We've all been there - refreshing Analytics or StatCounter every few minutes to see how many more visits our articles have received. We all have our own motivations for increasing traffic to our site, be it monetization, pride, credibility. You can accomplish an increase in traffic by ensuring each publication receives a healthy amount of promotion. This Quick and Dirty article traffic checklist includes simple methods for getting your publications in front of your audience.
Poor on-site optimization can severely hold back an article from reaching high rankings in major search engines. Keyword focused content remains important; the idea that after Google's Panda update a keyword focused post automatically equates to low quality user experience is completely false.
So what exactly should you optimize? The most effective element of a document to optimize is the title tag, and a title tag is only as effective as the keyword research behind it. If your site is struggling to bring in traffic, now is not the time to be cute with your title tags. Until your site is a strong enough brand to acquire links with little effort beyond publication itself, your best bet in increasing CTR and thus traffic is to align your title tag with the queries that will be used to find your article.
Most likely, your article covers a subject that has been discussed before from a different angle. You can use those other successful articles to your advantage.
Do a Google search for the keywords you want your article to rank for, and filter the results by the past 24 hours, the past week, or the past month. Many blogs will allow you to leave a comment containing a link back to your own post, as long as you show some sort of logical justification for posting the link.
For example, in December of 2010, the Word Lens iPhone App was released and was an instant internet sensation. Word Lens uses the iPhone's camera to translate words in real-time. I noticed the Huffington Post had a fairly weak explanation of what the app did, and consisted mainly of the promotional video itself without any tests.
I quickly bought the app, ran some tests on Spanish signs and published the results. I then headed back to Huffington post and left a simple comment letting readers know I had published a review of the app. My review ended up receiving almost 1000 hits from that one comment alone. As long as what you're linking adds value and isn't obnoxiously promotional, blog owners generally allow your comment.
If you can narrow down your subject area to one word, you can find your audience talking about it on Twitter. While I generally think social media is a waste of time, searching Twitter for hash tags related to your article's subject area can actually yield some results.
One of the heart-breaking things about Twitter is that there are so many people talking, but very few people actually feel heard. If you're writing about SEO, do a Twitter search for #SEO, and look for people that look like they'd engage in a conversation.
Good Promotion Won't Save a Bad Article
No matter how well you promote an article, if the article sucks, your server logs will remain empty. I understand that finding time to create the best content on the web feels damn near impossible. Maybe you don't feel comfortable with the idea of posting anything less than one article a day, so you pop out whatever you can in an hour or less. While some people are gifted writers and can actually create link-worthy content in a very short period of time,the rest of us may need 3 weeks to come up with content worthy of going viral. Good content can succeed just as well as Great content if you have an established name.
So, I suggest you continue your regular article publishing routine, but find the strength and will to work on a truly link-worthy article over a period of 2 to 3 months. Spend 20-30 hours writing it, hire a designer to make it presentable, and hire a copywriter to look it over. Content that wreaks of creativity and value has a way of promoting itself.