In response to the question
Is Listly great for Search Engines and generating organic traffic?
Here are the traffic charts for four sample lists over a 6-9-12 month period. Traffic rising over time is not the norm for typical static content, but it’s refreshingly different for Listly lists.
Old Hindi Songs
Android Bible Apps
Visio Alternatives Mac
Ipad Productivity Apps
So, these results do show lists deliver increasing organic traffic over time, but why?
Here are 8 reasons shared as, you guessed it, a Listly list. Hey, we love SEO too!
8 Reasons Lists Are Organic Search Machines
Slow Changing Lists Trumps Fixed Content
Search engines also focus on seeking to determine what is fresh, interesting and relevant.
One way to assure this is to have your dataset slowly update over time.
This is hard in a world where people have a a mindset that publishing is a one-off act and where the focus is on publishing more new content and not on updating and refining content that is already published.
Listly lists are updated in multiple ways by multiple people and these updates happen slowly over time. That' the benefit of a crowdsourcing mindset.
Obviously the list owner can moderate all suggestion. As more people vote, comment and contribute it also naturally attracts more people to do the same.
If your list is not interesting to the crowd, you will likely get much less feedback and engagement - keep that in mind when when building and naming your lists.
The impact of many people helping slowly over time is significant on search engine performance.
Lists Are Highly Skimable, So People Read & Share More Lists
Because lists are structured to make them easy to read, its human nature to skim. We quickly check-off the items that we know about and we seek out the new cool stuff, stuff we didn't know or just we'd just forgotten.
And when we find stuff fun, interesting or valuable we share our findings with our friends. Social sharing improves the search engine rankings of your content.
Sharing By Item or By List = More Context/Meaning
Today we can easily share whole posts, but sharing a list inside a post is tricky. The most valuable act is to share an item on a list and that's really hard with plain text lists.
Listly makes sharing lists and sharing items in lists really easy. When you share an item from Listly, clicking on the item will direct you to the original list where that particular entry is highlighted. You can now see the original context with which the item was shared.
Making sharing this easy, makes it more rewarding for people to share both your lists and the items on your lists.
And as argued above, more sharing means you get found more.
Embeddable is Spreadable & More Findable
Sharing is great, but we all know the life of a share is short. Twitter has a very short life - measured in hours. Facebook is longer - measured in days.
When you compare shares to embeds: its a no-contest.
Embeds last forever and are seen by search engines, this makes them highly findable.
It's worth mentioning that you still need to think about how you divide your efforts in terms of getting short term shares vs long term embeds.
It's also worth focusing on driving traffic to your owned media assets (as opposed to sending traffic to shared media sites like Facebook).
If you can collaborate with other bloggers, you can encourage people to embed your lists on their blog and better yet add their own perspective.
Putting your lists in front of a different audience also gives you a chance to acquire more feedback, more social sharing and yet more social proof.
Structured Data Trumps Text Only Lists
Search engines spend their days trying to make meaning from unstructured data. There are many ways to tag data to make it more readable and understandable by search engines.
You can never realistically hope to achieve this level of sophistication by typing free text into a blog post.
In the case of Listly, every list is an ordered dataset that is consistently formatted to optimize search engine readability.
Structured lists will always outperform raw text. The same rationale applies even when your list is embedded in a blog post.
More Shareable = More Findable
So if you make highly useful, highly skimable list you will get shared more, and as a consequence, get seen and found more.
Lists encourage the right behaviours.
If your list sends more social signals and demonstrates more social proof, it continues to accumulate more proof over time and generate more engagement.
More shares = more finds. They go hand in hand.
Listly Lists are Future Proofed From Search Engine Trends
We all know following best search engine practices is a moving target.
Listly follows a very white-hat model. The reason lists are so search engine positive is a function of our crowdsourcing, curation, list-centric , structured data approach.
When you build your lists in Listly, we can make changes over time, as needed, to enhance your lists and to keep us compliant with whatever rules or regulations as they evolve. This is because lists are stored in a database, and rendered dynamically at runtime, so we can always adapt and change.
This means that your list investment is future proofed.
Lists Are Text Rich, Making Lists More Findable Than Images
One thing that's worth noting is that lists are text-centric.
Images are great and your lists can include images, but text will always trump images in findability.
It's always hard to tag images with text, but text needs to extra focus. Text will always be more findable than images.
So that’s it – 8 Reasons why we think Listly Lists are SEO Machines. Were any of these a surprise to you? Feel free to share your thoughts right inside the list above.
Have you made a Listly list that has great SEO? If so, we’d love to hear from you. If not, what’s stopping you from making a Listly right now?
Image Credit: question_everything via Flickr.com / Creative Commons