Over the last couple of years, Google has made it substantially more difficult to game their search results and rank artificially high. Buying loads of cheap links is more likely to get your site penalized than to increase your rankings and traffic.
These days, visitor engagement is the key to success. Engagement ensures that visitors who arrive on your site will stay there, a positive quality signal for Google, and that they’ll be more likely to share your content with their friends, creating natural links, and indirectly increasing your rankings and traffic.
One of the best ways to increase the amount of time visitors spend on your website, and the chance they’ll share your site with their friends, is to create valuable interactive content. And it’s not as hard as you may think. Here are four easy ways to do so:
Calculators aren’t just useful for boring mathematical tasks. If you think outside the box, there are few websites that couldn’t benefit from a fun, valuable, interactive calculator. With financial sites, weight loss sites, and fitness sites, there are tons of obvious applications. But what about other sites? On this site, for example, I’ve created a custom calculator that estimates website revenue. For a site about dogs? Create a calculator that estimates the amount of food a dog should eat with various levels of weight, exercise, and age. How about a travel site? Create a calculator that provides the amount of vacation days a visitor needs to stay sane.
The calculator(s) can be useful, fun, or both, and in any case, visitors will appreciate them, they’ll stay on your site longer, and if you make a really cool one, they may link to it or share it with their friends. If you don’t know how to make a calculator, I’ve created a very simple tutorial here, with copy-and-paste code you can use. So you’ve got no excuse! Come up with a cool calculator idea or two, and add one to your site today.
Quizzes are another great option for interactive content. Again, there are few sites that wouldn’t benefit from a quiz or two. You can choose to make your quizzes a serious test of knowledge, a fun break, or any combination in between. It’s unlikely your competitors are using quizzes on their sites, so adding one to yours is not only a great way to increase user engagement, but will also create a point of differentiation. If you don’t know how to make a quiz, here’s another easy tutorial, with free files you can download and use today.
Make sure you promote your quizzes (or any new content for that matter) on pages that get a lot of traffic, and to influential people in your industry that may be willing to spread them.
In many industries, free electronic downloads can be valuable. On this site for example, I’ve created a free website template and WordPress theme. Excel files are another great option. On a weight loss site you might offer a free excel file that helps users track their caloric intake and calories burned. On a finance site you could offer a free financial planning worksheet. And on many sites, a free, small downloadable e-book can work. Again, thinking outside of the box is often most useful.
Most sites don’t offer free downloads. By offering them on your site, assuming you do create something of value, you also increase the value of your site and the chances that others will promote it for you.
Lots of sites nowadays do have video, so much so that many visitors will be looking for it. Adding videos to your site is an excellent way to keep people on it for an extended period, and if the videos are good and you add them regularly, they’ll keep returning for more.
The easiest way to add videos to your site is via YouTube. If you use YouTube, you won’t have to bother with hosting your videos or figuring out how to integrate it on your page…which can be way more trouble than you might imagine. Ideally, you should use a high quality camera, but depending on the type of video you’re making, even an iPhone video uploaded to YouTube and shared on your site can work.
The downside to using YouTube videos is that visitors may click off to YouTube. So I’d recommend disabling additional videos from showing up at the end of yours. And make sure you’ve got complimentary, interesting and engaging content near the video, so that after someone watches it they’ll be even more likely to get further engaged in your site.
Do It Now!
Making a video will likely be the most difficult of the above 4 methods, but once you get going, you’ll see that it’s actually pretty easy. Using my free tutorials you should be able to create a cool calculator and/or quiz, and add them to your site in as little as a couple of hours. So do it now, add links to your new interactive content to your highest traffic pages, and email a few people in your industry!