SEO Traffic Increases for IndieWeb Reads, Watches, Listens, and other Bookmarked Content

I usually think not a wit about SEO and web stats/traffic with respect to my personal website, but a recent WordPress notification about an unusual spike in traffic got me thinking.

In the past, I’ve very often posted some social bookmark-type posts of what I read, watch, and listen to online. They’re usually of a very small microblog or linkblog sort of nature and have very little intrinsic value other than to people who may want to closely follow this sort of minutiae to see what I’ve been interested in lately.

Recently I noticed that there’s been a 4-5 fold increase in web traffic to my site, so I thought I’d take a look and it turns out that I’m getting some larger than usual numbers of visitors to my site for an article I bookmarked as having read three years ago.

Here’s a list of the top ten most highly trafficked pages on my website over the past year. 

Most visited pages on my website over the past year

The top post with almost 18,000 views in the last year is essentially a link to an article I read about gaslighting in 2018 which includes a brief reply context (reminder) of what the original post is about. The next two are slightly differently named links to my homepage for a total of 6,500 views followed by an article I wrote about TiddlyWiki (1,500 views). Articles I wrote about commonplace books, my furniture hobby, and my about page are also among my native content in the top ten.

However a watch post about How to Buy a Velomobile (1,310 views), and read posts about configuring an iPhone (I don’t even own one) (654 views) and an article about opinions and fact checking in the Houston Press (619) round out the bottom of the list.

I don’t know what to really think about these short bookmark posts accounting for so many views or that my site ranks so highly in terms of SEO for some of these oddball topics (look at the mnemonics and commonplace aficionado calling the kettle black).

I’m wondering if I should look at my little widget that recommends content and begin to narrow it down to more of my own native content? Should I tamp down on content I was tangentially interested in at some point but don’t really care about or want to rank on? Gaslighting and fact checking are interesting broad topics to me, but velomobiles and iPhones really aren’t. Of the tens of thousands of things I’ve linked to, why should these stick out in particular? I get that there’s probably only a limited number of people writing about velomobiles, but the others?!?

It does make me wonder if other IndieWeb site owners have experienced the same sort of quirky behavior? What implications might this have on SEO if more of the wider web was taken over by personal sites instead of corporately controlled silos like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram? I’m sure there are other great questions to be asked here. Brainstorming of ideas, answers, and implications are encouraged below.

Replied to a post by Patrick Rhone (patrickrhone.net)
I created a shop on Bookshop.org for all the books I read this year for easier browsing and, if interested, purchase.
I like this idea Patrick. I’d recently used Bookshop to create a list of books I’m currently reading. Having finished one or two, perhaps it’s time to start a read shelf like you have?

It might be interesting to see them build out some UI to make a less corporate Goodreads-esque site as well.

Bookmarked Italic Type (italictype.com)
Italic Type is the simplest way to track your books, get trusted recommendations, and share the joy of reading with friends.
An interesting new competitor to Goodreads and Library Thing on the scene. The functionality is very limited in scope at present, but it’s rather pretty looking. Not nearly as fine grained as Goodreads in terms of data, but a good start.

I’ll have to look into the ease/value of starting into yet-another book silo though. I’d only really use it if I can get it to dovetail with posting to my own website as a syndication target (POSSE), or if I can use it to syndicate to my own site (PESOS).

 

Replied to a tweet (Twitter)
I send Webmentions for reads and listens to notify authors, but I’m waiting for reading/podcast apps that will allow me to authenticate and make read/listen posts via micropub automatically, or versions that will send even generic notifications via webmention.

The nice part is that this sort of model allows the user to collect this data and send these notifications on an as-desired basis to the publisher.

Replied to Social Interactions on the Web by James Gallagher (jamesg.blog)
When I think about it, likes and bookmarks are somewhat difficult to distinguish for my purpose. A bookmark inherently implies that I liked a post because I usually only bookmark posts on Pocket that I like and want to save for later. I use Firefox bookmarks to track the articles that I have not yet read and want to come back to later. There is a distinction. A like is clearer. It’s my way of saying that I did like your content. Not everybody will know my policy on bookmarks, so having a like feature is useful. 
My general heirarchy is that bookmarks are things I want to come back to (and usually read) later, reads are things that I’ve read, like are things I’ve read and want to send appreciation for, and replies are things that usually are both read, liked, and needed even a bit more.
Here’s more on how I’ve thought about it before: https://boffosocko.com/2018/03/10/thoughts-on-linkblogs-bookmarks-reads-likes-favorites-follows-and-related-links/
Replied to u-read-of/read-status proposed draft · Issue #10 · microformats/h-entry (GitHub)
https://indieweb.org/read Indiebookclub.biz is a micropub client that publishes this.
The Post Kinds plugin displays the posts created by it and allows the creation of posts with the read-of proper...
I seem to recall @gRegorLove having some reservations about having implemented the read-status indicators. Since there are proposals for watch-of and listen-of and potentially other similar future verbs which may have a variety of “tenses” or a sense of progress across time, I wonder if it may be more advisable to have a completely separate progress/tense related microformat? This would provide the broader benefit of allowing it to be reused in those other cases rather than being specific to the read case only.

Perhaps a grow-able spectrum of statuses like: p-want-to, p-currently, and p-finished? (These are placeholder suggestions as we may do better with some thought on naming). These could be used in combination with the other proposed read, watch, and listen related microformats (or other potential future classes of verbs). The “want” status is reasonably well attested for activities like want to read, want to watch, want to listen, want to buy (or acquire), etc. Most of these are often finished in relatively short (or very long) time frames such that on-going statuses like watching, listening, or owning may not be posted frequently the way that an ongoing “reading” progress-like status might be used over the days, weeks, months that books are being read. I could see myself using ongoing statuses like these being used with to-do list items or project management related functionality as well. Longer term checkins at on-going events (conferences, festivals, vacations, etc.) might benefit from these statuses as well.

Separating the progress (tense) from the verb/action may also make it easier to create collections of posts around the related content. (An example may be the collection of all the posts about a particular book: the want post, the progress posts, notes, annotations, etc.)

On a separate note, I’ll mention that @swentel’s Indigenous for Android has added publishing support for both p-read-of and p-read-status (as well as all the proposed values) in the past few months.

Read Pirate Book Chest by Michael BeckwithMichael Beckwith (apiratelifefor.me)
If you’ve ever talked to me about books and reading, then there’s chance that I’ve brought up GoodReads and how I’m pretty active there. I can’t claim so active that I’m updating daily. I do, however, make sure to keep my current book statuses accurate. On the flip-side, as highlighted b...
Mad respect to Michael for going all in on the “pirate life” by reading Treasure Island and experimenting with reading/book posts and naming his digital shelves “Chests”!
Replied to a tweet by Katherine Moss (Twitter)
There’s a proposed session (IndieWeb GoodReads) to discuss just this at IndieWebCamp West 2020. If you have other ideas for sessions, feel free to brainstorm something or propose it in the etherpad.
Read Read feeder by Neil MatherNeil Mather (doubleloop)
Ton made a post recently about federated bookshelves, sparked by a post from Tom. It’s an idea that Gregor has done a good bit of thinking about from an IndieWeb perspective. Book recommendations is something I’m always interested in. At base, all it needs is a feed you can follow just of what p...
I love that more people are publishing their reading to the open web! It’s great to see more example of how people are doing it and how things could be better.
NINE

Example assignment: https://archive.jgregorymcverry.com/5570-2/

Notice the replies underneath which came from other sites including my response which is mirrored on my site at https://boffosocko.com/2018/08/04/highlighting-some-of-my-favorite-edtech-tools/

Example podcast post for a class: https://archive.jgregorymcverry.com/2toponder-episode-one/

Notice the listen webmention in the comments which links to my listen response at: https://boffosocko.com/2018/08/06/2toponder-episode-one-intertextrevolution/ where I own a copy of the context and my own response. As a student, even if the originals disappear, I’ve got the majority of the important content from the course.

Replied to a post by Brett KosinskiBrett Kosinski (The “B” Ark)
Taking back control of my content, I’m pulling my (modest) book reviews from Goodreads back to my blog. An underrated favourite of mine is Last Chance to See by the astounding Douglas Adams.

Congrats! I love the increasing number of people I’ve seen even in the last few days working on this! Are you using IndieBookClub.biz to post to your website?

I’m waiting for people to start documenting examples of owning their knitting on their websites and syndicating to/from Ravelry. #​IndieWebKnittingChallenge