Want to keep your visitors on your website as long as possible?
Then here is what you have to do – give them content with the highest quality there is. It should be strict and useful with great images and/or other multimedia.
Yes, content is king! This is a well-known fact but is the great content a reason enough so that the visitors could make the precious click-throughs? The answer to this question could be “Yes” but only if your website structure provides the needed usability so that it is extremely easy to click the link to the next great article that is related to the landing page.
So let’s sum it up: you need great content and a great website content structure with links for similar or related posts. Achieve this and your visitors will not leave directly from the landing page and thus won’t increase your bounce rate. You want this to happen for two reasons: one – the high bounce rate is extremely dangerous for SEO and two – the more internal links you have between similar posts and pages – the better.
Now let me share with you how you can achieve this in WordPress!
The first basic and yet extremely important technique is to link manually your posts while writing their content. Actually this is a must! Choose relevant keywords and phrases and don’t forget the title tag. I would suggest that you also make the links open in a new window/tab. And last but not least – these links should be do-follow. You can also do this with links behind images. The idea is that while reading your content the visitors can receive additional information on the topic from a similar or related post without leaving the current page. A little bit of advice – in WordPress 4.2+ the “title” field in the box for adding links is removed so you will need the plugin “Restore Link Title Field” unless you are eager to add the title attribute manually via the text editor.
And while we are still on the basics, let’s not forget the core functionality of WordPress – i.e. the tags and categories. Choose them wisely and this will create additional internal links between your posts and also may reduce the bounce rate.
Now it’s time to talk about widgets and plugins (some of them are combined).
Depending on your WordPress theme you might have different widgets areas. Pay special attention to the sidebar ones as they are most suitable for displaying similar and related posts.
There is a plugin called “Flexible Posts Widget”. After installing it you can add the widget to your widget areas. It comes with many options such as displaying related (similar) content on Posts, Pages, Media or other custom post types. You can also choose to display similar posts regarding their Taxonomy & Term or you can simply override these two options by providing a list of post ID’s that should be displayed.
This powerful plugin can ignore sticky posts on WordPress (if any). You can set the number of posts to display and the number of posts to skip. You can also set the way that the posts should be ordered. And what is more important – this plugin displays thumbnails of the similar posts. Great, isn’t it?
In order to use this plugin to display related content you have to set the Post Type and the Taxonomy & Term. I’d suggest to set this to Category. And if you have Jetpack installed you can set the visibility of this widget to only the posts in the selected category. Thus you can display the most similar posts for each category.
You can also use “Flexible Posts Widget” to simply display random posts which is still OK since this also helps reduce the bounce rate and allows the visitor to see content from other categories that may not be 100% related to the current post but may be important for them.
Another great option is the plugin “Contextual Related Posts” which will provide related posts at the end of the content. It has a special settings section “Related Posts” in the “Settings” menu in the WordPress admin panel. From there you can set where the related posts should be inserted (Posts, Pages, Home page, Feeds, Category archives, Tag archives or Other archives). You can also set the content filter priority and the number of the similar posts that you want to be displayed.
A great option for this WordPress plugin is to set the cutoff period for which posts will be displayed. You can choose from related posts from the last year only or you can entirely disable the limit. Then there are the options for the way of finding related content. For example you can set this to related posts based on the content and the title as well.
Last but not least – you can set a title for the related posts section and the position of the thumbnails (yes, here you can display thumbnails as well) and their sizes. And what is more important – this plugin has a unique design that you can use out-of-the box. And if you want, you can write your own custom CSS. What more could you ask for?
Another great method is described in this post by the crew of WPBeginner. It allows you to display similar posts without any plugins so you may also give it a try as well.
Since I have mentioned Jetpack in this article, I am obliged to say that you can also use it to display Related posts or Top Posts & Pages.
In conclusion I’d like to say that you can also search in WordPress.org for other plugins for similar posts as well. It really doesn’t matter which solution you will choose. What is important is that you have such a solution and it is integrated flawlessly into your website structure.
I hope that this article was useful for you. If you like it, share it with your friends. I’d also appreciate if you comment below and tell me your favorite solution for related (similar) posts.
See you again, friends!