So this blog has been effectively dormant since early May when I started working on my book. I’ve left a few posts here and there, but my volume has definitely fallen off a cliff.
Which would lead you to believe that my blog’s traffic should have been down this summer as well, right? Surprisingly, it was not:
This graph is the weekly traffic here for 2012. The blue X marks the week at the end of April/beginning of May where I announced I was working on Think Like a Rock Star. There was a sharp decrease the following week in traffic, but after that traffic has been more or less flat for the rest of the summer.
Which doesn’t make sense, because obviously if I have been posting less, then referral traffic from social sites like Twitter and Facebook should be down as well, right?
Here’s referral traffic from Twitter this year:
And here’s referral traffic from Facebook for this year:
Both Twitter and Facebook referrals spiked a bit in July because of this post, but other than that both sources have been slowly decreasing in the amount of traffic they send here.
So if overall traffic here has been flat this summer, and referrals from social media sites are down, that has to mean that another source of traffic has increased, right?
Yes, here’s how search traffic has done here this year:
As you can see, search traffic has had slow and steady growth throughout the year, and that continued throughout the summer even though the number of new blog posts I published here decreased dramatically. In fact, the increase in volume of search traffic was enough to effectively negate the loss I saw in referral traffic from Twitter and Facebook.
But here’s the thing about search traffic: It can take a long time to cultivate a blog that can give you a solid volume of search traffic. Here’s the monthly volume of search traffic over the lifetime of this blog:
The total volume of search traffic here for my first full month of posting in June of 2009 was 85 visits.
Last month I had 8,261 visitors arrive here from search. That’s over 8,000 new monthly visitors in 3 years from ONE traffic source!
But the kicker is, notice that it took me approximately a year of blogging here before I started to see any real gains in search traffic volume:
June 2009 – 85 visits
June 2010 – 694 visits
June 2011 – 3,681 visits
June 2012 – 6,553 visits
The real search traffic benefits started kicking in after I had been blogging 12-18 months.
So if you are trying to figure out if your blogging efforts are paying off, don’t just look at raw traffic numbers, drill down and see how each traffic source is moving. For example, I now know that my search traffic is going to continue to rise even if I post less. But now that I will be posting more in the Fall, that means referral traffic from social sites like Twitter and Facebook will increase as well, which means overall blog traffic will grow as a result.
If you’ve been blogging for over a year, what have you seen from your search traffic? Has it increased? And if so, how long did you have to blog before you started to see that increase?
Very interesting stuff! What were the keyword that drove the most referral traffic for you ? Are they ones you expected or surprised with the results?
Mack Collier says
Thanks Josh, the top keyword phrase referral for my blog right now is ‘I want to write a book’, and I wrote a blog post a couple of months ago entitled ‘So you want to write a book? Here’s 10 things you need to know to get published’ – http://mackcollier.com/so-you-want-to-write-a-book-heres-10-things-you-need-to-know-to-get-published/
I specifically picked that title because I assumed a lot of people would be googling ‘i want to write a book’. It helps to think like the people that will be searching 😉
Ayi Bunbun says
Talking about visitor traffic I wish ask you a question. Have you analized that the visitors is the real visitor?
I have found that some of my blog visitors are bot. Yeah bot visitors, They come from Ukrain,Sweden and USA. I think they come via backlink or such. They come every day but they read the same tags for weeks even months. For that reasons I name them as “bot visitor”:-)
Mack Collier says
Ayi that is a good reminder, you will actually get some visitors that are bots from Google. The more often you post to your blog, the more often Google will send spiders to your blog to check for new content. It’s ultimately a good thing because it helps your content get seeded in search results faster.
Eric Wittlake says
Although I’ve continued publishing, I have seen a very significant rise throughout the year. About 12 months after I started, my search traffic jumped significantly, from “it doesn’t matter” to “wow, that’s my primary driver” in a span of about 2 months. Today, my weekly search traffic is consistently higher than the full month of January.
I think “real” blogs (as opposed to blogs set up to capture search traffic) have benefited in the last year from some of the Google’s changes as well.
Timing: my blog has been up on a real domain for almost a year, it was on a wordpress.com subdomain for about 6 months before that. Links are redirected, so when it “jumped” some links were 12 months old.
Looking forward to your return to a more regular posting schedule!
Marcus Sheridan-The Sales Lion says
Mack, how dare you talk about SEO traffic!! 😉
I’m amazed at how many folks in social disregard the incredible importance of the info found in this post and SEO “stuff” in general. Personally, I think just about all of my clients on my blog have come from very targeted SEO articles I’ve written in the past.
Good stuff bud.
Mack Collier says
Thanks Marcus, and to your point, the people using search are often looking for help, so a good chance that the person that arrives at your blog via search could be a potential customer!
Dianne Dixon says
Thanks for making me feel like this isn’t for naught. I only started this year but one blog has definitely taking shape more so than the other so I think that one will hit first and will probably be closer to your 18 month estimate. Thanks!
Thanks Mack for putting time to the numbers… I think what you show is what I have seen as well on my key terms around cotton. Of course since mine is a personal blog, I also have stray search traffic. I am sharing this with some peeps!
Linda Sherman says
Bookmarked on my GooglePlus +1 tab to show to clients who get frustrated in their early blogging days. Thank you!