I received notice of an interesting referrer link the other day. Conversations’ Get Started Blogging workshop post, “Whistle Stops”, included a link to Lorelle on WordPress – wordpressdotcom tagged posts. Interesting.
Instead of linking to a single post, or even a category, or just to my site in general, he linked to a site search tag for the word
<a href="http://lorelle.wordpress.com/index.php?s=wordpressdotcom" title=">
A little panic set in. I don’t like the “wordpressdotcom” tag but I’ve used it because others have used it, so it made me wonder, since it is a fairly unique bit of text, how many posts I used that tag in. Luckily, enough, and enough appropriate posts, to justify the use of this kind of link.
I thought this was an interesting way to link to a blog, especially a technical blog, giving your audience links to articles specifically related to the topic at hand.
I revised my Site Map recently to include a more structured list of categorized posts, but also to include a list of related keywords that I’ve found people using to access this site via search engines. I figured, it they are searching for these terms, I’d do my best to help them find related content with site search tags.
I didn’t think about these keyword or tag specific links being used as referrer links, but now that I do, it makes a lot of sense.
Here are some of the benefits of using keyword or tag specific site search links:
- Directs your readers to topic specific posts.
- Allows you to control what resources they find on the referring site.
- Offers a range of related posts rather than just one.
- Creates tag-related resource links similar to a tagging service like Technorati.
How does this benefit you?
- The person following the link gets access to more than one article, thus finding a variety of posts instead of just one.
- This increases “site stickiness”, longer time a visitor may stay on your site.
- Showcases a body of work rather than a single post.
- If you are known for a “body of work” that has value, more people may blog about you and your site, linking to your “body of work” as a reference.
- Search engine crawlers will follow the referring link and find a ton of content, not just a single post, and a ton of links to follow throughout your site.
- If search engine crawlers find such referring links, they may add the entire linked “page” to their database search results, increasing your search engine coverage.
This is another example of the power of the link.
There are a few drawbacks.
In order to work, you must have one or more posts with that keyword or tag inside. This would be really frustrating if the link turned up a 404 Page Not Found Error.
The posts with the keyword or tag inside should be related content. Otherwise, the search results are a jumble. This is nice for providing a spicy variety for the visitor to look through, finding some treasures possibly, but also frustrating if they still can’t find the information they need and had to scroll through all that stuff. If the user doesn’t find what they are looking for in the first few seconds, they are gone.
Still, this is an interesting way to maximize a referring link.
Creating Site Search Links
To create a site search link for this blog, or any other WordPress blog, here is the structure:
<a href="http://lorelle.wordpress.com/index.php?s=keyword1+keyword2" title="Lorelle on WordPress - Keyword1 and Keyword2 articles">Lorelle on WordPress - Keyword Phrase Articles</a>
keyword with the words you wish the search to include.
This only works on PHP driven blogs like WordPress that use the
?s=keyword function. If the blog uses another programming language, do a search on that site to generate a link in the address/URL of your browser and customize it to include the keywords you want to use to search the site and make your link from that. Here is an example of the query for CNN for “wordpress”.
Here are some site search tag links as an example, from this blog.
- legal –
- bloggers+rights –
- links –
- wordpress+plugins –
- wordpress+themes –
- theme+design –
- web+page+design –
- writing –
- communication –
- wordpress+blog+structure –
- content+theft –
- copyright+protection –
- spell+check –
- cheat+sheets –
- html+php+css –
- wordpressdotcom+themes –
- wordpressmu+themes –
- blogging+tools –
- blog+writing –
- design+colors –
- beginner+blogging –
- blog+administration –
- housekeeping+maintenance –
- 404+page+not+found –
- 404+errors –
Simply change the link URL and the keywords to create your own lists of site search tag and keyword links.
- A Tagging Bookmarklet for WordPress and WordPress.com Users (and how to create custom tags manually)
- Tags and Tagging in WordPress and Everywhere (all you want to know about tags)
- The Power of the Link
- How People Search the Web and How They Can Find Your Blog
- Linkability – Link Popularity
- Search Engine Friendly: Helping Googlebot Crawl Your Blog
- Hook, Line and Sinker: Luring Blog Traffic to Stay
- Beauty is Only Skin Deep: Designing Blogs For Feeds, Search Engines and Audience
- DYI Search Engine Optimization
- Site Optimization: Checking Loose Links
- Categories versus Tags – What’s the Difference and Which One?
- The Problems With Tags and Tagging
- Categories versus Tags: Defining the Limitations
- Putting Some Thought Into Blog Categories and Tags
- Tags Are Not Categories – Got It?
- Tags and Tagging in WordPress and Everywhere
Site Search Tags: links, link, referrals, referals, incoming+links, body+of+work, search+engines, crawlers, link+power, power+of+the+link, connections, connect, site+search+tags, tags, tag, search, tagging, keywords
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