by Paula Neal Mooney
Statsaholic that I am, Tuesday morning I woke up and checked the stats of this blog via StatCounter.com to see what was going on.
I was amazed that under "Recent Keyword Activity" -- a feature I absolutely love the most on StatCounter that gives you the real-time search terms people are typing in to find you -- that lots of people were searching for the DC Madam's client list, a story I'd heard about a while back that interested me, so I blogged about it.
Turns out the DC Madam had published her clients' phone numbers on her website Monday night, and lots of people wanted the list.
So much so that this blog has blessedly received about 19,000 pageviews in the past 60 hours. And here's what I've learned about getting more blog hits:
1 - Let your searchers give you the news
Check your recent, real-time keyword activity often.
Readers on the net can break a story a lot faster than network news sites. If you notice a pattern of several people searching for the same topic, investigate.
2 - Make it easy for them to find
Obviously people were searching for the actual DC Madam's list of names and numbers, but when I typed those search terms in Google, I was surprised that I had to dig a bit to find them -- and even more to find the DC Madam's own website!
This is always good news when you have to search a bit -- that means you can get those people typing in the obvious search terms that you've typed in that haven't been able to find anything yet due to bad SEO.
Thank GOD I'd used obvious and popular search terms like "DC Madam phone list" when I first labeled and titled the post, so that piece was already indexed deep in Google.
3 - Be prepared to move fast with updated information
It was cool that I was getting all those hits, but I realized I wasn't exactly giving the people what they wanted, which, according to the recent keyword activity, was Deborah Jeane Palfrey's actual list, her website, etc.
I decided to update the old post with more recent info as I found it, making the post more useful to anxious wives and guilt-ridden politicos searching for familiar cell phone numbers -- or investigative reporters seeking out big wigs -- on the list.
4 - Change the title of the post to bring in more people
I'd originally titled my post "DC Madam List of Names and Numbers...Everybody wants you" but changed it to "DC Madam List of Names and Numbers...Here are the numbers" to stand out in the crowd of clickers.
(This is after you've made sure your post title name precedes your blog name in the search engine listings as I described in my Blog Traffic Sucking? post, but be warned that this change will screw around with your ability to rearrange and save your page elements in Blogger -- but I've found the change to be worth it all.)
Note that the URL...
...is gonna stay the same as when you first saved it (guess that's why they call it a PERMAlink, huh?) no matter what you change the blog post title to, so make sure to get those good keywords in from the jump.
And try not to misspell a good keyword in the URL like I've done in the past, 'cause you can't change it. (But maybe you'll get the bad typers.)
5 - Make sure to update the post's date and time
I've noticed that when I place a current date and time in my old Blogger posts and republish them, Blogger is now smart enough to put the most recent post where it belongs, on my front page. (WordPress was probably already smart enough to do this -- depending on if the blog has most recent posts set up to appear on the front page.)
6 - Get the jump on a story to get to the top of Google
Updating my post's date and time helped get it to the number #1 spot in Google for certain search term combos, beating out The Smoking Gun and The Washingon Post.
I noticed that Google puts the post date (and even time, sometimes) next to the search listing, so the more recent your post, the better it may fair in search engine listings.
Also, I'm sure this blog's Google Pagerank of 5 plays in there somehow.
But another important factor is to blog about something that interests you when you first hear about it. Sometimes those stories will go nowhere, sometimes they'll explode...
7 - Create a whole new website around what people want
There are days when you write strictly for your loyal readers -- hence this post ;-)
Then there are days when you write mostly for search-engine traffic. And sometimes that search-engine traffic amazes you with what they want.
Like how they responded in droves to my VideoHybrid post, an afterthought of a post that contained great keywords in the URL.
The unexpected popularity of that post led me to create the Watch Free TV Shows Online post, whose enormously popularity led me to create an entire website dedicated to helping people find full and partial episodes of their favorite TV shows and movies online for free.
The Watch Free Episodes site already has 385 email subscribers alone in about a month, compared to about only 150 email subscribers for this blog in nearly two years!
That tells me that grabbing niche readers for sites like watching TV online seems an easier task.
And I wouldn't have known any of this had I not listened to my readers.
(Pay no attention to this, just trying to get a PageRank for my Find the Answers blog.)