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How do smaller blogs grow Google traffic in this day and age?

 6:57 am on Jan 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'm new to this forum and don't want to get banned so I will not post a link to my site but I do have a dilemma. I have a small tech blog with hundreds of posts, all indexed by Google, but I only get 250 unique visitors a day which translates to pennies on ads. I'm not in it for the money, but I would like to make enough to support server costs, domains, (we make enough for those two), and buying products to review.

What do you guys that get 100k monthly pageviews do in terms of SEO to drive that much traffic? How do you get so many legitimate backlinks. I'm not entirely clear on forum rules, so I'm not posting a link, but I'll give you the site title in case you're willing to give me feedback. It's <snip>.

Thanks to everybody in advance.


[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 10:09 am (utc) on Jan 2, 2013]


Robert Charlton

 10:25 am on Jan 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

Hi Michael, and welcome to the forum. Not only don't we link to sites to get answers about them. We don't use specifics to identify them, and we work from abstract principles. So I need to remove the name of your blog.
The Google Forum Charter [webmasterworld.com] explains:

1. Do not post links to a specific website (yours or any other) or suggest a search query, search words, or any search phrase. No hints. No clues. This means no links, domain names, screen shots, specific search terms, or drawing attention to your profile.

Working from principles should help a broader range of people as well.

So, initially I'd ask... what have you done to promote your blog to attract traffic? There are a number of discussions in this forum right now asking this very same question in different ways. Here's the most active....

Link building that Google likes to see
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4532199.htm [webmasterworld.com]

Also, we have a whole Link Developmemt forum [webmasterworld.com]. I suggest you study some of the key threads there, some of which you can find in the Forum Library [webmasterworld.com].


 11:42 am on Jan 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

Working from principles should help a broader range of people as well.
Don't tell Matt Cuts that, he's publicly stated that WW should allow specific examples :)

but I only get 250 unique visitors a day which translates to pennies on ads
It's not entirely impossible to turn 250 visitors a day into $5/day but yes, that's a small number of visitors to be trying to maximize revenue from and I have a fairly good idea as to why you can't seem to get more. The types of articles written on your site, while they are unique, relevant and helpful, are MASS produced online and Google sees them all with every imaginable variation covered.

example: Have you ever visited a major news site and you simply don't feel like clicking on an article link because it's the same fluff you've read 100 times before with only a slight variation in the title and tone?

- Why Google does such and such
- Why Google REALLY does such and such
- Google did such and such
- Such and such by Google

You get the idea, while you see the world through your blog and feel it covers things well, Google on the other hand sees a bazillion similar pages with only minor changes and must choose between them all.

- backlink profile
- social mentions within your niche
- number of ads, or more specifically number of outgoing links to ad networks

You can always work on those to get a small increase in traffic over the long term, the fixes won't do anything short term. Just keep writing, keep being interesting and carve out your niche. Make your articles exactly what you would want to find if you were looking up the subject yourself.

If you need to read up on the subjects you write about before writing them perhaps you're doomed to keep re-writing what is already out there. Find an interesting angle and make it your own!


 1:52 pm on Jan 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

Michaelsitver, iit only takes one or two great blog posts to get noticed. Don't worry about your Backlink profile or social mentions.

Focus on content and think more like a journalist, to uncover something in your industry that people care about.


 2:04 pm on Jan 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

There's good arguments to both sides of that argument. Case studies are helpful, but links lead to spamming.

I agree on uniqueness. My strategy is to read a variety of sources but not write the same stories. I usually write original reviews, original opinion pieces (i.e Why Facebook should hire teenage girls- original enough?) and tutorials. The trouble with original posts though is that they're better for social sharing than search traffic because of creative titling.

Good advice on carving a niche.

@Robert Charlton

Thanks for the links.


 3:30 pm on Jan 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

Don't tell Matt Cuts that, he's publicly stated that WW should allow specific examples
Yes, but this isn't Matt's site. They allow specifics in the offical Google forum, and just look at that place. What a dive.

