How I Lost 60% Of My Blog Traffic

November 19, 2008

What would you do if you lost 60% of your blog traffic? It happened to me last week. Ok, so I didn’t lose 60% of my total blog traffic.

But I lost 60% of the traffic for a keyphrase that usually brings me a decent amount of traffic to my blog.

It was my own fault and I want to share my mistake with you, to help you avoid losing blog traffic too.

Blog Traffic: Why The First Page Of Google Isn’t Enough

If you’re on the first or second page of Google for some less popular longtail keyphrases, that get a reasonable amount of searches; they’re probably not bringing you much blog traffic. So when you’re optimizing a blog post for those type of searches, you really need to try your best to get the number one slot, at the top of the first page of Google. It’s not that difficult and it’s worth the extra effort.

I was at the top of the first page of Google for one of those type of keyphrases, so I was getting quite a lot of blog traffic for that keyphrase each month. Trouble was, because I’d got quite complacent about staying at the top of Google for that particular keyphrase, I never noticed something was amiss. Then the Google traffic I received for that keyphrase took a huge dive.


Being 2nd On Google Means A Massive Drop In Blog Traffic

I checked to see why my blog traffic had dropped for that keyphrase. And I wasn’t surprised to find that I’d been pushed to the number 2 slot. What did shock me was the amount of difference that one position made - I’d lost around 50% of my blog traffic for that keyphrase. A couple of days later, I was pushed to number 3 position, resulting in a traffic loss of around 60% for that keyphrase.

So When That Happens - Can’t You Just Tweak Your Blog Post To Get The Traffic Back?

You could tweak the particular blog post, to get your number one position back. I did that and Google already crawled that page and moved my post back up to number 2. But it’s far easier to stay on top, once you’re already there. So, it’s better to keep an eye on the blog posts that are bringing you the most traffic.

And at the same time, you can keep an eye on your competitor’s posts, directly beneath yours and keep tweaking those posts, so they can’t push you off the top.

You Really Do Get A Lot More Blog Traffic By Doing This

It really is worth tweaking your posts to get a number one postion on Google for particular phrases. The difference it can make to your blog traffic is significant. For just one fairly unpopular keyphrase, linking to one blogpost, you can get hundreds, or even thousands of visitors, to your blog each month, if you’re in the number one position.

But if you were at the bottom of the first page, or the top of the second page, you’d probably only get a handful of visitors to your blog as a result.

Optimizing Your Blog To Get More Traffic Isn’t Complicated

Optimizing your blog to get more traffic isn’t complicated - if it was, I couldn’t do it, as I probably have the learning capacity of a 3 year old when it comes to technology. It isn’t even hard work. To be honest I do far less than I should.

In fact, I would normally recommend a product I used a good while ago, because I was too lazy to read another thing about SEO.

But some of my readers kept harping on about how great SEO School is and eventually I was forced to read it. And I’m glad I did. The other SEO book I recommended was good but it read more like a textbook. Also, it is no longer available in book form - you have to pay a monthly membership fee and at $100 a pop, it may not be worthwhile unless you intend to become a full time SEO, or your job is in SEO.

So I believe that SEO School is a better option. It has great information on search engine optimization and it’s a heap more fun to read. Also, it is around the same price as a regular hardback book.

If you want to get more traffic to your blog and attract visitors who will actually click on your ads, you’d be an idiot not to check out SEO School and learn how to optimize your site properly.

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Comments

24 Responses to “How I Lost 60% Of My Blog Traffic”

  1. Stacey / Create a Balance on November 19th, 2008 9:56 pm

    Thanks for the great reminder. I’m going to do some tweaking with a few of the keyphrases that bring me traffic.

    Stacey / Create a Balance’s last blog post..My First Video Blog! Take Back Your Life Episode #1 - Assessing Your Actions

  2. Lin Burress @Telling It Like It Is on November 19th, 2008 10:15 pm

    Cath, your suggestions about tweaking blog posts is very true. I’ve done this a number of times on archived posts and it has worked very well for keywords I target. Being the number 1 search result for search engine traffic has immense advantages vs. being further down on the page or worse yet, on page two or three. SEO is extremely important for anyone wanting to make money online with their website or blog.

    Lin Burress @Telling It Like It Is’s last blog post..Guy Finley: The Secret of Letting Go

  3. Vered - MomGrind on November 19th, 2008 10:38 pm

    I used to shrug off SEO and see it as over-hyped or as a waste of time. Not anymore.

    Vered - MomGrind’s last blog post..War Is Ugly. It Hurts People.

  4. Melissa Donovan, Copywriter on November 20th, 2008 12:06 am

    SEO School is an excellent resource, especially for people who aren’t into the techy side of blogging. Staying on top of Google is pretty time consuming though, especially when your blog has hundreds of posts and many of them rank well. I can only imagine the tools that are going to be hitting the market to manage keywords and rank!

