Search Engine Optimization September 8th, 2014
It’s a moment of anticipation for all bloggers. You’ve written your post, Tweeted it, Facebooked, LinkedIn, and Pinned it and you think: maybe it’s time to check out Google Analytics to see how many glorious people viewed my post!
Then, silence, that blog you thought was going to do so well completely flopped! Let’s say you’re optimistic, and you decide to go back to your blog one month later to see if the number of unique visitors increased. You see another big fat Zero, only to be let down again!
It only takes a few of these experiences to really discourage a blogger and make them question why they decided to blog in the first place.
Also on TechWyse:
At TechWyse, we grew our blog traffic by 200% well into 5 digits in one year. Not bad for a blog with a few part-time in-house bloggers and the occasional guest post.
As Editor-in-Chief, I’ve learned a couple of lessons about how to grow a successful blog. These are not so much “tips,” but insights that I hope will help you in your effort to increase your blog traffic.
Blasphemy! Sure there are sites like BuzzFeed, Huffington Post or even Inc.com that drive tons of traffic through social, but these are publishers with editorial teams, and you’re most likely a small business owner — your challenges with using social media are much tougher.
First of all, you don’t have the budget to run Facebook Like building campaigns and sponsored posts, or even the time investment to build a strong Twitter army. Second, we all know about the declining reach of Facebook posts (if you don’t, click on the link), there is even talk of Twitter tweaking its feed algorithm to filter posts.
Bottom line, when you Facebook, Tweet, G+ your posts only a small fraction of people see, and an even smaller percentage actually click and read your post. Plus when you encounter a blog through social it has to grab your attention vs. when you search for a blog, your reader’s attention is already there!
Let’s say you’re a prolific one-person show and are able to blog 100 times a year, so a new blog every 3-4 days. In my experience 80% of your blog traffic will come from 20% of your posts. So yes, the vast majority of your blog traffic will come from small number of posts. Some expected, other not so much. Read to to hear about one unexpected post that went on to become the most visited page on TechWyse.com!
With this in mind, when you’ve identified your best performing blog posts alter them to link to some of your other related posts. This may not increase your unique visitors, but it will keep your visitors captivated and show them that you’re not just a one-trick pony.
If you’ve talked to me or read any of my posts you likely know I’m probably the world’s biggest proponent of EVERGREEN CONTENT.
Why do I love evergreen content so much? When you produce a piece of content that is always relevant and valuable to others, Google is always going to show your blog whenever someone searches on your topic.
This means that evergreen content has the potential to become a link generating machine for your website. It means that you don’t have to go out there tweeting your blogs everyday, it means that Google will deliver the traffic for you!
When you have these blogs that have repeat success with search engines, you increase the likelihood that people will link to you and thus bring up the rankings of your website as a whole.
One caveat, depending on your niche, the fields of evergreen content may have been well tread. That doesn’t mean you can’t still produce evergreen content, it just means finding topics and outdoing your competition is going to be harder.
if you want your posts’ Google analytics to look like the screenshot below, then evergreen content needs to be part of your strategy.
We adopted this before our own website became responsive, i.e. viewable on any type of screen. Take a look at your device stats in analytics, you’ll notice that mobile and tablet use is increasing each year.
If you’re Google, serving a search result that requires a user to squint does not a make a good user experience. When you’re pitted up against blogs of equal quality and theirs is easy to read on an Android and yours isn’t it not a hard choice for Google to pick the mobile friendly option.
So just because it’s a big investment to make your website responsive, doesn’t mean it you can’t make your blog responsive.
Here is a breakdown of our traffic by device:
15% is nothing to scoff at!
Your title is the single most important element that determines whether someone with click and read, whether it’s in a search result or a social link.
Catchiness is one thing and it’s no doubt important, but what’s more important is SEARCHABILITY.
Making sure your title is phrased the way people are searching. Is there one word that’s better to use than another? How can you make your post a little bit more long-tail to attract more specific queries?
I’ll give you an example on how I arrived at the title for this blog.
First, when I sat down I thought about writing a blog titled “Should I buy backlinks?” The average searches were about 170 per month.
Then I thought of the topic “How to Drive Traffic to your Blog” and the estimated monthly searches were 480 searches per month.
