If you’re using WordPress, one of your required plugins should be the Related Post plugin. That said, I noticed that the volume of keywords that were being posted with my Daily Reads were really skewing the Related Post results.
As well, I was really surprised that the Related Posts plugin only provided a list of related posts before the post that you’re reading! What if you changed your mind (as I often do!)… shouldn’t you also provide posts that were released after the original but still related?
As a result, I made some minor tweaks to the plugin. First, in order to reference posts both before and after the current post, I modified line 91 from:
. "AND post_date >= '$now' " to (UPDATED: 11/15/2011): . "AND post_date != '$now' " . "AND post_date <= CURDATE()"
Second, the Daily Reads on my blog are posted automatically by Del.icio.us under a specific Author (so that I'd never change the password and break the automated posting). To do this, I just added another query parameter to omit that author from the posts that were searched by inserting the following line after the previous:
. "AND post_author != 4 "
I found the author number simply by looking it up in my Users. I'd rather not make things complicated by joining to another table - it could reduce the speed at which these results are displayed and slow down the load time. That will lead to folks getting frustrated and leaving.
The Benefits of Displaying Related Posts
Related Posts is a fantastic tool for any blog. Related posts strengthen Search Engine Results by magnifying the keywords through links, an important element of Search Engine algorithms.
Related posts are not just a SEM tool, though. Related posts are a retention tool that will keep users in your site. They may not find what they were looking for where they landed - but if you provide them with additional references, they may stick around!