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How to Get Search Engine Traffic to Your Blog

“What is the best way to get Search Engine Traffic to Your Blog?”

Last week I spoke at a Search Engine Marketing conference in Sydney about my experience of blogging. As part of the presentation I was asked to talk about my tips on getting traffic from search engines. I thought I’d share a few of the points I made here:

1. Search Traffic has been an important part of my blogging

The amount of traffic that the blogs I’ve worked on get from Search Engines varies considerably from blog to blog but on my two current blogs I get 25-35% of my traffic from Search Engines (largely Google).

Here’s a chart showing how Search Traffic fits into the mix of my photography blog traffic (from a couple of months back):

search-engine-traffic.png

You can see that Search Engine Traffic is not the biggest source of traffic (social media takes that award) but it is significant considering the site gets over a million visits a month.

2. Search Traffic isn’t Everything

Looking at the above chart you see that if I was to only ever focus upon Search Engine Traffic that I could potentially be loosing up to 67% of my blog’s traffic.

One of the main points I made yesterday is that people shouldn’t become obsessed by Search. While it has amazing potential – I find that sites grow best when they have a variety of sources of traffic (including from Search Engines).

Here is another chart from the presentation which shows the four main areas that I put effort into when thinking about driving traffic – Search, Social Media, Community and Content.

balance-in-search-engine-traffic.png

Search Engine Optimization, participating in social media, building community and producing content are four important elements of building a site that gets (and keeps) high levels of traffic. When a blogger becomes obsessed by any one of them (to the detriment of others) the site can suffer (or at least not realize its potential). When the four elements come together a blog can grow quite rapidly.

3. SEO is Important

Learning the basics of Search Engine Optimization is important as a blogger. While most blog platforms these days come fairly well optimized for Google there are always tweaks that can be made. For example on WordPress the title tags that are served up by default can be tweaked to not show your blog’s name on each post on your blog (or at least to put it after the post name).

There are also a lot of easy ways to optimize a post for search engine traffic while writing posts. For example formatting images well with SEO in mind and using good keywords in titles.

SEO really does make a difference and bloggers who learn the basics can see significant increases in traffic. It is well worth investing time into learning it.

Learn more SEO techniques in previous posts on ProBlogger:

Highly Recommended – Also check out Aaron Wall’s SEObook for some excellent training on SEO. Consider it an investment in learning how to drive traffic to your blog.

4. Great Content is More Important than SEO

I felt strange saying this at a conference where SEO companies were pitching for clients and talking about the importance of building links to a site – but in my experience the most important thing you can do to build your blog’s search engine traffic is to write the most amazing, useful, authoritative and inspiring content possible.

Here’s the question you need to be asking while writing each post:

How can I make this the type of post that people will want to share with others?

Search Engine authority has a habit of coming to those blogs who consistently produce content that enhances peoples lives, meets needs and solves problems. If you create something that does some of these things it is quite likely that the all important links that your blog needs to build search engine authority will come as people link up on their blogs, share the link on social messaging and bookmarking sites, email their friends etc

While great content doesn’t automatically equal lots of traffic – if you produce it consistently over time and actively participate in social media and within your blog’s niche it has a habit of building your traffic and search engine authority.

I’m not anti using link building strategies (ie asking people for links) but I’ve never really done it (I may have once or twice in the early days of my blogging). I know some bloggers who spend many hours each month ‘building links’ but wonder what would happen if instead they concentrated on using that time to build linkable content?

Perhaps I’m a little naive – but Google is in the business of ranking the best sites highest. They want to rank great content in the #1 position – so, my aim as a blogger is to write that kind of content.

Further Reading on Writing Great Blog Posts – How to Craft a Blog Post – 10 Crucial Points to Pause

How do you Get Search Engine Traffic To Your Blog?

There you have it my philosophy and approach to getting search engine traffic on blogs. What would you add?

Do you do much Search Engine Optimization? Is it something you put much time into or just let look after itself? What SEO techniques have been most effective for you?

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
Comments
  1. I dont know exactly what is SEO, but I agree to get more traffic is improve our post quality.
    but, if ony an ordinary amateur photograper like me, how to do that ? :)

  2. What I find most interesting about the article is the amount of traffic you find that comes from Social Media sites. In my experience most traffic comes from the search engines. However, the majority of our marketing efforts have been focused on link building and content enhancement.

