Writing Tip: Methods to Keep Readers Involved and Improve Search Traffic

Here are several methods I use with my writing to keep readers involved and to improve search engine traffic.
Attract and keep readers involved.
Attract and keep readers involved. | Source
Glenn Stok has been elected HubNugget by the HubMob community for writing this Hub.
Glenn Stok has been elected HubNugget by the HubMob community for writing this Hub.

One of the most important things you want to consider when writing is how your reader responds to it.

  • Do they find it useful?
  • Does it provide the answer they were expecting?
  • Did you deliver on your promise based on your title?
  • Does it hold their attention all the way through by staying focused on what the title says?


If readers go away real quick, then Google will think the information you presented is of no value and they will rank your article lower.

The ranking is important because that controls how many people are sent to your Hub when they do a search for the subject.

Many things can affect how well your readers respond to your hubs. Once you've accomplished grabbing attention, you need to keep working with quality and focus all the way through.


How to Keep Your Reader's Attention


In order to attract your reader's attention you need to let him or her immediately know what to expect. If they see that it's what they want they will keep reading, but only up to a point. There's more to consider with keeping them hooked.

What happens next can make or break your relationship with your reader. You need to hold your reader's attention throughout the entire article.

It's useless if people fall on your page and immediately go away. That means only one thing to the search engines -- that your article had nothing of value. This will hurt your SEO ranking.

Source

Your article may very well have great value. However, value is based on an algorithm that search engines use to determine if it's providing information that the reader is looking for.

Readers who are looking for something else and accidentally fall on your page are not the kind of traffic you want. It's important to understand what kind of traffic you want.

You only want readers who are specifically searching for your subject. It only has value to them.


Don't Attract the Wrong Readers


It's important to avoid keywords or tags that may be too general. That will only attract people who were searching for something else that's not related because they used one or more of your keywords in their search.

Once they hit your page and see that it's not what they want, they leave in a hurry. If too many people click away real quick, search engines take this to mean that your article is useless.

Search engines monitor how long visitors stay on a web page. The longer they stay, presumably reading, the more appropriate the page must be to the search that was requested.

The search engines use that information to improve their response to keyword queries. This affects your ranking.

If readers stay for a long time, then your content must obviously be useful and meaningful. Therefore, you get some extra points in your ranking. The more of those, the higher you go and eventually you will discover more traffic being sent your way.


Keep Paragraphs Short


Short paragraphs are easier to comprehend. Make sure your page that does not look intimidating. Leave some white space and don’t crowd the text. They notice that before they even start reading. By leaving white space, people will have less stress on their eyes and this will make it easier to read.

There is also another side-effect of having your paragraphs too cluttered. If a reader sees no spaces between paragraphs, they tend to feel that there is too much to read and they click away without even starting to read.

Separate thoughts into blocks of text in such a way that it becomes easier for the reader to grasp the meaning. Use helpful headings for sections. You might find it helpful to separate various thoughts into numbered or bulleted paragraphs like I did here.


Eye Candy Attracts Attention


A visual image that represents your subject is useful. It is a quick way to show the reader they have found something related to the subject matter they are interested in. An image will be noticed before they start reading.

Well-selected images also add something easy to look at once in a while rather than reading continuously. Our eyes need a rest now and then.

Images help give your reader's eyes a rest. That's why it's known as "eye candy." But it's important to make the images relate to the subject.
Images help give your reader's eyes a rest. That's why it's known as "eye candy." But it's important to make the images relate to the subject. | Source

When selecting images to use, it's important that they are related to the subject. You want something that helps the reader understand the subject.

Images that help with interpretation are very useful. However, don’t use images from the web that may be copyrighted.

If you use images that are in the Public Domain or have a Creative Commons License, then give the proper credit. Creative Commons has rules. Many times they ask that you display a credit to the originator.

Many image sites indicate how you need to include a credit reference. You can enter that information in the proper text fields of the image capsules when you include them in your Hub.


