Top 5 SEO has been live for just under 2 weeks now and hopefully you have enjoyed reading my posts and picked up a few good tips along the way that will help you drive more traffic to your website. I have decided to do something a little unusual this evening (must be a Tuesday thing) and this will be the first post in a new series where I will be: –
- Sharing my progress and traffic stats with you
- Explaining all the things I’ve done along the way
- Sharing the things that haven’t quite worked out
So, let me start at the beginning…
We Have Lift Off – 28th July 2013
I won’t bore you with much information on the set up of the site, but very briefly it’s running on wordpress with my goto plugins installed (more on that in a minute). It took me about 2 hours to set it all up I guess – basic template and logo (oh, I did change that a couple of days later), nothing earth shattering as the focus of the site is the content.
Before I posted my first article I set up a facebook fan page for the site (here) and I also changed my twitter username to @top5seo. I had an earth shattering 27 followers I think at this point – Mr Popular. Oh, and I also set up and verified my site in google’s webmaster tools.
So, with twitter and facebook ready (and linked on the blog) I sat down at my keyboard to write my first article. I decided to write about something which has been a bugbear of mine over the years and a constant battle when I am advising clients on their SEO – poor quality product descriptions. The article ran to just over 1,300 words, is pretty in depth and I feel covered the topic well. You’ll find it here.
I hit the post button and then did what I could to actually get some people other than me and my cat to view it. This was: –
- Sharing the article on my personal facebook page
- Sharing the article on the facebook fan page (which had one fan – me)
- Sharing the article with my legion of twitter followers
- Sharing the article on google+
I then invited all my facebook friends to ‘like’ the fan page. 27 of them acquiesced to my request, which I guess is not too bad considering most of them probably couldn’t give two hoots about SEO. From memory the post went live in the early evening.
So how many visitors did I get that day…? Well, I’m happy to say that it was double figures, but only just. My new site and painstakingly crafted content received a grand total of 10 visitors on Friday 28th.
Here is a screen shot of the hourly stats for the day. Note the everest like spike of a whopping 4 visitors at 10pm as my facebook chums flocked to the site…
Building Content – 29th – 30th July 2013
When launching a new site (particularly a blog) it is very important to keep a regular flow of content in the first few days. You are fighting for every visitor at this stage, so any you do get you need to make sure that if they come back the next day they will find fresh content and can see that it will be an active site.
So, I didn’t let a little thing like the weekend stop me and published 3 articles over the Saturday and Sunday.
The first article posted over the weekend, and the second to go live on the site, was an in depth look at how SEO has changed over the years. I wanted to showcase my knowledge and this was all written from my 15 years experience of working in the industry. It’s a long post, running to over 3,200 words, and took me about 3 hours to write while sitting sipping tea in Café Nero.
I’ll be honest, I had originally intended the article to closely mirror human evolution, but it was kind of (really) hard to do, so it veers off that track a bit. I’m still pretty pleased with the post though and think it shows I know what I’m talking about.
Post 3 was a look at my favourite free wordpress plugins (the ones I mentioned at the start of this article) and post 4 was all about how to make the most out of guest posting, which is a hot topic in the SEO industry at the moment.
I should note at this point that in each of my articles I included links to some of my favourite websites where relevant and in particular you will notice a lot of links to copyblogger and moz in my posts, as they are 2 sites I visit every single day. If you are serious about succeeding on the internet, you should too!
SEO Tip: Link out from your articles (to relevant, trusted resources which add to what you have written) wherever you can as it’s a great way to get yourself on the radar of other bloggers and also to increase the relevance of your page to the topic.
Building Up My Twitter Following
I clearly had to do something about my pathetic twitter following, so at the same time as I was writing the above articles I started to follow other SEO bloggers and internet marketing professionals and interact with them.
Twitter is quite smart at learning what type of person you are looking to follow, so after clicking no to Gok Wan a half dozen times I started to see interesting people on my recommended list. By the end of the weekend I was probably up to about 50 or so followers. The king of twitter I was not, but at least it was moving in the right direction.
