great blogs and bloggers; it is great to have it and see it in other blogs :)

    Raul

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Raul,

      I’m with you on how well leaving comments on other blogs can bring visitors to our blogs. Not only does the CommentLuv plugin work great for that, but even just leaving a meaningful comment may entice a reader to click on our name.

      If you have a stats program loaded on your blog, you’ll be able to see the links others click. For example, on WordPress Stats, the links clicked are located under “Clicks”. It goes on to say “Your visitors clicked these links on your blog” and each link is listed.

  14. LoriNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    Again, such an interesting topic. :)

    My mind is tainted from my days in corporate marketing and writing web content for customers. Based on those days, links were essential to give our customers information that might help them find what they’re searching.

    With my personal blog, I try to link to other bloggers when it makes sense. I like to promote the people who have put a bee in my bonnet or who have stimulated me to reach a place I haven’t been before. Since I chose not to have a blogroll, early on I made a decision to link organically instead of a keeping a static list of bloggers I visit often. I’m happy with this decision thus far.

    So, basically, yeah, I like to link to others who have inspired me, occasionally link to a previous post of mine if it will help clarify what I’m writing about, or an external link where a reader can get more information.

    Like others have said, I often visit links if I have the time and energy.

    Finally, I often click CommentLuv links. I very much enjoy checking out bloggers who visit the blogs I visit (try saying that three times!).

    Thanks, Barbara!

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Lori,

      Whoa! That’s a tongue twister. :)

      The Blogroll. Yes. Those can be a long list of links. I don’t use one either therefore, like you, use my posts to showcase others.

  15. JerryNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t often click on links within a blog body, but it does help with google rankings, so I do it in my own blog. As for commentluv, I click them all the time. It just depends on how interesting the titles of the last postings were.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jerry,

      That’s true, isn’t it? The CommentLuv links do help to gain readers for bloggers. With an intriguing title, our page views could sour.

  16. Jaime-AnnNo Gravatar says:

    Hey there Barbara!

    I have thought about this recently. I have been participating in things like #blogchat and about 3 other twitter chat type events which drives a lot of traffic to my sites and really helps to build a solid network. Other items I have come across are “McLinkys” and my favorite: The LBS Tea Party Social. The idea behind these events are to network and share your information, your website, and in some cases – your services with others.

    Great topic!

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Jaime-Ann,

      Your comment is filled with lots of ideas to bring traffic to our blogs. I’ll have to check out the sites you listed and see if any of them are of interest to me.

  17. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara,
    When I was a new blogger I clicked on links more than I do now and they were usually links from commenters. If I’m researching or really engaged in the topic I will click on a link in the post to find out more. It’s more enticing if there is a CTA (call to action) with the link. If a blogger actually leads into the link with a comment or a directive, rather than just linking to a key phrase.

    I do get clicks on links other than in the comment section on my blog. There seem to be a lot of people Googling for Animal Totems these days. In that post I linked to Friar’s Zodiac post. It has got quite a few clicks. You have to smile though, because anyone who is seriously looking for info on animal totems or the zodiac is in for a surprise.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Davina,

      I like your idea of having a call to action preceding a link. It can capture a readers attention and entice a click.

      That’s funny how the search engines are sending traffic your way for animal totems and the zodiac. Who’d ever thought they’d be such a popular search term?

  18. HilaryNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara .. I suspect we all think like you .. if we’re part of a ‘group’ .. I do try and branch out to other blogs .. partly because I see their comments and ‘feel I know’ them from having seen them around .. but I’m also aware that I can only do so much .. and I don’t want to ‘be rude’ because I’m dashing here there and everywhere .. I’d rather have value, and add value where I go ..

    I haven’t been very good about acknowledging others on my blog, because I’ve had major time and brain challenges .. so it’s not something I’ve encouraged .. though that will probably now start to change.

