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More blog traffic = less homepage (converting) traffic - Why?

     
6:35 pm on Oct 19, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Strange case. A client that we are carrying content marketing campaign is doing amazingly well in organic traffic for the blog posts. Many of the blog posts/research pieces are getting lots of link and some of the blog posts are now getting tons of traffic. A few have made it to an answer box on the results. However, we noticed an almost direct correlation between the explosion in traffic for the blog posts to the decline in traffic to the homepage (from money terms) and therefore conversions. Here are the rough stats since July:

July:
758 - homepage
400 - blog posts
88 - conversions

Aug:
708 - Homepage
800 - Blog posts
71 - conversions

Sept:
587 - Homepage
1200 - blog posts
61 - conversions

Oct: (extrapolated)
360 - Homepage
2000 - blog posts
34 - conversions

Slightly frustrating as the site is completely 100% white hat now. Great content, lots of amazing links from many major newspapers. Most links from newspapers/online publications are pointing to the blog posts they are referring to so not homepage although quite a few are homepage.

Any ideas? Its almost like the site has been assigned some sort of quota and the blog traffic is not leaving any left for the homepage.
9:19 pm on Oct 19, 2016 (gmt 0)

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How rapidly are those new blog posts being written and added to the site? Or to put it another way, has the overall size of the site greatly increased during those four months?
9:27 pm on Oct 19, 2016 (gmt 0)

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It is always easier to rank well for a specific area of a topic. For example, it will be easier to rank for "green car" as opposed to "car" By being specific, it is easier to target the exact term, as opposed to a broad term. Are your blog posts perhaps addressing this issue by providing the end user with the perfect page for their query, therefore they have no need to visit the homepage?

Mack.
12:43 am on Oct 20, 2016 (gmt 0)

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This was my experience with a single content site that I started my career with. Having more traffic in one part of site always took away from another part 100% of the time. It was so apparent that whenever I created a new popular piece of content, my existing content immediately suffers a 10~30% traffic decline to reach a similar amount of average traffic. Quota is there by design, engineers may call it dampening or whatever, but it does look and feel like a quota, so I will call it a quota.

I was not able to break my quota or glass ceiling for 6 month ~ 1 year, even when my content had doubled during that time, I do not link build (and that's probably why, I accept it, I'd rather spend my time create awesome stuff rather than go around begging links. It's just a shame that my audience do not really link). At the end I took a different route and broke up my single content site where it was logical. As a result my overall traffic as a network of sites could grow when smaller sites were able to shine in their own light.

It seems that the client is getting more traffic for the site overall. Is there anyway to cross sell those blog post traffic? It seems that Google may be sending more "casual" users to the site, expecting the site to convert less % of that traffic. But because of lowered conversion % expected, more traffic quota was given. If you could just find a way to boost a couple % of those blog traffic, the client would win big time.

And to add, the blog post may be capturing some of the long tails that would have been directed to home page (if there were not a blog post on the site). Those long tails would have been converting clicks, but since they end up being on the blog portion of the site, they became lost opportunities.
12:31 pm on Oct 20, 2016 (gmt 0)

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@Aristotle We only put up around 2 or 3 per month. These take quite a long time to produce and normally involve quite a lot of graphics/svg etc so they are not mass produced. So the answer is no, the overall size has not massively increased but maybe some sort of tipping point in proportion between blog content and commercial content? Another thing to note is that the subject are loosely related to the subject. I.e lets for example say the site is about Second hand cars (its not) then we are writing about subjects relating to new cars/old cars/transport/bikes/rules of the road/driving fines etc. rather than just about second hand cars. So could it be that we lost some of the 'focus' that we had with Google originally?

@mack good theory but does not apply in this case as the blog posts are attracting traffic from people who are not necessarily the target audience of the actual commercial part of the site. Using my example above in my reply to Aristotle, if the site is trying to sell second hand cars, the traffic to the blog are from people wanting to read about subjects like "the city with the most parking fines" etc. I would presume the % of people arriving at the blog who actually want to buy a second hand car is minimal.

@frankleeceo Again, a fair assumption but Analytics is saying otherwise. The traffic coming to those blog posts are definitely reaching it from search terms that are unrelated to the "money terms".

I'm going to try and increase the internal linking from these blog posts to the homepage using some commercial heavy anchors (like its 2002!) and see what happens. Will do a few to begin with.
1:26 pm on Oct 20, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Shai --
In Google Search Console, you might want to take a look at the Google Index --> Content Keywords section. Supposedly the words at the top of this list are the site's strongest keywords for ranking purposes.

Possibly a few keywords from the new blog posts have taken over some of the top spots in the list and pushed the commercial keywords downward.

But I should add that I've sometimes seen some strange (or surprising to me) ordering in this list, so it can be hard to interpret, but might be worth a look anyway.
1:39 pm on Oct 20, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Let's be positive as many would love the additional traffic, however, conversions are more important. Apart from the answer box, is the blog being featured somewhere else? Dare I say it, is it being framed?