If you subscribe to our ‘Browser Media Bytes’ newsletter, you will have read my thoughts about the potential that blogs offer in terms of attracting search engine traffic in the last edition. (If you don’t subscribe, then you are missing out and should head on over to the sign up page! Every other month and we promise not to spam you.)
The sharper eyed amongst our regular readers will have noticed that we added the ‘author’ to each post on this blog last night – we should practice what we preach and expect to see more contributions from everyone in the team over the coming months.
That has got me looking through web stats with more interest today and I have, yet again, been struck by just how much of an impact our blog has had on our own traffic since we started giving it the attention that it deserved approximately 1 year ago.
This site has always been powered by WordPress – it has been through a few re-skins over the years but the engine has always been WordPress and it has therefore always been a blog (especially in the ‘old days’ when WordPress didn’t offer as much as a CMS). If truth be told, we only really started using the blog properly last year, when we injected more effort into content creation and allowed users to comment.
Pictures speak louder than words, so here is a graph showing organic search traffic to our site since Q1 2005:
It is not hard to see the increased volumes of traffic since last October, when we made the concious effort to do more with our blog. Whilst blogs are arguably one of the most over-hyped aspects of SEO (a blog is just a publishing platform – it is the quality and frequency of content that determines the success), it is rewarding to see graphs such as this to show how the extra effort can lead to more exposure and search engine traffic.
What is this extra traffic worth?
We are the first to point out that traffic for traffic’s sake is pointless and we are always more interested in the quality of the traffic rather than the quantity.
In many respects, you could argue that the vast majority of the additional traffic is pointless. It is often overseas and bounce rates are pretty high for our blog content (which is not unusual, especially when Google news is one of the top sources of traffic).
As the graph above clearly shows, our traffic had been fairly flat for a number of years, but we ranked well for phrases that we wanted to rank well for and accepted that those phrases had low search volumes (but very good conversion rates for us).
If I am being brutally honest, I can’t point to examples where we have definitely won business as a direct result of a blog post, so is it just a load of b(o)logs and a waste of time?
I don’t think that it is. Not only do we enjoy keeping on top of what is going on in the wonderful world of online marketing and commenting on industry news, but business is going well for us and it is hard to avoid the gut feel that the extra traffic is somehow contributing to this success through (vastly) increased brand awareness.
Above all, I believe that the extra ‘social signals’ that we are now attracting will be key to securing rankings for those keywords that do directly bring us business. Have a look at Tom’s post on securing SEO graduate jobs and you can see a decent level of social interaction – nothing to set a house on fire, but much better than nothing at all.
Domain authority is absolutely vital and the additional noise that our blog generates can only help. Is a blog the answer to everything? Absolutely not. Can it help improve search engine traffic for a website if you devote sufficient effort to maintaining it? Absolutely.
Of course, if you don’t have the time / resource to maintain your blog, please feel free to contact us to see if we can help. We can’t promise the same graph as above, but we can try mighty hard to deliver similar growth.