Yes, I got 250+ email newsletter subscribers and 700+ referrals with just one article. To be honest, by the time I’m writing this, it’s officially 273 subscribers. If you’re passionate about email list building, go get a cup of coffee, make yourself comfortable, switch off your TV, and give 15 minutes to this article.
The experiment I did with that article went well. In fact, it was super successful. So, what I’m going to do is, I’m going to share the whole strategy of that article. It was kind of the first-time experience (of that sort) with an article and it went viral. If I say it ranked well, that might be more appropriate.
So, this tutorial will be based on two general phases which won’t be mentioned but you’d observe that I’m going to be sharing what I did and what the result was, and secondly, educating you with what I learned with this so that you do this too.
But before I start this off, I would like to clarify that it was purely an experiment which went really good for and I would add every possible step that I did which would possibly help you achieve the same kind of result. You have every right to disagree and reject this.
You might find this tutorial very long and in-depth, the reason behind that is, I want to add the details and I want to convey it properly, plus, I’d be explaining that why it worked, which would ultimately help you in writing your next blog posts with a little bit of SEO knowledge and search engine ranking algorithms in mind. Honestly, I’m not the expert on SEO. I work in content creation industry and I help brands get recognized and develop authority with online content.
First off, I would share a few elements that I knew and applied while writing that article — and surprisingly, you’d notice that in my (that) article.
5 Important Elements of a Successful Article
You want to write an article that gets shared and more importantly get a ton of organic traffic from the search engines then head over to following important elements of a successful article because I learned the art of creating a successful article after 6 years of blogging and freelance writing:
1. Identifier of a Problem
An article doesn’t go viral or manage to get a ton of traffic from search engines unless it’s directed towards a specific issue that a number of people face every single day. Identifying a problem and idealizing the audience that would be facing it would be the key in the whole process. For instance, if there are two search terms which people might use:
1) Should I feed my dog on vegan diet too if I’m vegan
2) How to Keep Your Dog Safe in Winter
What would you think people might search? First one or the second one. You’re likely to pick the second one because it more humanly and sane thing to find out on the internet. Whereas, the first search term doesn’t make any sense.
The science behind the first element is that you should identify a problem and create your content around that problem. So that it could solve the real-life problems of people out there. The concept is figuring out:
- What people need
- What they want to know
- What kind of knowledge you have
- What kind of audience you can help
- How you can help the certain audience
Answering such queries will help you identify the target audience. If you write an article pointlessly, you might end up writing an interesting, engaging, and well-written piece, but unfortunately, there won’t be many people around to read that.
2. Problem-solving Ability
One of the scariest feelings I would ever feel is after writing a long and in-depth article and finding it that it’s of no use to the readers. It’s a blogger’s worst nightmare. The more you remember this element, the easier it becomes to create helpful content.
A problem-solving content is a content that gets through people somehow. Not only does it communicate the problem, but it also gives a proper solution to the audience. If you want to drive the traffic to your article, you better choose the topic (in your niche) that people are dying to read about, not to mention looking for solutions at any cost.
If your content doesn’t solve the issue, it’s over right away…
But if it does, that would lead to comments, social sharing, discussion on social media, and more importantly organic traffic.
In this article, I’ll drill down the whole process of creating such an article, but always remember, if you try to create three different articles and hoping to get similar kind of results, meaning, you want all three of them to go viral and rank well in the search engines, then it won’t happen because every topic has different search engine results and every topic has a different heat. So the best way to find that out is to start experimenting it.
3. Existence of the Audience
Don’t hallucinate about the existence of your target audience. Use tools like Google Keywords Planner, Long Tail Pro, and Google Search Console. The best way to find out whether your audience exists or not is by using the available tools.
Not only will you find about the audience’s existence, but you will also find out what keywords are being used, which will be the key to moving forward in writing a successful article on your blog. I’m not a big believer of the keywords-oriented article, but you got to admit that keywords in the article title do help. You’ll know much more about the article’s SEO later on in this article.
4. Well-crafted Message
One of the core elements of getting success with your article is that it should be well-written, in-depth, and extremely useful. The point is, the context must be helpful and the whole article must be value-driven so that people actually like, share, and bookmark. Even if they don’t do any sharing or bookmarking, still the quality does matter because if a reader arrives through a search engine and finds out that the article isn’t worth reading and he hits the back button to go through other search results, it will impact negatively to your article’s rank as well as blog in the long-run. Not only should you focus on the grammar, but you should also be taking care of the value that is being given.
