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How to Grow Search Engine Traffic to Your Blog

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).

search-engine-traffic-grow-is-slow.png

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:

search-engine-traffic-month.png

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.

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.

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Comments

  1. ANT says:

    Great info…and Rome wasn’t built in a day. I sometimes get frustrated when I look at the chart and graphics. I really don’t know why I’m trying to build traffic to my site…I don’t sell anything..yet I am compelled to keep doing it. Any suggestions?

    http://www.antcomic.com

    ANT

  2. Lance says:

    Thanks for the post. Just goes to show that the old adage still applies: “Slow and steady wins the race.”

    Thanks again.

    Lance
    http://www.homeeducateinthesunshinestate.com/blog/

  3. Pat says:

    Hi and thank you for the very inspirational post. It gives me some hope for the future! I’ll just keep writing content and cranking away.

    Thank you!

  4. Clint Says says:

    Thanks for the post. The road to building a successful blog is not unlike every other endeavor in life. Hard work and a continual effort.

  5. Aces says:

    I am giving away an iPhone and $500 on my blog to get visitors.

  6. @ ACES WOW, well that sure is a way to get visitors to your site. I completely agree with Clint, “hard work and a continual effort.

  7. This is the most honest, realistic and simple information about search engine traffic I have ever read. It has been writen in a very pedagogic way, very well built and ilustrated.
    Some may not accept it but this is the real truth.

  8. Scott says:

    Darren,
    Thanks for the encouragement. My site is also growing slowly.

  9. Nick says:

    I’m new to blogging. What is everyone using to track or count the number of unique visitors per day/month/whenever?

  10. I use Google analytics and statcounter (statcounter.com).
    The second one is more inmediate (you can even see the IP of the visitors) and free to see the last 500 page views. Anyway, it counts the unique visitors and pages visited for ever

  11. Joe says:

    Yeah. Patience is the key. I have been blogging for about 5 months now and I am just starting to receive some search engine traffic. I just hope it continues to grow now!

  12. Dave says:

    Great post. So analytics is useful even if you aren’t interested in bidding for certain placement via google adwords? Sounds like you have a grasp on things. Getting traffic is definitely an uphill battle. But having good, fresh original content helps when your site or blog gets indexed too. Thanks for sharing! Awesome stuff.

  13. Seth says:

    The trend chart really helps. I guess blogging and life are all about perspective. I too look at the month feature and think are things really getting better?

    After looking over the long run it does look nice! Thanks!

  14. Yogindernath says:

    Awesome…..I am already getting around 700 visitors per day and your tricks will help even more.. :)