In the world of SEO, there are two types of activity: “white hat” and “black hat.”
White hat SEO is all the stuff that you do to improve the ranking of your webpages in keyword results that the major search engines allow. Activities that fall into this category include things like content creation, rich media creation, writing descriptions under your YouTube videos, and building organic followings on social media. In all these cases, the company legitimately EARNs traffic by giving users things that they want.
It’s impossible to ignore the importance of content strategy in 2020 if you are looking to grow your blog. A great content strategy that works to bring you an audience can have a massive impact on your business and can mean the difference between running a tiny blog as a hobby and being the owner of a successful high traffic blog that brings you monthly revenue, customers and a solid profit.
Before we talk about influencer marketing campaigns, here’s a bit of background. If you’re familiar with my blog, you’ll know that I recently talked about how to get “natural” backlinks to your website, by writing high quality content that people feel compelled to share with their own audience. That’s a great strategy, but of course it does take time to get that snowball effect – for your post to reach the right audience, and for that audience to write about, and reference, your original post.
It’s been a while since I’ve done a traffic post, but on my consultancy website (LaurenLambie.com) I’ve achieved some really fantastic traffic lately so I wanted to write up a blog post to share what has been working for me – and how it can help you to. The reason I’m keen to share this is because there are no complicated SEO tactics involved at all so it really is something you can achieve yourself, even if you have a relatively new blog (LaurenLambie.com has only been around since 2016).
Please note this post may contain affiliate links. Please refer to my disclosure for more information.
Traffic – The Numbers
There was a bit of number crunching involved here. You can see from the screenshot that this particular post (The 109 Most Popular Instagram Hashtags For Entrepreneurs) had 5849 views during that 30 day period, but I do get a lot of referrals from Pinterest (more on that in a bit). When referring to my analytics, I get around 78% of my traffic from Google, so based on that, we’re talking about around 4-5k page views just to that post, from Google. (i.e. 4562 if you assume 78% of those 5849 views came from google – it’s an assumption but it’s not far off I’d imagine).
What Worked In Terms Of Google
Like I said in the intro, there was no huge SEO optimisation happening in this instance – I don’t spend a great deal of effort on things like link building to my website, for example. What I did do, however, was follow best practice. In other words, when I created that post (and all the other posts on that site) I played by the rules and created content that I knew Google would “like” (and by like, I mean that they would see it as good, authentic, high quality content).
Google Traffic Strategies – The Best Practice I Followed
I will outline what I personally did that I think helped my SEO. Firstly, I wrote a blog post that people were already searching for. I had a broad idea that I wanted to write about Instagram hashtags, did my research on Google and Pinterest, and found that some of the most popular posts were all about lists of good hashtags. So that’s what I wrote about! It’ so tempting to just write about what you want to write about, but instead, write about the stuff your readers want to read. A bit of market research before writing a post goes a long way!
I also use Yoast, the SEO WordPress plugin, to make sure that my post scored highly from an SEO perspective – good use of keywords, good quality content, links etc. Yoast is a market leader – I’ve seen countless SEO experts recommend it. I’d say it’s a must-have plug in if you want to get any traffic from Google.
Lastly, I spent time researching and writing the post. I did the research I needed to find the relevant hashtags, and that’s valuable to people – when anyone reads that post I had saved them quite a few hours of their own research. The result? People are linking to my post as a recommendation. You remember at the top I said I don’t do link building? Well, I don’t actively go out looking for posts to link to my website, but people are reading my posts and linking to them because they’re relevant and valuable – that’s what Google wants. The lesson here? Don’t try and play the system. Always do what Google wants you to do if you want Google to send you traffic.
The Part Played By Pinterest traffic
Now, there was a time, not so long ago, when Google wasn’t really sending me any traffic for this post, but I was still getting a lot of views to it. Most of that traffic came from Pinterest, and it’s no coincidence that it’s one of my most popular posts on Pinterest, or that – as of the time of writing this – it has over 3000 social media shares. Here’s a screenshot:
I think this has been incredibly useful to Google when they are trying to determine whether they should rank my content. And that’s one of the reasons why I use Pinterest. Sure, the traffic from there is good, but Google traffic is great, and one seems to boost the other. Pinterest is me making a long term investment in my blog posts, making sure they get consistent traffic, month in, month out. And should something bad happen to Pinterest, I will still get the traffic from Google.
Now, don’t just stick a pin on Pinterest and hope it sends you traffic. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that (I can testify to that; I’ve used Pinterest for years but it’s only in the last 2 years it’s really sent me traffic – because I’ve had a proper Pinterest strategy in place. Again, much too much to talk about in this post but that strategy came from a blogger called Carly who writes the blog Mommy on Purpose – you can purchase her eBook here (side note: before reading her eBook I took a far more expensive, premium course in Pinterest, but read Carly’s eBook after it was recommended multiple times – the expensive course – which I won’t name – allowed me to start seeing a few hundred Pinterest referrals – but Carly’s eBook turned that into thousands).
What Traffic Lessons You Can Take Away From This
Traffic can be so frustrating – especially when you’re writing, promoting, promoting some more and you’re not seeing results. So stick with it. Traffic is a long game, but when the scales tip in your favor it’s worth all the effort. Be consistent and be persistent!
Don’t try and cheat the system. It might work for a while, but however smart your strategy is, Google and Pinterest are smarter. Just work with these two platforms, do what they want you to do, and you will be richly rewarded.
There is no substitute for just good, old-fashioned, high quality, valuable content that people actually want to read!
Don’t just throw stuff around trying to get traffic – have a strategy in place. And stick to it.
Recommendations For Boosting Your Traffic
I’ll link to those two eBooks again. I’ll also link to a couple of good posts on this blog which you can read that cover different aspects to SEO.
Pinterest has been an amazing traffic source for me. But it’s also been a source of woe. I’ve seen first-hand how quickly Pinterest can help you get a surge in traffic, especially on a blog that’s really just ticking along and not showing much growth (despite your best efforts). But I’ve had a lot of experience of my Pinterest traffic stalling. It just flat-lines. And then I’m left wondering – what am I doing wrong? And while I’m at it, why is every blogger on the planet getting hundreds of thousands of hits a day on Pinterest and I’m not? (Actually, those sorts of numbers are rare, but it’s easy to get into that sort of mindset when you read other success stories).
We’re at the end of this blog series, and where better to end than sharing some of my top traffic sources with you. There have been countless times in my own history of trying to grow an online business where I’ve fallen down flat because – despite all the great opt-in pages, sales pages, blog posts, web design – I just wasn’t getting any traffic. It’s a huge frustration, and if that’s you, then read on. I’ll tell you what has personally worked for me, and what hasn’t worked.
Twitter is unfashionable as a traffic source nowadays, but it really shouldn’t be. In fact, not only can you get decent Twitter traffic, but it tends to be really good quality. Plus, why put all your eggs in one basket when it comes to your traffic sources?
When people click out of Twitter to read a blog post you’ve just recommended, they tend to take the time to read it and then share it straight away on Twitter if they find it useful. So, you get engaged readers and you get shares.
When it comes to social media traffic, my Google Analytics have been eye opening recently. Twitter has been steadily on the rise. 40% to be exact, over the past few months. So I wanted to share with you the four changes I’ve made to my approach on Twitter that have helped me achieve that.
A website is a labor of love, isn’t it? You pour your heart and soul into everything you write, and you take your time to make sure the layout is just perfect. So it seems almost impossible to think that you can put all that hard work in, only to have your visitors forget about your website minutes after they’ve left.
Unfortunately, that’s the truth. Think about your own experience when browsing the web. If I were to ask you now: