Friday, November 2, 2012

Why I chose nRelate instead of Outbrain or LinkWithin

Providing internal links to you blog's other postings helps to engage readership by directing visitors to related content within your blog. This articles explains why I chose nRelate to increase page views and visitor duration time on my blogs.

Early last month (October), I was reading Dave Lucas's blog article EntreCard Effect and noticed that he had mentioned that his traffic tripled since EntreCard closed. Dave attributed this growth to LinkWithin and Outbrain. As I was not familiar with either of these, I performed a Google search and found another post by Dave (Righthaven DMCA LinkWithin) where he welcomed LinkWithin back on his blog.

At this point, I visited both the Outbrain and LinkWithin websites and learned that these were 3rd party widgets that can be added to your blog and will display the pretty "You might also like" references the bottom of each post.  I then remembered reading about this topic a while ago on Sharkbytes's My Quality Day. So I checked her blog and Dickster's Random Thoughts and found that both of these were displaying the related articles as well.

So, in my haste, I registered with Outbrain and added the widget to my 4 blogs. Within a short time, these were displaying my own related links. However, many of my early blog posts did not contain pictures, so Outbrain often presented this content simply as a list of links.

When I compared this to the blogs above, I saw that the also had nice little pictures along with the title of the blog post.  Then, I realized that everyone else was using LinkWithin and not Outbrain.

Outbrain & LinkWithin
Unsure which was better, I decided to remove Outbrain from 2 blogs and replace it with LinkWithin. At first, I was happy with the results, but I wanted to display 4 links on one blog rather than 3. In order to do this, I had to re-install the widget again. However, after I did this, I found that both blogs now had 4 related article links. This meant that all would have either 3 or 4 articles. I settled on the four of them.

I waited 1 month and then checked my Webmaster and Analytics statistics. Neither of these showed an increase in traffic. While the actual visitor traffic remained constant, the appearance in Google Search results decreased substantially.

Further, I found that Outbrain had less images than LinkWithin, so I liked LinkWithin better. But, LinkWithin was redirecting my traffic back to their site, which I did not like.

Thus, I decided to see if there was an alternative to these two, and found the blog article: Switch from LinkWithin to nRelate which described the pros and cons of LinkWithin and nRelate.

Figuring that I was still experimenting, I decided to remove the Outbrain and LinkWithin widgets and replace them with nRelate.

Almost immediately, I found that nRelate was a better solution for my 4 blogs.
  • First, I was able to custom tailor the layout of each widget according to the space available on my blogs (3 blogs display 4 results, and 1 blog displays 5).
  • Second, I was able to change the size of the graphic images being displayed. 
  • Third, nRelate displays "stock" icons on those posts that do not contain their own graphics (so there is always an image).
  • Fourth, I have the ability to display paid ads to generate income payable to Paypal (however, Outbrain also lets you display paid ads). 
  • And fifth, the "related posts" being displayed were relevant to the current post. This means that if someone is reading an Entrecard post, they will see other related Entrecard articles of mine as well.  However, the drawback here is that the initial indexing of the blog can take up to 2 hours before the "You may also like -" results appear.
It is still too early for me to see if the nRelate widget is actually boosting my traffic, but I can already see an increase in page views and visitor duration time now that I am using nRelate.

Lastly, I like the fact that I can choose to display paid ads in these widgets. This provides an opportunity to increase income without having to do any more work.


  1. well you are using some thing but how it goes for you please notify i am working for couple of blogs namely and then gprsgeek cheatindex and many more have linkwithin and now nrelate in use dont see any improvement may be it is too early to say that but love to hear more from you

  2. I used nRelate but I haven't recieved an email yet to verify my account sign up. What should I do?

    1. @TheBeauBow

      The nRelate folks want everyone to communicate with them via their forum. To do this, go to the URL:

      and you will be able to read that others had the same problem.

      However, for you to leave a message for them, you need to Register with the forum (this is different that the login account info you used for nRelate). The Register link is on the right side of the forum page.

      Once you register and then log in, just leave them a note there that you tried to join nRelate but you did not yet get an email confirmation. Leave the name of your blog/blogs in the message.

      (Don't leave your account info or password in the forum though).

      They (probably Katrina) will respond and tell you what to do next. Check for a response every few hours - because they usually get back to users fairly quickly there.

      Hope this helps & let me know how it goes.


  3. I really like nRelate as well. I was terribly upset to hear about the end of nRelate - see Farewelll post - what is a current apropriate replacement in your opinion?

    1. HI Penny

      Wow - what a surprise announcement last Monday indicating nRelate was being shut down. Beside you & I being upset about this, I'm sure the nRelate staff was shocked as well.

      As for a replacement, I am moving to LinkWithin. I already remove nRelate on 2 blogs & will do the other 2 over the weekend.

      LinkWithin seems to be the only option for us small bloggers as Outbrain only wants "big" sites.

      Although many have said LinkWithin is bad for SEO, I know a few blogs using this and they have good pagerank.

      Best of luck & thanks for writing.

      JL .....


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