How to Discover Blockbuster Articles and Make Them Convert Better

A client used this scorecard on their blockbuster articles to improve search visibility by 34%

A blockbuster article is a piece of content on your site that attracts a significant amount of traffic over a long period of time. For many publishers, this timeline might be years. For those just learning about blockbusters now, many will find that they get thousands of visitors every month from an article published in, say, 2008.

This isn’t uncommon on your first go-round. And you’ll find it mind boggling.

You’ll say to yourself, “But we’ve published much better content since then! Why isn’t that being found?”

Most likely, it’s because you got lucky. Maybe you accidentally hit a home run on your optimization by writing a great, informational headline at a time when there wasn’t much content on the subject. And sometimes, historically good content wins in Google, but it’s not a great idea to send a majority of your audience to an old, outdated post.

And maybe now you’re more prone to short, quippy headlines that work in email and social, and just don’t give Google enough to work with, given that the title is #1 most important element in search optimization.

Do you know what your blockbuster articles are? Have you come up with a list of the articles that send you the most traffic, and have you spent the time to analyze them? If your most-trafficked post is a few years old, you have some work to do.


Managing blockbuster articles

How you manage, update, and optimize your blockbuster articles can make or break your organic traffic growth. Although blockbuster management is core to the Mequoda Method and a topic we home in on often with our own clients, we find it’s also the area that gets followed through on, least.

It’s not a big surprise, really. As a publisher, you know that asking editors to compromise editorial for marketing isn’t at the top of a list of conversations you like to have.

But we don’t see optimizing content for search as compromising. It’s an enhancement. It makes good content great because it gets content in front of more people for a longer period of time.

How to measure your blockbuster articles

To show you what a difference proper blockbuster management can make, I want to share with you a recent example of a publisher who went from minimal blockbuster management to best practice management.

Last October, a client of ours lost their primary online editor, and hired us to take over blockbuster management by updating all of their blockbusters, and keep them updated with our blockbuster scorecard.

This blockbuster scorecard is a culmination of our best practices. It was developed based on the common factors in all of our clients’ top performing articles. It includes guidelines like including a primary keyword in the title, subhead, first paragraph and URL, but also includes additional guidelines, like optimizing featured images.

Below is the scorecard. The goal is to get 100%, not just check off the top few items.

The Mequoda SEO Scorecard for New Articles and Potential Blockbusters
Segment Score Possible Criteria
Title 20 Does the post title include your targeted keyword phrase from your keyword universe?
Subhead 10 Does the subhead include your targeted keyword phrase?
Body 10 Is the article more than 300 words?
Body 10 Is the article more than 500 words? (pass if the article links to 3 similar articles)
Body 10 Is the article more than 800 words?
Body 5 Are there at least 3 hyperlinks from proximity keywords to other content?
Body 5 Is the targeted keyword phrase in the first paragraph of the article or within the first 100 words?
Body 5 Is the keyword density on the primary keyword between 1 and 3?
Body 5 Is there a text ad for a free download after the second or third paragraph of the post?
Body 5 If the post is recycled, does it say so at the bottom, including the year it was originally published?
Body 5 Is the post assigned to just one category?
Body 2 Is the post tagged with keywords from your universe?
Body 2 Does the post ONLY contain tags of keywords that are used in the article?
Body 2 Is the primary keyword in the URL?
Body 2 Is the primary keyword in the title tag and meta description?
Body 1 If applicable, do the images in the article contain the primary keyword in their alt text?
Body 1 If applicable, are all image filenames in lower case, include the primary keyword, and use dashes, not underscores?
Total   100

Before hiring us for this small job, most posts were running well below 40% of our scorecard best practices, many far below that rate. We were allotted time to bring many of the posts up to 100%, or very close when there were items that couldn’t be updated.

For example, some practices we wouldn’t consider “best,” like overstuffing headlines with keywords, and in some cases we carefully de-stuffed when we determined that certain keywords weren’t primarily driving the traffic. They’ve also decided not to change URLs.

They recycle 16 blockbuster posts every week, so the pickup in their Google visibility and traffic was seen immediately. Their Google Visibility Index, is now improved by 34% and continues to climb month over month. Last month, their traffic hit an all time high, surpassing the previous record by 10%.

If you’re interested in learning more about how optimizing your content, both new and old, can transform your online publishing presence, schedule a call to talk with us about your business goals.


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