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Making Titles Live Links

One of the first tips I was given when i started to blog that I’ve not talked about for a while here is to consider making the titles of your posts live links (permalinks).

These days most blogging software does this automatically for you – however today as I’ve surfed around the web I’ve seen quite a few blogs that do not do it. Instead they link to the individual pages on their blog with the word ‘permalink’.

I hope they’ll forgive me but let me give you a couple of examples on two of my favorite blogs – A View from Home and Micro Persuasion. You’ll see in both instances that if you put your cursor over their post titles that they are not live links and that they have the ‘permalink’ link to their individual pages.

Of course some bloggers are more traditional in their approach and like this approach (and I think there can be some valid reasons for doing so) – however in my experience – making the title of your post a live link can have some significant benefits.

The greatest of these benefits is that it helps with Search Engine Optimization.

Search Engines rank sites on many factors – but one of these is that the words used in links linking to a page carry a lot of weight in how that page is ranked for those terms. It is not just how other external sites link to you either – it is the way in which your site is interlinked that counts also.

Take for example Steve’s post ‘Go Behind the Scenes at Rocketboom‘. If he’d made the titles on his front page, category pages, date archive pages and even his individual pages live links he would probably rank higher in Google in a few times for the term ‘Rocketboom’ than he will by just linking to those pages with the word ‘permalink’.

You’ll see that I’ve used this system here at ProBlogger – everywhere there is a title it’s a live link.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. John says:

    Worth doing for easy site nav as well as SEO. For the code to do this if you’re on Blogger, see my post at Freshblog.

  2. Ray Roman says:

    When I went live with my site middle of July, one of the first things I did was implement live permalinks. WordPress makes it very easy. Last Google Page Rank has my site at a PR5. Not too, bad I think, in such a short time.

    I know those live links help the search engines quite a bit. And like John says ,it is key to having an easy site to navigate.

    Regards

  3. John says:

    Also suggests the need to be smart about how you title your posts. “Check this out…” isn’t much of a help either to the reader or the robot-crawler…. What is it about in 5 words or less… “Elvis found on Moon…” ;-)

  4. DrDel says:

    I still don’t get it — what is a live link?

    (I don’t use MT or WP or blogger or any other pre-made blogging tool… I coded my own — so defining it in WP or MT terms won’t help me much)

    can someone please define a live link?
    thanks

  5. Cary says:

    I’d like to add a suggestion too:

    For those using WordPress, the use of the “Related Posts” Plugin provides not only easy navigation for your readers, but fully-automated deep-linking…excellent for passing PageRank to your older posts :)

  6. Cary says:

    Hi Del,

    What Darren is talking about is making sure that everywhere the title of your post shows up (archives page, individual post page and main page) the title itself acts as a link to the individual post. A lot of people make their titles just static text (no link at all) so assuming that they are using keywords in their titles, they miss the chance to have keyword-rich text linking to their post.

    If you just use the word “Permalink” at the bottom of each post to link to that page’s individual post page, you’re missing out on a lot of great relevant text links to your posts.

  7. DrDel says:

    if the title is in the URL of your http://FTP.. and you end up have 1 million titles..
    your FTP folder is going to have 1 million subfolders!!

    why the heck would anyone want that???

    its a web admin nightmare

  8. Chad says:

    John, I just implemented your link tips on my site and they work fantastic. Blogger is soooo limited on features. It is especially terrible for post-level integration of AdSense or Chitika ads. If you could figure out how to do this it would be fantastic.

    Now on my site I have the link title on the main page linking to the individual post page. On the individual post page, the title links back to the main page when clicked. Awesome!!!

  9. Cassie says:

    Thanks so much for the tip. It makes perfect sense – and I’ve even done it on some of my webpages, but not on my blogs.

    I will definitely be working on this today.

    Thanks again!

  10. jesse says:

    Chad- I don’t really know anything about Adsense, but I have gotten a bit of blogger knowledge.

    If you are talking about individual advertisements in each post then it’s not too hard. You have to find the post section of your template which should be between the tags. Just pop the code into the part of the post where you want the ads (probably after the blog post tag [] and before the comments [...]

