It can be extremely disheartening to pour all your efforts into producing great pieces of content only for it to yield little results in terms of qualified traffic and ultimately, conversions. Employing rudimentary social media tactics and outreaching relevant resources will help your content gain some traction, but to really aggrandize your efforts, slightly more ingenuity on the content-marketing front is required.
Since the inaugural Panda update in 2011, more prominence has been attributed to fresh content, even more so now given the most recent Panda 4.2 update which will go even further to penalize ‘thin’ or ‘spammy’ content perpetrators. From a user perspective, it’s wise to acknowledge that thin/outdated/irrelevant content is bad for the user experience, and, conversely, rich and updated content performs far better in the SERPS.
Of course, not all the content on your entire website will need updating- this could be a timely and futile task to undertake. However, any pages you have identified via analytics research that drive conversions and any content that is core to your business that drives qualified traffic (this may be measured on the basis of engagement) needs your attention.
- Add a ‘Last Updated’ field to your blog posts– Most content management systems include a published date on your posts but of course these articles will soon be deemed outdated, particularly if they are time-sensitive. Instead, to keep things looking fresh, incorporate a ‘last updated’ feature. It should be relatively simple to do this, depending on your CMS, and you can check out this WordPress guide for instructions.
- Republish annual posts– Many blogs publish annual pieces of ‘show piece’ content. From my collaborations with technology bloggers I often come across pieces like ‘The top 10 smart Gadgets of 2014’ and they always garner traffic. Overtime this page may have also developed considerable authority and it would be unwise not to leverage that accrued trust. Instead, keep the same URL, edit the post title tag and date and give it a new lease of life every year.
- Remove dates in your file paths– If you’re undertaking a site reconfiguration or starting a new blog altogether, then remove dates from your URL file path schemes.
- Add images– Add high resolution images to your post and compose descriptions containing relevant keywords. Your images, and corresponding post therefore, could appear in Google Image search results, equalling more qualified traffic.
As we’ve alluded to, most content has a relatively short lifecycle; it’s rare for old content to get recirculated but that’s where some webmasters could be missing a trick. Let’s break it down. According to Moz, the average prime lifecycle of a tweeted URL is just 18 minutes so chances are, even if the piece is really good, that it will fail to reach a large section of your audience and of course if you attract any new followers, it will never have been introduced to their feeds.
In order to extract maximum value, recirculate content pieces that have in the past attracted high numbers of shares or high levels of engagement. Page signals like links, shares and brand mentions will either directly or indirectly influence organic search rankings as well as driving new visitors to old content assets.
Maximise Referral Traffic
Traffic sent to your site from other domains, also known as referral traffic, can often make up a sizeable percentage of your overall traffic and help generate leads and conversion. Despite this, many webmasters seem to neglect this opportunity and fail to fully exploit the potential benefits.
To show you how to exploit qualified referral traffic I’m going to use the example of a leading sportsbook affiliate and the domain referrer, horseracingresults.co.uk:
- Log in to tools like Majestic SEO or Google Analytics and export a list of all your referring domains, paying particular attention to specific referring URL’s on sites that are directing a large quantity of visitors. As we can see from the image below, the domain horseracingresults.co.uk is referring a number of visitors to our affiliate so we then delve a little bit deeper to discover that the URL’s http://www.horseracingresults.co.uk/ and http://www.horseracingresults.co.uk/yesterday are the culprits.
- Once you have compiled your list, drop the chosen URL’s into tools like Semrush and find out which keywords each page is ranking for; you will want to target keywords with the highest search volume and this data should guide anchor text strategy for the next step.
- Once you have gathered all this information, build links to the corresponding pages to help it rank higher for those traffic generating keywords identified in the last step. You can do this by adding natural links from your own site to the target URL but there are plenty other link building methods For an extra push, ensure that any high-value referrer pages are shared across social media; increasing exposure will only increase the chances of others linking to that page.
Another sure-fire way to increase qualified traffic is to incorporate a local or regional angle into your content strategy. There’s just something about producing content with a regional hook that really appeals to audiences in any niche, even those deemed tedious or obscure. I’ve seen countless examples of articles boasting for example that ‘Birmingham Tops UK’s Best Holiday Destination List’ (with a less than credible source) that have attracted an unbelievable amount of social shares and engagement, basically posing as click bait.
Content pieces like this invite audiences to brag about how great their respective locations are and in terms of outreach potential, regional news publications are usually more than happy to perpetuate the story. To take it one step further, you can even invest in buying ads on Facebook or leverage geo-targeting.
Critics will argue that purchased traffic tends to be lower value, encouraging higher bounce rates and no deeper page visits; in some instances of course they have a point. However, those critics fail to appreciate the true power of paid discovery as a valuable tool to enhance exposure and distribution opportunities so don’t rule it out.
Out of the top 7 social media sites I find that StumbleUpon is the best traffic generator for many reasons. Not only can you generate instant exposure for your content via a range of audience targeting options (with “engaged visitors” costing just a few cents) but you can also plug your URL across Twitter and Facebook by making the most of StumbleUpon’s URL shortening system, Su.pr. Once someone clicks through that shortened URL, visitors will be directed to your content and the StumbleUpon toolbar will conveniently appear above the post, making it easy for logged in users to give your content the thumbs up.