This is a technique I’ve been using on one of my WordPress-powered blogs in the past 4 months or so and it has been working quite well for me. Today I’ll be sharing some stats with you and tell you how to easily do it yourself, so hopefully you can increase traffic to your sites at least a little bit.
A bit over 2 years ago I launched a site that aggregated feeds from about 20 different blogs in a non-competitive niche. I never actually built any backlinks to this website, and to this day it has maybe 50 backlinks total. In short, the site shouldn’t even be ranking, much less getting insane amounts of traffic. Until a few months ago it was getting 100-200 unique visitors per day and generated no revenue outside of an occasional Adsense click. I actually made this website to test some things and boost my other related sites in the SERPs so monetizing this website or even getting traffic/rankings was never a goal. Basically the site’s a content scraper powered by the FeedWordpress plugin.
A few months ago I discovered a plugin called Recent Google Searches Widget. The plugin will catch every query that search engine visitors typed to get on your website and then link it to a search page on your website, such as http://affmind.com/?s=shitload+of+traffic. You can show the widget with the recent searches on your sidebar, and if you allow your search pages to get indexed Google will pick them up, and in my case rank them ridiculously high.
The plugin can generate insane amount of pages for your website as every single search phrase used to find your website will now show up. This leads to the automatic creation of pages that are based on the exact long-tail phrases thus it ranks incredibly well. Sometimes weird phrases that you would never think of optimizing for get captured and the number of indexed pages on your site and the traffic start growing exponentially. That’s how I managed to get my less than 200 unique visitors per day site get almost 10,000. Pretty insane.
The downside is that because of the site’s niche I wasn’t able to properly monetize it. The search pages displayed Adsense and Chitika ads, and combined earned about $15 daily. It’s something, but considering how much traffic the site was getting it is in fact bad.
But what ultimately killed the site’s traffic wasn’t spammy content. It wasn’t the Panda update, nor was it the 400,000 indexed pages in Google. It was shared hosting! I knew it would happen because no shared hosting can handle that much traffic, and the resources used by all the plugins and whatnot were huge. I did even add caching but it simply wasn’t enough. I would of moved the site to a different server long time ago but I was afraid it might lose rankings because of it, and that’s exactly what happened. The hosting company moved my site to an empty server in order to determine why it was causing server crashes and the day they did it the site went back to those 200 daily visits.
Will it ever pick up the ranking again? I doubt it. It was good while it lasted and I knew it wouldn’t be like that forever. I tried but I simply couldn’t find a way to monetize the traffic properly and now it’s likely too late.
So below I’ll give you a small analysis and a breakdown of what you need to make this work for your site.
1. An old(er) trusted domain
My site was just over 2 years old and had almost no backlinks except for an occasional forum link, but for some reason it was trusted enough by Google to crawl it all day long and get 400,000 pages indeed in about 3 months. My guess, it’s because it was updated with new posts a few times per day for a couple of years, despite them being syndicated.
2. Tons of content
It perhaps isn’t mandatory but it’s certainly good for your website to have as much content as possible. My site had ZERO unique content, but about 3000 syndicated posts from other blogs. This again shows that duplicate content can indeed rank well.
3. WordPress + Recent Google Searches Widget
You can of course find or hire someone to make a similar plugin if you’re using a different CMS, but it’s easy on WordPress since you have everything you need. There are some alternatives to the Recent Google Searches Widget, and even some that can work well along with it:
Note that I only used the Recent Google Searches plugin so I can’t really vouch if the last three plugins are safe or work properly.
4. A pimped search results/404 page
This one’s also very important. Since WordPress search engine sucks major balls a lot of time visitors will see the “No results found” message. Here’s how it looks on my blog here:
If you want your search pages to rank well you have to add some content to them. If the phrase is found and it displays relevant posts it’s great, but more than often no results will display so you have to think of other ways.
First, make sure the main keyword someone searched for is in the <H1> or <H2> tags. The above <H1> tag for “Nothing Found” is completely useless, so instead you will want to edit the page and add <?php the_search_query(); ?> so it displays the actual keywords the visitor typed. Additionally, you can change the text to something like “Sorry but we could not find a post matching [keywords] you typed. You can try your search for [keywords] again below.” What is does it basically add the keywords again to the content, despite there being very little of it. It worked for me, it helps your pages rank. Do it.
If you can manage to somehow automatically generate relevant content when there are no relevant posts found let me know cause I’d love to get my hands on it. But if not, you can add Recent posts, Random posts, Popular posts to the search results pages to give it more content and relevancy. If possible, use post excerpts as well. There’s plenty of plugins available for that. Additionally, you can add a list of categories, a tag cloud, and similar widgets to make the page appear to have content when there’s in fact none.
You can also try to integrate Google Custom Search into the WordPress search pages so it may actually deliver some search results, unlike WP engine which most of the time shows none. If you can try to make the search pages have a permalink, so instead of http://affmind.com/?s=shitload+of+traffic it would show http://affmind.com/search/shitload-of-traffic. It worked for me with the former but permalinks are always much, much better.
And that’s about it. It requires very little work, but if you have a decent, trusted domain you can always give this a shot. Just make sure your search pages look natural and non-spammy, otherwise you’ll be getting a ton of hatemail and complaints.
I constantly get tons of links to this page whern searching for different temrs in google. Not once has it been related and not once has it yielded any result at all except for adds. This site is a disgrace to the web and all you business model seems to be to lure people in. I really hope google comes up with some sort of rating function because sites like this is popping up everywhere and its ruining the internet,.
There was so, so many more I got with threats and quite amusing insults but unfortunately I didn’t think of keeping them. Basically if you do this make sure you know it’s spam, so if you got a problem with it then close your browser within the next 5 seconds of your screen will explode. It’s funny to think that people complain about content farms while on the other hand there’s sites like these everywhere which really add absolutely no value to visitors as they don’t even have content. And the worst part, Google ranks them.
I should note however that I’ve done this on one site only and I normally do just white hat stuff without spamming. This site is definitely an exception.