In your research into how to improve your online marketing, you might run into people talking about content recommendation. Yet you might be scratching your head asking, “What is content recommendation, and why is it important to my business?”

Here’s a rundown on what you need to know:

The Basics

Simply put, content recommendation is any system that you put in place for suggesting content that you think might be of interest to your readers.

Most often, these systems recommend related content on the site, which encourages readers to explore the site more fully and become more engaged. Sometimes, these systems recommend related content that is off site, which helps to generate revenue for the site.

Some content recommendation systems are installed via a plugin, and some come as separate software platforms.

On-Site vs. Off-Site Recommendations

When choosing your content recommendation platform, you need to determine your goals.

There are many different advantages and drawbacks to engines that recommend content on site or off site.

Content recommendation tools that refer to content on the site can help to increase page views, visit duration, and shares and engagement. All of that can also reduce your bounce rate, which will improve your overall ranking in search results and help you get even more traffic and page views.

The only downside to using a content recommendation tool that refers to content on site is that you may not have enough content yet to recommend. If you are just getting started or you rely primarily on static pages for your content, you may not want to use one of these on-site tools.

Recommendation tools that refer to content on other sites can help you generate revenue. Every time one of your users clicks on one of the recommended pages, you would earn a small fee. With enough clicks, you could generate a very healthy revenue.

The downside to these off-site tools is that you can’t control what content is being recommended. The content could be irrelevant to your readers, or it could even be offensive. On the other hand, the content could be on a competitor’s site with higher quality, which could cause you to actually lose customers.

In-tag from CodeFuel is a rare content recommendation tool that can refer to content both on your site and off. It allows you to increase page views on your site, as well as to increase revenue from off-site recommendations.

Using a content tool like In-tag that gives you both on- and off-site options allows you to maximize the benefits.

Algorithm Design

Before you choose a content recommendation tool, you must understand the algorithm it uses to make its recommendation.

Does it just look at keywords to find related content? Or does it analyze the content more deeply?

Make sure you understand the algorithm to know exactly how content is recommended to ensure that you are reaching the right customers.

In-tag uses intent-based signals so that it can recommend posts that customers really want or need to see. This algorithm ensures that you reach more of your target audience and that you get greater ROI.

Recommendation Placement

You have many options for placing content recommendation tools on your site. You need to choose wisely to ensure you make the greatest impact.

A popular placement for these recommendations is at the end of each blog post or article. The reader finishes the article and then sees a few related articles to click on and continue reading. The placement takes advantage of the natural progression to keep the reader on the site.

However, many readers have become so accustomed to seeing these recommendations in that place that they just ignore them.

Two other options are to place the recommended content in a floating side bar or in a toaster format, which is a slider that pops out to get the reader’s attention. Both of these are moving objects that attract more attention and may encourage more clicks on your content.

You don’t always have a choice in how the content is presented, other than to choose the tool that has the format you like. However, this is a characteristic you should consider when choosing the right tool.

Moving Past Ad Blockers

Another reason you should consider adding content recommendation tools to your site is to help you bypass ad blockers, which are growing in popularity.

Ad blockers won’t block content recommendation tools the way they will pop ups and other types of ads. You can continue to funnel revenue to your site among both desktop and mobile users even if they are using ad blockers.

The recommended content is native content, so it appears just like any other content on your site.

If you aren’t already using a content recommendation engine on your site, it’s time to look at the benefits that it offers.