Earlier today I had a debate via instant messaging with another blogger who told me that Search Engine Optimization doesn’t make any difference any more. They argued that you just need to provide good content and search engine rankings look after themselves.
While I see where the blogger comes from and I agree to a point that search rankings look after themselves when you build a useful blog – I’m also convinced that knowing some basic SEO and implementing it on a site can have a significant impact.
Check out this chart:
What you’re looking at above is the search engine referred traffic over the last two months on my digital photography forum. The blue line is the last month and the green line is the month before that.
You can see quite clearly that around 25th June something happened to change the amount of search engine traffic arriving on the forum.
What happened? I simply installed a plugin called VBSEO. It’s a plugin for VBulletin (the platform I use to run the forum) that simply makes the forum more search engine friendly. It does quite a few things including changing the url structure of the forum to include keywords rather than numbers.
Here’s when the plugin was installed:
Within a day or two we noticed search engine traffic increasing. In the period you see above search traffic is 35.98% higher than in the last month than the proceeding one (that includes the first half of the month when the difference wasn’t massive). In fact over the last week search traffic has been up by 69.66%!
Now it is worth saying that Vbulletin is not well set up for SEO in its default form (in fact it’s pretty bad) and that most blogging platforms are better optimized in their default form – however I think it’s pretty clear from the above graph that SEO does have an impact.
Further Reading: check out our Search Engine Optimization Tips for Bloggers for more specific details on how to optimize a blog for search engines.