It’s not worth it if you surprisingly rank your article on the first page but there isn’t any real-life help or value being delivered through that article, people are going to unlike it.
5. Optimization of Content
The optimization of content means how strongly you’ve done the SEO part. In fact, in a broader context, it’s more than SEO of an article. I’ll drill down the article’s optimization concept of mine but before that you should know what an optimization of content is. It’s a process of tuning up the article by taking care of certain aspects that help us make that article reachable to the target audience. It involves keywords, titles, and description mainly.
The other things which should be taken care of in the article optimization are keywords’ density, content quality, size, images, and subheadings. The keyword density is how often you use a keyword, try not to push hard on the keywords. It annoys the readers, just go normally with it. The size of content does matter in the search engine ranking, the longer, the better. Images help search engines to rank the articles as well as give traffic to the blogs. Sometimes, the traffic begins to come on the images rather than the article itself, which isn’t a bad thing. The idea is, you should be using your keyword in the image(s) of your article. The subheading has to do something important with the engagement as well as search engine ranking. Both the readers and search engine bots read the subheadings in bold text and take the clear idea of what that article is about.
The History Behind this Tutorial
I wrote an article that ranked on the first page of the google for a few search terms and I understood the SEO and article ranking more than ever after seeing the result of that article. However, I had no idea that this will work. But, of course, we always want to rank our article when we write them. So, I wanted the same thing and this time, it worked.
At some point, it was ranking on the first page and at the top of the first page, meaning the very first search result was my article for few weeks.
Now you’ll understand that why I did spend two days on writing those five elements. Now the more I open the story, the clearer it becomes for everyone to understand.
Always remember that your content must come out of your heart. It should be a problem solver. I mean it and I embrace every single word of this article because it has happened and I learned so much from that.
I somehow lost my Payoneer card and Payoneer refused to give me after that because they thought it’s been misused or something which wasn’t really happened. My friend hasn’t had the card, so he asked for it, and I gave it to him, of course, I was an idiot. It was my mistake. My friend received 5 to 6 payments from some CPM ad companies and the average payment was $600.
Payoneer blocked my account and I didn’t get it back.
I didn’t even use it once.
It was painful.
I helped my friend because he had always been there for me when I was starting out in the blogging field. He helped me going off the ground. I didn’t complain him about the Payoneer card. I just forgot that I had it.
But I admire Payoneer and always respected them because a lot of freelancers have their successful careers probably because they can easily receive their payments via Payoneer accounts.
Imagine, you’re a blogger, you almost got your first prepaid debit card and it’s gone before your first transaction. I was devastated a bit but I didn’t quit.
Luckily, I found something. I did some digging and found another prepaid debit card company. I reached out to them and it took a couple of months and I got my second prepaid debit card from that company. I was relieved.
I thought that what if this happens to other people too. So, I decided to write an article for people who couldn’t get their Payoneer cards (yet) or those who have lost it (just like me)…
I know Payoneer is a great company and I admired them in that article. I didn’t write anything negative about them. I’m all about positivity.
Just notice a few things about my decision on writing an article for people who haven’t been able to receive a Payoneer card or who have lost it. That decision has:
- A real-life problem
- A possible threat/issue for many people out there
- A personal experience of going through that problem
- A solution to share it with others
So, I wrote an article. The title was:
I knew that there is a problem and this could be the solution. People need this piece of advice. And it worked. Not only did it receive search engine traffic and sharing on social media, but it was also well-received by the friends and followers.
In the next part of this article, you’ll find out how I did all that and what you can learn from that article to rank your next article.
How I Ranked that Article
As explained earlier that there has to be a certain need among the audience and the article you want to write must be fulfilling that need. So, a similar thing happened in that case, there was a cause/need of getting a prepaid debit card when I had lost my Payoneer card. I was devastated. I struggled to fix things up. I knew without a prepaid debit card, my blogging career won’t progress. There was a stake.
And, when I figured out that problem and got an alternative of Payoneer debit card, I realized that there could be more people somewhere in the world that might go through the same experience, so I should help them out and create something in-depth to help resolve the issue.
Here comes the technical part.
I did this:
Title of the Article
The title of an article plays a vital role, especially when you’re about to create an article and want to rank high in the search engines. There are two observers of a title, the first is the search engine and the second is the visitor. The search engine observes the correlation between the keyword and the title, whereas the visitor sees the issue and the respective title while seeing search results.
If you analyze the title of my article, you’ll see, it was based on two parts:
1) Payoneer Alternatives
2) 3 Best Prepaid Debit Cards to Apply
As I was looking for a Payoneer alternative because of the fact that I had lost my Payoneer debit card and I had the same thing in my mind. Secondly, I have gotten a handful of the solution to coping with the problem as my research did help, after all, I found three companies that were also providing prepaid debit cards (almost) worldwide.
I was being honest with the audience and I didn’t think much about the SEO strategy at that time. However, it sounds like that it was a well-optimized article as far as SEO in concerned but as a matter of fact, I focused a lot more on the SOLUTION than the SEO. And, it worked very well.
There were some certain SEO aspects that played an essential role in ranking that article. In this section, I’m going to shed some light on those aspects, so that I openly reveal the key secret of making that article SEO optimized. Everyone must know that there is a difference between an SEO optimized article and a highly ranked article, it’s not necessary that every SEO optimized article will be a highly ranked article.
The whole idea behind this article is to showcase how I did that and what are the key secrets as a whole that work in ranking any article on the first page of search engines.
In order to understand SEO aspects, take a look at the following elements:
Titles of Article: If you notice, I used the main keyword at the beginning of the article title. Not only does it include my keyword but it also consists of the whole idea behind the article which was Payoneer Alternatives.
Description: I tried to explain the idea of the article briefly with keywords injected twice. The to-the-point write-up and the keywords-injection are a plus of writing a perfect article description.
Keywords: I added the keyword in the keywords section. Don’t push so hard with writing keywords in the description and the keywords section.
As I said before, these aspects don’t guarantee the ranking of your article. All these SEO aspects will help you establish an article that could rank well. So, I didn’t stop there, in fact, I went one step ahead. And I did this:
Internal Linking: I didn’t start dreaming about getting backlinks for that particular article, in fact, I started mentioning that article in my next relevant articles. Remember, I didn’t mention that in my every article on that blog, but just in the relevant articles.
Inbound Linking: I reached out to a couple of bloggers who have written the similar articles and asked them to mention my article into theirs. I reciprocate the linking and added their links to one of the similar articles on the very same blog. One of them happily agreed.
Many of us believe that the content length has a huge role in ranking any article on the first page of search engines. One can’t deny the advantage of having an in-depth article but it’s not 100% accurate and that is because I have quite small articles from that same blog ranking on the first page of the Google search engine, so this theory does prove to be wrong that only in-depth and long articles get ranked on the first page. But yes, being able to produce long, in-depth, and detailed article is a plus.
The article length used to be a hot discussion back in the days. It might be forever because people keep on digging and keep on finding the answers. It’s believed that most of the articles that show up on the first page of the search index always have 2000+ words. This blog post from Orbit Media Studios shows some of the researches done by the industry experts on the content length and if we see them, one of them talk about 1500 words and the other hints more or less 2500 words for average content length in top 10 search results.
CopyPress revealed why the 2416-word post does well. They came up with the number after analyzing industry’s top search engine marketing experts’ opinions and analysis.
In my personal opinion, I’ve always seen that a blog post between 2,400 to 3,000 words does perform well. At the same time, it’s not the end of the word, my 1000-word articles have done amazingly well too. So, I’m forced to a little bit disagree with the theory of 2000+ word articles but once you try to solve a certain problem and cover each and every angle of the issue, you may end up reaching 2000 words anyway. So, don’t just try to push too hard on the content length, always remember, you have to solve the issue and provide a solution, you don’t have to fill up the page.
In fact, the article being discussed in this case study has 1,399 words, even that article doesn’t reach 2000 words. So, you don’t have to focus on writing 2,000 to 3,000 words, just be useful for the audience and try to come up with the better content.
Solution Inside it
I don’t disagree that SEO, content length, and other ranking elements are important, they certainly are. But nothing would matter if you’re not giving away the right answer to the audience who is jumping on to your article.
Imagine, everything went well, your article gets ranked, once people start coming through search engines and end up finding crappy filler content at the end — if they start going back to your search engine by hitting BACK button, you would have a serious problem at this point, the reason is, when a search engine (at least Google) sees that the visitors that go to the page and return back to the search engine and this is happening most of the times, then search engines end up removing that article from the top 10 results, in some cases, that article ends up getting losing all the momentum that it has built lately.
Rand Fishkin explained it well that why it is important to have a helpful and valuable content in order to stand out from the crowd. Although, he covered the ‘unique value’ in his presentation but at the end of the day, if the content doesn’t have those attributes then it wouldn’t have the solution in it.
In fact, in that article, the similar kind of results would not have been possible if there were no Payoneer alternatives available to showcase. The solution was there to display and I did it. When the readers started landing, they didn’t walk away without taking an action because there was a real solution right there in front of them.
So, another lesson we learn from this is that always provide a real solution to a real problem. The more authentic and reliable solution you provide, the better.
Optimization of Content
You’ve already seen the SEO things in the SEO aspects section, so expect something different as far as optimization of content is concerned, although, this would definitely contribute to overall SEO of the article but I decided to discuss the optimization of content separately.
There are three things in the content optimization:
1. Images: Images are essential in getting your articles ranked. Not only do they empower your message for the audience but give a signal to the search engines about the diversity of information that might be delivered through the content. Additionally, images engage the readers, which is why search engines prefer content with images over the content without images. The size of images is another perspective to be taken care of when it comes to adding images to the content. Use EWWW Image Optimizer WordPress Plugin for reducing the image size or manually reduce it with Compressor.io.
2. Meta tags in images: The content optimization isn’t completed without the optimization of images. The WordPress CMS has the option to add a title, description, and alt tag to each of the image that is being uploaded. So you better utilize meta tags to help optimize your article. Use proper keywords in the title, description, and alt tag.
3. Subheadings: The subheadings are important too. Not only do they help inject the keywords but also ensure that readers get a good hint about the solution.
The content means everything that is being displayed in an article. Use images to create better engagement. Canva can help you design the images for your articles. When it comes to content optimization Squirrly might help you analyze the SEO strength of your article too.
This is the ending part and before closing this off, I would be happy to share some of the results that I got out of that experiment. Please be advised, the screenshots from Google Analytics were taken in November 2015, which makes them almost 8 months old.
When everything works well, the conversion is likely to be seen. As I’ve seen with this article.
The idea behind this case study is to help you understand the power of content creation as well as SEO techniques that worked for me. It may or may not work for your niche, blog, or your next article, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. You should definitely try, and if this article helps you, that will be so great.
Take a look at this Google Analytics screenshot that shows the organic traffic of Androizing.com. Please note that this organic traffic stats are from Jan. 01, 2015 to Nov. 29, 2015:
Whereas this screenshot was taken afterward. You can see the slight increase in the organic traffic on androizing.com from 47.19% to 49. 52%:
Furthermore, that article of ‘Payoneer alternatives’ which is being discussed in this case study has been the best article in terms of organic traffic and ranking. Take a look at another screenshot shows the impressions, CTR, clicks, and Avg. position of this page:
The average position is showing 4.5 but I haven’t seen this article showing up below first three results of the first page. Maybe, it shows up below first the three results on some different search terms.
The conversion is extremely important in such experiments. As you can see, I mentioned three alternatives to try in that article. Two of them have the referral tracking system and the third hasn’t got the tracking facility but I’m sure there were some signups happened through this article.
I. OkPay screenshot:
II. Paxum screenshot:
These screenshots were taken in April 2016 which means a number of referrals have already been increased by the time this article will be published.
Interestingly, I don’t have any doubt that 95% of the email subscribers came through that article because I haven’t seen that kind of email signups before.
What did I Learn?
I learned a lot.
I’ve shared a number of things such as the content length myth, the utility of content, helping the audience, and solving the real problems are incredibly important things to ponder.
Writing an in-depth, grammatically correct, and well-shaped article isn’t the success sauce if that article isn’t really for the genuine human beings.
I’d rather choose to write an article that attracts people and solves their real issues than an article that is based on certain keyword and gets ranked on the first page of Google but doing nothing in the readers’ lives.
The article discussed in the case study was written to solve a problem. It did. It’s still doing it, every single day.
That’s what matters the most.
Write for humans, not for search engines.
When you write for humans, you automatically start covering the SEO, all you need is to be a little bit SEO-savvy and you’re good to go.
I don’t know when my next article goes viral on social media as well as search engines but one thing I know is that I found a key to writing a successful article and that’s SOLVING readers PROBLEMS.
Keep solving. Keep helping.
What else do you think should be done to rank an article and get subscribers?
Share your opinion in the comments section.