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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.

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Comments

  1. seobro says:

    Posting a video on Youtube is a great way to get traffic and exposure. Make sure to add a link so that people can click back to your blog.

  2. Refinancing says:

    I totally aggree that quality content is king if you have unique and qulity content you obviously get the ranking in search engine

  3. Thank you guys so much for all the ideas! I’ve been hopelessly lost about all of this for months now even though I have a helper. I find when he tells me things to try it goes way over my head. It was really helpful to have it broken down for me.

  4. Rob says:

    Where does great content come from? Ideas. Where do ideas come from? Inspiration. This is what’s true for me. I have to be inspired to write content.

  5. Thanks,i will now think in tems of social media traffic. HECK with the changin’ algorithm stuff. cheers b

  6. Dan says:

    Truth be told, fully agree with the article.

    But, i must say being an avid SEO fanatic, It’s still a good idea to glance at the Google Keyword Tool or the Google Insights for search before you post. Nothing wrong with being on topic on something people want to hear about.

    If you’re publishing something online, at least people will find it that way.

  7. Abs says:

    I have only been concentrating on improving traffic via Search engines now since I have fully exploited other sources. Very difficult for me to generate traffic from this source though!

  8. christian says:

    So there is no site you can submit your link and BAM, instant google traffic? Well, until then I will just have to keep creating quality posts, tweet, and wait….

  9. jonykay says:

    Thank you guys so much for all the ideas! totally aggree that quality content is king if you have unique.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.
    It’s useful.

  10. KeegsMom says:

    It’s a Catch 22: yes, good content should be king, but Google will only rate a blog HIGH if there are many LINKS TO IT. Am I wrong on that? Linking is essential?

    I’m very frustrated… my blog (7mos old) is growing slowly, but since the content is all about KIDS’ MOVIES, you’d think that searching “kids movies” in Google would get me a BIT of traffic, but it doesn’t. My search traffic comes from searches that relate specifically to titles or things I’ve posted about. I even started a Weekly Classic Kids’ Movie post, but I’ve not yet seen results from it.

    Anyone have any ideas I’m overlooking? Many thanks!

    THERE’S MORE TO KIDS’ MOVIES THAN DISNEY!
    KIDSFLIX dot blogspot dot com

  11. PracticalGuy says:

    Thanks, Darren Rowse!

    That’s wonderful. I like your idea about community. That’s what I look for. Thanks.

  12. Dave says:

    Thanks a lot Darren, I have taken your advice and incorporated it into our blog plans. Knowing all of this before we get started will really be a big help.

    thanks

  13. Uttam Pegu says:

    I think, type of visitor is also important. Search engine Visitors normally look for some answer, solutions, while visitors from referral sites visit for further reading or just for curiosity. So I feel Search Engine traffic are more important. May be it depends on the type of blog too.

  14. Finance Guy says:

    Yes.Social bookmark is very important.Once shared by many people, you can get tons of traffic.
    BTW,thanks for other ways.

  15. RV Insurance says:

    We tried to start a blog a while ago but I kept on forgetting to update it, writing is not my strong suit. Are there writers who will do a blog freelance?

  16. Justin Cyrus says:

    SEO is not magic, it is not science, there is no secret and yes everyone can do SEO in theory (Like everyone can become a marketer, physician, cook or whatever by studying and developping the relevant skills).

    Concerning Blog optimization there is not much to say for the technical part, as blog structures are quite standardized, well built and most of time well coded (use of semantic markup, dense network of links…)

    There are 3 axes to SEO : structure, content, and popularity. The structure is OK for blog, so SEO for blogs consist mainly in working on the 2 others : content and popularity. But it is not easy to write, it must be learnt. And it is not easy to develop popularity. In fact SEO is not about tricks, it is about quality and accessibility. Quality of structure, quality of content, and popularity.

  17. bolerochwazi says:

    I have tried almost any and everything including google friends connect, but nothing seem to be working. I am going to try what you say and see what happen.

  18. Hey Darren,

    I was just wondering if you find link bait to be a worthwhile technique? and whether you have had any success with it in the past? I know you are an authority figure within the ol’ blogosphere and was wondering whether you had any opinions on the matter. I know mr will reynolds over at Seer is a firm believer in attracting links through giveaways etc.

    I would be interested to know your opinion,

    Tom