Proper Spelling is Important


Other things that affect your success are poorly constructed sentences, poor grammar, and misspellings. One common error I see is the incorrect spelling of "alot" instead of correctly typing two words as "a lot".

There is no such word in English. I see that a lot. And I bet if you allot more time to spell checking, you’ll do better with ranking. Ahh, did you catch that? The word “allot” with two L's is a valid word with a totally different meaning.

I also often see improper use of “there” and “their” and “they’re.” There are times when they're not paying attention to their spelling.


Use a spell checker before you publish, and proofread several times. The text capsules in HubPages have a built in spell check that you click on to run a check on that capsule's text.


An author's work is never done. I find myself refining and rewriting many of my published articles at a later date.
An author's work is never done. I find myself refining and rewriting many of my published articles at a later date. | Source

I have found the most profound mistakes I’ve made when proofreading after I thought I was finished. We all make mistakes and we need to be professional about it and check our own work before considering it worthy for the public.

When I proofread, I also keep the reader in mind. I think about how it might be interpreted.

Sometimes when I read something I wrote, I realize it could be misinterpreted. Worse yet, it could be confusing. Either way, it needs to be refined, redone, rewritten, whatever!


Why Proofreading Needs to be Repeated


When we proofread our own material, we tend to see what we thought rather than what we typed. I always find that amazing, but it goes to show how important it is to have someone else proof it for us.

I find it works better to proofread our own hubs many months later. I guess that works because we forgot what we were focusing on and we see the actual words better, as if we’re reading it for the first time.

That's when I catch my typos, months later. I like to go back and check on old hubs every so often. I put more time towards that than I put towards writing new hubs.

I find that to be a powerful but simple task that many writers don’t make use of. I see in forum comments many times how people say they don’t want to be bothered with reviewing their older hubs.

I find it pays off well since old hubs can be improved repeatedly, getting better all the time.


Provide Useful Content that Answers Questions


Useful and easy-to-read content are important. Give the reader something in return for visiting, either information, tips, ideas, anything to provide a return for visiting your page.

As a visitor reads, they realize they are getting something and they want more, so they will stick around and keep reading. When you complete a blog, hub, business web page, or whatever, go back and read it completely from start to finish.

Pay attention to your writing from a reader’s point of view. Are you rambling on? Are you going off on tangents? Are you unclear with things? Are you failing to make your point? Any of these things can cause a reader to become frustrated and go away. You want to focus on keeping their attention. That's what I've been trying to do here. How am I doing?


Get Visitors To Come Back


When you get Repeat Visitors, this is an indication of the usefulness of your article. Search engines rank by repeat traffic. Google Analytics reports show how many hits are unique and how many are repeat visitors. So I'm sure they are using that info to determine how useful your article is.

If people are coming back, it's an indication that you have content that they found helpful and that they may need to review again. So the search engines bump up your ranking and this causes you to get more organic traffic.

You need to be patient. Keep a close eye on the extensive information you get from those Google Analytics reports, and learn from it. Try to discover what's working that keeps your readers attention and what brings them back. Then continue to do whatever works.


Check the Mobile Preview


I use the mobile preview in edit mode to see what a hub looks like on a smartphone. It's important to do this, especially if you use capsules in sidebars (left and right side by side).

The problem that many people don't realize is that the right column capsules get embedded in a single column on mobile devices. This can cause capsules to be out of sequence.

When I preview and see a problem, I simply reposition the right column capsules so that they work both ways: two columns as well as one column.

When viewed on a mobile device, you need to make sure that the subtitles are over the intended section, including the merged capsules. Remember that on a smartphone only one column is used and the right-hand column will be merged into the left column.

If you don't take mobile view into consideration when putting your hub capsules together, then some subtitles may end up under the merged capsule and it won't make sense to the reader.


Three Bonus Tips


The following are a few things I found that help improve poorly performing older hubs. I have no idea if these are the reasons for why it worked, but it can't hurt.

  1. I routinely scan comments in hubs for links to banned profiles and I remove those comments.

  2. I sometimes spend a little time watching people reading my hubs in Google Analytics Real-time View. That shows me when people actually stay on a hub (possibly reading), if they drop off, or if they move on to another hub of mine. Watching this real-time activity helps me decide on needed modifications to hubs.