    Melissa Donovan, Copywriter’s last blog post..Hot December Special and Sticky Business

  5. Barbara Swafford - Blogging Without A Blog on November 20th, 2008 12:13 am

    Hi Catherine - Again, you’ve provided valuable information for us bloggers. Thank you. On one of my blogs I don’t use SEO too often, but get some search engine traffic, but on my second blog I do try to concentrate on SEO as I have it monetized.

    Barbara Swafford - Blogging Without A Blog’s last blog post..When The Green Eyed Monster Strikes In Blogosphere

  6. Kathy @ Virtual Impax on November 20th, 2008 12:49 am

    Cath,

    You make it look “easy” and “effortless”. It reminds me of watching a swan glide across the lake. Above the water, effortless grace. Beneath the surface, furious activity.

    Thanks for sharing a “behind the scenes” secret that most “gurus” don’t talk about!

    Kathy @ Virtual Impax’s last blog post..Steps to Starting a Small Business: #6 Setting Your Rates

  7. John Hoff - eVentureBiz on November 20th, 2008 3:11 am

    Hi Cath. So of course I’m curious. What did you do to get your ranking back up in Google? What kinds of tweaks?

    I too read SEO school, but I thought it was SEO Ninja? Am I confused? It reads real well for people who are afraid of SEO.

    John Hoff - eVentureBiz’s last blog post..Do You Have A SEO Question?

  8. Naomi Dunford on November 20th, 2008 4:14 am

    Thanks, Cath. I really appreciate that and I’m glad it helped. Here’s to ass-kicking traffic.

    Naomi Dunford’s last blog post..If You Build It, They Won’t Come

  9. Alex Fayle | Someday SyndromeI on November 20th, 2008 5:42 am

    *note to self* finish reading and implement SEO Ninja School…

    Alex Fayle | Someday SyndromeI’s last blog post..Can You Just Enjoy a Moment?

  10. Hunter Nuttall on November 20th, 2008 6:45 am

    Courtney Tuttle said that the #1 result in Google can get 40% of the total search traffic for that phrase. That shows how big the difference is between #1 and the rest.

    I found that surprising though. I usually don’t click on the #1 result unless it’s Wikipedia, because sometimes some really awful pages get the highest rankings!

    Hunter Nuttall’s last blog post..What’s Holding You Back?

  11. Kelly@SHE-POWER on November 20th, 2008 6:50 am

    Hmm, I’m one of those idiots who doesn’t use SEO at all. Mainly because I’ve seen so much bad SEO writing that my writer’s pride just wouldn’t let me consider targeting keywords and optimising my site. But lately I’ve been considering that I’m really behind the times for maximising my traffic opportunities. And have a lot of non bloggers as readers, so it makes sense that I should try and pull in more people from Google.

    Learning something about SEO is definitely on my To Do list. Though I never would have guessed dropping from #1 to #2 could make such a difference. Thanks for the eye opener.

    Kelly

    Kelly@SHE-POWER’s last blog post..New Look SHE-POWER, and Reader Help Required!

  12. Evelyn Lim on November 20th, 2008 8:15 am

    I probably should get back to doing more SEO articles. With what you say here, it makes perfect sense to have a number of such keyword optimised articles.

    Evelyn Lim’s last blog post..10 Signs Of A Fake Psychic

  13. wilhb81 on November 20th, 2008 9:03 am

    WoW, Cath. I have learned something good after I read your article…

    Honestly, I didn’t pay much attention on the keywords before, but I think I should do it, if I want to have more quality traffic to my blog!

    wilhb81’s last blog post..Make Some Comparison Before You Paying Off!

  14. cathlawson on November 20th, 2008 10:29 am

    Hi Stacey - it’s well worth taking the time to do it.

    Hi Lin - that is so true. I’m on page 2 for a few phrases and I just keep tweaking away, because page 2 brings me barely any traffic for them.

    Hi Vered - I remember a good while ago, you weren’t keen on using SEO. I’m glad you saw the light.

    Hi Melissa - You were one of the people who recommended SEO School to me. Some decent tools to manage keywords etc would be useful.

    I used to use one - but it was really expensive to buy initially then, you had to pay a monthly fee on top of that. Plus they were using a lot of spyware and stuff on my computer, so I scrapped it.

    Hi Barbara - I know a lot of folk who visit your main blog are bloggers, or want to be bloggers. But it’s still worth you using SEO. Remember, there will be a lot of folk not already involved in social networks etc. who want to learn how to start a blog.

    LOL Kathy - A lot of those gurus that tell folk not to use SEO and just write content, are optimizing their posts more than anyone. They’re just worried that folk will realise that and steal their keyphrases.

    Hi Naomi - You’re welcome - thanks for writing a great book. A couple of people who visit this blog have a copy of your book and the other one and they both agree that yours is better.

