Coming up with ideas to write about can be difficult. I want to make your life a bit easier while at the same time increasing the traffic to your website.
It does involve work – unfortunately, in SEO there are no easy, work free fixes – no matter what you might read.
This post is aimed at my clients who have started blogging on their business websites during the last couple of years. Blogging has become one of those online marketing tasks that now needs to be ticked off every week or so. Most of us see an upturn in visitors after we start blogging, this increase in visitors can be boosted again by re-writing and increasing the word count of already published posts. I have been following this plan and have seen a significant increase in visitors on my own websites.
These are the steps that you can take to increase your visitor numbers:
- the benefits of higher word counts
- word count of each page
- check webmaster tools
- check ranking/ visitors
- social media – again
- why this works
The Benefits of Longer Blog Posts
Why are you blogging?
Is it with the intention of gaining more business through referral traffic from search engines like Google?
Another benefit of blogging is to be seen as an authority in your area of business.
When reviewing websites I notice a blogging pattern; we start off with enthusiasm and then over time blogging is just another thing to get done and the quality slowly drops.
This plan is all about increasing the quality, the length of the post, and taking advantage of your increased social media presence. I try to aim for my blog posts to be more than 1,000 words. You might find that too much and I would ask you to aim for at least 800 concise, helpful, informative words – and add a couple of relevant images.
If you look at longer posts you already have on your site, you will see that they likely get more traffic from search – a content audit will identify all these pages. When you look at the same post in Google Webmaster Tools it will likely rank for many more keywords than any of the shorter posts.
Over time my presence on social media has slowly increased. I connect with more people, visitors on my website click on the social media buttons and follow or connect. The best way to treat these followers is to give them more of what they already like. So let’s start with the nuts and bolts on WordPress first.
Add a WordPress Word Count Plugin
Most of us are using WordPress to run our websites and blogs, it makes life very easy from a content management perspective. There are a few plugins that display the word count for each page and post in the main menu of posts or page.
I suggest you install one of these plugins. Once the plugin is installed you will see a column that has a number of words in each page or post listed.
Not using WordPress? The best solution, if you have less than 500 files on your website, is to download a free copy of Screaming Frog. This is a desktop application that crawls your website. Using Screaming Frog you can see a number of words on each page, there is a slight problem though as the program counts all the words on the page and not just the content. Therefore you need to subtract the boiler plate content, footer information, menus, any words in the sidebar.
Checking Webmaster Tools
From the left hand menu in Webmaster Tools click search traffic then search queries. Then in the middle of the page above the graph there is a tab labelled “Top pages” click this. You will now see a list of the top pages on your website from Google’s perspective. Notice the little arrows to the left of each page, some pages will have them some won’t, (I aim for all pages to have these arrows). If you click on this you will see a list of keywords that Google thinks are relevant to this page.
Is your title tag and page heading in this list of keywords that Google has listed? If not there is a problem with the page. The most common error, and easiest to resolve, is the omission of the keywords from the body of the article. Check that your keywords are included in the text of the post at least a couple of time, it is also a good idea to use synonyms.
There are three more items of interest on this tab.
- Is the keyword on the left is a hyperlink – it will be blue coloured? You can click it and retrieve more information about that keyword – ranking, click through rate, and clicks.
- Impressions: This is listing the amount of times that this page has appeared in Google when someone has searched for this keyword. I hope that the highest impressions is for your target keywords for the page.
- Clicks: this records the amount of people that have visited your website via this page using this keyword.
Check Ranking, Visitor Numbers, Bounce Rate
A blog post is not just a piece of filler content. I like every post to rank in Google for a set of keywords that drive more visitors to my business. Therefore I like to track the rankings of all the keywords, I use Advanced Web Ranking for this – but there are various tools on the market.
Along with ranking, I keep a track of the visitor numbers and bounce rate of each post. Your bounce rate is very important, if this gets too high across your site this is one of the issues that is penalised by Google Panda.
Longer blog posts rank higher in Google. It is worth experimenting by re-writing a couple of posts and checking the before and after rankings, bounce rate, and visitor numbers. Remember to add similar posts at the bottom of each post using one of the many WordPress plugins.
I expect that after writing blog posts for six months or a year and interacting on social media you will have built up a greater presence on your networks. These are people who generally have not read your earlier posts.
Re-writing blog posts and sharing them again helps you by getting greater exposure on social. I believe that the links from social, more so Google+ help with the ranking pages. Remember to share the new post more than once over a few days.
Why Re-writing Blog Posts Works
In general I would expect better content to rank higher in Google, however it is not that simple. When you publish a post that has been re-written you need to change the date to the current date. This pushes the post back to the top of your website where it gains higher authority from the hierarchy of your website. Remember to link to outside sources and to other internal pages. However it is also worthwhile finding content within your own site that can link to the newly re-written post.
Posts that have a much higher word count rank for longer tail keywords. These posts illustrate that you know what you are talking about; it is much harder to write 1,000 words that make sense and are engaging than 500.
You may feel like all the hard work is done once you stop writing, but much more energy is required for promoting than is needed for writing. So sometimes it is an idea to leave a day or two between finishing writing and starting to promote.
Let me know how you get on.