Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Find us on Linkedin Follow and +1 us on Google Plus
Digital Key Design Web Consulting

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

5 Easy Tactics to Increase On Blog Time

Increasing Average On Page Time for your Blog


When I started out blogging I never cared about number of visits per day or search rankings for keywords, or conversion rates if I did manage to rank for a super bizarre long tail keyword. Why? I didn’t worry about these things because I knew I was a newbie and these things take time and would come eventually. Instead I focused on putting out pretty good and original content that I thought potential customers might read. At this point I figured I would use my blog as a sales tool to answer question and prove some validity of my industry knowledge. So the main metric I was focused on for my blog was on page time. I figured this was the best indication of how good my blog really was regardless of number of readers. If people read my content and stayed a while, I was doing well.

I still feel this is a good indication of the quality of your blog and believe Google takes it into account a good bit as well. After all if searchers stay on your site a long time it is probably a rank worthy site. I started out posting short to medium length (at best) blog posts. It was more important to me to put up some content than create long and detail oriented posts. I wanted good quality material but didn’t have a minimum or target length for my posts. This often resulted in my notoriously short and sweet blog posts. As you can image short posts aren’t exactly ideal for attracting long average on page times.  It did however lead me to do some research and come up with a few easy tactics to help get the most bang for my buck! Necessity is the mother of all invention, as they say.


1. Keep Creating Great Content

This one is kind of a no brainer.  If you have lots of great content for users, they will be engaged longer. When they come to your blog instead of reading just one post they may spend hours scouring your achieves in hopes of finding that one piece of important info they have been searching days for. This one can however take time.  In the beginning you just need to keep going and get good content out there. After that it’s keeping up and making it a routine. Whether it’s once a day or once a month the key is to keep it consistent and keep the good content coming. 

2.  Write Longer Posts

I swear they are going to get better! Seriously though, I’m not talking about simply increasing word count.  What I mean here is to write in a more detailed manner. Spend the extra day or so to go through and add a sentence here and there. Expand upon that idea a little further. Push the boundaries of your writing by spending a little extra time to expand and add. Make a whole and complete post. Leave no stone unturned! This will of course naturally increase word count and the time spent reading but more importantly it will engage your readers increasing their likelihood of reading more and staying on site longer. This is where a little can really go a long way.

 

3.  Fun and Interesting Images

Adding images in general will make your post more visually appealing and will help decrease bounce rate. Often times adding the extra visual impact needed to deliver your message increases post quality, leading to the increased likelihood of viewers reading more of your material. Are you seeing how these are starting to stack up? Spending the extra time to find unusual or original images can crank your blog up a notch and capture your audience’s attention keeping them on page for a longer stretch of time. Great images used as thumbnails will also help increase click through rates.  Info-graphics are also great to use in conjunction with statistical and data driven blog posts.
 

How to Make your Site More Link Worthy
SEO Web Design 

4.  Link to Other Great Content

Linking out to other great content can have a few purposes and if done correctly will vastly increase on page time. For starters you will get the great communal benefits of helping others spread the word about their content. It’s a win-win-win for you, your reader, and the website being linked to. Your reader gets to read additional great content thus providing them an even better experience which leads to them reading other posts and more importantly sharing your posts. This will boost your appearance as an authority on the subject helping increase the return rate to your blog. You want to be known as a source for relevant information. The linked content in question gets a link and referral traffic!

Now on to how this can help your on page time. It’s simple math really. Say your average read time for a post is 2:30. You link out to 2 others blogs in your post: Link A and Link B. The average read time of link A is 2:30. The average read time of link B is 2:30. (keeping it simple here)
Your Post  = P   
Link A = A 
Link B =B     
 P + A+ B = FP  
 FP = Final Post reading length. (7:30)

You just tripled your on page time! The trick is to make sure your using target=”_blank” in your links so when a reader clicks a link it opens into a new tab or window.



This ensures the time spent reading linked to material is also spent on your site. Naturally the better content you can link to, the longer your audience will stay on your blog. This can be an added Double even Triple Whammy if the great content you're linking to happens to be yours and on the same domain. This is where number 1 comes back into play! Keep on creating great content and then link to it!


The Coolest Thing You've Ever Seen!



