TV Tropes, YouTube – make your site a maze so users can’t leave

Posted on July 23, 2011


Time-on-page statistics are an important SEO factor that tends to sit in the background. It’s something you think about, naturally, but the way the issue is addressed tends toward the oblique rather than the direct route. Unless you’re TV Tropes or YouTube.

Entertainment sites really have the time-on-page issue sorted. How many times have you found yourself amazed at how much time you’ve spent on FAILblog? What happens when you get lost on TV Tropes, ICanHasCheezburger and YouTube is the result of a very clever course of manipulation, one which you can use on your own site.

DO use the power of suggestion. The main tool for enticing people further into your site is a link labyrinth. On every page, suggest related pages that will be of interest to users. Think about creating alleyways for your Liverpool high street that readers can go wandering in.

DON’T throw up any old link. Link labyrinths only work when they’re interesting. Throwing up unrelated links won’t help you with your site visitors or with your search engine optimisation efforts.

DO allow them to navigate out. Winding your way into a site is only fun when you can find your way out again. Structure your navigation to allow users control over their journey. Breadcrumb navigation can be handy for this. As your search engine optimisation company will advise, you need to control your exit pages.

Pay attention to the sites you spend hours on. Their methods can be used for your own campaign.

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