How to Tangle a Blog Reader in a Carefully Woven Web: A Case Study in Thinking Like a Search Engine

Perhaps you’re a blogger who’s in this game for the purity of great writing. It’s admirable, and I love you for it, but if so, this post may not be your particular brand of vodka.

If you’re all-in for platform building, growing your readership, and if you get a thrill from every “hit” like me, this may be helpful.

You can strategically design your posts to tangle a reader within your blog for multiple page hits, but it takes a good bit of study and experimentation. This is more about the science of blogging than the art.

To pull this off, there are certain things you must know, and it’s knowledge that comes only with time, so keep the faith. But once learned, certain strategies can help you create a daily post that snares a reader for multiple page hits on your site.

It all begins with an intimate knowledge of your followers’ reading habits.

After 150 posts in four months, here’s the most important thing I’ve learned to help build a strategy for maximizing hits – and it’s simple: Certain days are better than others for getting your reader’s attention.

The metrics prove (in order of best to worst) that these are my best days (not necessarily yours) for strategic posting: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, Friday, Monday, Sunday.

As a fundamental strategy for blogging, there’s power in that knowledge.

And so, with that knowledge, I rarely miss the opportunity for a Tuesday blog post and a strategy to manipulate entice the reader to surf my blog for at least more than one hit.

Here’s a world-view look at yesterday’s results, and this is a pretty average Tuesday for me.

stevenwwatkins blogThere were 146 hits on every continent except Africa. Darn it! For the time being, I’m satisfied with that daily hit count. It’s going to require a Freshly Pressed breakthrough or a RT from Justin Bieber to make a significant jump, so I’ll wait patiently.

Now, here’s breakdown of post hits and the strategy that went into making this happen, this particular way. If it sounds a bit convoluted, message me later and we can talk it through.

steven w watkins

Fifteen of my 150 posts were viewed yesterday. That’s not bad, and it’s only possible after an extended period of blogging with frequent posts – so again – be patient and keep the faith.

Because Tuesday is a strategic day designed for “hits,” I usually think carefully about what I’ll write. I tend to write serious, objective-type posts, but also enjoy taking a stab at the humor category now and again. And so that was the focus of yesterday’s foundation post … because people like to laugh and smile.

I chose to write about 15 things I’m “so over.” Among them was the health food candy Nutella. The Nutella people have done a great job at marketing their hazelnut product, but it’s time to get real.

Out of the 15 things I’m “so over” I chose to include Nutella in the headline because I figured it would have the highest SEO ranking.

Now, here’s where the math starts to get a little fuzzy, but stay with me on this, because it works.

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Monday night, I drafted a post for my secondary blog at www.latitudeone.wordpress.com The strategy was to publish the post there Tuesday morning, and re-blog it immediately to the primary blog. There are HUGE benefits to a secondary blog, but that’s for another time.

And here’s the third prong of the web-entanglement strategy, and it’s something I love about being part of the WordPress community.

Each Tuesday, I’ll surf my reader for a really good post. Yesterday morning I found a particularly interesting post from www.momentmatters.wordpress.com. Its topic was the history of bathing, and I thought it was really neat, so I pressed that to my  primary blog as well.

There are multiple benefits to pressing a fellow blogger: it’s a nice courtesy, a high compliment, a way to build relationships/strategic partnerships, and ultimately, brings more hits to your site.

The result of all this madness is three posts on my primary blog on my highest reading day. The posts were complete by 5:30 a.m., and from that point, you can only wait to measure the results.

Another tip about multiple posts on a single day: Include short links to every other post you’ve made that day. Readers will inevitably click and click again, and you, fellow blogger, get more bang for your buck.

Now, about those clicks. Here’s a visual of what happened in yesterday’s three-post web.

steven w watkins blog

All the short links included in yesterday’s three posts resulted in 10 additional clicks, and who knows where it went beyond that? That’s good for my blog, and for other sites as well.

There were clicks to my secondary blog, certain photos I’d tagged in previous posts, the blogger I reposted, a related article and the site of an Ecuadorian land developer with whom I have a business relationship at http://www.latitudeone.wordpress.com

All that intertwined linkage is good for everyone and maximizes SEO potential for us all.

