Teaching Examples

Are you making the most of your long tail?
April 24, 2007, 1:15 pm
Filed under: blogs, journalism, online, search, SEO

On Saturday (the day of the week when traffic to this blog is usually at its lowest), I saw a surprising surge in visits. Turned out a particular post had been linked on Techmeme, and it being a slow day, the link sat on the Techmeme front all day.

When I went into my FeedBurner stats, I thought what I saw would make a pretty good lesson for people who don’t understand the importance of SEO and bringing people to your site via search.

On the day in question, 427 visitors came. There were 473 visits and 763 pageviews.

But what did they look at? This blog has (well, had, on Saturday) 697 posts. So a visitor might have landed on any one of those, instead of on the home page.

The home page had 120 views, according to FeedBurner.

The post linked on Techmeme: 145 views (more than the home page).

The third most-viewed page on Saturday: 25 views (a lot less than either one of the top two pages that day).

Two additional pages were viewed more than 20 times. All others were viewed fewer than 20 times.

So here’s the math: 120 + 145 + 25 + 23 + 21 = 334. And 334 divided by 763 pageviews comes out to 44 percent.

That means 56 percent of the pageviews fell in the long tail, which is considered the secret to Amazon.com’s success — among other things.

In part, this explains why blogs that have been active longer tend to rank higher in the various databases, such as Technorati, that are designed to rank them.

A new blog has no tail yet — or its tail is very short.

News Web sites that lock up the archives behind a paid firewall have cut off their own tail.

Those 56 percent of pageviews that fall outside the most-viewed pages of the day are not individually valuable — you couldn’t hope to get an advertiser excited about buying space on one of those pages. No, their value lies in the aggregate. The more often someone’s Google search brings him or her to my blog site, the more likely that person is to bookmark the site, or add it to an RSS reading list. And the more interesting posts found by someone who comes to the site for the first time — by the Techmeme link, for example — the more likely that person is to return in the future.

How do you build up a habitual audience in today’s information universe of random searches?

You prove again and again that you are the destination where many of their searches end.

And that, my friend, is why the content in the long tail is the most important content on your site.

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Bakersfield to launch its own Yelp-like site
January 31, 2007, 1:13 pm
Filed under: hyperlocal, journalism, newspapers, online, search

Bakotopia’s Dan Pachecho told the crowd at NAA that Bakersfield is “rolling out a Yelp-like ‘Insider Guide’ that will contain profiles on local businesses” (source: The Local Onliner).

Bakotopia is a site from The Bakersfield Californian, a family-owned newspaper.

Pachecho … sees the Guide as a natural extension of a MySpace-like personal profile section. “If a user can create a profile, why can’t a restaurant? Why can’t people review that restaurant?”

One advantage that his company has over non-local rivals is that it has established multiple access points for Bakersfield residents, he adds.

I have written about Yelp here before. Why I think Yelp is super-smart:

  • Good interface, easy to use
  • Search functions work great
  • Useful maps
  • Real people writing real reviews

It looks clean and attractive too, so it’s a pleasure to spend time on the site.

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How to grow your Web traffic
January 30, 2007, 1:53 pm
Filed under: audiences, online, search

You’re trying to figure out how to increase traffic to your Web site, yes?

YouTube’s market share (for all site visits in the U.S.) rose to 0.64 percent (from 0.54 percent) in the week following the inclusion of YouTube videos in the Google Video Search Index (source: Hitwise, via Mashable).

That is a one-week growth rate of 18.5 percent.

Search is the answer. How well does your site play with the major search engines?

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Local search and the local newspaper
January 15, 2007, 6:22 pm
Filed under: newspapers, online, search

Don Dodge, director of business development for Microsoft’s Emerging Business Team, says, “Newspapers should own local search results.”

Rob Hyndman, a Toronto lawyer, disagrees.

The conversation reminded me of why I prefer Yelp over any newspaper’s local reviews section. I always use Yelp before I travel to any U.S. city. I also post reviews there from time to time. Why? To pay them back for all the good advice I have found there.

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