  3. I get most of my traffic from Social Media and other referring sites. I should optimize more, since I don’t get more than 10 visits per day from search engines.

  4. Blogging usually needs some interaction with the people. Hence, Social media is an good target. However, if it comes to tutorial based Web site search engines will be the key role. You may get a targeted audience and hence preventing the bounce rate.

  5. Its, No Doubt that the Real traffic comes through Social Media , which according to me is largely a part of traffic generated from Social Networking and Bookmarking Sites…and mainly contributed by friends and their friends…

    But Somehow, I feel that even if “Content is King” … It has been seen how Sometimes a Great Writer can result a poorly visited blog due to lack of SEO. whereas a Poor Writer turns His/Her Blog into a Huge Success, thanks to SEO stuff and plugins.

    So I would always want people to Care more about SEO & Content , rather that Social Media.

    Coz I think Once someone Gets a High Search Ranking Blog people won’t bother if the content is Weak…

  6. What tool do you use to get pie chart for digital-photography-school?

    I want to know for my blog too.

    Thank you.

  7. Wow! I had no clue you got that much from Social media. 40% is huge. I think the key is balance. You never want to rely to heavily on anyone place to send you your traffic.

  8. Good point, indeed. Too many people worry about SEO when they speak about their blog and blogging is not about SEO. I smiled when I have seen your post, I had my post today exactly about why people should not stress too much about SEO for blogging, http://www.layoutgarden.com/200810/should-you-really-bother-with-seo-for-your-blog

    Anyway, you receive a very good percentage of traffic from search engines, I thought you have the most from social media and direct traffic.

  9. Nice Article Bro…i like that about this image ..ist very2 simple

  10. one more thing is that everytime you right:

    1. Bring a dictionary beside you
    2. Use keyword tools specially Adwords keyword tool

    Use every possible word you can use from your dictionary.

  11. Typo.. “right” to “write”

  12. What a refreshing article! Finally someone has spoken these words:

    “One of the main points I made yesterday is that people shouldn’t become obsessed by Search. While it has amazing potential – I find that sites grow best when they have a variety of sources of traffic (including from Search Engines”.

    I agree with this statement wholeheartedly. When I look at the stats on my blog, almost every visit is from a Social Networking site, usually Facebook.

    Good content + a little networking = results.

    Kathleen

  13. It is not important to have lot of back links to your site but important is content.

    Site should be optimizing for search engine but you should not always focus on search engine optimization rather you should focus on good content.

    Google will place your site on top if your content is what people are searching for.

  14. I am a new blogger and the above article in indeed very helpful.
    How can I increase traffic via social network?

  15. Darren; re-iterating your phrase ‘build linkable content’.

    In a nutshell I think that is the ‘silver bullet’ for traffic generation!

    Yes knowledge and utilization of SEO is important, as is linking to other sites and active participation and leveraging of social media. However none of these will rival ‘Great Content’.

    Great content is the ‘Golden Fleece’ of blogs and all content-related or driven sites. There must be a house first, before tenancy.

    For a new blogger like myself, the importance of great and relevant content cannot be over-emphasized.

  16. Nice, thorough analysis, as usual, Darren. I especially like the diagrams.

    As you suggest, taking care of the basics of SEO is important. But it’s really the content that is going to attract rankings and traffic in the long run.

    I explored the “Death of SEO” today on my blog, in fact.

    I think there’s a shift away from SEO technical tweaking toward better content that is soon going to start putting many put SEO consultants out of business.

  17. I think this is one of your few posts that you discussed about SEO. I must admit that what I only understand about this thing is keyword optimization and choosing the most appropriate post title in order for search engine to crawl it faster and more efficient.

    It feels funny that while I am browsing on top forums, I discovered that SEO seem to be like a religion. There are many interpretations that may confuse bloggers.

    Upon checking my stats some minutes ago, only 15.64% came from search engines while 65.63% came from referring sites and 18.83% came from direct traffic.

    This only shows SEO does not help me a lot.

    Based on what I understand, SEO is only a big help to blog topics that are really popularly being search. The last Beijing Olympics is a classic example that helped a lot of bloggers who blog about it. Afterward, nothing follows, nada, zero, whatever.

