Last week, a post of mine about a 12-day Cool Whip experiment started to take-off on Facebook, being shared more than 1,400 times and driving some nice traffic. That led to better search rankings and a lot more organic traffic a/k/a the traffic gift that keeps on giving.
Thing is….that post is nearly 3 years old!
It’s all about creating opportunities for what I call “viral serendipity.”
I didn’t know what to expect, but I was looking to accomplish a few goals:
- Make it easier for people to go deeper into my blog and read more
- More easily discover the most compelling posts from a library of more than 550,
- Better segment the most popular content by major topic areas, and
- Reinvigorate older posts that had great value, but may have hit the blog at a time where my overall traffic and brand were much leaner.
Put another way, I wanted to give visitors, especially newer ones, a way to serendipitously stumble upon my best content with the least amount of work, then nudge them to share it and see if it would get traction in social media.
Thus the term – Viral Serendipity.
So, what happened. Within 72 hours of adding the Best Of page:
- It became one of the 10 most trafficked pages on the blog.
- Average time on the page was nearly a minute, which for a page that’s just a listing of other pages is pretty huge
- The bounce rate from the page was 34%, meaning 66 percent of visitors clicked deeper into the site after visiting the page, and
- The exit % was 14%, meaning 86% of visitors stayed on the site after hitting this page.
And, I began to notice some relatively abandoned posts, many of them oldies but goodies, were being discovered by new readers, shared and getting a new lease on social media life. Especially in places like stumbleUpon, where a new thumbs up or review from the right person can trigger a lot of new traffic. Social traffic can lead to links, which can lead to improved google juice and sustained organic search traffic.
Does that mean you should all run out and slap up a Best Of page?
Maybe, maybe not. Best Of pages work well for me because they work within the existing structure, design and navigation framework of this site. I didn’t already have a similar feature and I had a logical place to include it in the top navigation on the blog. So, you’ve got to take that into account.
Best Of pages are also just one way to encourage changes in reader behavior like this. Related posts are another example, but not the way most bloggers do it, buried somewhere below the post (like mine, ack!). ScienceDaily.com does a really good job of running parallel related posts to the right of the body of the main content. I’d bet they get way better click-thru rates than the related post positioning on your standard blog, something I’ll likely test soon.
The bigger takeaway is…
Constantly explore new ways to make it easier for readers to discover and share your best stuff, especially content that’s really solid but hit the blog in back in the days when your tribe and traffic were a lot thinner.
Curious whether anyone else has tried this or any other approaches?
Share away in the comments…
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