How a real estate blog managed to increase the number of monthly site visits from 2 thousand to 18 million in 2 years (part 2)

Original author: Chris Kolmar & Randy Nelson
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In the first part of the article, we already talked about how the guys from Movoto started, and what development strategy they chose. Now, to your attention - the continuation of the experiment. With detailed comments and graphic content.

Rely on data, not what seems popular.


Therefore, it’s very important to understand that even if you think your content will delight users, it doesn’t mean that it really will delight them.

Here we partly go back to how we described the process of generating and refining ideas. We sincerely believe that any thought should be supported by evidence, and this rule also applies to the process of creating successful content.

Sites like BuzzFeed display pageviews in large, flickering letters at the very top of the page. But the number does not matter; you need to know exactly how these views were received:

• Inside the site’s audience.
• Through social platforms.

Unlike BuzzFeed, Movoto could not rely on internal traffic, so they had to make their content popular on various social platforms.
To do this, you can use tools that will allow you to look deep into and determine the true popularity of the content.

On the BuzzFeed website you will find any information you need to write articles. If you register on the site, you will get access to the information database of articles. Here are articles that have been able to increase their audience by 10 or more times. If any article was less popular, then the internal tools of BuzzFeed helped her increase the number of views.

On other sites, we can turn to tools such as BuzzSumo and Ahrefs, which allow you to study in detail the potential of any content in terms of its popularity and the number of click-throughs.

Using this approach, you determined the type of content that promises to be popular, and calculated that it is able to increase your own audience by 8 times, and you don’t need to run around like a squirrel in a wheel. Now you can try to realize your idea. This will allow you not to spend time and energy on “just good ideas” and to test really good ideas.

Of course, you may have your own original ideas, but we offer you a proven strategy for creating successful content. Following such a strategy, Movoto is risked from time to time, but this allows them to avoid the appearance of a sad sloping straight line on the site’s popularity graph, which can only please a mountain bike enthusiast.

Identify and learn from leaders

Here are the names of two sites that Movoto has helped answer most of their questions over the past 2 years, and which you may have heard about before: BuzzFeed and Upworthy.

The explanation is simple: they create content that inspires any other content-oriented site to share unique information that can become truly popular (and which other sites will link to).

These two giants of the content world are considered as such because their owners have already understood how to create competent content. They really learned this. Movoto (for now!) Doesn’t try to compete with them, but they realized that they can learn a lot from them.

Fortunately, the owners of these sites do not make a big secret of their strategy (as, by the way, one well-known real estate site for you).

Popularity is the highest degree of brand awareness. The

methods described up to this point were aimed solely at increasing the number of clicks and the number of mentions of Movoto content in other sources. But to advance further, it was necessary to understand how to gain real popularity. The guys accidentally found the answer to this question in October 2013.


To increase the number of clickthroughs on the link, you have to submit the information very competently.
If we talk about how to make content popular, few people do it better than Upworthy (if any). The owners of this site also actively share information about how they achieved popularity or what efforts they make to achieve it - they often remind users that Upworthy cannot guarantee popularity.
However, according to Upworthy, there are many measures you can take to make your content popular.

Popularity, in fact, comes down to an equation with two variables: the percentage of click-throughs and the percentage of reposts. It may seem that everything is too simple, or that these indicators do not have much impact on the content. In fact, they do.

Link clickthrough rate


You may consider optimizing the clickthrough rate as the best method in terms of the impression it makes on Facebook users. Or it may seem to you that such an optimization is simply deceiving users.
In any case, this method is to attract users to familiarize themselves with your content. In the end, if no one sees your content, then no one can share it, and you will have to forget about popularity.
If we talk about Facebook, then the optimization of the percentage of click-through links is based on the improvement:

• Heading.
• Images.
• Brief description of the page (subtitle / text of the advertising message / etc.).

These parameters need to be changed so that as many users as possible visit your page and so that as many of them as possible share your content.

Creating the perfect title


When Movoto says “perfect title”, they mean the following:

1) the optimal style of the title depends on the type of content that you create;
2) until you open the "ideal" type of header, which will provide 100% click through links.

It turned out that for content in the format of ratings or lists, headings containing numbers work best. These are BuzzFeed style headers. For example:

• 33 things that Michigan residents need to explain to visitors.
• 41 facts that you probably did not know about Irvine.
• 30 things you need to know about Kansas before moving here.

