Beating my drum again about Dead End Content.

young drummer boyIf I look back over the years and try to identify the recommendations I have shared over and over again, ad nauseam, I bet #1 on the list would be my rant about dead end content.

What is dead end content? It’s when you write a page of content for your site, or a post for your blog, and fail to provide links to further reading at the end of the article, review, guide or post.

Some webmasters and writers shrug this suggestion away, confident that their readers will scroll back up the page and find a new link to click on.

Good luck with that. Not going to happen.

If you want to keep your readers on your site for longer – and you do – you need to maximize the number of readers who visit more than one page.

The easiest way to do this is to add links to related content immediately after the main body of content on a page..

For example, if you have a buyer’s guide for visitors interested in learning about digital cameras, you could add links at the end of the guide, pointing to pages which deliver more detail…like a page on point-and-shoot digital cameras, another on single lens reflex digital cameras, and so on.

Or, if you are writing a post, you could add links to additional posts at the end, with those posts perhaps sharing some or all of the same tags. In other words, they are related.

Why is this important? For two reasons.

First because, whatever your monetization model, the more your visitors read, and the more pages they see, the more likely it is you will profit from their visit.

Second, and this is a big one, it seems likely that Google is now looking much more closely at on-site visitor behaviors.

Some experts believe that on-site behavior is a key element within the Panda update. While in the past Google looked primarily at external factors, like inbound links, it seems likely they are now adding a lot more weight to toolbar data.

In other words, Panda looks carefully at your bounce rate, the time spent on the site, the number of pages visited, and so on.

I don’t know this for a fact, but my experience with my own sites and blogs tells me this is probably the case.

I have one site where about 3.5% of visitors look at more than one page, and that site has neither been lifted nor pushed down by Panda.

I have another site where over 15% of visitors read more than one page, and that site has seen a huge lift in visitors from Google. This didn`t happen when Panda was first released, but did kick in about three months ago.

I don`t offer this as proof, because it isn`t. But I do think that Google is basing its search results listings more and more on on-site behavior.

For this reason alone, I continue to beat my drum, and encourage site owners and managers to make sure every page of content closes with a few links to related content elsewhere on the site or blog.

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