This tutorial is the answer to two questions we've been asked repeatedly:
- How can I automatically link keywords to the appropriate websites?
- How can I use internal links for links on my site?
Essentially they're looking to change a link from http://www.cnn.com to http://www.ostraining.com/link/cnn/. The link still goes to the CNN website, but it first goes to a url on the webmaster's own site.
Why Would People Want to Automatically Link Keywords to Pages?
This is what Wikipedia, the New York Times, Techcrunch and many other websites do in order to keep visitors browsing around their site. It also has substantial SEO benefits. To find out more, see Session 25 of our SEO class: Understanding Internal Linking.
Why Would People Want Internal URLs for Links?
- Statistics. They want to be able to count how many time a link has been clicked on.
- SEO. Some webmasters are worried about leaking their Google Page Rank to other sites. I am not a big believer in this technique, but I know several people who consider this to be important.
- Affiliates. People running affiliate programs want to protect their affiliate links:
- They think internal urls are more likely to be clicked than a url that looks like this: http://www.anrdoezrs.net/click-2660093-10423359
- Some people deliberately avoid clicking on affiliate links
- There are even rumored to be some computer-based viruses that are capable of inserting the spammer's affiliate ID into links to popular affiliate programs when people are browsing.
How to Create Internal URLs for Outbound Links
- Go to Administrator >> Components >> Weblinks
- Click "Categories" and then "New". Create a category for the kind of link you'd like to add. In this case, it will be "Media"
- Click "Links" and then "New". Add entries for the websites you'd like people to visit:
- If you're using Search Engine Friendly URLs, the URLs created will look like this: /weblinks/media/keyword/. If you're not, the URLs will be in this format: /index.php?view=weblink&catid=2:media&id=keyword&option=com_weblinks&Itemid=48
Automatically Add Links to Keywords
We're going to use a small plugin called the "Weblinks Content Plugin":
- Download the plugin from http://joomlacode.org/gf/project/weblinks/
- Go to Extensions >> Plugin Manager and enable the plugin.
That's it. Now every time you mention an entry in your Weblinks component it will be automatically linked. For example, these are our three recommendations for Joomla hosting companies: Rochen, Bluehost, Hostgator or even the example we gave earlier: BBC.
As people click on these links, you can see how many times they've clicked by going to Components >> Weblinks and looking at the "Hits" column: