People looking for information send out searches for what they need, or what they think they need. I’m obsessed with why people come to my site. The search keywords reported by Google Analytics tell me What path brought them here? The keywords from the their search and what happens next tell a tale. Quite a few come for the wrong reasons. They don’t stay. But other times I see that someone arrived searching for an answer to a problem and that they came to the right article. The time on site tells me that they read my article and clicked on the link I know will help them even more. Yes! This is very satisfying.
The cries for help can help you help others
Every now and then I see a particularly strange construction that describes a problem, but it gets the person to the post they need. I go back and add that phrase to the Description (if there is space or something I can tighten) for the post. I know tags aren’t supposed to do much these days, but I sometimes will add the strange phrase as a tag.
Helping people is the reason you blog
Whether you are selling something or just want readers, your blog is relevant only to the extent that it helps people and satisfies a need. It could be a need for information, or a just a good joke, but people search when they need something. I wrote a post on comparing different models of Swiss Army Knives, with my opinion about the relative uselessness of the corkscrew compared to the Phillip’s head. I can’t tell you how many searches have hit that post. I used the meta settings for my site to include “best swiss army knife” “corkscrew vs phillip’s head” and others, and made a really long meta title. And when I see that a reader (probably) clicked through to the site that supplies SAKs, I get a kick out of helping a customer.
The cries for help bug me when I know my site doesn’t offer help
Today I read incoming keywords “w3 total cache editor problems” “ezpz one click won’t activate” and knew they might get a glimmer of information but not a solution. I realized that if I had the knowledge, I could write a post that would answer the call. Or add a link that would. So those unanswered cries for help are writing inspiration.
The cries for help can be answered better
When I saw I was getting traffic on the Swiss Army Knife keywords, I went back and upgraded the post with an elaborate matrix comparing favorite models. What started out as a comparison of two models turned into a more helpful list of six 5-star Swiss Army Knives. To see what I’m talking about take a look at The Great Swiss Army Knife Debate.
When I write an article I imagine how I would search for help
Put yourself in your reader’s shoes. You need help for a very specific problem and may articulate it many different ways. I try to anticipate what those might be, always trying to keep this in mind: they don’t know the answer yet, only the problem! I was having problems that were literally crippling WordPress until I found the solution. I really sweated the description to concoct every wording of the problems. The article still gets views almost every day. It makes me feel good because the answer helped me and know it will help others. What is the article? WP Menus Drag and Drop Not Working?
P.S. If you want to get serious about monitoring searches, fulfilled and unfulfilled to your site, try this plugin to help you hear the cries for help from your searchers.