Have you ever written a viral post?
Umm..Have you ever written one?
The truth is:
At the time I published it in 2012 (No, those strategies are not out of date and they’re here to stay), I knew next to nothing about getting traffic from Google, let alone writing a viral post.
Back then I didn’t know I was doing something right until It happened.
Like within 2 months of being published, the article started bringing thousands of unique visitors.
All from Google and other search engines. Which then lead to it spinning around on Facebook etc.
Here’s the thing:
All the strategies I used to get that traffic is still alive and well with Google.
But I completely neglected Google traffic as soon as I found Pinterest.
If you’re already writing quality blog posts, investing in tools to promote on Pinterest, writing guest posts etc to get exposure and backlinks, you’ve already covered the most important parts of Google traffic.
You only have to learn a few basic SEO tips to get your slice from Google.
So it makes zero sense when someone would invest all their energy into Pinterest, email marketing etc but you can’t do a few basic things to get the search engine traffic?
I used to be that someone too.
The story behind my Popular Post:
So once upon a lala land time in May 2011, I was surfing the net and bumped into a post about making money online.
My first thought? Scam! Moved on.
But that burning curiosity and boredom inside of me kept urging me to do some more research about it.
And that lead to me signing up to become a writer on a free popular revenue sharing platform, that no longer exists.
The first year was spent on playing around with the platform’s cool features and widgets.
I still remember bouncing in joy when I made my first $7.87 on the Internet using that platform.
And then sometime in early 2012, I was trying to get a bit more serious about this whole money making thing on the Internet.
What was the post topic?
I wrote this post on a women’s health topic, that I’m not going to expose right now. Because I’m planning to carry out another experiment on this topic to see how it works out now in 2017.
And I will be sure to share the results with you all when that happens.
But for now…
We’ll talk about what I’ve learned (you can too) from that viral post…
I wrote the post sometime in early 2012 and within 2-3 months, not only did it rank number 1 on Google for every possible related keyword, it started bringing in 5000-6000 unique visitors per day.
Look at this:
Within 20 months of being published, that 1 post alone brought in 1,019,182 Unique page views!
That’s 50,959 Unique page views per month on average for 20 months…for 1 Post.
Isn’t that awesome or what?
It still gives me goosebumps thinking about it.
Imagine what having just 2 of that type of post can do to your traffic/subscribers list?
Now imagine 3? 4? 5?
Keep your eyes focused on creating just 1 of that for now.
Here are the 9 Crucial Things I’ve Learned (You can too) from that Viral Post:
NO 1: I wrote about what most people in my niche didn’t even consider thinking about.
That’s the first and most important lesson I’ve learned about that popular post.
It was based on a women’s health topic that not many people dared to write about.
They probably do now, but back when I wrote it in 2012, it felt like I was the standing out one.
It was one of those “eww” kind of topics for some people, but had a lot of demand and will forever.
My post was shared everywhere on Facebook, Twitter, etc. It had hundreds of comments and emails flooding my inbox every day. It was also making daily Amazon sales for the products I recommended.
Lesson learned: If the topic has demand, meaning people are constantly looking for a solution for it, and it happens to fall in your niche, don’t let anything hold you back.
Even if it happens to be a little controversial.
NO 2: NEVER EVER invest time + talents + energy on free platforms.
This might not apply to you. But a few years back, people were so hooked on writing for free revenue sharing platforms and on platforms like blogger.
You’ll be surprised how many people still use those platforms.
And the worst part?
These free platforms have a lot of golden nugget writers who have no idea how to put their talent to better use.
I just hope you’re not one of them.
- At least $8500 ad revenue lost.
You see that post has gotten over 1 million unique page views to date.
Because I was a total newbie at that time and didn’t even know the existence of WordPress, I wrote it on a free revenue sharing platform.
Guess how much they shared with me?
Approximately $600 or less for that post.
A moment of silence for this fact: If that post was published on my own blog and out of those 1 million+ unique visitors, even if 0.05% of them decided to subscribe, that 1 post alone would have earned me 50 000 email subscribers.
Their ad payment system worked in 3 levels and if your post happens to be at the top level (which mine was), you’d get $50 per month for that post.
They also had a bunch of other things that played a part in your post being in the top category.
Even Adsense with their peanut RPM could have earned me at least $3000 for that 1 post.
- No way to subscribe.
People who found my post helpful were emailing me to ask how they could subscribe to my *blog*.
I was helpless because there was no way.
The maximum they could know about me was whatever they saw on my profile/contact button.
And that too is if they manage to see the teeny profile pic on the top right corner of the post.
There was no author info box at the bottom of the post either.
- The WTF moment when the platform closed down a year later.
Like what? What I’m I going to do now? How am I going to make money? Where Am I going to publish?
In the end, I was glad they closed down or else I wouldn’t have even discovered the idea of creating my own blog.
Lesson learned: If you don’t have your own website, you’re fudged. All your hard work, time and energy will go down the drain some day when you least expect it.
NO 3: My viral post made some happy. Pissed some off.