So, how many visitors flocked to my website over the weekend. Well, put it this way – my webserver was definitely not yet in danger of crashing. Here are the figures…
- Saturday 29th June: 21 visits
- Sunday 30th June: 14 visits
As the traffic source screen shot below for the period shows, most of these visitors were referrals, with a *slow* drip starting to come from twitter and facebook. The solitary search referral made me both smile and die a little inside at the same time. I wonder if he is reading this right now…
Putting Myself Out There – 1st July 2013 – 5th July 2013
Ok, so I now had 3 articles that didn’t suck, a few dozen followers on twitter and a solitary visit from google. It was time to start getting myself out there and increasing my blog’s reach.
On the Monday I signed up with blogengage, a great social networking community for bloggers. It’s not free (I went for the platinum package which comes in at $9.99 a month), but it is well worth the money and allows you to: –
- Post links to your latest posts to the community (where they are voted up or down in a digg style system)
- Network with other bloggers
- Join groups
The owner Brian (@bbrian017) is very helpful and friendly and has given me excellent assistance in promoting my content. If you are a blogger and looking to grow your blog’s traffic sign up today – it’s a no brainer.
Securing high quality guest posts on related sites in your niche is a great way to promote a new blog and on Monday, my first guest post which included a link back to Top 5 SEO went live. The post was titled ’11 Tips For Successfully Launching A New Brand’ and you will find it here.
I linked to my post on how to make the most out of guest blogging near the top of this article, but to save you scrolling here it is again.
Being honest (as that’s what this series of posts is about) I’ve been disappointed with the referral traffic which has come through from the post (only a few visitors). I’m pretty happy with the quality of my article, which I spent a couple of hours writing and runs to 2,000 words or so, but it hasn’t really done much for me, so although I like the site (soho.ca) I don’t think I would guest post on there again.
While doing some late night research on the Monday night I was reading an article about how to build traffic to a new blog. The article was 6 years old, but still very relevant and I noticed one of the external links at the end of the content was broken.
Spotting a potential opportunity I used the internet archive to bring up a cached copy of the old article in the broken link. I just spent a minute reading through it (as this was not an exercise in plagiarism and additionally it was 6 years old and out of date) to get the gist of the topic and then put together my own thoughts on it, bringing the subject bang up to date. My new post was titled ‘Be Amazing: Launch Your New Blog With A Bang‘.
I then filled in the feedback form on the website with the broken link and composed an email which: –
- Told them about the broken link
- Pointed them to my new article
- Asked if they would consider replacing the broken link with a link to my new article
The next morning I received a very courteous reply, which thanked me for pointing out the broken link, but explained that it was unlikely they would be able to link to my new article at this stage. So, no luck this time, but always worth a try and I had another good quality article published on my website.
Other High Quality Guest Posting Opportunities
During the same week I contacted several other high quality SEO and internet marketing blogs and enquired about the possibility of writing a guest post for them. By this stage I had a bank of good quality content which I could point them to on my own site and I received favourable responses from 3 of them. I will be writing up my guest posts later this week and would hope to have them published by the time I write the next update for this series.
While I was working on networking and getting my blog out there I was of course continuing to build the content for my site. On the Monday I posted the first post in what will be a key series of posts on my site with the aim of teaching the basics of SEO to beginners. The series is called Learn SEO and the first post was all about the title tag.
I followed up this post on the Tuesday with a post about the meta description tag and will be posting further articles in the series over the coming weeks.
SEO Tip: Creating a series of articles, which all link together, is a great way of building up your blog as an authority on a topic.
The posts were well received and attracted some good comments.
I posted a further two articles on the Thursday: –
The first one was a bit of a break from the serious SEO/marketing stuff and was my take on what the show Dexter would be like if Dexter Morgan was a black hat SEO. It’s a bit offbeat, but was fun to write and was (to be honest) a bit of a link baiting experiment, which until now has been a failure! Hey, all it takes is one tweet for it to go viral…
The second article was inspired by a post from Peter Shallard on Copyblogger about ways to come up with fresh content ideas. I decided to write up my own post about the ways in which I deal with writer’s block (which you will find here) as it is something I have experienced a lot of over the years, being a songwriter and aspiring author as well as a blogger!
