Each day that goes by, blogs are added to the web and are indexed by search engines. This means that there is a growing number of competitors to readership. After all, people only have so much time in the day. There are some things we can do to make our blog posts more attractive to readers, keep them coming back to read more and want to share our content with friends. Here are 9 ideas to increase views.
1. Use the word “Ideas” in your title
For some reason the word “Ideas” works well. I compared two recent articles I wrote: 7 First Great Date Ideas and 9 Most Romantic Restaurants. The date idea article was read about four times as much as the romantic restaurants article.
2. Lists are Great Ways to Increase Readership
People love lists. Have you ever noticed those Buzzfeed lists are always odd numbered with a random number like “17 Reasons…” The reason is they get read! I don’t know about you, but I can’t resist clicking on those articles when I see them on Facebook.
3. Evergreen Content + Seasonal Searches = Win
Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Halloween – no matter what the holiday people are looking for recipes and / or venues to celebrate. This is content that is relevant year after year and an arsenal of such articles is a terrific boost to continual traffic.
4. Article Length – 250-500 Words
Up until recently the average length of articles was about 600-800 words. When I began blogging that was the standard. Due to most people’s lack of time and attention span, article length has come down quite a bit. This is good for us as it means it is easy to churn out a couple 400 word blog posts instead of one 800 word one.
5. Use Synonyms and Plurals
Search engines get more sophisticated all the time. It used to be that repeating the keyword or keywords used in your title were the key to high ranking. Now, they are smart enough to learn synonyms and match those with your title. So instead of keyword stuffing, use synonyms that support your title.
6. Content Should be Easy to Digest
People are inherently lazy. Rather than sit and read an article, they will scan it. So make it easy to scan by following a few steps. Write in short paragraphs. This breaks up content. So 4 or 5 short paragraphs are far less intimidating than 2 long ones. Use pictures in between paragraphs to help break up content as well. Readers love articles with pictures.
7. Use Google+
Like it or not, Google continues to dominate search. So, naturally they are going to favor content that is shared via their networks. Don’t forget YouTube (owned by Google).
8. Tag photos with Descriptive Names
Search engines can also “read” the meta data for pictures as well. All that means is that you want to name your pictures with something synonymous with your title. This gives you blog post more credibility to the search engines. Also name photos like this: “downtown-ann-arbor-wine-bar”. Search engines see dashes as spaces.
9. Analyze and Repeat What Works
Look at your stats. What are the most widely read posts? What terms are leading readers to your blog. You may be surprised at what is working for in terms of title and format. Find out what is driving traffic and shares. Rinse and repeat.