Analysis of Selected Titles for Associated Content Articles


These are the results of some experimentation that I’ve been doing with my article titles at Associated Content. The goal was to see how key, search words affect the page view count (PV) of an article. I hope you find it helpful in constructing your own titles. Keep in mind most of these articles were submitted to AC without up-front payment. Most are satire and comedy. I might be mixing apples and oranges from a content perspective, but this is only about the titles.

I’m not the most prolific writer at AC. I hold no illusions that these are huge page view numbers though they might be typical. You can start laughing now if you’r one of those CP that gets 10k per article. If you are one of those rare animals, you don’t need this analysis so bugger off.

My blog has a “What terms were used to find your blog” report. Since I have the titles of all of my articles on this blog, this is the source of my comments about how the article was searched. The following table outlines the hit count, title and my analysis of why it worked or didn’t.

PV Title Analysis
717 Amazing New Nonlethal Self Defense Product Just Out A farce product promotion. Non-paid. The keywords “nonlethal” “self defense” appear to keep this one afloat.
375 Hollywood Elects Al Gore King of the World Rattled off in an hour during the Oscars. Non-paid. Seems either no one thought this was funny or no one is interested in Al Gore or Hollywood. Probably the former.
1,164 Annoying and Dangerous Driving Habits Decent traffic. Non-paid. “Annoying” “Driving Habits” and a few times “Annoying Driving Habits” were used to find this article.
1,266 Netflix is Scaring Me Decent traffic. Non-paid. Obviously, anything with “Netflix” in it is a gem. Add “Scaring Me” to pique the human curiosity.
457 Chinese Missile Destroys Satellite This is a send-up of a fairly big news story. Non-paid. Probably dated. I thought this would have done better. Maybe it was too late after the event to get hits. Lesson learned about news? Maybe.
1,010 Cheap Overlooked Vacation Packages Non-paid. This is my favorite as far as titles go. I did this intentionally to scoop up page views from people looking for travel destinations. I love imagining the shock and anger at finding this spoof. Seems to be working, too.
965 Cell Phone Use in Polite Society Non-paid. “Cell Phone” is probably the reason this did fairly well. That and it’s an excellent treaties on our modern world.
278 Holiday Shopping Hints or How to Serve Your Country Something that had been brewing in my head for a long time. Non-paid. Maybe the low traffic is the result of the non-season currently. More likely, I over did this title by adding the “or.” It may have done better with a different title.
1,252 Relationships What Women Want You got to love this one. Non-paid. This one is still getting hit. I named it after the movie title on purpose. Beyond a very good title, it’s a wildly amusing article.
230 Confessions of an AC Content Producer 3 Done on a bet, sort of. Non-paid. Obviously no one cares about the internal workings of the AC CP community or the ranting of one of it’s more maniacal content producers.
846 Debunking Astrology Myth in the Modern Era Done on a bet, actually. Paid. I was presently surprised that AC paid $8 for this. It was a slow start, but it is racking up the hits monthly. This is as close to “evergreen” as I may every come.
410 When Veterans Day is Personal Very personal. Non-paid. Maybe it will do better in November. This is why AC doesn’t pay for memoirs. I think this is my best article to date, but the personal aspect of it is a PV-killer.
428 AntiPsychic for Hire A farce; a jab. Non-paid. I should have separated the word “Psychic” from the rest. That may have helped.
4,349 My Top Eight Reasons for Hating MySpace.com Yep. Non-paid. Who knew? 4k and growing. This gets hit at least every other day. “top eight” “MySpace” are the keys here. I was getting so much crap from the Spacers that I had to change the link to this article on my blog to apologize to their search engine.

Quite frankly, I don’t know what this tells us. Keywords in your title are crucial to the success of your article. What you put in and what you leave out can make all the difference. I’m sure there are those who are going to laugh at my paltry page views, but from a statistical point of view, I think this is a valid, if non-scientific, analysis.

I invite your comments and would love to see your experience. Take a minute to look at your PV-to-title ratio and let us know if what I see is what you see.

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21 Comments

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  1. I really liked the “Chinese Missile” piece and “wow!” about the MySpace one. My most viewed AC article is: “How to Use a Japanese Toilet.” Must be the potty humor people are attracted to :)

  2. Randy, I have to agree… the keywords in the titles are crucial to SEO. While your articles aren’t highly searchable topics (humor and all that) they do have good keywords – and your small, but as you said unscientific analysis, would appear to prove that keywords make a difference.

  3. Keywords definately help. As your research suggests, finding that hot topic is the trick. That is without getting lost in the competition.

    I have several articles that are getting steady page views, (no 4 K’s yet but it looks like they will get there in a few months)

    Boat reviews are my steady searched articles which should start picking up with the warmer weather(75-100 PV’s a week)

    Hanna Montanna is close to 150 per week and steady so far.

    How to Stop a Rooster from Crowing, 50 per week and steady as a rock.

    Pork and Religion I think will have a long shelf life.

    Global Warming and Alternate Energy seem to be lost in masses. That is a shame, one of my favorite subjects.

    Good job Randy!

  4. Heather Shockney April 19, 2007 — 12:56

    I agree too, keywords in the title make a big difference in page views. My article with soap spoilers in the title continues to get a couple hundred page views a week.

