Thursday, August 8, 2013

Blog SEO: Keeping Site Visitors Longer, Confusing SEO Rules and The Reality of Web Surfing

As any website owner/writer/operator can attest to, there are two games out there when it comes to trying to win the SEO game of the internet.  Getting visitors, keeping visitors and hoping Google sends you visitors.  Oh... wait, that's three.

It's a tricky balance, I'll give you that.

SEO Rules and Practices

First, one, has to get traffic to your site.  Some like using cheap tricks by using questions as titles.  (My sites suck because I use honest headlines.) 

Another piece of the balance is keeping visitors around to read your content.

The third is hoping Google refers people to your site via search results.

How hard can it be?

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"Very hard, the answer is, to question last!"

Your chosen subject content is an importent issue.  More folks flock to Hollywood gossip than mathematical equations. 

I had a gossip site that did well, but I got tired of wanting to throw up every time I wrote about someone's fashion nip slip or pregnancy, or drunk driving arrest.

So sadly, I walked away from that cash cow.

But getting people to your site, especially if you're just starting out, is TOUGH!

That is, unless someone starts a site where they already have a huge following.  Then all the rules and suggestions about Google's SEO are pretty moot.  For example, George Takei...  case in point!

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Yet no matter what, it's always suggested to write good, original quality content.

Sigh.

But if you have not noticed, there are two kinds of web surfers, and the SEO suggestions are for only one aspect of those surfers.

The suggestions are good ones... here's a sample:

  • Write decent content,
  • Have original content,
  • Use 300 words minimum,
  • Bold certain points to catch attention,
  • Engage users socially,
  • Use good linking structures.
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The above suggestions are great because there is a contingent of sufers out there that do come to websites because of great, lengthy, in-depth content.  I've seen it and been part of that.

But there's that other aspect of the web surfer, and combined with newbie websites, just don't always mash up well.

There's that web surfer that hits up your site because it came up in a search result, clicks through to the bottom paragraph or even just hits the source link and bolts to your source!  That's it.  One hit, 2 seconds, then gone.

According to the Nielsen Normam Group, users leave a web page within 10-20 seconds.  (Crap, my sites must really suck!)  They do point out that if an article has any clear value to the web surfer, they stick around.

But traditionally speaking, surfers tend to always be in "a hurry" as they scat around the web.  The study they reference says that,

"the first 10 seconds of the page visit are critical for users' decision to stay or leave. The probability of leaving is very high during these first few seconds because users are extremely skeptical, having suffered countless poorly designed Web pages in the past. People know that most Web pages are useless, and they behave accordingly to avoid wasting more time than absolutely necessary on bad pages."

And can you blame them?  No, hell, I do the same thing.  Especially when I'm looking for specific information.

For example, sometimes I look up ideas for coding that I do at work.  I google my thought, and hit up the sites.  I'm not looking for mindless, egocentric conversation.  I'm looking for results that will impact my curiosity.

So I'm in, I'm out.  I'm gone in less than 5 seconds if nothing stands out.  In under 20 if I end up reviewing info that might be critical to my need.

Then, I'm out of there.

But that's indicative of typical, random surfing.

If I actually see content in and around my search results that seems like it might be appealing, I bookmark or follow the site on Facebook, Twitter or Feedly and watch their feeds to see if anything else they post is of interest.

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Here's the proof in the pudding on retaining site visitors:

At the end perspective of the study nngroup was citing, they make the following suggestion:

"To gain several minutes of user attention, you must clearly communicate your value proposition within 10 seconds."

That means your opening sentence or two, and your bold headlines or headings that are peppered throughout your content need to be the eye candy for getting folks to stay.

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So... did you stick it out to the end of THIS ARTICLE?


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- from BeS - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

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Hi - sorry for the confirmation but I need to weed out the noise from the well intended comments. Thanks for leaving a note... - Bruce