When in Rome we all want to “do as the Romans do” but the first time you go you’ll want to get a tour guide.
Otherwise, you’ll miss some of the most remarkable sights in the world.
And that’s exactly what you’re doing when you link to popular posts on your blog – you’re acting as a tour guide for your readers.
Here’s how it works…
The first time you go to Rome, if you don’t have a tour guide you’re likely to get stuck in traffic and have to stand in long lines everywhere you go.
You may see a few historic sights, but chances are you won’t see the real Rome, you’ll just see what’s visible from the back seat of a cab.
Will you have a good time?
But the next time you take an expensive vacation you’ll probably go somewhere else.
After all, you’ve already seen everything Rome had to offer, right?
At least, you think you saw it.
Now, imagine you’re a first-time visitor to your blog.
You land on whatever blog post was at the end of the link you followed and yeah, it seems pretty cool.
So you look around to see what else this blog has to offer but there’s no tour guide in sight.
There’s nothing that says “Go here to see something truly remarkable!”
You bump around some of the recent blog posts but never having visited this blog before you’re not really sure what all that industry jargon and technical terminology is about.
After all, this is your first visit and you haven’t learned the language yet.
When you leave this blog, what will you tell your friends when you get back home?
Did you enjoy your visit?
What did you see?
More important – will you go back again?
What you saw was nice enough, but without a tour guide you didn’t see the best that blog had to offer.
You only saw what was visible immediately surrounding that link you arrived on.
If you’d had more time you might have been able to dig through the archives or use the search box but there are other blogs out there calling your name.
When you highlight popular posts on your blog it points your new visitors to your very best content.
The content that makes them sit up and say:
Wow! This blog is amazing. I’m going to subscribe to this blog so I can come back here every day!
Emphasizing popular posts is also good for SEO.
Any time you make it easier for the search engines to navigate your site you’re helping your SEO.
There’s some evidence that your own internal links help increase page rank.
Not as much as links that come in from other blogs, but every little bit helps.
And speaking of links from other blogs, by highlighting those popular posts you’re sending more traffic to those pages which increases the potential for sharing and incoming links, all of which helps improve your page rank.