There’s no doubt that SEO is a complicated topic – it’s a bewildering mix of art, science, and when it comes to second guessing the algorithms used by search engines, luck. You can research it for a year and still unearth new things you didn’t know about, and just as you get your head around one thing, the search engines add something new into the mix!

Teflon frying panTo make life even more complicated, there are parts of search engine optimisation that it’s difficult to see at first. One of these is the importance of a sticky website. If your site isn’t sticky enough, you can say goodbye to good rankings. Unfortunately, many business sites are about as sticky as a Teflon-coated pan.

First things first: what on earth is a ‘sticky’ website?

‘Sticky’ is a word used in web design, online marketing and search engine optimisation to describe a site or page’s ability to hold an internet user’s attention. The longer the internet user sticks around, the more sticky the site is. Sticky sites are also the sites that attract repeat traffic.

Stickiness is important, both for your rankings and just for your business generally. It’s important for your business because the longer people stay on your site, the more likely it is that they’ll buy your product or make an enquiry. The same goes for repeat traffic. The more loyal people are to your site, the more likely it is that they will choose you for their purchases. For your SEO, stickiness, or ‘time on page’, contributes to your rankings.

Things you can do to make your site sticky

  1. Blog, and blog well. Writing a good blog is more than just posting regular entries. If you really want to keep people reading, and keep them coming back for more, you need to make your posts helpful. Things like how-to guides and lists of tips are ideal. To tailor your posts to your target audience, look at the questions people are asking, and answer them. This will make your blog a valuable resource.
  2. Be shareable. Internet users love sharing, and easy sharing will endear your site to them. One-click sharing helps your content to travel. Include a retweet request, Facebook ‘like’ button and one or two social bookmarking buttons.
  3. Open up comments. Comments are valuable to your site in general, but they’re great for making a site sticky. Internet users usually come back to see if their comment has been replied to – so replying is another sticky trick.
  4. Develop handy tools. Another way to increase repeat visits is to make your site useful. Tools are great for this. Including a currency exchange calculator or password generator can make your site a valuable resource.
  5. Promote related posts. One way to keep visitors on your pages is to entice them to stay. Everyone’s had the experience of reading blog post after blog post on an interesting site, and this usually happens because of the ‘related post’ links at the bottom of the page.
  6. Use multimedia to engage users. Articles aren’t the only thing to entice users to stay. Videos, polls and handy downloads are all great additions to your pages. They all serve the double purpose of keeping visitors on site and luring them back again.
  7. Use title feeds. Internet users love things that are new and exciting. One way to keep your site fresh is to add a feed of your latest post to your home page.

If you follow these steps to keep users on your site, in no time you’ll have a website stickier than flypaper.

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