  3. I review the stats on old hubs from time to time and look for problems with low Word Count and short View Duration. If I see a correlation with poor traffic, I try to improve those hubs.


HubPages Earnings Program


Once you have at least 15 featured Hubs (they must be featured), you can sign up for Google AdSense.

When you have an affiliate account with Google AdSense, you can place your affiliate code in the proper field in "External Affiliate Settings" under your “Earnings” tab. Then you can also apply for the HubPages Earnings Program. HubPages places ads on your Hubs and pay you directly after you accumulate $50. You can use AdSense alone, but I recommend the HP Earnings Program. Google pays only after you reach $100 and it's harder to reach that.

Source

I find the HP Earnings Program pays better, but you still need to apply for AdSense first since HubPages includes AdSense ads. Per their terms with Google you need to be approved by Google for that reason.

You can also apply for Amazon under the Earnings Program and place Amazon capsules in your Hubs to earn affiliate income from them.

The eBay affiliate program used to be supported but eBay handled the payments poorly, so in August 2016 HubPages dropped eBay from the HP Earnings Program.

In case you're wondering how the residuals get split, your affiliate code will be used 60% of the time and HubPages' affiliate code is used 40% of the time in your Hubs.

Don't click on ads yourself. That is against the terms of use for AdSense. You get paid from organic traffic readers seeing your ads. These are readers who have found your hub through search engines.


Use the Information in Your Google Analytics Reports


Your Google Analytics Reports show you where visitors came from, what keywords they used to find you, how long they stayed and where they went next.

Where Are Analytics Reports?

  1. Click on the "My Account" tab on HubPages
  2. Click on "Affiliate Settings"
  3. Click on "Check Your Analytics Statistics"
  4. Login to your Analytics Account.
  5. Click on "View Report" for HubPages.

Then select any report you want...Dashboard, Intelligence, Visitors, Traffic Sources, Content, AdSense, or Goals.

Each report lets you dig deeper into the data. So give yourself time to learn all of it. If you get lost, you can always click back to the Google Analytics Dashboard.

The Analytics Reports can keep you busy in a worthwhile way. You'll discover if your readers clicked to another of your hubs, or if they just left after reading one. This shows you if you need to change something to keep them around.

You need to sign up for Google Analytics to get a tracking code. If you haven't already included your Google Analytics code in your HubPages account, you should do that right away. Then let it track for a few weeks to accumulate useful information for your reports.

Getting and holding web traffic is based on hard work beyond just writing articles. It's a way to let the search engines learn if you are worthy of the traffic. If they determine that you are, they will be glad to send more people your way. That takes time, so you need to be patient and stay on top of things. Good Luck!



© 2009 Glenn Stok

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Reader Comments 15 comments

Anath profile image

Anath 6 years ago

I get lost every time I look at Google Analytics. There is so much information in there that I don't really know what to look for and what to do with it. I am sure I could be using it for my benefit but it is still an unknow field to me.

Thanks for all the other tips, interesting the effect of unique vs. repeat visits.


Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 6 years ago from Long Island, NY Author

Anath, I get lost with it too. Just take your time and click around the left-hand column in Google Analytics. That's how I discovered all this various information and charts. Over time, you will make some sense out of all the data and you'll start seeing patterns.

An interesting pattern is how many readers come back and when. I noticed by reviewing the Visitor Loyalty table, I see that roughly 47% are new people each day. 38% revisit in the same day and only 3% the come back next day. Then it drops until 15 to 30 days later, when old visitors come back and look again. I guess it might mean that I have readers who are remembering me and curious to see what's I've done since their last visit, or need to check out something they previously read. Either way, I find that encouraging.

I also see that I have a large number of bounces. Those are people who hit a hub and left in a few seconds. That's why I feel these reports are so important to use, even if they are difficult.


