I wrote some cool posts on my website and I was wondering, why only few people read it. None of the SEO tips I found online seemed to help with that, so I begun exploring the Internet with the intent to find the answer to that question. These are things about being more discoverable on search engines and about reducing the bounce rate.
You need to write long, 1300-3000+ words posts that are helpful to someone from a specific niche. It turns out, that length of the post has great impact on how it is positioned in google search.
Make your content long and useful
Some people just add some value to the users, give them one piece of information and that’s it. You are searching for something you get it bye bye, we never see each other again. If you provide multiple and good quality pieces of information, your content will be much more helpful and more shareable. If I’m looking for some photography tricks, there is higher chance that I will share it with a friend if I find something better than I initially anticipated. Let’s say I am searching in google for a tutorial on magic tricks. I just wanted to find a simple trick, but I found a post that not only teaches me it and explains how it works, but gives me additional 3 simple tricks. That’s great. I might even come back later, because I remember there is a cool trick I didn’t learn yet.
No matter how search algorithms change, they will show higher quality, more interesting, better and more useful content first. So we need to strive to provide such content.
Split your text into sections
While writing your posts, don’t just make a big wall of text. There are many reasons to make subheadings. The first thing is that it just looks better. The second one is that your post is more searchable, because people sometimes just scan your post for something interesting and a heading or a bold text can be a powerful anchor that catches attention. Did it work? 😀 It is also easier and quicker to write, because it’s just like you were making a bunch of smaller posts inside. And making a 200 word post is much easier than writing 2000 words on a single and narrow subject.
Care about your theme
In these days, a theme that works grat on mobile is a must have. If your theme doesn’t look good on mobile don’t install a bunch of plugins to make it look good. Choose a better theme. Theme has to look good on smartphones, tablets and PCs. Even if the theme costs 100 bucks and it’s great, it sure can have massive return on investment.
Your home page is important
Users should be able to go to your home page and explore interesting content. You need to have some sort of navigation to your posts. I’ve seen a blog with home page on which there was no way to navigate to some posts. The posts were searchable from google, but the combination of theme and home page settings were set up in such a way, some posts were completely unreachable. You don’t want to do that to your posts, as it is wasting a lot of hard work.
Do I need to create backlinks? How many backlinks should I have?
Backlinks are links from other pages to your site. Quite a lot of people suggest and work on building content on other sites and then put a link to their blog on there. It definitely can help, but it’s not necessary. Usually it’s better to work on your actual content on your blog instead of making content in other places. People will find you from google and they will share your page on other places if your content is great. So it is better to work on content people want to share, instead of spamming various sites with your backlinks.
Building backlinks for just the SEO purpose is against Google’s guidelines.
Organically created backlinks from other people will bring more traffic to your site. If you have a big team behind your blog, it’s okay if someone on your team makes some backlinks, but it’s not necessary. And you will be probably better off using other marketing strategies.
You shouldn’t focus on the amount of backlinks you have. If you have a lot of them from not genuine sources they will not do any good. But a backlink from a big site or famous person will bring an avalanche of people to your site. Quality matters in this case and the quantity is not relevant.
Choose a great topic and headline
Strategy #1 is to pick something that interests a lot of people, but doesn’t have too much coverage on google. This way you can rank #1 in a more specific question. It is better to be #1 or top 5 in with a less frequent searched topic than rank #1000 with hot topic. When searching information on google, a lot of people just pick the first result from google or some post from the top 5 with the most interesting headline. Because of that, it is important to have great headline for your topic.
Strategy #2: Interestingly, some people actually just copy headlines from successful posts and still get traffic. If you google “9 weird photography tricks that actually work” you can see at least 10 posts with that exact title in the first 2 pages of results. The top three get the most traffic, so it is ok if you are second and not the first one, but if you are on page 10, nobody will see your post. And should we really be copying other people’s titles? I don’t think so.
Use google search before writing a post. If there are already 5 posts on the topic you want to write, maybe you can come at the topic from different angle, revise it and make your stand out from the rest.