    (1) I agree re fellow bloggers .. but I can’t do the awards bit too much (or at all) .. it seems too ephemeral
    (2) This is something I want to start doing some more of ..
    (3) I’m not sure about this one .. I’m too fluid a state at the moment and the attention is coming organically … in other words I am doing nothing – other than blogging and commenting …. no social media – oh yes it does get linked into FB – but I don’t go there! For now .. that too will change ..
    (4) I do reference links within the article – in case people want to know more .. and this is appreciated
    (5) I occasionally do this
    (6) Guest posts .. I have been asked to do two more – one on Getting Started – out today or tomorrow I think .. and I have one on our therapist, who has been with my mother for 2.5 years .. and is the biggest boon in my life! So will go out at the end of the month on Stacey Curnow’s blog .. on my blog – well that might be interesting?!
    (7) I agree – we should link .. but not flood our posts (unless very relevant .. as I know I’ve just flouted that rule with the Silent Pianist post), with links – it gets too cumbersome and draws the attention away from our ‘story’/article.
    (8) More than that I don’t know – because I’m not there .. but am moving forward ..
    Thanks – great thoughts .. as always, your posts ring true .. and they are good to read .. Hilary

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Hilary,

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts on all of the points. One that stood out for me was how you said we should not flood our posts with links since it can draw attention away from the article, and that’s certainly not what we want to have happen.

  19. Cath LawsonNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – Like Vered, a lot of my linking is for SEO purposes. But I also try to add interesting links at the end of each post, both to my own posts and other bloggers posts.

    I do click on links a lot, if I’m interested in the topic and the title of the link attracts me. Yesterday I was reading a post on a blog I’d never read before and I’m guessing I wound up reading about 10 other articles on that blog.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Cath,

      I agree. When we land on a new site, clicking on the links is a great way to not only find out more about the author, but to also educate ourselves on the topic of the blog.

  20. Mandy AllenNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    I do include links, I do usually click through in a new tab (like Kelvin), but I never click commentluv, usually prefer to click the commenters name link as it takes me to their home page, rather than a specific post, and I can then bookmark without faffing (I hate faffing!).

    Great post as always. I do believe we should include links, regardless of whether our readers click through much, as it shows we are involved in our subject and have researched other writing on our topic, gives us credibility I think.

    Enjoy the journey.

    Mandy

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Mandy,

      That’s true. Including links does show our readers we’ve researched the topic, thus giving us credibility.

      Haha! I had to look up what “faffing” is. For those who don’t know, according to the Urban Dictionary, Faffing means,

      Verb.
      1. to waste time doing nothing. 2. to waste time doing stupid things 3. to delay, dilly-dally, especially before leaving the house to be on time somewhere.

      Thank you Mandy for teaching me a new word. :)

      • Mandy AllenNo Gravatar says:

        It’s a very English word – I guess you might be from the US then?

        Enjoy the journey.

        Mandy

        • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

          Hi Mandy,

          Yes. I am from the U.S. Instead of saying faffing, I’d use the dilly dally phrase or just say, “wasting time”. :)

  21. PatriciaNo Gravatar says:

    I feel like odd man out here! I click on most of the links and the comment luv’s on interesting or new folks all the time. I love to read.
    I don’t click if the writer is referring me back to a previous post or Part I or II post that I have already read and remember.

    I do not have a blog roll but do highlight a lot of good links to other bloggers in my related posts section.

    (I do say I do not click if the post is not something I am interested in or substandard)

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Patricia,

      That’s true. When we take time to click on the links in posts or on the CommentLuv links, we’re bound to meet new folks as well as learn about topics which will broaden our knowledge base.

  22. LindaNo Gravatar says:

    I hit the links of commentluv and does time spent on a site count as well? I mean, they are going deeper into the site and thus hitting other links.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Linda,

      Yes. Hitting the links on a blog does take us deeper into the site, and does help to improve the bounce rate for a blog.

  23. Keith DavisNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara
    In my blogrole I link to sites that are in my niche.
    I look for ones that have a pagerank of 3 or above (authority sites) and I also try and get them to include my site in their blogrole – I send them an email asking for this.

    I comment on lots of sites but only continue to comment if comments are returned – I consider it bad manners not to return a comment now and then.

    I also look for do follow links, keywordluv and commentluv on sites that I comment on.

    All those comments add up over time and help with Google pagerank.
    All hail the mighty Google. LOL

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Keith

      Including links to similar sites in a blogroll can be very beneficial to our readers – especially when we have a niche site. Reciprocal linking is a great way to show our authority, as well Great strategy, Keith.

      LOL @ the mighty Google. As much as we may not want to succumb to them, not following what they like to “see” can hurt the rate at which we grow and get found.

  24. TruxedoNo Gravatar says:

    My experience has been if I’m reading a blog post I usually read the comments for more insight. With your blog not only are the posts thought provoking but the comments also provide useful information. I appreciate the honesty and useful info you provide.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Truxedo,

      I agree. In a lot of cases, it’s the combination of the post plus the comments where we find the greatest value in a blog.