    If that wasn’t what you are talking about, then forget I post that

  11. Permalinks in the titles are also useful when you use the del.icio.us extension in Firefox. There you need a link click on to bookmark the page. But the bookmark for del.icio.us is a better idea.

  12. jesse says:

    ahg. All the tage got taken out.

    post body: <$blogitembody$>
    Comments: <mainorarchivespage> <blogitemcommentsenabled>

  13. Cary says:

    Del, from looking at your Gabbr site, it looks like you already have it set up this way :) Your post title links to the permanent post page….

  14. I have been thinking about this myself over the weekend, as I have implemented a single Adsense Ad in the post in Blogger just like Darrens.

    I like the idea of linking the post title back to the index, Cheers.

    My question now is should the “posted by” and “comments” links go at the top of the post or the bottom?

  15. Aj says:

    Darren

    I just noticed the date and time on all your comments are links too, Does this help in anyway?

  16. Dave Starr says:

    Great overall subject and great advice from John and Cary in particular. I’m very new to blogging but have been using a website to build my business for some time now.

    The ‘secrets’ of SEO (Search Engine Optimization), getting listed in Google, building traffic and clicks, etc. are not really ‘secrets’ at all.

    Make the web site (blog) useful to those who want to find something useful and they will return and refer you to others. Google and other search engines are really just ‘dumber than usual’ users … give them paths (links) to crawl and they will.

    I’m going to get my titles live now and look into the “Related Posts” plug-in ASAP …

  17. sara says:

    Great information you have there. “Daddy-Yankee

  18. FMF says:

    Darren –

    Can you do this on Typepad? If so, do you know how (or does anyone else)? Maybe that’s why Micro Persuasion doesn’t have titles as permalinks?

    FMF

  19. Cary says:

    FMF, I used to have my blog on TypePad, and I had it set up this way, but you have to have a PRO account because you have to be able to edit the templates…

    Unfortunately I don’t have the code for it anymore, or I’d be happy to share it, but I figured it out using TypePad’s documentation for Template Tags.

    If you open a ticket with TypePad’s technical support they can probably help you.

    Good luck!

  20. Kavithan says:

    Good tips you gave me.. Thank you.

  21. FMF says:

    Cary –

    Thanks for the advice!!

    FMF

  22. Eric Giguere says:

    And, ideally, your blogging software will separate the words in your permalink with hyphens (‘-’) instead of underscores (‘_’), which are much more Google-friendly according to Matt Cutts. I had to modify the version of blojsom that I use to do just that, although it’s fixed for the latest version.

  23. Judi Sohn says:

    You are absolutely right. I just thanked you in an entry for pointing out the fact that my site didn’t have live title links, but I came here to do it as well. It’s an easy template fix in Movable Type. I’m going to assume that you don’t allow HTML in comments so change the parens to brackets where appropriate.

    Add this around your ($MTEntryTitle$) tag in your template:

    (a href=”($MTEntryPermalink$)”)($MTEntryTitle$)(/a)

    The trick is modifying your style sheet if you have your links styled in such a way that the headline being a link changes the appearance into something you don’t want (or worse, the default link colors). I had to move some things around in my style sheet, but all is well now.

    Thanks again!

  24. IO ERROR says:

    Search engine optimization is one of the big reasons I chose WordPress over Movable Type; it’s much better optimized out of the box, and much easier to make SE friendly. It has live links out of the box, for instance.

    The other reasons being WordPress runs on anything, is simple to install and maintain, and is open source. And the theme system is far more flexible, since you can literally do anything you want to. (Whether that’s a good idea is another discussion entirely.)

    As a result, I’m now #1 in Google for most of my targeted keywords, and strangely enough, for my own name, even though there are far more famous people with my name, who are baseball players, musicians and the like.

  25. Golfer says:

    Good Live Link tips!

  26. Harrison L. says:

    Hi, this is the first time i post here. I’m using wordpress for my blog but the link inside is permalink. How can I change it to an active link? Any suggestion will be appreciated. Thank you

  27. Herbjörn says:

    Hi. I would like to know what made you change your mind and not have every page title a permalink.

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