 5:27 pm on Jan 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

michaelsitver, I have one blog that gets a good bit more than 100k monthly page views. After giving it some good content, I just made it easy for visitors to share it in social media by placing share buttons near each post. It hit the front page of Digg back when that meant something, LOL, and now Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, etc., keep the momentum going. Google also fell in line and decided to give it high rankings for lots of good terms.

Social media is better for some niches than others, but for blogs I think it's generally an excellent tool. It builds genuine human traffic, and over time I do believe Google picks up that traffic as a quality signal for your site and ranks it accordingly.


 6:56 pm on Jan 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

Every site, even the topest ones, has started from zero traffic.
I personally know one site which kicked off during 2009 with 20 articles. Not more. It was it's start.
Not so many have given a chance to it.
They were wrong. They haven't red these 20 articles.
It was written unique, different, inspirational and incomparable. That's why people liked it and Google followed the crowd.
It became a monster.
Today, this particular site get way more than 100k daily pageviews with no more than 1000 pages.


 9:01 pm on Jan 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

Yea but that's three years ago. Things change over time.

Getting a tech blog noticed nowadays is a tough row to hoe. You would really have to be different or be damned. Even original reviews - meh. It's pretty hard to say something that *nobody* has said before (unless you're really ranting about it - take it from me) Plus the people interested in that sort of thing may well be less likely to click on ads, and potentially more likely to employ ad blockers in their browsers.

All that said - that doesn't mean you can't make it into a ginormous success. But you'll need to establish yourself as an authority. If you are reviewing the latest gadget for watching TV on the internet, you'll do a lot better if people are looking for YOU and your opinion, rather than for a review specifically on that gadget (at least till you establish your authority)

So what you need to do is get yourself known. Go around on blogs and forums and comment intelligently. (NOT COMMENT SPAM) Don't put your website in your signature, but put it in your profile, so that when people are interested in finding out more about you, they can come back to your site. You don't even have to actively be promoting your site, heck, you don't even have to be the guy with all the answers - you just have to ask intelligent questions.

Write some guest posts (again - not spam - relevant, intelligent, unique and without a lot of link dropping) for other sites or news/tv sites that will let you mention your own site (ONCE) in the post or the profile. And if you are cited anywhere, make sure that shows up on your own site - testimonials, quotes, mentions, all that.

Sign up for one of those services that the journalists subscribe to, that lists yourself as a resource for when they need an authority for an article. Tech is probly pretty well covered, but it can't hurt.

Still can't get noticed? Narrow your niche. I think I talked about that in a post about branding here the other day. Even if your niche is *all* of tech, focus and make yourself the obvious expert on one small aspect of it. Then build on that. I have some sites that list a particular type of event (many people here know that, ork ork) If I went after ALL events, I'd have been obliterated by much bigger sites, but because I just stuck to this one, I get all kinds of auxiliary traffic now, because people noticed the other stuff I do. Now I outrank MUCH larger sites for much broader search terms, to the point they even call me up and bitch about it.

Link out judiciously and often. I don't solicit any inbound links, but I link out like crazy - but ONLY to reputable and relevant sources that I think will enhance my users' experiences. I'm reputable too, so nobody's ever asked me to remove a link, and a lot of times they come check me out and link back. I get some pretty authoritative links that way.

You need social media and sharing. No ifs ands or buts.

Make sure there's a signup on your site to get new posts in email. Then USE that email list to keep your name in front of people and establish yourself as a trusted resource. Maybe give them premium content.

Bottom line, you need to make it very obvious why people should seek out *your* opinion. Otherwise, you will get lost in the 10 gazillion tech blogs already out there. And when Google sees they are looking for *you*, you have a better shot of showing up than if you were tech blogger #38254 reviewing the latest product from Apple.

You're not going to bring a tech blog to prominence overnight. I'd faint with surprise if you could do it in a year (which is how long I give ANY new site of mine to build traffic before I even start paying attention to traffic). But *maybe* you can. If you think you have what it takes, then you need to get active and pull the traffic in, not wait for it to happen by or for Google to catch on.

None of this stuff is expensive, either, so a small blog should be able to do it. But it does take time, organization, a reasonable plan, managed expectations, and finally - ya have to DO it. That's the part that usually trips people up.


