Viral is such a funny concept. I see so many small businesses going after ‘viral’.
My opinion? Viral is like that car you saw online, travelled miles to go buy. But when you get there, she’s not at all what you thought she would look like.
Every year at this time I see a huge traffic spike on my website.
It’s all due to a single post I authored a few years ago. It’s kind of gone viral.
It wasn’t even my content – I was simply sharing a letter my wife wrote to our daughter upon her graduation.
I loved what she wrote and thought the world might like to see it as well.
Apparently the world is in search of inspiration on what to write to their graduating sons and daughters. Depending on the keywords this post ranks #1 amongst millions of results.
While the traffic to the site is great – truth be told – it’s not the traffic I want.
It’s just not my target audience. It’s not the people that are looking to buy one of my products.
I simply wrote a post about a ‘trending’ topic and viola! Traffic.
But, as often times my mind starts to wander and I started thinking about ways to make this work in other ways.
How about a letter writing service? We ask you a few questions about that kid you never thought would make it out of middle school and out team of skilled copywriters will craft a fabulous page of prose, worthy of a Pulitzer nomination. #NOT
Ok, forget viral, just get me more readers…
Next I thought I could tap into http://www.google.com/trends/ and write posts centered around new and upcoming search terms.
Today I might be writing a post about “How if Godzilla played for the Clippers, the Pacers would lose, but could you even stream those games in India under Narenda Modi’s new Prime Ministership, and how would the Net Neutrality ruling effect that?”
Of course I jest. (or maybe not)
We’ve all seen posts titled like “17 Reasons Godzilla is better than WordPress” – right?
The formula is simple.
“Arbitrary Numbered List + Trending Keyword + Your Keyword” = MONSTER TRAFFIC!
Or better yet, add on the overused “…You’ll never believe what happened next!” modifier.
The fact is this. It’s a very noisy world out there. We’re all scrambling for attention. We all want people to read our posts, watch our videos, Like this, RT that and so on. Am I right?
To a certain extent, I think we are all guilty. We’re guilty of repeatedly falling for these tactics, and we’re guilty of trying to emulate them ourselves.
It’s absolutely true – these tactics do increase traffic. You could start using these and see a significant increase in visitors tomorrow. I do it right now with my posts. Each post has two titles – one that you see, and one that shows up in a Google search. I also include a separate description of the post to show instead of just using the first 100 or so characters. In that description I always include a little about what the post is about and something that might engage the reader to click to read more. I’m baiting people to read my posts.
We’re all creating our own ‘Noise’ and we’re desperately searching for people to interpret our noise as ‘Signal’.
Here’s yet another way I’m baiting people to click.
Do any search on Google and you’ll see who’s setup their Google Authorship right away. 28 Million results and a simple picture of me besides the post makes a HUGE difference in click through rates, even on a 3 year old post!
Google Authorship is free. Google is the #1 search engine. Studies have shown dramatic increases in click through rates on posts with Google Authorship. Why wouldn’t you use it?
As a bonus, once you get it started and it’ll work on all your previous posts too.
Getting to the 1st Page in Google is hard. Getting them to click on your post is easy with the help of Google Authorship. In a sea of results, your simple profile picture stands out.
Setting up Authorship can be easy or it can be tricky. Essentially you create a proper link from your website to your Google Plus Profile. You also setup a Contributor Link on your Profile back to your website. If everything works out – you’ll have Google Authorship!
Want to check to see if yours is working? Head on over to Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool, enter one of your posts and see what happens.
Need help with setting this up? I’m for hire. <== Oooooh look, a Call To Action!
NOTE: Have you +1’d the crap out of this post yet? 😉