You may have thought: “But these headings contain too much information and / or numbers!” You're right. For this type of heading, numbers work just fine. And the reason that rather large numbers are used in these headings lies in the concept that large numbers included in articles with ratings and lists are more likely to attract the attention of users. In fact, content that offers readers more information is generally considered more reliable.

But let's get back to the types of headers. For video files, curiosity titles as well as Upworthy style titles are most suitable. Here are some of the best examples:

• This famous artist wants everyone to know how to correctly pronounce the name of the city of Boise, and she does it very well!
• These women did not even suspect that they were waiting at a shopping center in Austin. You will be shocked when you see what eventually happened.
• This guy took 2 years to create a project. If you come from Chicago, then you should know how it all ended.

As you probably already guessed, correctly composing such a headline is much more difficult than a heading for an article with a rating or list.

Returning to Upworthy: Movoto spent several months figuring out what specifically arouses user curiosity and how to successfully apply this method of composing headers for video content. To bring this strategy to perfection (or at least get closer to it) was a key task for Movoto in the process of increasing the average percentage of clickthroughs from the initial 3% to 9% or more.

The concept of awakening curiosity includes not only the basic structure of the headline, but also carefully selected words and phrases. There is also the concept of an “invisible person” - this is the person present on the video, who, if necessary, can be mentioned in the heading with a description of his type of activity: “famous musician”, “high school student”, “astronaut” - anyone. Experience shows that using this technique almost always leads to a significant increase in the percentage of click-through links.

A competent image replaces a thousand words - and can provide several thousand click-throughs
An integral part of the process of optimizing the percentage of click through links is the choice of image. How important is it? Movoto spent almost a year figuring out what the image should look like that could provide as many Facebook clicks as possible. After all the trial and error, the guys found out that people like the images:

• Other people (especially people in the process of eating food).
• Sculptures depicting people.
• Women in bikinis (note: in Movoto they target their Facebook ads exclusively to the female half of users).
• Wizards (do not ask why).
• Handwritten inscriptions and drawings on all of the above types of images.

If you want to quickly increase the number of clicks on links, then use the image of people. Everything is simple.
As for the latter type - images with handwritten inscriptions - then, in terms of the number of clicks, such images almost always triumph.

In addition, although this may seem like a trifle, try to follow the rule of thirds when choosing an image, and this will also give a tangible positive effect.

Subheadings: The leaders of optimizing the percentage of click-through links according to The Unsung version.


Well-designed subheadings can give users who view your Facebook ads the very last incentive to feel like reading the material.
As in the case of other aspects related to the percentage of reposts (we will discuss it below), it turned out that the shorter and smarter the subtitle, the better. However, there is such a thing as too smart subtitles.

Percentage of reposts: Facebook is your best friend.


As in the case of headlines, two basic methods were used in Movoto to optimize the number of reposts. The choice of one method or another depends on the type of content that you plan to create.
Movoto started with original content - articles with ratings and so on. (by the way, they still focus on such content). For this type of material, two incredibly effective rules have been identified that you should always follow if you want as many users as possible to share your content. These rules are very simple:

1. Tell a story.
2. Focus on the identity of the user.

The first rule speaks for itself. A popular post should contain a story in its structure - wherever possible. Even if we are talking about “Ten stereotypes about the inhabitants of such and such a city,” which can hardly be combined into one story.
Did you catch the thought? It seems that people tend to read content that is written about them. For example, readers do not pay much attention to the statement that such and such a restaurant is good, in contrast to the statement that people like such and such a restaurant for such and such reasons.

Therefore, you should try to create content for people wherever possible. For most authors, this is a very tight framework, but an increase in the number of reposts (and, as a result, an increase in the popularity of content) is worth the work.

The second method listed above concerns the placement of video files. The number of reposts reaches its maximum when video files are given the opportunity to do most of the work themselves.
The most effective were the following approaches to optimizing the percentage of reposts for such publications:

1. The minimum duration (less than 50 words, of which sometimes only a few words depend on the context).
2. Availability of opinion.
3. The video should be about people (this rule also works here).

Movoto came to this conclusion after finding the best creators of this type of content and exploring the methods that helped them the most. Result: the number of reposts on average increased by 20% or more. And this is not the limit!
Combine all this together, paying attention to the details!