  5. My articles don’t get a lot of hits. My top one got 746 hits and was a paid article titled: Universal Design: Building a Wheelchair Accessible House. My second top page view article (683) was my highest paid article and was titled: How My Husband’s Stroke Changed my Life. In addition to having keywords in titles I think you have to be writing about more mainstream/popular topics than I do.

    I just read your, “When Veteran’s Day is Personal.” It certainly pulls at the heart stings and I’ll bet next November it will take a hugh jump in hits. It’s too bad AC doesn’t see the intrinsic value in featuring a memoir on the front page along with the others. They might not align with advertising but they sure could help keep people coming back to the site. The Biggest Secret contest enters sure would fall into the memoir catergory and, for most of us, brought in a lot of page views. Mine was my third highest page views.

  6. As a newer writer on AC, I found this info to be valuable. Thanks for taking the time to put it together Barefoot. And Capt Dallas, 50 hits a week from the rooster article? That’s a lot of roosters hehe, I didn’t realize the problem was that loud….errrr…bad.

  7. Hey, Randy.

    Unbelievably, I have over 6,000 hits on “Top Ten Dance Songs of the 80s”. It gets hits consistently, though I don’t know how many per month. Problem is I don’t know which words are the most key that make this popular. Low pay from AC: $3.00.

    My short shelf life articles get lots of hits while they are relevant: “Best Christmas Light Displays in Denver Colorado” has 3,110; “St. Patrick’s Day Events in Denver Colorado” 2,231 hits (submitted later than it should have been); “Super Bowl Snacks: Host a Dip Buffet” has 5031 hits and $6.00 from AC.

    How To Remove Ice from Driveways and Walkways has 3,540 hits. AC only paid $3.00 for that one too.

    Interestingly, my recipe articles have several hits even though AC stopped paying for recipes recently. The best one is “Hot Drink Recipes: Warm Up on a Cold Winter’s Day” at 2,971.

    One of my humor articles where I paid no attention to key words or a searchable title has done fairly well: “Never Put Silly Putty on Your Remote Control” at 1,148 hits. Submitted for free.

    Hope this was helpful!

  8. I remember the Silly Putty article, Melody. A couple of those hits were mine. These are such helpful anecdotes. I appreciate everyone sharing. Please don’t stop now.

  9. 375, not either.

  10. That was cryptic, but I take it to mean that you found the King of the World article to be less than funny. There not all gems, but the point was the titles not the content, Dane/Cujo.

  11. Hey Randy.. thanks for sharing the number of hits with us. It’s hard for new members (like me) to know what to expect for numbers.

    I’m hoping for some traffic to my latest article “Keyword Density Not Enough for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)”
    I tried the techniques my research says will bring in traffic. Oh if only PV’s were live!

  12. Sorry didn’t mean to remain anonymous!

  13. Here’s one for you:

    How to Read Palms: The Basics at http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/78887/how_to_read_palms_the_basics.html

    The original offer was modest, only $8. But since it was published in November last year (thus just missing its target release before Halloween), it has racked up 5,736 PVs. I anticipate a nice increase in rate this coming October, too.

    One reason: if you Google “how to read palms” this one is always above the fold — moves back and forth from 2nd-4th place, but always remains high. Completely accidental, I assure you.

  14. I am a little confused how the comparisons are being made. Did I miss it, what is the time frame on these article? Were all the page views cited for each article mentioned amassed in the same time frame and what is that time frame so I can judge my own in that same time frame?

  15. And yet some people remain absolutely clueless. Thanks for the track back.

  16. “Ewan McGregor Gets Naked in Young Adam” – Steady as a rock ;)

  17. Hello

    The main page of a site has especially pleased. Good color scale! Thanks!

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  19. This is the first time I’ve had any problems with the AC site in two years, but once a problem happens, forget receiving any assistance! It’s a business model that means responding in “no speak,” meaning the person cannot deny you’ve answered, but the email never addresses the question asked.

    I haven’t been able to log into Associated Content for three weeks. The two help desk email answers were totally non-responsive. The first one reminded me to cut and paste the new log-in address. This direction is clearly stated on the original email with the password change directions. As if I didn’t try that more than once!? A week later I receive an email asking me for a copy of the link. The email trail below that comment included the link. I responded politely, “Please look below,” and copied the link yet again.

    I think AC is blocking some people who don’t have much content, but high ad revenue, to avoid paying any advertising revenue the articles generate. It’s certainly not much for one person, but it adds up for the company when you consider thousands of articles. I called the company for some assistance when my first email was left unanswered for a week and I was told help is only provided through email. I think there needs to be some federal government investigation into these writing mill sites to regulate the illegal business practices. A publisher can’t sign a contract to pay royalties on a book and then block a bank account payment. I’ve done a quick search of the Internet and this is not my isolated problem. It’s a pattern.

    • I know that they recently changed their log-in page and got rid of the “Open ID” option. The change also requires you to type your password and your browser-saved password won’t populate any more. Sounds like you forgot your password and are having trouble getting AC to respond to your email. Try the community@associatedcontent.com address instead of help@. That address is more responsive. Just request a password reset. I seriously doubt AC is conspiring to block you from your earned money. After four years with them, the only time they haven’t paid is when someone was scamming the site. Their requirements for residual pay is “log in once every 90 days” so you haven’t lost any residual money.

    • I passed along your concerns to AC. The info they sent back was that your password was reset and you should be good to go. I’m glad I could help avoid this major class-action lawsuit.

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