I was chatting with a blogger yesterday about search engine traffic. They asked me how much traffic I got to my blogs from Search Engines each day and when I told them that it was between 6000-8000 unique visitors a day (to Digital Photography School) their reaction was:
‘Can you tell me how to get that much traffic to my blog from Google?’
Today I emailed them this screen shot from Google Analytics of the DPS blog (click to enlarge – note, this doesn’t include DPS forum traffic).
The chart above shows 18 months of search engine traffic to DPS. I can’t go back any further than this because I wasn’t using Google Analytics before January 2007 – but the if you imagine the line goes back on the same trajectory for a further 8 or so months you’ll have a fairly accurate graph in your mind.
The reason that I sent this chart was to highlight the gradual and steady growth of search engine traffic to the blog.
Apart from two spikes in traffic (can anyone guess what they were for?) the traffic growth has been incredibly steady and fairly predictable.
While some SEO types will promise you overnight traffic from Google if you let them build links for you – my experience of search engine traffic on quality blogs has been much more along the lines of what you see illustrated here.
Don’t Get Frustrated – Look at the Big Picture
It is easy to look at statistics of a blog and grow frustrated. For example lets look at my Search Engine Traffic to the DPS blog for the month of January this year:
Doesn’t look like much improvement (if any) does there? The fact is that when I do a ‘monthly view’ of any month since I started the graph always looks much the same – small rises and falls – but none of them seem to show much growth.
However when you look at them over time the trend is a gradual growth.
Why does Search Engine Traffic grow so steadily over time?
There are two main factors that contribute to the stead growth in search engine traffic that you see illustrated here:
1. Steady Addition of Content – every day I add a new post to DPS. This means that the archives are slowly growing over time with each post being a new potential pages for people to find when they search Google. There are currently just over 600 posts on the blog – if you were to chart their addition to the blog I suspect it’d be a very similar graph to the one you see above.
2. Gradual Growth in Incoming Links – over time DPS has gradually grown in it’s profile and popularity with other bloggers. While there are some posts that attract more incoming links than others – the growth in external links pointing at the blog has been something that has happened steadily over time. As a result the blog has growth in authority in the eyes of Google.
Other factors are also no doubt at play. The age of the domain, the interlinking of posts (internal links count for link building too), improvements in SEO etc all have played a part in the growth of search engine traffic. However it is interesting to note that despite me making a variety of SEO tweaks along the way that none of them have brought a marked increase in traffic to the blog.
While there’s a lot of strategies that you can employ to grow search engine traffic to your blog – the take home lesson is to keep adding quality content (the kind that people will want to share with others) to your blog. If you do this steadily over time you put yourself in a position to capitalize on that work.