    Hi Alex - It will definitely help you a lot. There’s bound to be a whole heap of keyphrases you could be using to attract people to your niche.

    Hi Hunter - 40% is a huge amount. As you say though, some of the number one sites suck. You have to be careful what you write in the post description and make sure it’s something that folk want to click on.

    Hi Kelly - do read Naomi’s book. Using SEO won’t harm your writing. And you could definitely get yourself a heap more traffic.

  15. cathlawson on November 20th, 2008 10:36 am

    Hi John - sorry I missed you. Before you tweak a post - open 2 seperate windows and in the Google search results, click the cached page of your own page and the page that you’re competing against.

    That will highlight how many times both sites have used the search phrase. When you’re tweaking remember - it’s not just your post Google are looking at. It’s also the comments section and the rest of the page. Don’t forget to use the keyphrase in some of the links to related posts also.

    Re - the book - you’re quite right, I think it’s called Ninja SEO School.

    Hi Evelyn - it’s definitely worth it. Tweaking a few articles could bring you a heap more traffic.

    Hi Wilhb - You should definitely try it. It’s really worth reading the book to get you on the right track.

  16. Nicole on November 20th, 2008 1:35 pm

    Thanks for yet another kick in the butt.
    SEO is something I totally neglect. I should do it at least for two of my blogs, …
    Oh well.
    I will check out that link though :)
    Thanks!

  17. Jannie on November 20th, 2008 2:44 pm

    I KNEW I shouldn’t have taken “bra-flinging” out of my meta tags that one day last week! We all know at least 10 people day on with world wide web search for that.

    But seriously, I am lucky to be attending the Austin Wordpress Meet-up this coming Tuesday night (exciting,) and I am going pick somebody’s brain about key words and how to do them for my blog and all that related stuff. Thanks!

    Jannie’s last blog post..A good poem

  18. Brad Shorr on November 20th, 2008 3:35 pm

    Cath, thanks for the book tip. I need to read it!

    Brad Shorr’s last blog post..Waiting for Goodbye

  19. John Hoff - eVentureBiz on November 20th, 2008 5:48 pm

    That’s a good idea, Cath. However, my competition is so stiff for my actual landing page I want it - it can be tough. I just did a check and the key phrase isn’t mentioned much on some of my competitors - like WordPress.com LOL.

    They just have such a high PR. But that’s why we have PPC, right?

    John Hoff - eVentureBiz’s last blog post..Do You Have A SEO Question?

  20. Davina on November 20th, 2008 8:33 pm

    Hi Cath. Oh, the power of words! One phrase cost 60% of traffic. Unbelievable.

    I’ve started to focus on using better keywords in my titles, thanks to Kathy at Virtual Impax, but my focus on not on traffic right now. My blog averages 50 visitors a day and it’s not monetized. I still can’t figure out my PR of 4 because of that.

    Davina’s last blog post..Small Steps To Empower Your Attitude

  21. Cath Lawson on November 20th, 2008 9:37 pm

    Hi Nicole - it really does help. I used to try to write titles that would stand out in the beginning, because I’d read posts advising me to do so. But titles that aren’t relevant to your content just don’t attract folk who are looking for what you have.

    LOL Jannie - I’m picturing all these bra flingers here.

    It’s nice that you have folk living so close you can meet up with. I would be pushed to find one person in a twenty mile radius who’d ever heard of it.

    Hi Brad - you should, it’s worth it.

    Hi John - haven’t you tried ranking for some long tail keywords too? It can take a long time to get listed higher up. It doesn’t really have a lot to do with PR though.

    I’ve found it harder to compete against anything above PR6, because they seem to rank high without having the keyphrase in the title. But below that, it doesn’t seem to make a lot of difference.

    Hi Davina - Your PR doesn’t have much to do with the traffic coming in, it has to do with the links coming in. I’m going to write a post about it soon.

    Personally, I think it’s a sucky system, as I link out to a lot of folk properly and they wind up with a PR4. And folk link back to my posts with my name, which is about as much use as a kick up the arse and I get a PR3.

    Cath Lawson’s last blog post..How I Lost 60% Of My Blog Traffic

  22. Play Games Win Prizes on November 21st, 2008 12:56 am

    OOoooh the big G is evil. They knocked everyone’s keywords around this month. Pinky Arcade lost a whole lot of good keywords and boy did traffic drop :( I wonder how people like John Chow are doing.

    -Mike

  23. Cath Lawson on November 21st, 2008 1:10 am

    Hi Mike - I didn’t realise Google had been shuffling things round that much.

    Last time I checked John Chow still wasn’t back on the front page of Google for his own name, so I don’t know how he’s ranking for everything else.

    Sorry Pinky Arcade took a big knock. It seems like a pretty good site. Did you build it from scratch or did you buy it?

    Cath Lawson’s last blog post..How I Lost 60% Of My Blog Traffic

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