Now about those search engines and the power of SEO referral. This is always interesting to study.

steven w watkins blog

The vast majority of my hits came from FaceBook posts. But there were also results from Google image and term searches, as well as Yahoo, Bing, email and from my secondary blog. This doesn’t necessarily mean each search was directed specifically to yesterday’s posts. Many of them were aimed at previous posts. Again, this is process that’s built over time.

Don’t forget the huge benefit of “thinking” like a search engine. Look at these terms searched in the 24 hour period.

blog steven w watkins

You never know who’s gonna search what, or where they’ll end up. Creative tagging is important and a learned skill, but you also have to think like a search engine. The searches above are pretty random, but they did get readers to previous posts I’ve written.

You may have the greatest prose and the snappiest title on the blogosphere on a given day, but if you don’t include some frequently used search terms, your results will be diminished. Note the key words in the title of this blog: “blog,” “web,” “case study” and “search engine.” More than likely, those terms will result in a few extra hits.

Did you know “Justin Bieber” is one of the highest ranking Google search terms? It’s the ONLY reason I included his name in this post.

Hope this helps. Blog on, baby.

(Steve Watkins is a journalist and author of the developing non-fiction series: The Trilogy of Light. For information about writing or blog coaching, and a free 45-minute consultation contact him at: stevewatkins71@yahoo.com)

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I Am So Over Nutella and 14 Other Things

I like to think I’m a caring, sometimes decent and patient man, but I’m SO OVER the following things:

pat sajak and vanna white

1. I’m so over Wheel of Fortune. Oh, the humanity, how long can this go on? The very sound of that wheel spinning sends me into a frenzy.

2. I’m so over the National Basketball association (NBA). London‘s Olympics reminded me of the greatness of the 1996 Dream Team, the greatest basketball team ever to take the court. Twelve Hall of Famers on one team. There’s not a player in theLarry Bird, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordon NBA today who can match a single one of them, and they’re mostly all a disrespectful bunch of brats.

3. I’m so over Survivor. Guys, you’re running out of tropical islands and has-been sports pros and sitcom stars from the 80s to keep things interesting. You should have gone out on a high note three years ago. http://wp.me/p2bjEC-j4

4. I’m so over soft drinks. I’m sick of the way they taste. No mas.

nutella5. I’m so over Nutella. Oh, Nutella marketing people … promote it as the world’s most delicious health food if you must, but it’s chocolate candy and you know it.

6. I’m so over The Bachelor/ette. I watched it a few times early on, but now leave the room when it comes on. How many people can sleep with one another in a series of shows?

7. I’m so over thinking my yard has to be the best manicured in the neighborhood. Just in time too. A guy moved in two doors down and his every blade of grass glistens with groomed perfection. Thank goodness I no longer have to compete.

8. I’m so over phone aps. This smart phone thing is a fad. It’s gonna pass.

9. I’m so over the mainstream idea that our kids must follow a prescribed curriculum of 12 years of school, four years of college, and maybe four more years of professional school to be a success in life. Certain college degree programs, I believe, should call for two years of mandatory public service or international travel prior to admission.

10. I’m so over Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert and Taylor Swift. Are they three different people or all one person? I really can’t tell.

11. I’m SOOOO over Dr. Phil.

12. I’m so over Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. I’m so over Obama’s clear belief that he’s always the smartest person in the room, and I’m so over Mitt Romney’s failure to project the good guy he really is.

13. I’m so over both sugar and salt. The more I age, the more your tiny little granules make me feel bad. You’re banned from my taste buds now.

14. I’m ALMOST so over being overweight. My best friend’s losing a dozen pounds a month. All my work colleagues are on a weight-loss binge, and I still succumb to the Friday donuts. I’ll be glad when I’m so TOTALLY over being overweight. I’m going to run another marathon just to prove I can.

15. I’m so over my hair. It’s grey, course and totally unmanageable, and that’s a tough thing for a fashion diva guy-who-doesn’t-care like me. I’m considering the slick look.

See today’s additional posts @ http://wp.me/p2bjEC-Az and http://wp.me/s2bjEC-2311

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