By now you probably know that one of the most important strategies you can use to improve your website SEO is to interlink your posts – linking back to the oldest records when new jobs and created the oldest edition will posts to link forward to newer posts. Without an effective interlinking strategy each of your articles is out on an island of itself. With good interlinking, you begin to build a mesh of content that is search engine friendly and sure to help your site rank higher and be more useful for searchers.
There are a number of different methods available to help you do this interlinking. Of course, the simplest approach is to use the search function of your own website. Or use Google Search with the site modifier like [topic site:mysite.com]. Our own Dr. WordPress offered his tip of using the WordPress Admin interface to find old posts and link to them. Or instead of finding specific terms to link to you could use one of the plethoras of related posts plugins to automatically insert some interlinking.
Any of these solutions works just fine when you are writing on a single blog but if you have multiple blogs then the solution is not so obvious. Interlinking within your own blog network is as important (if not more so!) than interlinking on a single site. But none of the strategies above apply to interlinking across multiples websites. So what is a budding media mogul to do?
Google Custom Search to the rescue!
What is Google Custom Search?
Google Custom Search is a free product from Google that allows you to build a unique Custom Search Engine (CSE), a custom search experience on Google for ” built using Google’s core search technology, that prioritizes or restricts results based on search sites and pages you specify.” Many bloggers have replaced their blogs’ standard search functionality with a CSE which offers the power of Google – meaning better search results.
But this article isn’t about that – it’s about how to build a standalone CSE for your own purposes.
How to create a Google Custom Search Engine
Building a new CSE is easy – here are the steps you need to follow:
1. Create a Google Account – If you don’t already have a Google account then you need to create one.
2. Create a New Custom Search Engine – Once you are signed in to your Google account, go to Google’s Custom Search Engine page and press the big blue button that says Create a Custom Search Engine. This will bring you to a simple form that you complete making your CSE.
3. Complete the CSE form – Give your new search engine a name and a description if you want, and then in the “sites search ” box the pages of a listing to be included . Put in all of the blogs in your blog network, one to a line, writing the domain like “mydomain.com”. Then check that you agree to the terms and conditions and click Next. On the next page, you will be given the option to test the search engine but I wouldn’t bother as it seems to take a minute or so for it to work anyway. Just click the Finish button and you have created your first CSE!
Using Your New CSE
Once you have your Custom Search Engine built you have a number of options for how to use it. Your CSE is just a web page so the easiest thing to do is to bookmark it. There are also a number of gadgets available to add it to your iGoogle page if you use one. My personal favorite is the Custom Search Console gadget which gives you easy access to all of your CSEs.
Two things you can do with your CSE:
As you are writing a post you should search for some of the key terms in your CSE. If you have found that you have written about any of these terms before you should take this is an opportunity to link back to those older articles.
Same thing but in the other direction. Use your CSE to find older articles that relate to your freshly posted article, and then edit those older articles to include links to your new article.
This is classic interlinking, made easy even over a number of blogs by creating a Google Custom Search Engine.
Taking Your CSE to the Next Level
So we’ve seen how you can improve your interlinking across your own network of blogs but can we extend this out even further to include other websites in your niche or other friends’ blogs? Of course! Remember when you entered in your list of domains when you created your CSE? Well, guess what – you can enter any domain there you want! It does not have to be a website that you maintain – it can just as easily be any website in your niche.
How might this be used? Well clearly it is good form to link back to others when writing a related article, and using CSE would help you do that. But you could also contact the other author and suggest they might want to link to your post from their older post. Of course, this would go over better if you already know the person, but it’s worth a try either way. This kind of interlinking is not Black Hat SEO and is totally appropriate assuming the content is applicable.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article on utilizing Google Custom Search to improve your blog network interlinking. While I have utilized this technique myself writing this article has been a good reminder that I need to be even more vigilant in doing do as I write each post, not just periodically as I have been doing.
So let’s all make a New Year’s Resolution to improve our interlinking – and using Google Custom Search to do it.
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