Now that you know that The Golden Rule of Ranking a Website is driving traffic, we can move onto the second rule of ranking a website. But before we do, let's go over something that's completely different but very much the same.
(I know–what the hell am I drinking?)
Back in a former life, I “did” retail. I was a very young retail store manager at a regional sporting goods chain called Big 5 Sporting Goods. I rose up the ranks quite quickly there because I understood 3 very important things about customers:
- First, you must attract them into your store.
- Second, you must keep them in your store as long as possible.
- Third, you must give them a very compelling reason to come back. Again and again and again. Oh, and tell their friends.
This really is all you need to know about business. And it's really all you need to know about building a successful website, too. If you keep those 3 things at the top of your mind, you will always win the online marketing game.
These 3 things work just as well when it comes to ranking your website. I'll talk about #2 in this post and #3 in the next.
To reiterate: The golden rule of ranking a website is driving traffic, or attracting visitors to your website. It really doesn't matter how you get them there…just as long as you get them there.
THEN, you have to keep them there.
Did you know that one of Google's 200 or so factors that it uses in its search algorithm is time spent on a site?
That metric shows, in essence, how interesting and relevant and good your site is in terms of your website visitors' willingness to stay there, consuming your content.
So how do you get people to stay longer at your website? First and foremost, it's the content. Once you get people TO your site, it is your job to keep them there and you do that through awesome, incomparable, unique content.
Content truly is king. You want people to become totally immersed in all the incredible content you've created and harvested (aka “curated”) and stay hours at a time. You do.
That does not mean that you have to create 10,000 word posts. On the contrary, you should be writing posts in the 350 to 500 word range. We all have shorter attention spans and need to get our information fix in bite-size (byte-size?) chunks.
But you should endeavor to keep people on your site as long as possible through the vast number of totally awesome posts you have published.
Now, there are some tricks to getting visitors to stay longer on your website besides just content (make no mistake, all of what I'm about to mention is content–it just looks like something a little different).
Place videos in your blog posts. Embed YouTube vids–doing so will keep your visitors on your site longer because they will watch the video content right within your site instead of jumping out to YouTube or Vimeo.
Insert related posts at the end of all of your blog posts. This will encourage visitors to read more about this subject. Just think if all your posts had 5 related posts how long your visitors might stay before they ran out of content they were seeking when they searched for you in the first place.
You can also split up your posts into a series, such that visitors have to navigate to the “next page” to read more.
Finally, encourage comments. Ask for comments somewhere in each of your posts. Your bounce rate will go down and your time on site will rise dramatically, all the while your visitor is composing a thoughtful comment.
What could be better? Well, wait for Rule #3 🙂