Increase Page Views And Get More Traffic With Zemanta Related Posts Plugin

Your ultimate goal as blogger is to keep your visitors on your site as long as possible. The longer they stay the more money your site will make. I would say that if you can keep them on your blog for longer than 2-3 minutes you are doing not bad.

When someone makes a search and lands on your post you want to give them the opportunity to check out more pages which at the end will lead to more optins, sales, and traffic.

Of course it’s important to write quality content that adds value but you also want to encourage your visitors to click on other related links.

Google does it well lately 😉 They constantly try keep the user on their platform which is good for them, but that’s not what made them big. Google was good at sending people to other people’s sites and now they try to compete with publishers instead or at least squeeze out the smaller players.

Anyway, you can increase your page views and time spent on your site by displaying recent, popular, or related posts.

I used to use “Yet Another Related Posts” plugin here on my blog but eventually got rid of it because it was slowing my site and wasn’t really working like I wanted it to.  I didn’t bother trying to replace it but I think I finally found something that might be worth having on my blog.

I have discovered Zemanta related posts plugin a few days ago and decided to give it a try.

Zemanta is not just a related a posts plugin. It’s also a content discovery network that you can use to drive more traffic to your site.

I wrote a post about driving traffic without SEO (that I think everyone should read) where I stated that this advertising model is going to get huge. It all seems to be going in that direction anyway. Outbrain was one of the first content suggestion engines, but now you have Taboola, Nrelate, Zemanta, and even Disqus runs their own content discovery engine.

Zemanta is a bit different though. The way they promote your content can actually increase your search engine rankings because their links are followed as opposed to Outbrain’s suggested links.

I am not really sure how Google views it, but the interesting thing is that the king of white-hat SEOs Rand Fishkin endorses it. In fact, he says he is a believer 😉

Whether it’s going to work for you or not depends on how strong your brand signals are in my opinion. Smaller players might get penalized by Google though if you overdo it…just saying

I went ahead and installed their plugin here on my blog and so far I like what I am seeing. I am getting on average about 2.8% CTR which is decent.

Here is a screenshot from my dashboard with stats for the last 24 hours:

It might not seem like a lot to you, but if you add all the little things you do to increase engagement all of a sudden you see a big improvement.

For example, I changed the color of my recent posts links and styled my Zemanta widget to look the same (or close to it) which also increased my page views.

Prewriting follow up messages and getting people back to your blog also works wonders.

I like Zemanta because of 2 reasons:

– Easy to install and customize

– User friendly interface with real time stats

You can download the plugin here or just login to your WP dashboard and use the plugin search feature to find it.

Once you have it installed you need to edit your settings.

It’s pretty much easy to set up. Simply choose how many related posts you would like to display, design, and whether or not you want to auto insert it after each post.

Since I use Thesis theme here I wanted to manually insert their code so that I can position and style it the way I want to.

They give you the php code that calls for the widget but I had a problem with it at first. It gave me a fatal error after inserting it in my custom_function.php file.  I got it sorted though after emailing their support team. They got back with me pretty quick so that’s cool.

So if you are using Thesis and want to manually position it on your site instead of using what they provide in settings use this line of code:

<?php echo zem_rp_get_related_posts(); ?>

Here is the actual function I use:

 
/* Custom Related Posts Below Post */
function single_post_rp() {
if (is_single()) {
?>
<br>
<div align="center">
<table width="600" border="0" cellspacing="5" cellpadding="0">
  <tr>
    <td valign="top"><?php echo zem_rp_get_related_posts(); ?></td>
    <td valign="top">[MY Ads Code]</td>
  </tr>
</table></div>
<br>
<?php }
}
 
add_action('thesis_hook_after_post', 'single_post_rp');

To style it the way I did you will need to edit your custom css file in Thesis.

Basically I just added this code in there:

.custom .related_post_title { font-size:1.1em; }
.custom ul.related_post {}
.custom ul.related_post li { font-weight:bold; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; text-align:left; }
.custom ul.related_post li a {}
.custom ul.related_post a:link { color: #000; }
.custom ul.related_post a:visited { color: #000; }
.custom ul.related_post a:hover { color: #060; text-decoration: none; }
.custom ul.related_post li img { width: 70px; height: 60px;}

You should of course adjust it the way you want it to be displayed on your own site.

They do place a link back to their site but it’s nofollow. Would be nice if they offered an option to remove it but it’s fine for now I guess.

I haven’t used their paid inclusion deal yet though. Maybe soon I am going to try it out on my other sites, but like I said it could be viewed as a link scheme by Google. I did some research on it and found this interesting article about Zemanta being a link scheme.

But if you are using it to just display related posts that link to other pages on your blog I would say it’s safe to use.

They offer some cool premade designs too that you can use without doing any editing at all.

So you probably wonder why use a third party tool to display related posts? Well, the main reason why is to keep the load time of your pages low. Also, other plugins usually just pull related posts based on titles which sometimes looks like keyword stuffing to me.

Anyway, if you are not encouraging your visitors to click on other pages of your blog you are missing out on some nice chunk of traffic, especially if you have a high traffic site.

Besides, I think it makes your pages more user friendly and just looks better.

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8 thoughts on “Increase Page Views And Get More Traffic With Zemanta Related Posts Plugin

  1. You mean their paid inclusion? I am not sure, but I would assume links to affiliate reviews are not allowed because if they were, affiliates would pollute their network with promotional posts without adding substantial value.

  2. Hi Pawel! Seems like our shift towards new products caused some confusion. Our primary product Zemanta Editorial Assistant makes it easy to link out to stuff and gives you full control over it. Those links are followed and do affect SEO. However our new product “Zemanta Related Posts” is fully JavaScript and does not affect SEO at all. It can bring a new audience and generate some revenue if you have enough traffic already.

  3. Hi, yes, the links that point back within your site are visible to search engines, the ones pointing out—aren’t. Forgot to clarify that.

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