Content is king. You’ve probably heard this said so many times that you’re actually sick of hearing it. In recent years, this statement has evolved into, “Quality content is king,” but it basically means the same thing. You have to create quality content in order to get more organic traffic to your site.
And what constitutes quality content? Well, when you look at some statistics, you’ll see that the average web page that lands on top of Google SERPs has at least 2000 words. This implies that the more content you have on each page, the better your chance are of getting more traffic. But is that really the case?
If you take the time to check what the best ranking sites are, you’ll see such sites as Huffington Post, Wikipedia, and The New York Times on top of the list. This would seem to support the “more content, more traffic” concept. After all, these sites all contain thousands of web pages filled to the brim with content. But are these the only kinds of website that get a good amount of traffic? Look closer and you’ll realize that they aren’t.
Sites like Upworthy, Airbnb, and WhitePages get millions of unique visits even when they do not have much content on their pages. Sure, they still generate content, but not the same volume as the sites mentioned above. In fact, the amount of content they have on their pages is nowhere near the amount of content Wikipedia or Huffington Post has; the times when these sites have more than a hundred words of content on a web page is very rare.
This tells you that even if you do not generate massive amounts of content, there is a way to get the kind of traffic you want for your site. The question is, how? First things first: It is not going to be easy and results may not be very quick in coming. Expecting overnight success will only set you up for a huge disappointment. Okay, now, here’s how you can generate more organic traffic without necessarily generating a high volume of web content:
1. Work on Your Backlinks
What do Upworthy, Airbnb, and WhitePages have in common? A good amount of natural backlinks. Take note: NATURAL backlinks. This means you shouldn’t just work on getting a lot of backlinks and then making them look natural; you should work on getting as many natural links as possible. Here are a few tips on keeping your link-building activities safe from getting flagged by Google:
- Always make your anchor texts contextual and use a good mix of branded and brand + phrase anchor text.
- Do not link to commercial content unless you’re talking specifically about that content; link to research and studies instead.
- Don’t force it. This means no buying or shameless soliciting of links. All links should be within context.
Never buy or shamelessly solicit backlinks. All of your links should be within context. Flickr.com photo by Tax Credits
2. Work on Your information Structure
In many cases, it’s not really about how much content you have on your site; it’s about how your content is structured. Simply put, the information you provide on your web pages has to be scalable, crawlable, and tiered. Having scalable site architecture is important so you can make your site as large as it needs to be. The value of content being easy to crawl has been proven several times over, so there really is no need to further explain the importance of crawlability.
The tiering of information involves building URL architecture in such a way that authority flows through the site’s directories. Use links in sub-directories to feed authority to the parent directories. Let’s say you’re in the body care business and your website directories include skin care, hair care, and facial care. Your architecture should be built such that specific information about a particular shampoo feeds upwards through the “hair care” directory, information about a body lotion feeds through the “skin care” directory, and so on.
3. Create a Lot of Web Pages
This is another thing Upworthy, Airbnb, and WhitePages have in common. They may not have a lot of content on each page, but they do have a lot of web pages. To be specific, Upworthy has almost 10,000 web pages; Airbnb has about 45 million; WhitePages has 105 million! You increase your chances of ranking for long-tail keywords when you increase the number of your web pages, regardless of whether those pages are filled with text content or not. Some of Upworthy’s pages even have as little as 50 words of content on them.
Of course, you can’t just create one web page after another without taking page quality into consideration. You have to make sure each web page you create is useful. One of the best ways to create useful web pages is to provide the best answers to all the questions your target audiences are likely to have. It doesn’t matter if the answer is short; what matters is that it’s the best answer to the question. Consistently providing excellent answers helps you gain the trust of your visitors and keeps them coming back for more.
The road may be rough, and the process may not be as easy as leveraging quality content, but there is indeed a way to generate more traffic without generating so much content. Companies like Amazon and Apple have proven this. They aren’t focused on content marketing, but they get millions of organic traffic each month. There is no reason for you not to be able to duplicate their success. The key? PATIENCE.
It bears repeating that the process is not easy and the results will not come instantly, so keep your expectations real and keep working on the three tips given above. Remember that your goal is not to get a miracle; rather, it is to achieve the kind of success you can sustain for the years to come. That kind of success requires a lot of patience, dedication, and hard work. In about six months or so, you should start seeing some encouraging results.