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10 Ways to Make Your “Most Popular Posts” More Popular

blogging
No matter how long you have been blogging, some of your posts will be always more popular than others. These posts tend to rank higher on Google and have more social shares and links from other websites.
So the question is, how do you get more traffic to these popular posts? If people already like them, you should be able to make them more popular, right?
Here are 10 ways to make your most popular posts more popular:

Update them frequently

Eventually, even your most popular posts will decrease in popularity unless you update them. For example, this post on leveraging Instagram—written in 2012—received just 27,419 visitors over the past 30 days.
traffic down
Because I haven’t updated the post since 2012, it has become slightly outdated and is driving less traffic now than it did in its earlier days. For instance, in August of 2013 the post received 121,550 visitors.
traffic up
The views from the last month represent a 77% drop in traffic. If I update the post and make the content more Instagram-ready, my traffic would go back up.
I update my blog post on business quotes a few times a year by replacing the quotes that everyone has already seen with new ones. That article was written in 2009, and it still consistently gets over 10,000 visitors a month.
Why? Because the article is still relevant; the bounce rate on the page remains low; and I continually update the page.

Link to your popular posts within your sidebar

Have you noticed that I link to my most popular posts within my sidebar?
popular posts
I link to my best posts within my sidebar, featuring those that rank most popular overall and those that are tending now. Not only is this area highly clicked on, but all of these posts tend to rank well due to the fact that I link to them throughout my website.
Just Google terms like “online marketing.” You should see Quick Sprout ranking on page 1 at the 3rd spot.
online marketing
By linking to your most popular posts within your sidebar, you should receive more clicks to them and increase your overall rankings. Just make sure you don’t spam the links with rich anchor text.

Add email opt-ins within the post

Your most popular posts get traffic, so why not have them help you generate more traffic? By adding an email opt-in to your posts, you’ll gain more email subscribers. This way, every time you publish new blog posts, you can notify all the people on your email list.
To maximize the number of emails you are collecting, the email opt-in offer needs to be relevant to the blog post. The difference in conversions is huge.
For example, Kim Roach published a blog post on the best Fiverr gigs of 2014, in which she broke down the 10 best gigs. Towards the bottom of the post, she added a call to action, inviting people to give their email addresses in exchange for an additional 10 gigs she showcased in her PDF file.
fiverr
By creating a relevant offer, she was able to increase her opt-in rate from 0.54% to 4.82%. That’s a 785% increase.

Add your most popular posts to your drip campaigns

You should consider linking to your most popular posts within your email drip campaigns. Why? People must be liking them for a reason…which is why these posts get shared more often and receive more search traffic than others.
By linking to them within your email drip campaigns, you’ll drive more eyeballs to them. This will help increase the number of social shares and the number of sites that link back to these articles.
Your email subscribers are the most loyal readers you’ll have. They are more likely to read, comment on, and share your articles via the social web. For this reason, you should consider adding your most popular posts to your email drip sequence.

Reference them within your blog

Are you cross-linking enough? When you are writing posts, you should consider linking back to your most popular posts. You should avoid shoving in links just to increase your traffic, but if it makes sense for your readers, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t link to your older posts.
When you are linking to your most popular posts, one thing you’ll want to avoid is using rich anchor text.
For example, if you want one of your posts to rank for “online marketing,” you wouldn’t want to continually link to that post by using the phrase “online marketing.” Instead, you want to use phrases that are natural and make sense.
In addition to that, you can consider creating a “Get Started” page.
get started
The screenshot above is an example of a “Get Started” page on Smart Passive Income. These pages are extremely popular as long as you add them to your main blog navigation. Within that page, you should add links to your most popular posts.

Create a content gate

We did a test a few years ago on Kimberly Snyder’s recipe pages since they tended to be some of the most popular pages on her blog. We took this page and added a content gate.
content gate
You were able to see the infographic above on that page, but the content below the infographic was blocked off unless you put in your email address. The website has been redesigned since, but the feature was effective while it was part of the page.
The page generated an extra 400 to 600 emails a day, and the bounce rate didn’t change at all.
If you are going to block off a portion of your content, make sure you give people an option to close the sign-up window and see the content without first providing an email address. This way, you won’t tick off your readers who aren’t immediately interested in opting in.
content gate social
You can also do the same thing by requesting social shares instead of emails like in the image above.

Repurpose your content

There is a reason why your most popular content is “popular.” Have you thought about repurposing it in different formats?
We do this all the time at KISSmetrics by turning our best posts into infographics. Heck, we even take other people’s best posts and turn them into infographics.
We took a few of Dan Zarrella’s posts that contained social media stats and turned them into three infographics. Here is an example of one of them.
What’s interesting is that our infographics probably received more traffic than his original posts. This not only shows you the power of infographics but also illustrates why you should consider repurposing your content in different formats. From infographics to YouTube videos and Slideshare presentations, the possibilities are endless.
If you want to learn how to create infographics, you can watch this video and read this post.

Syndicate your content

Do you want more exposure? Have you thought about republishing your popular posts on other blogs?
I do this all the time with Quick Sprout by allowing Search Engine Journal to take posts from my blog, word for word. This benefits me because it drives more traffic back to my blog and brings in additional exposure.
When you republish your articles, make sure the blogs taking your content use a rel=canonical tag, which tells search engines that the original article was first published on your website.This way, you will transfer all search engine juice back to your site. If you don’t do this, you may lose 225,418 visitors like we did on the KISSmetrics blog.

Extend your content

Updating your content is good, but making your popular posts more in-depth is even better. There are a few reasons for this:
  1. Content that is 2,000 or more words tends to rank better than content that is only 500 or even 1,000 words. This article talks about the fact that the average web page that ranks on page 1 of Google contains at least 2,000 words.
  2. Have you noticed that there is a section on Google called “in-depth articles”? By increasing your word count, assuming you aren’t just word-stuffing, you are more likely to get mentioned in that section of the search results page. You can see how I increased my search traffic by 13.15% in 30 days by leveraging this tip.
  3. Adding long-tail keywords to your article can boost your rankings for new terms. You just have to make sure you are adding in more content as you add in more keywords. That way you can blend them in naturally. I was able to increase my search traffic by 54,131 visitors by following the long tail steps in this blog post.

Adjust your post titles

Your post titles may be good, but why not make them great? Adjusting your titles can increase the number of people who click through to your site from search results pages.
A few years ago, I used Webmaster Tools to analyze Quick Sprout in order to see what words and phrases cause the highest click-through rates. What I found was interesting. The most clicked-through words tended to be:
  1. How to
  2. [List-related numbers]
  3. Free
  4. You
  5. Tips
  6. Blog post
  7. Why
  8. Best
  9. Tricks
  10. Great
By using some of those words within your title tags, you should see an increase in click-throughs.

Conclusion

Writing more content similar to your most popular posts isn’t enough. Why not try leveraging the 10 tactics above to get more traffic to your existing content?
It may require some work, but it’s a lot easier to make those changes than it is to continually crank out new blog posts.

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