Avoid bad topics
Let’s look at some examples. You want to write a post about making an omelette. But the problem is, there are 16000000 hits in google on how to make one, so ranking high on this will be extremely hard. The next thing you could try is for example: how to make an omelette with pineapples in 3 minutes, which is a little bit easier to rank, but the competition still will be huge.
Your headline should be catchy, but not too long.
More than 60 characters for the headline is too much. In a lot of places your title will be truncated and people will not see the whole of your title. You can use online character counter to quickly check the length of your title.
Some blogs make the mistake, to focus more and more on monetizing the posts they are writing, to the point that they have 20 consecutive product review posts with many affiliate links. Content becomes monotonous and drives people away from the site, decreasing the traffic. It is ok to do product reviews, but not every post should be selling a product. Some of them need to be just providing good information for free. These kinds of posts are shareable and bring more traffic to your site.
Expand your older, shorter posts
If you made a short post long ago and it doesn’t have much traction, you can go back to it and work on it some more. Part of the post may need some polishing. Maybe in hindsight the first subtitle isn’t great and it increased the bounce rate because of that. Maybe it is just too short and a bit of crucial information is missing. Or maybe the graphic was misleading and it’s time to let it go? Or maybe it’s too formal for the subject or not serious enough for it? I don’t know, but when I read my older posts again, I found some mistakes I made and fixed them. The biggest one I was making, is that I didn’t provide enough context for my post. By adding a paragraph or two explaining my motives, point of view or circumstances in which I wrote the posts, helped making the post more understandable and more useful. And if the post has more words it only can help, because long posts better rank in google.
Useless SEO tools
How NOT to increase your traffic?
People think that if you install a SEO (search engine optimisation) plugin it has a positive impact on your website, but it’s not always the case. For example a tool that edits your site tags and site description for particular page is useless. Content is king and the content should contain keywords and be descriptive enough that the external keywords and description aren’t necessary. And there are multiple advantages of actually using your keywords in the content instead of meta tags. And to be clear, I don’t write here about the “Categories and Tags” section for your keywords. You should use those, because they can be used to display related content. I am just saying that plugin changing html meta tags, doesn’t make a big impact on your SEO. New algorithms look inside the posts, opposite to old algorithms that cared a lot about those keywords.
Be up to date
Things now become obsolete very quickly and having and obsolete site can hurt your traffic. Remember to adjust for changes on the web. Install new updates and use latest features on your website. For example it was recommended to get emails from your user base by displaying full page popup that blocks the whole page and has a text field for your email. As that worked very well in the past, now you need to be careful with page blocking content. Google can remove pages from the listings if the content is not accessible in some cases, so be sure your popups aren’t too invasive.
Think about the viewers
As much as you hate aggressive advertising, so do your users. It’s important that they have the best experience you can provide. Ads are ok, but too much of them is a nightmare.
Answer questions that people can have reading your articles. A lot of traffic is brought to your page, just from people typing their questions in google search box. Someone may look for “How many backlinks should I have” and be redirected to this page. Some of the questions come naturally as we think about a topic.
Make evergreen content
Evergreen content is relevant for a long time. It brings traffic to your blog years and years after initial release. For example a tutorial for beginner dancers will never age. People dance all over the world and will look for some tips on the Internet no matter what. A counterexample will be “A review of a new television X”, “Next Windows 10 update will be siiiiick!”. After few years, basically nobody is interesting in searching for an old television and even less on old software update. On such posts, traffic declines every month. So, by making your content evergreen, you will have relevant content on your blog, even if you don’t update it for a long time.
Trends bring people
New trends generate so massive amount of traffic, that it makes huge difference. If you catch an upcoming trend, you page may be viewed and shared a lot. Be prepared however, that trends die quickly. So trends can be used to bring people to your website and evergreen content will keep them there, reading and exploring.
Find the right balance
As you can see all there are a lot of things to keep in mind as comes to boosting traffic on your site. Some of the techniques require you to be really active, like describing the current trends, writing news posts and creating a community on social media. There are also passive ways to rise your numbers, like making the content evergreen and answering some niche questions. You need to find harmony between monetization, affiliate marketing and just providing good content for your viewers.