Seems counter-intuitive to write that but it’s been the subject of chatter among the social media literati since Google’s “hummingbird” update late in 2013. It’s no doubt harder to get traffic than when I started blogging five years ago.
But consider this: on Friday I had more visitors to my blog than ever before. This past week was the first week in five years that I didn’t publish a blog post (family emergency). Go figure.
Use Keywords — and Synonyms
What prompted this musing was an email from SEO expert Neil Patel that I received today in which he stated that “Google’s ‘hummingbird’ update in late 2013 caused mass panic for every website that relied on organic search to drive traffic…”
Neil blogs under the name Quick Sprout and I find his tips to be very useful. He consults to the largest companies so he knows what he’s doing.
So don’t despair. You can still optimize your blog for organic traffic. His advice: Don’t worry about keywords. What? Isn’t that we’ve been taught?
Here is Neil’s advice:
You’ll still want to write a page with a certain keyword and keyword phrase in mind… but now instead of using the exact same keyword phrase in your URL, meta description, H1s, anchor text, alt text, X% of your page content, etc., you’re gonna do this:
• When you’re writing a page, freely use synonyms along with your primary keyword
• Link out to high-authority sites (yes, outbound links to authorities are good)
• Get high-authority sites to link to you
• Use signals of your credibility and trustworthiness, like ratings & reviews
…and continue to ask influencers to share your content.
My View on Organic Traffic
I used to wait until the stroke of midnight to check my traffic results for the previous day. As usual, most of my traffic was organic. But like most bloggers – even the biggest name bloggers – I have a high bounce rate (never you mind what it is).
Bounce rate means that someone will do a search and find your site. But you didn’t have the information he was looking for so he bounced off without visiting any other pages. That kind of visitor usually only stays for a few seconds.
So what good is it to drive even more organic traffic to your site when most of it is useless? To me, direct traffic (people who typed in my URL) and referral traffic from social networks and other bloggers is much more important.
They are sticky and stay longer. They may visit more than one page. Mind you, I’m still interested in getting organic traffic. People check sites like Technorati and Alexa to find your rankings and authority. I’m certainly not up there like the big social media stars but my numbers are decent.
To me the quality of your visitors is more important than the numbers. But, face it, why am I writing this blog at nearly midnight on a Saturday evening? Because I’m still a slave to the numbers.
I didn’t write a blog during the workweek but there are still almost 10 minutes til midnight and tomorrow starts a new week. Or maybe it starts on Monday. Isn’t that when most people start the workweek? Not taking any chances so off this post goes. Don’t want to break my record.
What are your views on organic traffic? Do you find that when your traffic grows so does your business? Let me know in the comment box.