Back in March, we were having a problem with our Site’s Traffic numbers. They just weren’t growing as fast we wanted. This is a typical problem faced by most business owners or site admins and one that’s widely covered online. For reference, a quick search on Google on how to boost your site’s traffic will give you over 4.100,000 results. 4 Million search results (!) with no way to know which ones actually work and which ones are going to end up a colossal waste of time and money.
Since we knew that we had to do something really drastic to kick it up a notch (and without breaking the bank in the process), we didn’t rely on the traditional approach of advertising or waiting for traditional SEO to take effect.
We decided to turn to Content, but with a twist. And to keep things interesting, threw ourselves a challenge to get 5,000 unique visitors to the piece of content we develop and to get that number within 7 days of it’s publishing. The content asset we created was truly something special and after the 7 day deadline was up, we found that we had not only met our own target but exceeded it twice over with lots of good links to boot! Most amazing of all, the content asset became an evergreen one and continues to send amazing traffic and links our way.
Here’s the inside scoop of what we did and how we can help you do the same for your own website.
Challenge #1: The Idea
As I mentioned in the beginning, we had to re-write the SOP for this challenge since the timeline was so short. We had to brainstorm and come up with something that everyone was asking, no one was really answering and then answer it in a way that there was a ‘take-away’ aspect to it which would drive the virality of the post. Given that we are an SEO Technology firm and that our day to day lives are dominated by Google and by Search – we naturally sort of gravitated towards that. After much back and forth within the team, we settled on answering the question of ‘What are the 1000 most asked questions on Google? ‘
I would like to tell you that we chose this topic to answer a pressing need, but in reality we just thought it would a fun thing to actually find out.
Ok. So topic finalized. Now, where to start? For that, we turned to our internal database of over 4 Billion Keywords. Mining this huge data set, we started looking for the most popular question keywords. This took us quite a bit of time actually since we had to sift through a lot of junk data – irrelevant results like multiple spelling variations of the same keyword, movie, TV and song names etc… Eventually though, we had it; The Ultimate List of the 1000 most asked questions on Google
Since the data was related, we also pulled another list from our database: The 1000 Most Searched Keywords on Google.
We were on a roll. But we quickly realized that our lists were also too generic. So we did more digging and came up with lists of the most popular question keywords and the most popular keywords for specific niche markets ranging from fashion to real estate to art and software.
To make these lists worthy of a visitor’s time—and unlike several such lists on the internet that merely mention keywords without any specific data to work around—we included exact search volume and cost-per-click (CPC) data in each of these keyword lists. In addition, we also allowed free access to the related keywords for each of the keywords on the lists. We made everything freely available to download, share and use the way visitors saw fit.
Side Note: if you’d like to do similar research yourself, you have two easy options:
- Let us do it for you – you won’t believe the amount of data sifting that’s required. While it can be mind numbing and time consuming for you to do yourself, we can do it for you in short order since we’ve done it many times in the past.
- Use the Keyword Research Tool in Mondovo – Once you’ve set up the report, click on any of the ‘related keywords’ links and using the filters, you can easily pull a list of long tail related keywords as shown in gif below:
Challenge #2: Unconventional Promotion
Since our usual marketing system wasn’t going to be quick enough to give us results within the 7 day deadline, we needed to kick it up a notch. And we did just that, starting with a dedicated page – www.mondovo.com/keywords which the promotion strategy was built around.
Here’s the rest of our promotion strategy:
If you’ve never considered Reddit before, I highly recommend it as it’s an excellent platform to drive traffic if the content is interesting enough. We posted our content asset on multiple relevant channels – ThisBlewMyMind, interestingasfuck, oDamnthatsinteresting, etc… Soon, comments and upvotes started pouring in with a good traffic increase to our site as a result.
Click on the links below to check how we fared on Reddit:
Meanwhile, other websites picked up the story from Reddit and mentioned it in their articles. Like a snowball effect, these mentions inspired more articles which helped get us some more visitors.