CMHypno profile image

CMHypno 6 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

Thanks for all the great info Glenn. I must admit that my favourite part of Google Analytics is looking at the map of where people come from! Congratulations on your HubNugget nomination!


Guidemyspirit profile image

Guidemyspirit 6 years ago

I think keywords and long keywords are the biggest factor when it comes to on sight optimization. Ranking high in Google like you mention is the off site heaviest factor. It all depends on how you are liked by search engines, bringing in the traffic is their job, not only that they traffic is where the money can be made, anything else is really a waste in my opinion. Unless of course you are looking for a fan club on your site that is! Nice post though, keep on writing Glenn.


Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 6 years ago from Long Island, NY Author

Guidemyspirit, I appreciate your remarks. Glad to have you as a reader.


EngagementRing profile image

EngagementRing 6 years ago from Los Angeles

Great hub Glenn! I think when you are doing SEO you concentrate more on getting people to your site than actually keeping there. This made me realize that I need to focus on both.


Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 6 years ago from Long Island, NY Author

EngagementRing, thanks for reading and for your comments.


PastorAndrew profile image

PastorAndrew 6 years ago from Detroit

Thanks for the info. I have been plugging along here for about 2 months and this was insightful. I loved that bit about "alot" "a lot" and "allot." LOL.

Thanks


DonnaCosmato profile image

DonnaCosmato 5 years ago from USA

Hi Glenn, this is another great article with lots of great advice. Just to answer a question that you cleverly embedded in the text, I think you did an awesome job of keeping my attention without boring me to death.

As a contributing editor for another site, I'd like to send you a thousand virtual kudos for the section on proofreading and grammar mistakes.

The only one you did not include is my personal pet peeve, which is using "it's" when one should use "its" and vice versa.

It's a shame (yes it is) that with all the free software programs and spellcheckers on the market so many freelance writers still publish work that is full of grammatical errors and misspelled words.

Anyway, it has taken me this long to process and put to good use the information from your hub on how to raise your hub score (it is working well, thank you for the tips.) Now I'm looking forward to watching my bounce rate decline as I use the valuable tips you have provided here.

I voted this up in hopes it will increase the popularity of this excellent tutorial and many more people can benefit from it.

Kindest regards,

Donna


Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 5 years ago from Long Island, NY Author

DonnaCosmato ~ Thanks so much for your perceptive comments. It means a lot to me to be reviewed by a contributing editor such as you.

Thanks for adding "it's" vs "its" - that is also one of my pet peeves too. I see it much too often and it's troubling to see good authors who make this mistake without considering its effect on otherwise quality Hubs.

I appreciate the vote up. Thanks for that and for your comments.


DonnaCosmato profile image

DonnaCosmato 5 years ago from USA

Hey, Glenn...you're welcome! I love alliteration and word plays. They are such fun and they spice up writing, don't you think? That is just one of the many reasons I enjoy reading your hubs so much:)


Jlbowden profile image

Jlbowden 24 months ago from Long Island, New York

Glenn:

Thank you for sharing this really good to know information, for all writers from different walks of life. It's funny how we often forget about the correct usage of they're, their and there isn't it.

And something as simple as separating the A from Lot, which a lot of us our often guilty of doing. And you forgot one of my old foes - Then and Than. Those two words can be confusing to many in placing correctly within a sentence.

But overall a great refresher for everyone using the English language on a daily basis with added reminders on how to catch and keep our readers attention early on in our articles

Again thanks for sharing this awesome article which I also thought deserved a Siskel & Ebert - two thumbs up! (;

Jim


Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 24 months ago from Long Island, NY Author

Jlbowden - Ha ha. Thanks for that humorous ending to your comment Jim. Those are indeed very realistic grammar issues we see sometimes.


Ashish Dadgaa profile image

Ashish Dadgaa 3 months ago from India

@ Glenn Stok,

Thank you very much for such an informative hub. It gave me lot of information and updated my knowledge on effective and successful writing :)

Happy Hubbing :)


Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 3 months ago from Long Island, NY Author

Ashish Dadgaa - Thanks for the feedback. Glad you found my thoughts on effective and successful writing helpful.

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