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Incorporating a blog to boost traffic
numnum




msg:4456132
 9:15 pm on May 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

Since last fall my 16-year old site has gradually lost about 75-80% of its pre-Panda traffic and, commensurately, revenue. It wasn't pandalized or penguin-ized per se but rather was just bumped down in the SERPS from #1 for several 3- and 4-word phrases to a lower position on page 1 of Google's SERPs. My hunch is that, as it stands, the site will continue to languish and perhaps fade over the coming years.

This is a static, informational site in a clearly defined niche for an evergreen demographic on an evergreen topic. A simple blog that provides weekly (or even daily) news and events related to the site's topics would be easy enough to implement and maintain. (But I don't want to get into forums or even allowing post comments -- too many pitfalls and risks as far as I'm concerned. And no tweeting of Facebooking for me, thank you very much.)

What I would like to know is if anyone here has simply added a blog to their languishing site and boosted their traffic significantly as a result. What I would be hoping for would be that my frequent blog posts would be picked up by the search engines and put up on page 1 of the SERPs for at least a few hours, if not a day or so. And hopefully more visitors would bookmark the site and return regularly for blog updates, further increasing my traffic. Is this just wishful thinking, or would it be worth my while?

 

Sand




msg:4456204
 1:19 am on May 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have, but (like your situation) it was on a pretty niche site. With the exception of some long tail stuff, I'd pretty much maxed out the traffic I was going to get from Google before I started the blog. That's the downside to small niches.

In my case the blog really helped, but not with my SEO. Instead, it gave me a reason to send out regular newsletter updates. I added a newsletter signup form, and each time I published a blog post (once or twice a week), I'd send out an email to my subscribers to let them know about it.

The great thing about newsletters is that you control when you get a traffic boost. Having a crappy holiday? Send out a newsletter to make up the difference. SEO and PR feeds the subscriber base so they both remain important, but it's nice to have some degree of control over your traffic.

Just a thought. If you can add value with a blog, it can be a big traffic driver (even if not through organic search).

numnum




msg:4457592
 10:03 pm on May 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

Thanks for responding, Sand.

Sending out email newsletters is not an option for me. I take it from your reply that, at least for you, blogging did not by itself generate additional traffic through the search engines. I'm wondering why not. My understanding is that a steady stream of fresh SEO content can significantly boost new visitors via the SERPs, as I suggested in my original post (above). I guess I'm wondering why this was not your experience.

Sand




msg:4457594
 10:24 pm on May 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

It wasn't my experience mostly because I'd already tapped out the market in my niche on the core section of my site.

For many sites, adding a blog can help with a lot of things (for SEO, it allows you to target new keywords and can help build up authority). On the business side, it can help you build credibility with potential clients if done right.

I guess what I was getting at was, starting a blog on your site can be great. But try to think of ways it can help you grow your business aside from just SEO. It should be a business tactic to drive conversions and increase the value of a visitor -- not necessarily an SEO tactic in its own right. Some businesses really struggle with converting blog visitors into customers, which can bring the value of the blog into question.

tedster




msg:4457599
 10:52 pm on May 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

try to think of ways it can help you grow your business aside from just SEO

Yes! This should be the primary focus, in fact. Google will notice the new traffic (not just the new words and pages) and respond accordingly - maybe add your new log to your Sitelinks.

The topics you cover (should cover in fact) can be a bit broader than you might normally write about within the website proper. For example, if you sell tools, write about tool maintenance, storage, ease of use, portability, alternate usage - whatever comes to mind. You should do some listening to your marketplace first to discover where the interests are, and where the information gaps are, too.

Hit those high spots often enough, do some content marketing to get the buzz started, and you'll be off and running with a successful blog that DIRECTLY brings you new visitors and income - even if the SEO function is slower to grow.

I love to go at improving revenue directly like this. It's more interesting than trying to get secondary technical SEO signals all lined up. That's what I think of as old school SEO, and after the basics are polished up, it can get quite slippery as the algo changes.

numnum




msg:4457922
 7:33 pm on May 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

Tedster, I don't use Adwords (I assume that's what you were referring to in mentioning Sitelinks).

The topics you cover (should cover in fact) can be a bit broader than you might normally write about within the website proper.

Yes. What both you and Sand suggest makes sense: use blog posts to pick up some new long-tail keyword traffic AND to highlight information of particular interest at the moment to many site visitors (e.g., current news and developments in the field and that aren't covered directly or in as much detail elsewhere at my site). There's always something new happening in this field, which really makes it ideal for a blog.

What I'd like to see is for the blog to become a relatively popular entry page. I might even make it my home page, which currently gets almost no hits as an entry page. (Almost all my traffic comes from the SERPSs, which direct traffic to specific internal pages at the site based on various long-tail phrases.)

Also, the average number of page views per visitor is about 3.4 (up from about 2.4 before I improved my site navigation menu), and I'd like to see that number increase further. A typical blog entry would refer the reader to one or two other pages at my site for "more details" or "related information," which I assume would help in this respect.

Planet13




msg:4457930
 7:54 pm on May 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

Actually, sitelinks refers to the google organic searches. when someone searches for your site name, not only do they get the home page, but they also see multiple links to different internal pages on your site as well.

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