Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Top 5 Redskins Hog Heaven posts from November 2012

November 2012 was the pivot point in the Washington Redskins 2012 season. It was perhaps the pivot point in the modern history of the 'Skins, but we didn't see it at the time. The Redskins sat 3-6 going into the BYE in week 10. The seven-game win streak to win the division was but a gleam in Robert Griffin III's eye. Perhaps that why the most read stories on Hog Heaven in November had little to do with upcoming games. Even a story about why the Redskins would feast on the Cowboys drew fewer eyeballs than these stories shown below.

November 22, 2013 -- Washington Redskins 2011 team roster.
This one has me stumped. Why on earth would anyone look at the 2011 roster in 2012? The page drew a few hits daily through the month, but on November 22, Thanksgiving Day, Hog Heaven drew a one-day spike of 165 views to this page. I think some other web page linked to it without my knowing about it. Thank you, whoever you are.

Photo: John Beck attempts pass to Donte Stallworth in game against Philadelphia Eagles, 2011. Photo by Anthony Brown, Master4Caster & @SkinsHogHeaven

May 23, 2012 -- A quick look at the Redskins in 2013 without, you know, $18 million in cap space.
This is amazing. Web pages have a typical life cycle of 36 hours, meaning that 98 percent of all the visits to a blog post occur within a few hours of publication. This May 2012 story by Hog Heaven contributor Greg Trippiedi continued its renewed popularity of October into November. And it was steady readership throughout the month.

We covered this post in depth last January. Read about it here.

November 23, 2012 -- 10 cool thoughts about the Washington Redskins over the Dallas Cowboys.
This was more like it. The third-most read post was about a game played in the current month. It's no surprise that it involved a win over the hated Cowboys. However, it is surprising that readership did not exceed the looks at the 2011 Roster.

And I tried so hard to apply Search Engine Optimization principles to the headline. I've learned that blog readers respond to lists and that headline must show the team name. This headline is missing a player name. I should have worked "RGIII" into the title even if though it would have been clunky.

Blog writers must hit the reader's interest to draw them to the story. Readers are receptive to players and team, in that order, before anything else.

Writing about sports and sports teams are actually limiting for SEO principles when you are an independent blogger writing only sports topics. The SEO anchors are players, specifically named teams, and " tickets." Media giants, like ESPN, and sites like Bleacher Report that are long on high volume content fluff draw big traffic. Some of their SEO techniques work for sites like Hog Heaven. Some do not. Even when it works, the scale is not as great.  

The win over the Cowboys in Dallas was the second of what became a seven win streak to close the season. We rejoiced that the 'Skins looked as good as they did on the opening day against the Saints. They escaped division last place. NOBODY knew what was coming.

November 10, 2012 -- Football players going broke, 5 big names, 5 bad investors.
This story was actually an infographic offered to Hog Heaven by the talents behind in return for a plug of their web site. Why not? It was on a Saturday, when blog readership is light. It was good work. Infographics condense complex stuff to easy to follow visuals and was made for this story about the how some Sunday's heroes become Wednesday's child when their NFL days are over.

It was the fourth-most read story on the site, so readers found it interesting, too. No apologies for running it.

September 4, 2012 -- Finally, the words to the NFL Play60 Commercial.  
The league is on a big kick to players safety with it's "Heads Up" campaign, but going into the season, they were all in on physical activity for kids. Play an hour a day, chirped the NFL to future player prospects and their parents. A track by a British band became the iconic background track for the commercial ... that I couldn't get out of my head.

Thanks to the technomagic of Google, I found both lyrics and video of the Go! Team band playing The Power Is On. Love it or hate it, there are advocates on both sides, the song draws the curious and is still a source of low-level traffic to Hog Heaven. I love it, but it has grown tiring.

There you have it. Twenty-two stories posted to Redskins Hog Heaven in November 2012, but three of the  five most read stories that months had nothing to do with the events of November. That's quite the contrast to December when interest in the Redskins and traffic to Hog Heaven exploded.

I'll post the top five Hog Heaven stories from December 2012 sometime between the May OTAs and the end of June. For current contest about your Washington Redskins, check out