That popular post I wrote was written with my targeted audience in mind. They ranged from teenage girls to ladies in their 40+.
I spoke to them through my writing like I was talking to my girlfriends and they loved it.
How do I know they loved it?
Because they said so in the comments and emails they sent me.
Along with the bunch of “Thank you so much” comments, I used to also receive some nasty hate comments too.
Lesson learned: Your writing has to be useful and evoke some kind of emotions in your targeted audience. Trust me this will play a huge role in your audience remembering or forgetting you.
Even if that means pissing some off.
Heck, you can’t please everybody and shouldn’t aim to anyway.
NO 4: Using big words is not going to help with SEO.
As mentioned earlier, my post ranked number 1 on Google for every possible related keyword.
Because my keywords were words my targeted audience would type on Google to find the post.
The chances of someone typing “chest pain” is a lot higher than “Angina” on Google.
You know exactly why that is.
Lesson learned: If you want to get any search engine traffic at all, you need to write using easy to understand regular words. Because when you do that, the chances of you naturally including long tail keywords also increases.
Example: If you’re writing about fashion tips for teenage girls, you want to try and write using words and a tone that would make them find you interesting.
In which case you’d have a more exciting and youthful writing tone than you would if you were writing meditation tips for 50+.
NO 5: The viral post had 3000+ words.
I wasn’t forcing myself to write 3000+ words, though.
I just happened to have a lot to say about that topic.
And that ended up being a huge advantage because I included keywords all in the right places without worrying 1 bit about where to include them.
Also, after adding the FAQ (you will read about it in NO 9), the post had over 4500 words.
Now top that up with the hundreds of comments… Yup, post length can play a huge part in Google ranking.
Lesson learned: Post length can have an impact on your traffic. But you should never force yourself to write fluff just for the sake of adding words. That won’t help. Not one bit.
Just focus on covering as much as you can about your chosen topic and you’ll end up including all the related keywords naturally like I did.
NO 6: Google sees comments as part of the post content.
Maybe not to a great extent, but Google sees your post comments as fresh content.
My post had hundreds of comments with all sorts of keywords related to the post.
I believe that also played a huge part in Google rankings.
But if that’s the case, it can backfire too if Google thinks your post is keyword stuffed.
Lesson learned: Ask a question at the end of your post to encourage useful comments. And say no to spammy and keyword stuffed comments fishing for linkbacks.
NO 7: Learn to back up your points on your blog post with valid sources.
I had links to several high-quality websites on my post. People will trust you when they see you backing up your point with valid data.
And guess what?
That can help increase affiliate sales too.
For e.g. Which one would you pick?
- Turmeric is loaded with cancer-killing properties.
- According to (insert source), Turmeric has been found to destroy cancer cells by 10%.
First one, you’d read and you might forget.
The second one, you’d read, believe and might even want to implement or share with others right?
I did that on my post.
I also had a quality and helpful Youtube video related to the topic of my post.
It was just a random but useful video I found on YouTube, but it also played a part in time spent on the site.
Lesson learned: Linking and mentioning valid sources related to the topic of your post can help build trust and authority. Linking to related high-quality sites, also known as external linking can also be beneficial for SEO.
NO 8: It had 6+ eye-catching images.
Can you imagine how long a 3000+ words post would be?
I used eye-catching related images, at least 6 of them throughout the post to make the content easy to digest.
If you’re going to write a long ass post, you need to present it in an easy to scan/read format.
NOTE: Those 6+ images were not Pinterest optimized and they weren’t huge. They were just small images aligned on the right or left with the text.
I say this because I don’t want you to go and put 6+ 800 by 1200 pixels images on a single post. That will just be a big fat LOL moment. Seriously.
Feel free to create multiple Pinterest optimized graphics for every post, but don’t put them all on at once.
Bottom line: Images, videos, quizzes and polls make it less of a pain to read long ass blog posts. Therefore it also helps reduce bounce rate.
NO 9: It even had a small FAQ on the bottom of the post.
The post was already 3000+ words long as mentioned earlier, I noticed a few questions that kept coming in on a regular basis in the comments, so I wrote a detailed FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) on the bottom of the post with 10 of the most common questions.
And after adding the 10 FAQ, the post had over 4500 words. I still remember it like it happened yesterday.
Sad part? I wish I had taken screenshots of it so ya’ll know I’m not BSing.
People were loving me for it.
And guess what?
You can add a FAQ section at the bottom of your posts even if you don’t have a single comment, yet.
Google the exact topic of your post and click on the popular blogs that come up.
Forget about their post.
Jump into their comments section and consume all that FREE valuable information, topic ideas and FAQ ideas for your posts.
Those comments can be your game changer.
If there’s only 1 thing your brain wants to take away from this post, let it be the power of adding a small FAQ section for your posts. It’s also an awesome way to spice up old blog posts.
Google loves updated content.
Tell me. What are your tips for writing a viral blog post? Valuable tips will be added to this post when I update it.
Did you manage to read the whole post?