5.  Add a Video

Embedding videos have been a tactic to build links for a while now but they also compliment blog posts quit well if done correctly.  Just think as above in number 4 its simple math.  Your post reading time plus video length. If you’re linking out to a few great things and embedding video, you’re really starting to build up your visit length. The longer and more interesting the video the better. Also you have to think about load and buffer speed. Having a fast page load speed is important to search engines but most user are willing to wait for a video to load if they are already on your site and in the middle of reading a blog post. Not exactly the ideal way, but hey, time spent loading is time spent on your blog.

All of these techniques are rather basic yet combined together can lead to big impact. The goal here was to increase on page time per visit however most if not all 5 tactics have many more benefits including decreased bounce rate, increasing pages viewed per visit, share-ability, building links, increased readership, wider range of distribution, better rankings, and hopefully you manage to convert a few sales as well!

Here are a few other Basic Tips to Help your Blog


1.  Write About Interesting Topics. You can easily do a search and finds what’s highly sought after content. More importantly you can find something missing. Often times I will spend a long while searching for something until I find a good post on the topic. I often want to email the author offer free SEO services for the greater good of anyone searching that topic in the future. The better idea would be to post something of your own on the subject and get it to rank. Plus writing on unique topics or in a unique way will set you apart from the crowd.

2.   Write Catchier Titles. You can’t judge a book by its cover but often times people judge links by their title! A good title will increase your click through rate. The more clicks you get, the more chances you have to impress!

3.   Make Sharing Easy! Let’s face it people these days are kind of lazy and want things fast and easy. If you want me to like your Facebook Page you better make it easy for me. By easy I mean I a Big Button! Putting an easy to find and use button is a simple yet effective way to build up followers. You should also have a blog archive that is easily accessible and a most popular post section. This way it’s easy for readers to see what other reader liked. Speaking of liked put easy to find social buttons at the bottom of each post increasing probability of being shared!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Google Guidelines Reverse Engineered

Understanding Google Search Rating Guidelines

Naturally any time Google releases any of the internal documents its' employees use, online marketers get excited. The Search Quality Rating Guidelines are of particular importance to  PPC advertisers and SEO's.  Already there has been quite a buzz around the topic, what it means, and how it effects us marketers. To be quite honest I don't think Google would have released this watered down, highly edited version, if an internal original version was not previously leaked. None the less, there is tremendous value to be found within the new document has Google released. (Version 1.0)

So let's begin the process of reverse engineering the information they have provided us with. The first important thing the document presents us is it's rating system. It is not based on a number system which kind of surprises me however we could assume a value is added to each (0-5).

Vital - A special rating category applies....

We can assume only content labeled as Vital and Useful will qualify for first page spots. Relevant probably makes up pages 2-4 depending on the queries. Slightly relevant would make up the remaining results with off topic and useless into the 20-30s and beyond. There is only one problem with this theory and that's Google has said these rating aren't used to change individual rankings but rather a means for them to rate their own results, analyze the data and make algorithm changes accordingly. While adapting to these rating won't directly effect your rank we can presume that Google wants all pages filled with Vital and Useful content. Thus making our sites fit their definition of such will ensure we have a higher chance of ranking well when Algorithm Updates do Roll Out!

So what makes your website Useful?

This will be highly varied depending upon your target keyword and your searcher's intent. Each query naturally will have multiple meanings across varied users. The first key is to decide on what each of these meanings are for your keyword.


To be be a Useful result make sure your website is targeting the Dominant Interpretation of your target keyword. It would also seem helpful to include elements of both Common Interpretations and Minor Interpretations into your website targeting Dominant Interpretations. This way you are targeting the Dominant queries and still providing Useful and Relevant Content to your Common and Minor Queries Interpretations. Now you are covering your basis and extending your reach to a wider target audience boosting relevance to both markets.

Now that we have covered the varying meanings of our keywords we need to make sure we provide the searcher the right type of results for their intent for that particular meaning. Google breaks it into three different types of search intent.


Information is the easiest of these to accomplish. I'm not trying to imply creating great content is easy, it's just easier than developing software. Obviously if your an e-commerce store or something of the like the Action intent should be your focus. Regardless you should try to add both great informational text on your website and some sort of action oriented content. If you don't have this sort of content that a user may be looking for internally you can always link out to some relevant actionable item on another website. This way you are at least adding relevance to a third of the searchers. For the final third the Navigation Intent you simply need to make sure you have an easy to access contact page and navigational information on your website for those searchers looking to come to your physical location.

As I'm sure you can image this is just the tip of the iceberg as far as finding useful data points from this document to help us create more useful and better ranking websites. I encourage you to investigate for yourself and please feel free to share your findings.