 9:25 pm on Jan 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

but I only get 250 unique visitors a day which translates to pennies on ads

I would try to find alternative advertising other than Google Adsense (assuming), and make sure your visitors are intimately interested in the products, information, and of course, the advertising you offer. With Adsense, you have very little control of what the visitor sees. They can kill the ads with plugins, they can use personalization that will show them ads from Jimmies BBQ where they went to lunch yesterday, etc.

I always try to put myself into the position of being a physical storefront. If you had a tech-store, and 250 people walked into your door every day looking for tech information, what would you do for them? How would you make money from them?

- Services? (can you charge an hourly rate for some kind of service?)
- Service CPA Offer? (can you sell the lead to someone else?)
- Actual products? (Can you drop ship the products you review?)
- Can you affiliate with a seller, or start your own Amazon store? (still works well in strict moderation)
- Expert buying guides? (Can you write expert level guides and put them behind a pay-wall?)

250 visitors, while it's not alot in the scheme of techcrunch, is enough to earn a steady income from. While we are not personally in the tech field, we've seen sites with -40 visitors a day (+250 daily pageviews) that reaches well into the $XXX monthly income bracket.

Instead of getting more visitors, make the most of the ones you have by getting the right ads in front of them.


 9:44 pm on Jan 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

There's also the conundrum of killing yourself to get traffic, only to send it somewhere else when they click on an ad.


 1:14 am on Jan 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

@mhansen - Great ideas! I will expand on idea 2.

I second mhansen on looking for alternatives to adsense. Depending on your how specific your niche is and maybe it doesn't need to be that specific, but you are probably too small for advertisers to come knocking on your door. However, you might be big enough (or have enough quality traffic) for them to bite on your pitch in terms of advertising and definitely for free products to review.


 6:12 am on Jan 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

you'll need to establish yourself as an authority.
Are you talking about site's authority or own authority.
From what I read, you mean both but more emphasis on building your own name brand (Which is kind of becoming a celebrity.)
In both cases, I think you have to earn/win it rather than working outside to get it.
However, talking about own name, I have seen many people who are doing very well on twitter and Facebook, they have "a recognized name", but most of them have an awful sites. Only tiny % get decent traffic.


 7:14 am on Jan 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

"None of this stuff is expensive, either, so a small blog should be able to do it. But it does take time, organization, a reasonable plan, managed expectations, and finally - ya have to DO it. That's the part that usually trips people up. "

I completely agree. Great advice. I find myself thinking about this site more than I should, and putting in late nights of work and research on how I can improve it. It's a big commitment for little payout right now, but it is fun, and hopefully I can figure it out.


 9:51 am on Jan 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

I started my tech site 3, years back. I work in the <widget> consultanty niche, im qualified in what I need to do to a fair standard ( and I put that on the site ). The site basically tells people how to <deal with the main aspects of widgets>.

ITS ALL ABOUT TRUST, year one like you I got a maximum of 400-500 visitors per day, year 2 around 800-900 ( bar a panda smack ), only now amd I getting "decent traffic" of around 2k per day and growing.

I did this by making sure my articles where technically solid and people knew that what I posted would do the job. I joined forums such as <a major widget manufacturer's forum> ( that allowed? ) and helped people with their issues, if they needed more advice, then I pointed them to my site. Same with other forums. You need to make your self a name to people.

The last 4-5 months i've noticed some of my incoming keywords are my name and my sites name, I think its starting to be a tiny brand.

Social is huge, the people who come to your site are targeted, ask them to share your articles as they will move in the same "circles" as you.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 10:23 pm (utc) on Jan 3, 2013]
[edit reason] removed specifics [/edit]


 1:29 pm on Jan 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

Are you talking about site's authority or own authority.
From what I read, you mean both but more emphasis on building your own name brand (Which is kind of becoming a celebrity.)
In both cases, I think you have to earn/win it rather than working outside to get it.

For something like what the OP described, it would be one and the same. Authority is authority, whether it's your own name on the masthead or some other name, you have to represent.

Earn/win vs working outside - you need both. You *have* to distinguish yourself from everyone else, and in 2013 you have to go out and GET your traffic. Very rarely is it just going to appear.

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