A screenshot of the traffic we got just from social channels
Side Note: Here’s a quick overview of what we did so you can do it yourself (or just have us do it for you – the easier option:)
We used Mondovo’s On-Demand Rank Check tool to analyze the competition landscape and find out who else was ranking for the target keywords that we had in mind. Then, using our keyword research tool, we compiled a list of the target keywords that people would use when trying to search for a page like ours. We retrieved a list of 96 primary terms, some examples being “top keywords”, “most searched words on google”, “most asked questions on google”, etc…
We then ran a rankings report for those keywords just to see if there were any sites that met the following criteria:
1) the site was not really competing for that term and was more of a “news publication” or a “blogging” site.
2) they may seem likely to include a resource like ours as reference for a new updated article
Besides a few of our competitors, we found some news publications that were ranking for our target keywords. We immediately reached out to a couple of them to see if they would pick our findings and craft a story around it.
Side Note Shout Out: We found the email addresses of the authors behind the publications via hunter.io.
The reasons could be many, but unfortunately this time, our effort didn’t pay off. Not one of the 7 journo’s we contacted reverted. Regardless, we continue to believe that this is a great way to connect with non-competitive websites ranking for your keywords. If for nothing else than the possibility of future collaborations.
Next, we strategically connected with journalists looking for a story/article along similar lines via HARO (Help a Reporter). For those of you who aren’t aware, HARO is a PR network where sources can connect with journalists who are on the hunt for a story that the source is trying to promote.
Our article was picked up and it got featured on Boingboing.net. This contributed a lot of visitors.
The Article on Boingboing.net:
Apart from this one site, we did get featured on a few foreign language sites as well (no coverage is bad coverage 🙂 We’re not sure whether they found us through HARO or Reddit or just stumbling upon us from some other source but I guess there was a “story” out here that could be talked about.
A screenshot of some of the referrers that sent us plenty of traffic
Besides Reddit and HARO, we promoted the page (organically) on Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels, answered relevant questions on Quora and linked the answers to our page.
Screenshot of one of the few questions that I answered on Quora linking back to our page
These simple promotional tactics got us close to 10,000 unique visitors in a week (we crossed 10,000+ unique visitors 9 days after publishing the pages – 2 days over our time limit, but hey we’re not complaining!)
We didn’t engage in any paid promotions during the first week and all the traffic obtained was through the promotional efforts outlined above. You could go ahead and try any or all the aforementioned promotional tactics and see how you fare.
I would like to point out that these tactics aren’t for everyone. You need to have the right kind of content to support such promotional efforts.
I’m sure if we paid to promote our content socially and engaged in various other paid promotional efforts, we could’ve got a lot more visitors but that was not the point of the challenge. We wanted to see how much we could get
Happy Side Effects
As of this update, the content asset continues to grow and bring us huge traffic numbers. More importantly, we’re beginning to rank for many terms that we were not prior to the creation process. Also, as a result of the traffic, we have acquired a number of natural links from some large news publications and some authoritative blogger sites.
Overall this seems to have had a positive impact on the search traffic. Over the last 90 days, we’ve got thousands of visits from Google Search alone.
Apart from just optimizing some of the key pages for some key target terms, we didn’t really do much from the link building perspective. There’s a lot more we could have done from an SEO perspective, i.e. actually doing some link outreach to get some links, but without even starting on any of that we’ve got decent traffic numbers from Google.
Lessons to be learned
So the lessons to be learned out here are:
1. Take your time to create traffic-worthy content pieces. It took us a team of 3 full-time resources working 8 days to get all those pages up. It might seem like a lot of time but this included the time to create 100+ category pages. Even though it was only one single page—”the most asked questions” page—that was promoted and delivered the most traffic, we spent time creating the other category pages with the aim of promoting those soon enough through some other strategies.
2. Explore social communities like Reddit to submit your content. There might be many more social communities that you could find to submit and further amplify your content.
3. Consider reaching out to non-competing sites ranking for your target terms. The more creative you are with your outreach and pitch, the better the chances of getting featured/mentioned.
4. Do your keyword research to see if there are target terms that your pages can be optimized for. If we hadn’t done this, there would have been little chance of ranking for some of the terms that we’re ranking for.
5. Try out sites like HARO. This might not apply to all of your content but for some pieces, there might just be an opportunity lurking out there.
Of course, you could and should also consider paid promotional strategies. It’s not something we’ve done so far but we might do in the near future.
Lastly, if you haven’t already checked out the pages we created, you can explore all the top keywords pages from here.
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