Internally linking articles together is a great way for users to read more of your content. When you link your articles, you prevent the need to find your articles in the header which are located at the very top of your website. By the time users have reached the bottom of the article, they will either have to scroll back to the to find more articles by categories on desktop, or click the three line hamburger menu icon on mobile. Whenever you link your articles together, it creates what is called a pingback in WordPress. In this article, I talk about pingbacks and how they are beneficial for SEO and your users.
What Are Pingbacks?
Pingbacks keep track of all of the internal links within your website. They can be found at the end of an article once your users are finished reading it. These pingbacks allow your users to find related articles based on how you linked your content in the article. In the following sections, I discuss the importance of pingbacks.
The Importance of Pingbacks Creating Internal Links
Internal linking is important to not only tell your users which articles are related together, but search engines also. I have written a couple articles that talk about internal links. I have an article exclusively on internal linking when you have no backlinks present. I have another article on creating internal links as you write more articles.
Additional Internal Navigation
Pingbacks are important because they add more internal navigation for your website. You have your header with article categories and possibly even more article links on your sidebars. WordPress sidebars typically have a latest articles widget and another widget that lists articles based on date. Those links are not specifically tied to your current article. Only pingbacks show what articles are related to each other because you have actually decided which articles to link together. This makes it easier for users to want to know more about a certain topic without having to go through your other navigational elements.
Preventing Duplicate Content
Linking between your articles prevents you from duplicating your content so that you are explaining the same concepts over and over. I have written my stance on duplicate content and because some niches can be very small, you are bound to repeat yourself at some point. For example, this article is about WordPress pingbacks. Pingbacks generate an internal link. Since I have two existing articles about internal linking, then naturally I will mention some stuff in those articles in this one. This all comes down to the relationship that articles have between each other. I do not worry about keyword cannibalization because some people might enter this website through this article and not others. So the first article that they read about internal linking might be this one.
This is why you need to look at your articles as a whole and how they can be used to get your ideas and thoughts across. This is not just about an article here or there. This is about introducing new concepts to your blog and figuring out where they fit into your other articles. This is why we are writing a book. A digital book where you can place more chapters and pages in it as your book grows. This is the true power of the web as our book can continue to grow and move fluidly and not be set in stone like a physical printed book.
Pingbacks and Keyword Cannibalization
When you have pingbacks on your article, you are linking to an article that will give your users more details about a subtopic. This helps with keyword cannibalization because it ensures that you do not target the same keywords in your current article as the one that you are linking to. If you ever wonder if your articles are competing with each other, you can check your pingbacks and ensure that the content that you use to lead into your linking articles is not verbatim. If you do use the same content word-for-word, then you might end up targeting the same keywords. This is why paraphrasing your content is important because it allows you to reference the same topics across your articles without sounding like a broken record.
Go Back to Your Articles and Add Internal Links to Generate More Pingbacks
You should add as many relevant pingbacks to your articles as you can. As you write more articles, return to your previous one and link your old articles to your new ones. You will actually be surprised as to how many of your articles have new opportunities to create more pingbacks. Since pingbacks help search engines find your other articles, this can only benefit your SEO. Making life easier for the search engines is something that you should always do. Do not make your content hard to find and make search engines go out of their way to find your stuff.
How Many Pingbacks Per Article Do You Need?
There is no set number of pingbacks that you have to have on your articles. Ideally, you have as many pingback links that are relevant between your articles. The key here is to make the links between articles as natural as possible. Do not force links between articles if they are not related just for the sake of creating pingbacks. This does not benefit users or search engines because they will know if you are linking to the wrong content. Be selective when creating pingbacks and make sure to introduce and ease your users into your other articles.The text that you use to link between articles does matter for SEO. So a link from one article to another should say “read more about Google Search Console in this article” rather than “read more about that subject here”. The difference is that the first link actually has a keyword “Google Search Console” in it and the second does not.
As you write more articles, it will be easier to create more pingbacks as you have more articles to work with. This is especially true if you stay within your niche and do not venture too far out until you have exhausted it.
Pingbacks Are Good Until You Get More Backlinks and Comments
Pingbacks are great because you can control them since they originate from your own website. Until you get more backlinks and comments, pingbacks are the only way you will be able to get links between your articles. Backlinks are tricky to get because you need to prove that your content is worthy enough to link to. Either that or you have to pay for them or do a guest post on someone else’ blog. With comments, you need to wait until you get a decent viewership going before that happens. Until then, you will need to continue wading through the sea of spam comments on your articles.
Due to issues in acquiring decent backlink and comments, pingbacks are your best bet for the time being when starting out in your blogging journey.
Pingbacks Reduce the Amount of Extra Human Input and Labor
Ideally, we want people to use navigational elements like header and search only if they need to. The reason why is that they add extra clicks to find more articles, especially searching. Not only does searching add extra clicks, but also requires users to type also. This extra amount of human input that is required for people to find what they are looking for is generally not desirable. This is why pingbacks are so important because they just give people what they want without them having to look for it.
What we have learned over time is that people have become more insistent on not only pages loading faster but also easier to use. We have to walk this fine balancing act of being able to provide just enough content for users without overloading them. This is why I discussed how we have to go out our way to provide a good user experience and not make people put in more effort than they need to.
Table of Contents Versus Pingbacks
I want to make a comparison between a table of contents and pingbacks. They both have other navigational elements to make your content easier to find. This improvement in the user experience is crucial to guide your users along your website.
Table of Contents: Finding Content Within Articles
Having a table of contents is great for long articles that have a lot of vertical scrolling in it. The best part about long articles is that they contain lots of detail and are keyword rich for the search engines to analyze and pick out the keywords to rank for. You can just jump between your sections using anchor tags in HTML and that table of contents plugin that I linked to automatically does it for you using your headings. So the table of contents is good for finding content within your articles. This contrasts with pingbacks though.
Pingbacks: Finding Content Between Articles
Unlike a table of contents, pingbacks find content between your articles. Think of pingbacks as bridges that connect your articles together. Once you reach a new article through a pingback link, you will have another table of contents that organizes all of the article’s content for you.
Having both a table of contents and pingbacks on your articles ensure that all of your content is connected and intertwined in a very tight network. So that no matter what page you are on, you can find exactly what you want quickly and easily. Having your articles separated alone in isolation will make it very hard for people to find.
Pingbacks are a great way for users to see which of your articles are related to each other. They show up at the end of the article in a list for users to browse through. Not only do they add another navigational element to your pages but they also reduce the amount of duplicate content that your users do want to read over and over. Reducing duplicate content is important to prevent keyword cannibalization so that your articles do not compete with each other.
As you write more articles, be sure to revisit your older ones and add pingback links to your newer articles. This will ensure that you are adding a good amount of internal links over time. This will benefit both your users and search engines because they will use the pingbacks links as a way to understand your website better.
The number of pingbacks that you need really depends on how many articles you have and how interrelated they are. More articles that are related means more potential pingbacks. You will need to rely on your pingbacks in the beginning because good backlinks and comments are hard to get until you become known.
Since you will have pingbacks for a while, they really do reduce the amount of work that people have to put into when finding more articles to read on your website. Making people return to the top to find more articles when they just finished reading your article at the bottom is one hassle that they might not be willing to do. Another problem is making people search for something that requires them to type a search term using a keyword. As you can see, pingbacks are great in alleviating the amount of additional effort that we do not want to incur for our users.
People want fast loading pages and easy to navigate websites. This is why we must show them as much content as possible without having them go look through it.
Tables of content and pingbacks are great ways to organize content within and between articles. Having both of them in your articles allows your users to easily navigate around your website without having much trouble finding more material to read.