The Internet has gotten much faster: People just surf from page to page seldom making a pause to read or watch carefully.
There’s some solid research on that phenomenon. And even though it is widely criticized, I personally see that too. I find it much harder concentrating on one thing for a long time. Click the link off my social media feed. You may be highly unlikely to keep browsing the site.
Objectively, web users are too used to scrolling through information-packed social media feeds. They won’t give your site more than a quick glance.
Consequently, it is much harder to engage web users and prompt them to read more of your site.
How to Get People to Read Your Articles
New challenges bring the demand for new tactics, and new tools, so here are a few ideas.
1. Optimize for Search Intent Better
Admittedly, Google is best at keeping people using their site, so there’s definitely something to learn from the search giant.
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People search Google with certain expectations: In most cases, they have some ideas as to what they want to find.
For years, Google has been learning to match those expectations to give people exactly what they need (and hence keep them clicking Google links instead of leaving off to a publisher’s site).
How Google Handles Results
You can see that by simply searching Google: From query to query, you will hardly see similar sets of search result pages:
- Some of them will include featured snippets
- Others will feature image search results right on top of everything else
- You may see “People Also Ask” results prominently sometimes but in other cases, you will have to scroll to find them
- Sometimes there will be a Knowledge base and often you’ll see shopping results.
Google is best at keeping its users engaged with its own site:
It is clear that Google knows exactly what you want for each particular query. So by merely searching Google you may learn more about your target customer (Make sure to log out of Google, or else you will only learn new things about yourself)
Is it the visual or video content Google has found engaging their users better than anything else? Is it a bullet-point list that seems to satisfies your target query best? What is the best content format to provide the best possible answer?
Google will help you find all the answers.
You can also use Text Optimizer which is the semantic analysis tool that uses Google search engine result pages to cluster your target query into related concepts.
The idea is simple: the software helps you reverse-engineer Google’s understanding of each query helping you to create content that meets your audience expectations best.
You can use this tool to power your internal linking strategy too: You may have already covered some or many of those concepts, so linking to your articles internally is likely to drive users further into the site.
2. Use Advanced Content Recommendation Tools
Related articles are getting old. Your site visitors may easily overlook a simple block of links below an article.
You can boost your on-page engagement, and get people to read your articles, by using smart technology that uses artificial intelligence to learn more about your site users’ browsing habits and engage them at the very moment when they are ready to engage.
Alter is one example of new tools that automate your on-page engagement in a most meaningful way, thanks to artificial intelligence. Alter provides personalized content recommendations based on your users’ interests and behaviors to help keep them more engaged and spend more time on your site.
It is a great way to increase page views and keep your site users browsing your site.
Alter also uses exit-intent content recommendations aiming to engage those readers who are ready to leave your site.
You can tweak Alter settings to remove content you don’t want to be suggested and change priority of more important pages. Other than that, it is up to Alter to decide which suggestions are bound to engage more of your readers and encourage them to browse your site further.
3. Re-Engage Returning Visitors
There are lots of articles elaborating on generating traffic and engaging those visitors once they get to your site.
There’s an unfortunate lack of information on how to treat your returning visitors.
But here’s what you need to know: Your site’s returning visitors are your brand’s biggest asset. According to a 2015 report from Monetate (PDF):
- Returning visitors convert at 4.5% rate (as opposed to new visitors that have a 2.4% conversion rate, on average)
- 14.8% of returning customers add items to a shopping cart (only 7.6%of new visitors tend to place an item in their card)
Obviously, those people who are familiar with your site and chose to return are more likely to engage with your site and keep reading your articles.
How to Improve Your Numbers
You can improve those numbers even more if you set up personalized paths for your returning visitors to follow. You can use Finteza to do that.
Finteza is a web analytics platform that can power your whole engagement optimization strategy – from on-page CTAs to sales funnel analytics.
Finteza is the only web analytics tool I am aware of that allows you to personalize your site returning users’ experience with its retargeting and goal-setting features.
- You can serve customized CTAs based on your users’ past engagement with your site (e.g. downloads, cart abandonment, etc.)
- You can set up custom goals based on previously visited pages or performed events
For example, you can create custom creatives to advertise previously visited articles for your return visitors to feel more likely to click them. Suggesting content based on previous engagement may turn much more effective than suggesting content based on topical relevancy.
Digital marketing is being re-defined by fast-advancing technology and emerging consumer demands and expectations. If your business is ready to embrace the change and innovate, you will quickly find your competitive advantage and stand out. I hope the above tactics will help you get people to read your articles!