3 SEO Tips to Double your Blog’s Google Traffic and Increase your Impact
This is a guest post by Tim, a cheerful pessimist and always thinking. He is the principal and marketing strategist at Coracle Marketing. Tim and Olive blog together at www.timandolive.com and live with their 2 daughters near Vancouver, Canada. One of his most read blog posts is about How to Use Games to Make Your Meetings Fun and Effective.
Since 2011, my wife and I have written and published 323 posts on our blog. In the last 3 years, over 150,000 people have visited our blog through finding us on Google. That’s the power of Search Engine Optimization – the ability to have your blog content found by anyone in the world, and more importantly, by your target audience.
Today I’m going to share with you some very practical SEO tips that any blogger can implement to increase their Google traffic. I’m also giving away a 45-minute SEO consultation (which is valued at $50) to one of the readers of Paul Sohn’s Salt&Light blog. (By the way, if you’re looking for more tips on growing your blog, be sure to check out Paul’s “The Science of Blogging: How to Build A Tribe and Get 1000+ Visitors Per Day.”)
When your blog is Search Engine Optimized, you can stop writing and people will still come to your blog.
That’s what is happening to our blog right now. This past year we’ve put blogging on the back burner as we launched our Marketing business. As you can see in the statistics below, we only published 17 blog posts in 2014 (compared to 87 in 2013 and 141 in 2012). Yet, the traffic our blog has received from Google in 2014 has increased by 50% from 2013.
2014 – 17 blog posts – 98,750 visits to our blog from Google searches
2013 – 87 blog posts – 63,789 visits to our blog from Google searches
2012 – 141 blog posts – 6,441 visits to our blog from Google searches
We are surprised and delighted to have people continually read our blog posts and leave us comments saying that our writing has impacted them. In a way, because of the SEO work we have done, our blog has a life of its own.
Let me share with you some SEO tips that we’ve used to help people find our blog on Google.
1. Write Your Title for People Using Search Engines
One of the ways that Google determines what to show in its search results is through keyword matching. Before you start writing your blog post, think about what people would be searching for on Google and the phrases they would likely use. Write your blog post title so that it will be searchable.
For example, Olive wrote an article about her experiences and insights as an only child growing up (which is the blog post that has gotten us the 2nd highest amount of Google traffic, with 1,000 visits from Google every month). There are various titles she could have used, such as:
- My experience as an only child
- Growing up as an only child: My story
- Pros and Cons of being an only child
- The shocking truth about being an only child
- The secret life of an only child
How can you find out which title is most searched for on Google? First, put yourself in the shoes of someone who wants to read your blog post. Ask yourself, “If I wanted to read the content of this blog post, what would I search for?” Second, do a google search for the different titles. As you type out the phrase, you will notice that Google offers suggestions for what to search for. The phrases that Google suggests are the ones that get searched for most often.
Third, do an actual Google search for the title you want to use. See what results show up. Have many people written about this topic already? Is the quality of those current blog posts good or not? If there are multiple blog posts on the subject, then it will be harder for your blog post to get on the first page (especially if there are blog posts are from popular websites like the New York Times or The Huffington Post). But, if very little people have written on the subject, then it will be easier to get your blog post on the first page.
Right now if you search “Pros and Cons of Only Child“, you will probably find our blog post at #6 on the first page. When you do this, make sure you open an “Incognito Window” in your browser. If you don’t, you will see customized Google results which take into account the websites you’ve visited in the past. With an incognito window, the Google results you see would be more similar to what the general public would see.
2. Use an SEO Tool for Your Blog
The two SEO tools that I use the most are Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools.
Here’s a screenshot of our blog’s Google Analytics. This screenshot shows the top viewed pages in our blog by source. Google Analytics is a powerful and free tool, which allows you to find out a multitude of statistics on your blog traffic including which country/city your readers are from, how they found your blog, and how they are interacting with your blog.
With Google Webmaster Tools, you can see where your blog posts have shown up in the results of various Google searches. In the screenshot of my Google Webmasters Tools dashboard below, you can see top searches in Google where people have clicked to visit our blog.
Looking at Google Webmaster Tools, you will discover that people will search for a topic in many number of ways. For example, to get to our “Pros and Cons of Being an Only Child” blog post, people around the world searched Being an Only Child Pros and Cons, Only Child Pros and Cons, Pros and Cons of Being an Only Child, Pros and Cons of Being the Only Child, Pros and Cons of Only Child, Cons of Being An Only Child, Being the Only Child Pros and Cons, etc.
Having these tools and looking at your statistics helps you to see what has worked so far, which will give you clues for what to write about in the future.
3. Give an SEO Boost to Your Most Searched Blog Posts
One fascinating statistic I discovered in our blog is that the top 10 blog posts (out of 700 total blog posts) accounted for 70% of our Google traffic in 2014. In other words, less than 2% of our blog posts generated 70% of our Google traffic. In fact, one of our blog posts accounts for 23% of our Google traffic. I’ve done SEO consultations with our blogs, and their statistics are similar to mine. What this means is that you could give an SEO boost to your most searched for blog posts and increase your Google traffic significantly.
Based on research done by MOZ done in July 2014, here are the Google organic click-through rates.
#1 – 31.24%
#2 – 14.04%
#3 – 9.85%
#4 – 6.97%
#5 – 5.50%
#6-10 – 3.73%
2nd page – 3.99%
If your blog posts ends up in the #1 position, 31.24% of people searching that term will click on your blog post. If you are in the #2 spot, 14.04% of people will click on your blog post. What this means is that if you can boost your blog post from #2 to #1, you can more than double your Google traffic for that post. If you can move from the #5 spot to the #3 spot, you will almost double your Google traffic for that post.
Now the big question, how can you boost the SEO on one of your blog posts? One of the answers is by creating a backlink to that blog post. One simple way to do this is by guest posting on another blog. When guest posting, it’s important that you have a good relationship with the blogger and that they are willing to help you by allowing backlinks within your guest post.
As you can see, I have added two backlinks in this guest post back to my blog. The first way is adding a backlink within the content of the blog post (like I did with my link to the Pros and Cons of Being An Only Child in point #1). The second way is to add a backlink to the bio section of your guest post (like I did below to my Meeting Games blog post). The key here is not to create a backlink to your homepage, but to the specific blog post. With a few extra backlinks to your blog post, you should be able to boost that blog post up a few spots in the search results.
When you are choosing which blog post to boost, choose one that gets search for a lot. Also, choose a blog post that is not currently #1 in the search results. There’s no point in boosting a blog post that is at the #1 spot, as there is not any higher to go. My suggestion is to find a blog post that is currently in the #2 – #10 spots. You can tell which spot your blog posts are with the Google Webmaster Tools. For example, looking at the Google Webmaster Tools Dashboard above, you can see that when searching for “Meeting Games” the average position our blog post is at is 7.0.
Remembering the fact that probably 2% of your blog posts generate 70% of your blog traffic, you can see that if you are able to boost a few of your top blog posts, you could easily double your overall Google traffic.
Win a Free SEO Consultation
Paul and I are giving away a free SEO Consultation to one of Salt and Light’s readers. The SEO Consultation is 45 minutes long and includes:
- Analysis on your last year’s SEO results (if you have Google Analytics loaded on your blog)
- Customized advice on how to increase your SEO traffic
- Tips on how to use Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools
- Help with installing Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools (if necessary)
- Answers to any of your SEO questions
All you need to do is two things:
SHARE this post on social media and LEAVE a comment in this blog post and FILL IN the short form below by January 18th.