But we left the most boring part in the end: this is SEO optimization.

SEO optimization is a great tool because it is the only aspect in the entire field of content marketing that is completely independent of outsiders. Only you are responsible for it, which means that you can always do everything right.

SEO optimization comes down to two important concepts:

• The text on the page.
• Site structure.

Text on page

This concept includes a lot:

• Research on key queries.
• URLs.
• Article title.
• H1 headings.
• H2 headings.
• Image tags.
• Is the site convenient for users of mobile devices.

Movoto is trying to make the core of each article a key request. Some keywords are obvious, and some need a little trick. For example, in some articles, keywords appear in the URL, but writing titles for robots will not help you increase the popularity of content.

So go to the urls. This is the easiest way of SEO optimization, and Movoto has always used it, because the clarity of the key query allows you to raise an article in the list of search results. But now it’s worth talking about testing the new URL format, focusing on social optimization.

As you learned from the popularity section, Movoto primarily shows the reader the title of an article. And they try to include the keyword in the name, better at the beginning.

It is very important to have first level subtitles (H1). Most correctly, the subtitle H1 echoes the title of the article - this will allow readers to make sure that they are moving in the direction in which they wanted. For what? There is a theory of “optimizing the hit page”, according to which the main title on the page should match the name of the link that you used to go to this page. This approach allows you to make sure that the title matches the link, and everyone will get to exactly the page on which he wanted.

H2 subtitles serve two purposes. First, they break the entire article into easy-to-read snippets. In addition, the H2 subheadings enhance the effect of the keywords used in this article. For example, if the article says where it is best to live, then the names of such places should be contained in the subtitles of H2.

Image tags don't tell users anything. This is an easy way to emphasize what is written in the article. About 300 images are added to the site every day in Movoto, so alt tags are standardized for the page name. Ideally, such tags should describe the image.

Finally, the presence of a mobile version allows you to make sure that those who read your site can actually use it. In the case of Movoto, more than 75% of subscribers access the site from their mobile applications or tablets.


structure The site structure allows you to enhance the positive effect of using any other means of content marketing. In particular, it allows you to draw the attention of users to the most important pages of the site. The easiest ways to achieve this:

1. Make sure that your content is in a subfolder, and not in a second-level domain.
2. Insert links to the most important pages of the site into the body of each article.
3. Create clear and understandable category pages that will serve as a repository of the best content on your site.

# 1 - If you decide to create a blog, use the link instead of the link a significant increase in the popularity of the domain center is the main reason why you should start to engage in content marketing. Do not lose the results of these works, placing all content on domains of another level.

# 2 - Redistributing the popularity that your site earns to its other pages is carried out through links. All articles on the Movoto website are somehow related to real estate. This allows them to post links to cities and key pages of the site, even if the essence of the article is completely different. Links also let users know the best about your site if they are interested in using it.

# 3 - You must make sure that all the content on your site can be found through Google, as well as further focus users on important publications. This goal can be achieved by placing the most important categories at the top of the site. Then on each page of the site there will be a link to this category, and this will let the Google search engine know that this category is important.

Results - popularity scale, traffic and subscriptions.

Content marketing is a tough competition, and in order to succeed, you will have to work hard. After almost 3 years, Movoto achieved the following results:

• 3,198 published articles.
• More than 120 million visits.
• More than 18 million actions on the Facebook network (likes + reposts + comments).
• 41,000 email promotions (55%).
• More than 30,000 links to site content.

Thus, each article on average receives:

• 5,600 Facebook actions.
• ~ 13 promotional letters.
• ~ 10 links.

But it was not always so. Such a result can only be achieved over time, as you learn from the experience of others and learn all the wisdom.
In general, content marketing is not a one-time investment, but a routine work that should be carried out day after day. If you regularly invest time and effort in it, then in the long run your efforts will pay off.
This is not great wisdom, it is just painstaking work.


The future of content on Movoto

Content marketing continues to evolve, and if you intend to stay on the crest of a wave of success, you must try new methods. Some tricks that worked 2 years ago no longer work. And other methods, on the contrary, are becoming more effective over the years.
Apparently, the future of content marketing is in video materials and other content that can tell a real story. And that's great.

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