Then I considered several titles:
Here’s how they broke out in terms of monthly search volume:
It was clear that “How to Drive Blog Traffic” had to be in my title. What was also clear is that I was going to have to include the above variations in my blog post.
Don’t stop there. Now plug your title into the amazing tool keyword.io. You’ll notice that I have linked to a report about Google autosuggest phrases around the keyword “How to Drive Blog Traffic.”
Didn’t click the link? Here’s a sample of what you would have seen:
Now I can write about all these great things people are searching for. Think of your post like a magnet, the more of these focussed keywords you add (non-spammy way of course) the more your blog attracts search traffic.
Lastly, use Moz’s Title Tag Preview Tool to get an idea of how your blog title will appear in search results. Tip: try to make it fit within character constraints or at least get in the main part and leave the searcher wanting more.
TechWyse is an internet marketing company that has been around since 2001 and we have been writing our Rise to the Top Blog since 2007. Our top performing blogs were in the neighbourhood of 600-700 unique views per month.
We had a lofty goal: to increase traffic by 200% — well into 5 digit monthly unique visitors.
We needed a way to get there. It all boiled down to 3 simple strategies.
Strategy #1 Great Infographics. We create several infographics each year and they always have one theme: usefulness! Don’t believe the naysayers, infographics are alive and well!
Strategy #2 Accepting high-quality guest posts. We created this page with a strict set of guidelines. We typically publish about 10% of the topics that are submitted for editorial review.
Strategy #3 Evergreen content. This is the big one, the over-arching strategy. We aren’t a news site and we know it. The crux of the evergreen strategy is this: answer questions that people ask you.
To take that further: answer questions that people ask Google everyday. Here are some great examples of our blogs that have done just that:
I saved the best for last. This blog How To Send a Text Message From Your Computer for Free all started with a phone call from a client and friend to TechWyse, Dentist Dr. Ken Wolch.
Ken phoned me up one day with a simple question:
“Steve, how can I get my secretary to text all of our patients to remind them that they have an appointment?”
I told Ken I didn’t know, but that I will get back to him. So I began researching “how to send mass text messages,” “computer texting software,” “how to send a text message from a computer,” etc.
I found an answer! It turns out that most mobile carriers will let you email “phone firstname.lastname@example.org” and deliver a text message for you.
So I began to email Dr. Wolch, then I thought “this sounds like a blog.” So I used my time efficiently, wrote a blog and sent it to him.
Little did I know, that this blog quickly became the most-viewed page on our entire site! In fact, it was the major reason why we reached our goal of growing blog traffic by 200%!
This is not to gloat, the lesson here is to listen to your customers and help them with real problems they are facing. If they are facing the problem, someone else likely is, too.
The above posts get on average 3500 views per month!
Increasing blog traffic is not an easy thing to do. Getting to a point where your posts are reaching hundreds, if not thousands people each day is not a realistic thing for most small websites.
By focussing on EVERGREEN CONTENT and ANSWERING QUESTIONS RELATED TO YOUR BUSINESS you can expect steady gains year over year.
There are so many great reasons to blog, they help you earn links and exposure, they also help you build trust with your clients and readers. I hope the strategies and case study outlined here inspire you to write posts that will keep people coming back to your website day after day and year after year!
1) Even if you don’t have social media accounts your blog needs to have social share buttons.
2) Install the Easy Tynt plugin for WordPress. This way if any copies content from your blog they will copy a link to the post as well. This way you’ll earn a link, which will further increase your exposure in search engines.
3) Read other blogs on the topic and find a way to outdo them. For example, in my research I didn’t see any blogs that talked about using keywordtool.io to help with blog traffic.
4) Stay focussed, don’t veer off the path. If you want to write about guitars don’t write a post that talks about acoustics, electrics, classicals and basses. Try and stick to one type, or maybe write a blog about “Should beginners buy an Acoustic or Classical Guitar.”
5) Know your audience. In this post I’m not talking to the blogger who’s a 100,000 unique visits per month looking to get to a Million. I’m talking to someone who’s been blogging unsuccessfully and who’s trying to reach a few thousand visits per month.
6) Write your posts assuming that people will scan and only read 20% of the text. Notice how none of my paragraphs go over 4 lines. It’s intentional! Keeping paragraphs short makes it easier for content to be scanned and consumed.
Please feel free to connect with me on social media @strategyinventr or leave a comment below!