Written by Jennifer Espiritu, Journalist
There’s little doubt that the explosion of the internet in the 1990s has changed the way the world gets its daily dose of information. Printed media and news are becoming things of the past as more people turn to social media and blogs as their primary source of information.
According to the most recent available data, there are over 600 million blogs today, with about 31.7 million active bloggers in the US. While this gave society free rein over information, it also became a breeding ground for spreading fake news. In one survey of internet users, 59% said they’d encountered false information. This makes websites that present truthful and accurate information more critical in this digital age.
Despite the fierce competition in the blogging community and readers’ clamor for digestible, presentable, and helpful information based on extensive research, quality and factual websites are still few and far between. Thankfully, search engines employ metrics that set quality websites like MarcoFeng.com apart and rank them at the top of search pages. The site provides accurate and fresh information on travel, crafts, and food. Its reliability has made it a trusted resource hub that helps and inspires people to lead happier and simpler lives.
Many have used it for different purposes. Some use it for comprehensive and user-driven information that helps them plan their trips easily and confidently. Others, specifically young professionals, see the website as a source of inspiration for how they plan out their careers.
“I wanted to reach out to you for advice. I read your personal story on when, how, and why you started your website. It has left me inspired. I’ve been yearning to begin my own and have picked up and put down the project for a while now. I’m curious if you have any recommendations on where to learn SEO, marketing, and analytics,” says one reader.
Initially intended as a hobby and a personal journal of Columbia graduate and Growth Manager Hailun (Marco) Feng (whose unique strategies have grown the organic visibilities for many,) it became a popular information resource after gaining traction and recognition in 2019 when Feng shared his shopping experience at a local Disney Store. Since then, he decided to pursue and continue this journey, but this time, he was armed with newfound knowledge of SEO and techniques to better the website.
“When first starting, I didn’t know how to name the website, so I registered it under my name, which was a very arrogant move. But, I later realized that it was a great choice as there are no better ways to make your brand unique than sharing your adventures and life stories. Also, naming the site Marco allows us to be personal. You can think of us as your travel partner as you explore this wonderful world.”
Today, MarcoFeng.com is one of the top travel websites globally, with over 1.5 million readers from organic search per year, answering more than 60,000 travel, food, and craft-related questions each month. Feng’s SEO and content strategies have grown the website’s organic traffic by 320% from 2020 to 2021. It’s not just the views that skyrocketed; the website’s engagement has also increased remarkably. The average reader now spends 2 minutes on the platform, an increase from the 32-second average viewing time in 2020. The benchmark is 52 seconds.
While the management was already turned over to Feng’s dad, who developed it further to what it is today, the goals remain the same – to provide the best information, inspire people to lead a better life, and set an example for the blogging and SEO community. To achieve these objectives, each piece of content undergoes over 20 hours of rigorous research, writing, fact-checking, and optimization to ensure that all contents are accurate, relevant, and easily understandable to readers.
Over the years, MarcoFeng.com has transitioned from a personal journal to a source of truthful information thanks to unique growth strategies. It uses ratings and reviews from several local directories to deliver legitimate “best-ofs” pieces. Many follow the website for travel information, but it’s also an excellent source for researching products because of its independent reviews, a type of content rarely seen in the travel publishing industry. The website also employs innovative formats for added readability. For example, anyone familiar with it would immediately notice how the people behind the website have grouped long-form content by geographies, types, and genres.
MarcoFeng.com has amassed such a following that its NYC guides compete with the big names in the print and publishing industry, including Timeout, TripAdvisor, Condé Nast Traveler, and more. When asked what makes their website so unique and successful, Feng himself says, “when we create content, we keep in mind that we aren’t writing for bots, but for humans, and so we write to inspire people to lead happier and simpler lives, which is what everyone wants.”
Hailun (Marco) Feng