Saturday, April 4, 2009

Work Samples

Below are excerpts from various online traffic reports I’ve recently put together for Penton Media Web sites that I work with.

From July 2009:

During the last two days of July, Fleet Owner recorded its highest traffic of the month with 14,787 page views (8,517 on 7/30 and 6,270 on 7/31). Two things resulted in the spike: 1) a renewal e-blast generated approximately 750 page views, and 2) a package of content was created around Sean Kilcarr’s Smith Electric Vehicles lead story that totaled more than 2,000 page views over that two-day period.

The lead story alone brought in modest numbers with 304 page views. However, because of Sean’s work in sending me photos and three videos from the event, we were able to create a landing page of content featuring a photo gallery, the lead story and three videos. This content package as a whole generated more than 2,000 page views, as opposed to the 300 we would have had without the video and photos. In addition, the three videos that were included have been viewed more than 750 times since they were added to the site. You can see a screen shot below:

From July 2009:

One search-engine optimization (SEO) practice I’d like to discuss in more detail with editorial is to create a glossary of industry terms, to be used in conjunction with our Topic Pages.

This glossary would include as many industry terms and definitions that we could come up with that would live on the site as evergreen content. Glossaries provide a valuable service to readers and also help tremendously in search-engine rankings. For more information on how glossaries can improve a site’s search ranking, please read this article: How Glossaries and FAQs Can Improve Search Engine Rankings.

Omniture data is a great way to illustrate the value of this type of content. This PDF report shows how many people came to the TO site in July while searching for queries like, “What is broadband,” “what is 3g,” “what is ev-do,” etc. For each newly created topic page, we are also including a “What is” question at the top of each page (see image below). Currently, these questions link off-site to definitions hosted on other glossaries. Ideally we would like to use our own glossary to link to these definitions.

In order to create a site glossary, I need to have the editorial team send me a list of terms and definitions, similar to what we did for Topic Pages. These definitions DO NOT have to be long. In addition to improving TO’s search position, I think a glossary would also be a valuable resource for the new Connected Planet brand as the site expands its coverage.

Here is an example of another Penton site that is already using a glossary: The primary change I would make would be for each definition to have its own page, which would help build page views and search-engine ranking.

Other Penton sites have taken more of a FAQ/Tutorial approach to these pages: This style would be great if we have the time/resources to do it.

From March 2009:

Twitter referrals also increased sharply in March with 109 and an additional 65 from, which includes referrals from Twitter. FO was able to really utilize Twitter during the MATS show after starting what’s called a Twitter hashtag for the event known as #mats09. A hashtag is a small set of characters that people using Twitter use to keep track of a single event or subject. After we started the #mats09 hashtag, more than 50 users used the hashtag through the event and more than 300 posts included the hashtag. You can see all the results here:

Using Twitter for event coverage like this is very valuable because it provides search results in real time, rather than Google, which displays results based on a complicated search algorithm that does not update instantaneously. It’s a search method that will be more and more popular as it catches on, so I expect to see more referrals from twitter in coming months. Just to give an example of Twitter’s search value, last weekend I was having issues with my cable television service during an NCAA basketball game. Rather than play around with my box/cords, I search for ‘Time Warner Cable Kansas City’ and immediately found that other subscribers in my area were having the same issue. So, as far as FO’s content goes, if a big news story is breaking, people are likely going to be talking about it on Twitter, which is why it’s important that our content is available there.

From March 2009:

During April I’ll be continuing to expand the site’s topic pages in order to provide more place to link to internally on the site. This article is a great example of why this is something worth doing:

If you look at the first three paragraphs, you can see there are a total of 5 internal links within them and two more options below that to read the entire article and a related video. Those links resulted in an additional 477 page views, which does not include additional page views readers might have consumed after clicking through. Having more places to link to internally will only help increase our site’s stickiness, which did increase sharply in March. Studies have shown that readers are most likely to click on links when they are inserted into the body of an article, rather than in a rail or content block, and this seems to support that theory.

From May 2009:

Sean Kilcarr’s Trucks At Work blog totaled 8,696 page views, up slightly from March’s 8,590 and up 70 percent over April 2008. Trucking Between the Lines totaled 614 page views, down from 1,309 in March, and Trucking Straight Talk recorded 1,032, up from 484 in March. While the same SEO principles we preach for news articles also applies to blogs, one of the most important factors in blog traffic is in frequency. If a blog is not updated regularly, its traffic will fall off very quickly.

Also, I would encourage FO’s bloggers to pay more attention to their blog titles and make sure they are a bit more SEO friendly. Each blog title should in some way let a reader know what the blog is about. Vague, two-word headlines that could relate to anything do not help search-engine readers, who make up the majority of our site’s traffic. At the same time, blog titles should not be longer than 30-35 characters. We recommend placing the two most important, descriptive words at the front of the title whenever possible. Please feel free to contact me with questions.

From June 2009:

Fleet Owner’s newest blog, Trucking Straight Talk, had its best month by far in June with more than 6,800 page views (compared to 1,584 in May). The reason for the increase was Brian’s two blog posts on the FedEx/Brown Bailout controversy. Brian started with a post on June 9 titled “FedEx calls foul on Big Brown.” It was a short post that offered a clear opinion on the controversy, and the result was more than 2,200 page views and 3 comments from readers. Based on that success, Brian followed that post with a follow-up blog (“Is FedEx playing fair?”) on June 17 that brought in another 2,900 page views and 6 comments. Brian’s “Brown Bailout” blogs also did very well in the search engines, as more than 1,400 visitors came to the site after searching for “brown bailout” or other variations of that query.

Because this was such a hot topic, following up with another blog post was a very good idea, and the increased page views and comments shows why. That one topic brought in more than 5,200 page views for the blog. Using the blogs to address controversial topics or to complement our lead story is always a good idea and always seems to generate more discussion among FO’s readers.

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