    Although there is a tool where we can check what keywords are mostly being searched, it is quite impractical to follow the trend as our readers will be confused about our chosen topic.

    In the end, I think there’s no harm in applying a bit of SEO by analyzing the words being used. But we must remember, our readers are humans and search engines are only helping out.

    Thanks and please bear with my long comment.

  18. These days I have seen quite a lot of bloggers who are trying to dominate popular search phrases to pull traffic to their blogs. Frankly speaking, most bloggers will never dominate popular search phrases. Top five blogs dominated those keywords already. Thus, you should not expect your blog to rank on the first page of search engine results for those specific keywords.

    Yet, the game is not over for the small and mid-sized bloggers. Thanks to a concept called the Long Tail, we can still drive good traffic from search engines without dominating the top keywords.

    Hittail.com lets you keep track of long tail phrases that bring traffic from search engine results. It is a very powerful free tool where you can keep track of what your readers are interested in.

  19. Not a day goes by that any serious website owner doesn’t wonder how to get more traffic to their site.

    This intense desire to generate more clicks makes virtually any online entrepreneur easy prey to many of the traffic schemes and scams that pervade the Internet like conmen on a carnival midway.

    Promises of fast traffic and big bucks often separate even the most savvy business person from their money because they want to believe the promises made by these traffic hucksters.

    However, rather than thinking “complicated equals better” in the traffic game, the best website traffic sources rate extremely easy to separate from the useless garbage traffic.

    Fact: “Good Traffic” equals “Targeted Traffic!”

  20. Amen to #4

  21. I think its particularly hard for a commercial enterprise to dominate a keyword or phrase. For example, the links found from “deliver pizza” include only 2 commercial enterprises out of 10 results. Of course, there were the six paid links up top and on the sides…

  22. really amazing post. excited to know that soical media has got this much impact in terms of bringing traffic.

  23. I totally agree about #4, but I also see real search traffic differences among both clients and friends. I know that some of these differences are attributable to time and effort spent on goal setting and SEO. In particular, I see standalone wordpress installs, when optimized, performing really well.

    We recently gave away a blog marketing and SEO checklist in honor of local bloggers in our North Carolina area; its free for anyone to use and linked from the home page of our site.

    Thanks for the great article.

  24. Great info for the seasoned blogger, but for those getting started, and not yet found…..
    Reading and more reading is helping me.
    thanks

  25. Great article. Pretty much sums up SEO traffic to a tee. You have a great website. Keep it up, I get a lot of my information and ideas from here.

  26. In spite of having a good content and implemented possible SEO(yes there is no end for making a blog a better seo fit and no sort of satisfaction in terms of seo that i have done the best) ,we have to wait for at least six months for a new blog to start attracting good traffic by any means like search engine and social media .

  27. I’m with you on spreading it all over, I also use some of the SEO wordpress plugins and ping each post. I’m huge on social media sites, I tie my blogs into my Facebook page as well as twitter and use a bunch of social bookmarking sites. But my favorite site for a huge bump on traffic is Stumbleupon. If I want a few 100 hits in an hour or so, I just stumble the site. As always content is king, and posting on fourms and other blogs is beneficial.

    http://www.ireviewiphoneapps.com
    http://www.ireviewtechnology4biz.com

  28. Eventually the guy with content takes over. If the content is rich and useful it will beat many flaws of a blog. I keep this in mind on our blog that deals with stock market and how to make money from various techniques. There is tons of good content.

    http://www.indexoptionstrading.alliancemtg.com

    I hardly use keyword rich posts and the blog still gets a steady stream of people digging each tip and tool out of it. they keep coming back and back.

  29. Just earlier on this week I was thinking to my self:

    “I wonder how long it will be before my time will be better spent writing content then building links because whenever I write content, my readers build links (more then I could have done in the time that I was writing)”

    I would love to get to this point with my blog, but untill then since it is still the early days link building is important.

  30. Sometimes it’s just great to touch the right topics and get good feedback/comments to it.

  31. Indeed, a very useful post. Thank you for your tips, I always wants more traffic from search engine as well as social media.

