30 Day Challenge Update: Day 13 and Post 5. Five unique visitors came to my blog in the last three days……No. That is not a daily number. Just for giggles, I did the math. For the month so far, we’ve averaged about five unique visitors a day and we need around 55 unique visitors a day for the rest of the month to reach our 1000 person goal. Generating blog traffic has not been a huge success so far. This is not looking good for our hero…….that’s me, I’m the hero in this story in case you weren’t sure.
I did have a very brief conversation with Tony Hymes who “helps brands capitalize on digital opportunities.” Basically, I wanted an opinion from someone who does digital work for a living on whether trying to generate blog traffic and grow that blog’s traffic was a reasonable semester assignment for college students (we can’t forget this is all about the kids…..ok, occasionally I have forgotten that, focusing on generating blog traffic but I keep reminding myself about it…..that counts for something…right?)
Grading the students on generating blog traffic is probably not fair. I might not feel that way had I generated more blog traffic I was hoping for…..so I guess that is a positive outcome of this experience. Tony suggested, and I think it is a good suggestion, if I do assign this exercise to make the grading based around having a plan, utilizing good SEO technique, etc.
Anyway, let’s use that as a good jumping off point to get to generating blog traffic through SEO.
First, what is SEO and why is SEO important. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Basically, it is crafting your website or blog in a way that will get you a higher rank on Search Engine Results Pages – also known as SERP. It is important because 90% of clicks are going to go to the first ten results. We can talk about paid search and interacting with other blogs and forums and etc., etc. and etc. to generate blog traffic in later posts. The majority of blog traffic generated, especially traffic that comes from outside your immediate circle of friends, will come from searches. There are two main ways to get searches to work for you, i.e. helping generate more blog traffic. First, is showing up higher in search results and, second, is making sure that you are competing on more focused searches.
What do I mean by more focused searches? “Food” vs. “Sandwich”. I just googled both food and sandwich. Food has 11.4 billion results and sandwich only has 1.1 billion results……that means in the food search, you have 11.4 billion competitors for traffic and in sandwich, you only have 1.1 billion competitors. Fewer competitors are better than more competitors. Think of it this way, you are all trying to generate blog traffic but nothing you do can actually increase the amount of a specific search term. You are just trying to direct of those searches towards your blog. If you can narrow your search terms down more, say to “Reuben,” then you have merely 38 million competitors. Of course, if your blog is about food in general, then you don’t want to limit yourself to just “Reuben,” as nice of a sandwich as it is. On the other hand, if your blog is all about love and appreciate for the sandwich called a Reuben, then you want to concentrate your search efforts on Reuben more than on food. I am a big fan of not walking away from “food” but just focus more on “Reuben.”
Second, how do you improve your SERP (Search Engine Result Page) placement by using SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to generate blog traffic. You start by first understanding your blog and your possible search terms. Moz is one of my new favorite websites. Check out the results of their search terms below for “blogging traffic.”
Check out the keyword suggestions. “Blogging traffic” gets less than 10,000 searches a month but “How to increase blog traffic wordpress” gets between 11,000 and 50,000. Or simply “generating blog traffic” gets between 51,000 and 100,000 searches a month. What do you do with that information? Well, what I did was to pick a key term (in my case “generating blog traffic” and then reread the post while still in draft mode. I rewrote sections to include “generating blog traffic” or similar terms throughout the post, especially in the title. A lot of that rewriting was just making sure that I avoided using pronouns. I’ve bolded them to show each time where I rewrote a sentence or two to include generating blog traffic…..I’ll stop bolding now…..because it was getting irritating. I also made sure to name my images to have something to do with generating blog traffic. I only picked the one term but had this been an ongoing challenge, I would have picked the top several terms and worked them into the blog. Keep in mind that the post text is not your only opportunity to include the key search terms. For example, include your key terms in your titles, as names of your pictures and in your “about” section. If you blog is focused, then you can really help your ranking by sprinkling your top three search terms in the majority of your blog posts. If it is a new blog you are creating, using key word search terms in your blog’s title and website name will really be helpful.
One word of caution though. Don’t just pack your post with the search term a thousand times. Had I simply wrote: generating blog traffic, generating blog traffic, generating blog traffic over and over, the search engines would figure out that I’m spamming them and knock me lower in the SERP – Search Engine Result’s Page – countering what I was looking to accomplish.
Now look at the SERP Analysis from the Moz results. Two of them offer a list of 7 or 25 strategies to generate blog traffic (ok, I snuck one more in there). People love lists. Generally speaking odd numbers work better than even numbers, except ten. “3 ways to generate blog traffic” (see how easy it is to work your key search terms into the article?) works better than “4 ways to generate blog traffic” (one more time!). The third top site title has a 5 step plan. Yes. People love lists, especially lists with odd numbers. For example:
For giggles, I ran Reuben through Moz’s Key Word Explorer:
Wow. 100,000 searches are reuben sandwich. Make sure your title includes the word “recipe” as well.
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