After HARO (Help a Reporter Out) wouldn't run a request for writing sources that I had submitted to them because my Alexa Ranking was "over 1 million," I got serious about raising my website's Alexa Ranking (which means lowering the actual number since the highest ranked site is #1). That was late in July when my ranking was 2.9 million.
My Alexa ranking today, November 8th, is:
For those of you who may not know, Alexa ranks a website's traffic. The top three websites are #1 Google, #2 Facebook and #3 YouTube. Many people use your site's Alexa ranking in their decision making process. For instance, if you've asked someone to guest post on your blog they may check out your Alexa ranking, as well as your blog, to help them decide whether or not to accept your offer.
A few helpful things to know about Alexa:
- Your Alexa ranking is based upon the number of visitors and page views your website gets.
- Your rank reflects the last three months of your website traffic.
- One of the main ways Alexa collects data about web traffic is through people's use of the Alexa toolbar. So if you haven't downloaded it, yet, go to the Alexa Toolbar page and download the toolbar that's right for your web browser, so that your visits to your own site will be included in Alexa's traffic data.
- Raising your Alexa ranking means lowering your number. Google's Alexa rank is #1,meaning their site has the most traffic on the web. So the bigger your number, the smaller your traffic.
- Alexa ranks about 30 million websites.
- Alexa is owned by Amazon.
So how did I rise so far so fast? By optimizing my blog and using Twitter. Now, I have a Twitter following of 48,000, which I know most people don't have. But I had that same following three months ago when my Alexa rank was 2.9 million, and I know people who have Alexa rankings much higher than mine, who have far fewer followers, so however many Twitter followers or Facebook friends and fans you may have, if you follow these 3 tips you can begin to improve your Alexa ranking, right now.
I must warn you, however, that watching your Alexa ranking rise is highly addictive. It's also quite fun!
There are many other techniques you can use, as well, but these three tips are easy to implement and you don't have to do anything other than blog and let your Twitter and Facebook followers know about it, which you're hopefully already doing.
So, without further ado, here are my 3 quick tips to increase your blog's Alexa ranking:
1. Promote your old blog posts!
Yes. It really is that easy. Promote several blog posts a day, every day (or as often as you can). You can do it live, whenever you think about it, or you can schedule tweets promoting your blog posts to be automatically tweeted throughout the day at sites like SocialOomph.com or HootSuite.com.
So many promote their newest blog post for a couple of days or a week, and then move on. But that post you wrote six months ago, or the one you wrote two years ago, are Alexa gold that you can easily mine by tweeting them, or posting links on Facebook. The first three weeks of my Alexa campaign saw my numbers rise every day (or fall, as the case may be), yet I didn't write a single new blog post. And when I look at some of the highest ranking writing blogs, and study the tweets of the people who run them, I see that they all do this! They do it because it works.
On November 29, 2011 I tweeted one of my most popular posts, How to Write Daily (or Meet Whatever Writing Goal You Set) More Easily and got so many retweets that over 900 people read my blog in one day!
2. Increase your traffic generation ability by experimenting with your blog post titles and promotional copy, then tracking results.
There are several ways to gauge which are your most popular blog posts:
- The number of retweets you get at Twitter, likes you get at Facebook, and comments you get at both
- Social media plug-ins that give you the number of retweets, likes, etc.
- Google Analytics
Or the one I use the most:
- A URL shortener that tracks the number of clicks each link gets (although it seems that some clicks are Twitter bots, still it gives me immediate feedback I can use)
Yet none of these let you know if your blog post title or promotional copy is as effective as it could be. The only way to know that is to experiment with different titles or copy, and then track the response you get. Keep in mind that your results will naturally vary depending on the time and day that you promote your posts. Nights and weekends, as well as Fridays on Twitter will generally give you a lower response rate than midday Monday through Thursday. So gauge your success accordingly.
What does this look like? A recent blog post I wrote about reframing how you look at your TO DO List started out with the title, "Turn Your TO DO List Into a Treasure Map." While that captured the post perfectly, very few clicked through. So I started experimenting with new titles. What I found worked best, as evidenced by my BudURL click-through rate, was "Having Trouble Keeping Up With All Your Writing and Promotional Activities? Here's a Productivity Tool That's Fun and Effective!" My first title essentially gave away the punch line, while the second title piqued people's curiosity and got them to click through, after which they enjoyed discovering the answer themselves by reading the post.
Here's another example, but in this case I experimented with how I worded my promotional tweets. Yes, the easiest way to promote a blog post is to tweet its title along with a link, and I do that often. However, it's helpful to have several different tweets that you can use to promote a post because you never know what's going to catch someone's interest, and you don't want to repeat the same tweet too often. I wrote "Four Authors Who Didn't Give Up Their Dreams" two years ago, to inspire writers not to give up. To revive the blog post, I experimented with tweeting quotes from the article and in the process stumbled upon one that lights up Twitter every time I use it!
3. Link to other related posts on your blog to increase your page views.
While the first two tips were about getting traffic (aka: readers) to your blog, this last tip is about increasing your page views. The easiest way to do this is to have links in your posts that lead to other posts on your blog.
The three main ways to do this are:
- Hot words or phrases
Once this blog post is live, every time I use the word Alexa on my blog, I can link it to this post. I used the search function and discovered I've used "Alexa" in two previous posts, so I can link this post to both of them, as well. You can link topic phrases that you blog about such as write an ebook or book promotion. I wouldn't overdo this, however. You don't want your posts to light up like a Christmas tree.
- Use your own blog posts as examples
While you want to link to other websites and show a variety of examples when making a point, don't forget to use your own blog posts as examples when appropriate. You might even brainstorm some blog posts that will actually highlight your other blog posts.
One of my upcoming blog posts is about the seven types of quick blog posts you can write, and I'll be using my own blog posts as examples. One of the types of quick blog posts I'm going to highlight is answering FAQs and SAQs, which I had never done. So, last week, I wrote a blog post based on a question that I regularly hear from clients, "Book Writing FAQs: What's the quickest way I can monetize my non-fiction book?" I wrote it expressly so that I'd have an example of all seven types of quick blog posts. The post you're reading, right now, was also supposed to be one of the seven types, a "3 Quick Tips" post, but that ship sailed over a thousand words ago.
- Add a recommended reading list at the end of a post
If you're blogging on a platform that doesn't have an automatic plug-in for this, you can simply add a list of related articles at the end of your post. As you link to an older blog post, consider taking an extra few minutes and putting a link on it back to the current post, so they link to each other. Recently, I updated a year-old post about five November writing challenges, including the challenge that started it all, NaNoWriMo--National Novel Writing Month. While I was dusting it off, getting it ready to trot out and promote during November, I added a list of three writing productivity posts, a NaNoWriMo post, and a link to my coaching page in case anyone wanted some personal writing or blogging support.
Doing these three things is how my Alexa ranking went from 2.9 million to 411,779 in three months, and when you start doing them, too, your Alexa ranking will begin to improve. But more importantly, what your blog traffic and page views really signify is that you're building your audience and creating a deeper relationship with them.
If you liked this article, you're definitely going to want to read:
If you'd like some help creating a blog strategy, focusing your categories and content, writing compelling and keyword rich blog posts, creating a list-building opt-in offer, and promoting your blog, I now offer a low priced introductory coaching session.