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Link Referrals – Linking to Site Search Tags

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 "wordpressdotcom".

<a href="" 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="" title="Lorelle on WordPress - Keyword1 and Keyword2 articles">Lorelle on WordPress - Keyword Phrase Articles</a>

Replace 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.

Simply change the link URL and the keywords to create your own lists of site search tag and keyword links.

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen


  1. Posted April 26, 2006 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    Another great tip!:-) Thanks. The reason I linked to the whole category rather than a single post was so readers wouldn’t stop with just a single post. You’ve got a ton of great tips – and this is another.

  2. Posted August 8, 2006 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Hey, “site search tags” – good idea. We (there’s two of us blogging) have taken it two steps further though: the search words are all prefixed with “kw” – as in “?s=kwkeyword1”.. This makes the listed results for our special “keyword links” quite specific, as they don’t include hits from non-related entries. I’m sure there’s other ways to tweak the keywords in the same fashion.
    The second thing we did was make the search links Technorati friendly.. resulting in “?s=kwkeyword1&/keyword1”. From what I can tell this is the easiest way to get the tags to show correctly, since everything after the last “/” character is read as the tag. The search results aren’t affected afaik. Do you see any problems with what we’ve done, or have any tips? Time allowing of course..
    Thanks for all your efforts 🙂

  3. Posted August 8, 2006 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    I believe Technorati uses + and not &, though most do. I’ll have to look into that. Thanks.

    I also recommend you take a look at A Technorati Tag Bookmarklet for WordPress and Users for more on handling these tags and other options.

  4. Posted August 11, 2006 at 2:18 am | Permalink

    Hi Lorelle,
    This is the closest post I could find for my question.
    My statistics plugins shows many visitors hit my blog from other places and get a 404 messages. Only problem is, I don’t know how to figure out where were they trying to get, that made them face that dreaded 404 message.
    Do you know of any of finding that out? Maybe in my Cpanel stats?
    Or maybe I should start using another stats tool (I use BDP Referral Tracker)?

    Any thoughts?

  5. Posted August 11, 2006 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    Never mind, found my answer : Here :).

  6. Posted August 11, 2006 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    And here and here. Just a few hear-hears! 😉

  7. Geoff Dodd
    Posted February 16, 2007 at 9:50 pm | Permalink


    Your exposition of linking is exquisite and crystal clear. The more people find and search engines locate by way of related CONTENT – the better you’ll do. That’s the beauty of the social bookmarking, tags, categories, site search tag linking -thing. Thanks Lorelle. May people connect up cleverly forever.

    Geoff Dodd
    Perth, Australia

20 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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