Related posts need to make sense, not just be there

Related posts are a way to keep a visitor on your website. People use related posts to reduce the number of visitors that leave your website after reading an article. A related posts section is the glue that binds posts together. Does that mean you have to install a plugin that takes care of this for you? And that you can trust on this to cover your related post optimizations, leaning back and adding no further links? We don’t think so.

How related posts plugins work

Related posts plugins calculate the relationship between posts based upon a certain number of elements. Some plugins state that the related posts section is based upon “an advanced and versatile algorithm: Using a customizable algorithm considering post titles, content, tags, categories, and custom taxonomies […].” I’m sure this all makes a lot of sense, and you’ll probably get some related posts that fit your need. Some plugins allow you to add a particular value to for instance the title or content, or group posts by tags. But a related posts section might not be what your site really needs…

The Yoast approach to related links

Site speed is one of the reasons we decided to take a different approach here on Test your website without that related posts section, then add the section and test it again. There is probably an increase in loading speed. But that is just one reason.

At the end of this post, you will see a suggestion for another article to read. We picked that one manually. We have chosen not to use a plugin for this, but to consider ourselves what would be a relevant article we’d like you to read next. Even if we find no similar posts at all (which still happens, even with almost a 1,000 posts), this gives us the opportunity to add that next exciting thing to read. That’s an extra reason for you to stay on our website. Perhaps we should say a ‘complementary’ post.

But we do so much more than that. Most articles include links to other pages on our website, like our ultimate guide to site structure. As you can see from the link in the last sentence, we usually use relevant anchor texts. And if possible, we link one of our cornerstone content pages for a certain subject. Unlike a related post section, the links in the actual text of a page are surrounded by relevant content. Therefore, these links hold way more value for Google than that small, separate section at the bottom of your article. what’s more, that section is probably cluttered with social share buttons, a bio, and a newsletter subscription. This makes it just that tad bit more useless for Google.

The right approach for related posts

Don’t get me wrong: use related posts. The point I am trying to make isn’t that you should stay away from related posts. What I am trying to say, is that there are better ways to make use of posts that relate to your article.

Instead of suggesting related posts to readers, we should suggest them to writers: to create better internal links. We as writers need that: some relevant, complementary link suggestions that you can easily copy to your clipboard. So you can use the link in your text, or manually insert the link at the end of your post. That would be awesome, and that’s where Yoast SEO comes in.

Introducing: Yoast Internal Linking

We’ve been thinking long and hard about this and found the perfect solution: meet our Yoast SEO Premium Internal Linking tool. This tool checks which words you use most often in your new post and suggests relevant related links to add to your article or page. Just start typing and the links will appear on the right-hand side of your screen. From there, you can check the suggested articles or simply click on the icon to copy the URL. You can even drag and drop the URL in the right location.

While writing this article, the Internal Linking tool suggested to add a link to an article Marieke wrote, namely Why you should use Yoast Internal Linking. See? It works perfectly.

Read more: How to incorporate cornerstone content »

10 Responses to Related posts need to make sense, not just be there

  1. Geoffrey
    Geoffrey  • 4 years ago

    Great idea. My first step is to see how slow my related post plugin is, and that will tell me how fast to do this work to swap

  2. maniteja
    maniteja  • 4 years ago

    Thanks for complete guide on related post.
    Yoast plugin is amazing for on page seo.

    DANIEL MARTINS  • 4 years ago

    Only amazing content Yoast… My questions are just answered!

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. Don Peterson
    Don Peterson  • 4 years ago

    It makes sense that Google would not value links generated by a Related Posts plugin much. And, I agree that they can be a resource hog, slowing down the website. In my own tests I discovered that they may actually hurt a web page ranking if they are automated links. I like the idea of putting a breadcrumb at the bottom of the page as you do on your blog. By the way, love the illustration for this post!

  5. Mohsin Arif
    Mohsin Arif  • 4 years ago

    I think instead of just adding links to you post, Adding relevant links which will add value to your current article makes a lot better sense.

  6. Sms Drôles
    Sms Drôles  • 4 years ago

    Especially because we feel like this is a formal thing that should exist on every blog but we forget what the hole thing is about.

  7. Ava
    Ava  • 4 years ago

    I was looking for an article that covers this topic.Its really tricky navigating related posts, its so important to incorporate the internal links though, you offset the bounce rate a lot, this article sets out a clear format to follow. Thanks

  8. warith
    warith  • 4 years ago

    Thanks for the idea one more time, please I need your help concerning the amp thing, can I activate amp, yoast glue and page fog at the same time, besides I used new amp testing tools by Google to check my amp pages but it shows error “amp pages are invalid” currently I have only amp by automatic and yoast glue by you activated, that why am asking that can I be using the three plugins at the same time without any fear of conflict

  9. Akash Srivastava
    Akash Srivastava  • 4 years ago

    Great point on related posts Michiel. I liked this approach and will follow the same for our blog.

  10. warith
    warith  • 4 years ago

    Thanks for this idea, luckily for me I have adding internal links within the content and additional links to the end of my posts leading to related post naming it also read for a long time in conjunction with related post, I will try deactivating the related post plugin to see how it works