  32. Great information! I’m just getting started and was surprised to see so much traffic from social media…something I’ll have to look into

  33. As John Chow once said “Live by Google, Die by Google”. I give SEO due attention, but always try to remember that search engines are finnicky. One little tweak in their algorithms can mean your site goes missing for months! That has happened to me before.

    There ARE days when I wished I never started making money online, because now that I’m in it, it’s a constant race to keep up with what’s happening – not so much to be the top dog, but because you don’t want to get buried because you didn’t notice a change.

    But then, when you get that nice payout at the end of the month I say to yourself “Heck… this is great” and dig myself deeper into SEO. I figure right now, I’ve dug myself about halfway to China.

  34. Hey Darren,

    Another great article… I think that a balanced combination of SEO and high quality content is needed at the start of a new website, however, after the initial setup it is content that simultates site loyalty. With a set SEO structure in place you would simply update new posts by adapting:

    -Your Permalink/Url Structure
    -The Title/Description Tags
    -The strategic placement of your keywords, i.e. headings, symantic markup, alt tags, links etc…

    Content is KIIIIIING!

    Regards,

    Nick

  35. You will get everything if you have quality content. Content is king.

  36. I don’t know but I do get more traffic from live.com instead of google on my blog

  37. Well I am relatively new to blogging so I am just learning the ropes at the moment. It is true that content is import though because that’s what gets people coming back to your blog. It is also what is going to get you special mention.

    If someone has a good blog then I will most likely put a link to it on my own blog. If a blog is just rubbish plr crap then I am hardly going to show any association with that blog regardless of how seemingly popular it is to Google. I would not want to be tarred with the same brush. I suppose that does depend on how good the plr content is though lol.

  38. Agreed great content is bigger then anything like SEO or other tactics. Sooner or later the word gets out and a good content site is bound to be successful.

  39. I agree that content is king and one should never customise content to make money or just to drive empty traffic.

    Instead focus on content, write becuase you want to share and then work on making your blog popular.

  40. Hi dareen,
    You this post is too much valuable for all the Webmasters & Bloggers.Because if we want more traffic then we have to follow these steps.More traffic more money.You can visit my blog by clicking on TechBlog which is increasing day by day & only 15 days old.

  41. It won’t matter if what you say is great if no one reads it. you have to connect and build a network of people who you respect and who respect what you have to say. BTY, please write comments that make sense. I have had people say something like, “Hey, liked your post. Don’t for get to stop by.” This does nothing more than annoy people and let everyone know that you are trying to buy your love. Don’t be that person.

  42. I agree content will govern SEO rankings in SERP. Bare in mind search engines are ultimately looking to find quality links, you can do this by writing quality content! people seem to forgot this and just try and ‘optimise’ what they have, it can be about trail and error and find out which pages rank better with different body copy on them, try it for yourself its can yeild very interesting results!

  43. my blog is very – very low traffic from search engine, please help to give suggestion to increase traffic in my blog

  44. Hi. Content is absolutely king and vital in regards to SE traffic, useability, converting visitors, making your site sticky, etc. This site is an example of that! Great content… In any case, though I do agree with the SEOs that say links are important. In reality, if your site is about a service or a small business though you can use links to boost rankings instead, especially if you are targeting very specific phrases. I have done seo projects for service oriented websites that simply have no content and won’t ever have any content. In those cases, your only way to increase rankings significantly is through link building. :-)

  45. Another great post Darren. I absolutely agree that content is king, and that applies to every aspect of building a blog.

    All the other techniques seem important, but what’s the point if you’re not producing great content? Isn’t that the reason we blog in the first place?

    oh yeah… the money thing ; )

  46. thanks, I really need information about how to manage traffic…your posting really support me. no progess in my web traffic…by inspiration from your articles above….I will start agaion to buid the traffic for my web….

  47. Great post! My question is how do you speed up the process? I know it’s a process, but are there any shortcuts?

  48. I am back….you create 33% traffic from searchengine…..very great, my traffic really low…I already use little ppc….do you have some advice…thanks

  49. I agree 100% – Quality content is king and much more important than SEO itself.

  50. I think the comment about knowing your target market is important. My blog is about a niche in enterprise software, a good percentage of my traffic comes from commercial sites who reference what I have said about their company in their ‘in the news’ sections.

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