We regularly review the performance of all of our web pages–how many views they get, how much time people spend on the pages, how efficiently the pages convert anonymous visitors to contacts, contacts to marketing qualified leads, marketing qualified leads to sales qualified leads, etc.
Over the past several months, we’ve noticed that some of our blog posts perform dramatically better than others in terms of overall page views. In fact, all of our best-performing pages are blog posts that have some common elements in their titles and topics.
I’ll show you what I mean. Here’s a recent look at our top 10 page views over a few months, using Google Analytics. You can see that our top two pages ranked by page views are our home page and our contact page. Pretty normal.
But if you look at the next seven pages by page view, you’ll see some common themes. All have some kind of comparison or analysis of some aspect of digital marketing (our business).
All of the top performing pages use a word that reflects some sort of qualitative analysis or comparison–”review,” “best,” “cost” or “vs.”
This echoes what we talked about in a blog we wrote for content syndicator Outbrain, called “Think Like Google: Answer the Question!” There is a lot of research out there that shows that the majority of searches are made in the form of questions, or fragments of questions. For example: “How to do X?; ” “Where is Y?;” “How does Z work?”
But when it comes to looking for products or services to purchase, people are often looking for comparisons and asking their questions in different ways. They are looking for comparisons of specific products, X vs. Y or for the best of a product category; they are looking for reviews from third party users, and they are looking for pricing. Using words like “vs.” (ok it’s not technically a word); “best,” “review,” and “cost” in the title of the article leads to far more clicks and views, at least for our website.
Content that answers peoples’ questions gets more traffic. More specifically, content with titles that indicate the question that will be answered gets more traffic.
I wrote a great blog about how great content is the best way to help your business get found online. My title was clever, I thought: You May Not Know It, But Your Marketing Team Needs an English Major.
The results, however, were not good. Most likely, had I titled it, “Best ways to write content that attracts traffic to your site,” or something along those lines, it would have been more successful.
Of course, a title alone won’t help you get a lasting high search ranking. The content has to deliver on the promise of the title. Google is very clear about this. As Moz blogger Marcie Haynes writes, “Google’s goal is to deliver answers to people who are searching.” The search engine has developed very sophisticated ways of measuring not just clicks, but how much people like what they click on. User satisfaction is rewarded, tricks for clicks are penalized.