The web is moving away from looking at web site hits as an indicator of popularity. Some sites are even putting less of an emphasis on page views. Do you know what the new metric is? It's all about time on site and your bounce rate.
Time on site is simple, it is the amount of time the average user spends on your site. In theory that is what it is but there are no average users so it is more an indicator of the average amount of time an average user would be assumed to spend on your site. This metric is easy enough to game just be leaving a browser pointed to your site with a 90 second refresh setting.
OMG! This site has almost no traffic but a time on site number in the hours!
Naturaly gaming such as shown above is not easy as you can quickly skew your results to the point where no one will believe you! Besides, time on site is worthless without the other new metric; bounce rate.
Your bounce rate is an indicator of how many people come to your site and "bounce" away after only looking at one page. You want your bounce rate to be low unless your page is designed to send people elsewhere.
When you bring both of these metrics together you can get a better idea of what sort of traffic the site has.
So, how do you game these two metrics in such a way as to make your site seem to be more popular than it actualy is? Why you take a page from the book the big guys!
Ever go to one of the big sites and see a top ten list that is spread over multiple pages? That is a prime example of how to game these two metrics.
You go to the site and see a top ten list but each page only contains one item from the list. In order to see all the pages you have to click through and view ten pages! You just gave that site a huge boost to its bounce rate and its time on site. If they had put all ten items on one page you would have helped their time on site but not their bounce rate. More than likely you would have read the article and bounced away.
So, next time you want to put together some sort of list don't put it all on one page. Instead put the information on multiple pages just like the pros do. Follow that advice and you'll see your metrics skyrocket!