In so many cases, bloggers and website owners spend too much of their time and attention on SEO that they often lose focus and forget what's really important which is “quality content“.
They were made to believe that the best way to increase traffic and profits is via optimization. In some ways, this is true but you also need to understand that content is much more important than optimization.
That said, this article aims to show you how you can create viral content without doing any sort of search engine optimization tactic on it. It will show you how to stop writing to get the attention of search engine algorithms.
And instead, teach you how to start writing to get the attention of people who will distribute and share what you write.
In essence, you will have to kick SEO out the door and concentrate on writing posts with the goal of making them go viral.
If you still have doubts, allow me to point out two large publications that make use of said strategy – The Atlantic and The New York Times.
The New York Times built their online presence by focusing most of their attention on improving their brand and building the community around them.
The same cannot be said about content farms like About.com, however. This website relied heavily on search engine optimization when it came to creating their content.
So many people thought that the New York Times will fail when the publication decided to install pay walls. Instead, their profits increased significantly when they installed the pay walls. This happened because they have high-quality content that people are willing to pay for.
The Atlantic, on the other hand grew their web visitors from 500,000 a month to over 13.4 million a month. This increase occurred when they decided to take down their pay walls in early 2008.
The question here now is “Did The Atlantic and the New York Times achieve these positive results because of SEO?” Absolutely not. They were successful because they consistently created good content that people often shares in various online sites.
The Atlantic, in particular, achieved success by hiring high profile writers to create more content for them. They also set up two brand new online properties then built effective digital ads to cover the costs for said properties.
Furthermore, they efficiently modified their editorial strategies in order to adapt to the changing online landscape when it comes to social media. They spent a lot of time on strategies which aim to attract traffic from social media sites. Today, about 40% of The Atlantic's traffic comes from social media.
So, would you want to know how to write a story that has huge potential of going viral? Allow me to show you how to do it. It's much simpler than you might think.
Step #1: Create your own article headline using the following technique:
How do you create a viral-worthy article headline? This is not an easy task but there are certain tactics that you can follow to make the process much simpler and easier. One method is to follow the 4 U's approach. The 4 U's stand for useful, unique, ultra-specific and urgent. Let's take a look into each of these below:
- Useful: The headline should be able to effectively communicate a benefit to the reader. Let them know that this is something that they could use. In most cases, this benefit is in the form of a solution to a reader's problem. For instance, the title ”How to Trade Binary Options” clearly communicates to the reader what he gets if he reads the article. Perfect examples of useful content are how-to posts.
- Unique: Having a unique headline means it should be different from all the other headlines about the same topic. It should stand out from all the rest. You should consider searching for your headline on Google if there are other posts who have the same headline. If there are, then you need to modify your headline to make it unique.
- Ultra-specific: Make a headline that clearly identifies what your article is all about. One good way to do this is to make use of numbers and exact exact names in your headline. Here's an example of an ultra-specific title: “5 Ways on How to Turn Your Blog Into a Book”.
- Urgent: Create urgency among your readers by giving them deadlines so that they will be more obliged to read your article. An example: “Why You Should Clear Your Google History Before Tomorrow”.
Step #2: Have your headline rewritten by professionals
Just because you created a good headline by taking into account the 4 U's doesn't mean your headline couldn't be any better. This is where you let professionals review and rewrite your headline.
The Atlantic makes use of this strategy. Once the writers submit their stories, someone trained in headline writing will review the titles and change them if necessary. The headline can take several rewrites before it's finally published.
Step #3: Create killer content
Content is king online, do not forget this. This is even more true now that search engines keep on updating their algorithms to push quality content to the top of the search rankings. But how exactly do you write killer content?
Here are a few tips:
- Be controversial. The more controversial your story is, the more chances it has when it comes to going viral. A thing is controversial if it's questionable or debatable. The key here is to write about issues that people are very passionate about. Issues that they either love or hate too much. The goal is to hit buttons and trigger something in people. A perfect example of a controversial write-up is The Atlantic's ”Why Do Smart Men Date Less Intelligent Women”.
- Write about trending stories and topics. The concept behind this is to create content built on current and popular topics. You can also search for trending stories using tools like Twitter Trends and Google Trends. These show which stories are being searched for or discussed in a particular time.
This is not to say that SEO is dead. Search optimization is still a formidable tool when it comes to getting the word out about your content online. The idea here is that you should not focus too much on it. Instead, give more of your time and efforts into creating viral-worthy content.