The blog now had 9 live articles, so I decided to spread my multi faceted marketing wings on the Friday and attempt to make my first video for youtube.
Youtube is of course a phenomenon and the recipient of unbelievable amounts of traffic on a daily basis (I’ve seen it predicted that up to 90% of traffic on the internet will be video by the end of the year). Get it right and you can tap into this source and divert oodles of potential customers to your site.
I am ashamed to say that video is not really a medium I have taken advantage of in the past, but on Friday 5th July I decided it was time to rectify this and launch myself upon youtube.
I decided to make a video version of my writer’s block post from the day before. Kettle Drum productions inc consisted of: –
- My iPhone 4s as a camera
- My living room as a studio
- A set of ladders and a packed lunch box to mount the camera on
- A clean shirt and 3 t-shirts for costume changes
- Adobe Premiere Pro 6 (30 day trial version) for editing
Anyway, shooting and editing this 4 minute masterpiece took me around 3 hours on the Friday afternoon and by 5pm I was ready to upload it to youtube. The fruits of my labour are embedded below. Something tells me I won’t be troubling the Oscars next year, but everyone has to start somewhere!
For information, at the time of writing my video has had 29 views. Thanks mum.
So, time for another stats update.
Here are the stats for the 1st to 5th July 2013
- Monday 1st July: 43 visits
- Tuesday 2nd July: 48 visits
- Wednesday 3rd July: 47 visits
- Thursday 4th July: 42 visits
- Friday 5th July: 20 visits
The reason for the drop off on the Friday (I am pretty confident in saying) is that I didn’t post any new content on as I was working on the video.
You can see that referrals were by far my biggest source of traffic and by this point twitter was starting to do very well (about 40% of my traffic) as my follower count crept over the 100 mark. I had a chuckle at the cheeky intitle: seo back link search engine referral. I’m guessing Akismet marked that one as spam!
Working Titles – July 6th – July 9th 2013
I gave myself the weekend off from writing and didn’t post any new content to the site on Saturday or Sunday, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t working!
I was busy researching ways to make my posts more viral and read a couple of excellent ebooks on copyblogger about how to write magnetic post titles. You have to sign up to access them, but take the time to do it – it’s free!
So, with the sage words of Brian Clark buzzing around my head I launched back into writing on Monday. My normal method of working is to come up with a topic, write the article and then decide on a title afterwards, but for my four posts so far this week I have flipped that on its head – writing the title first and then the post afterwards.
On Monday I experimented with a negative in the main title and then a positive in brackets – problem (solution): –
- 7 Ways Duplicate Content Is Killing Your SEO (And 11 Simple Fixes)
- How I Lost 74.4% Of My Search Traffic Overnight (And How I Got It Back)
Note also how the numbers don’t match in the first title and the precise figure (which is accurate by the way) in the second title. All little things which will hopefully peak interest and entice clicks.
If I had a concern about writing this way (title first) it was gone by the end of Monday as I feel the 2 articles above were among the strongest I have written so far.
For today’s posts, I changed the format of the titles.
The first title asked a direct question – Are You Making These 10 Rookie SEO Mistakes? – which makes you want to click it find out what the mistakes are and if you are making them!
The second title was 91 Ways To Drive Traffic To Your Website Without Google. I didn’t have the number before I finished the post as I wanted to write as many as I could, but I knew I wanted it to be high. If I’m being honest I was looking to get it over 100, but I felt that the article had said all it had to say (well I hope) and I was also starting to lose the will to live!
I think they are pretty good titles, backed up by high quality articles and, as you will see in a moment, they have done exactly what I hoped they would for my stats.
Before going into traffic I’ll touch on twitter. Since posting the 4 articles I have over the last 2 days my phone has been beeping constantly; telling me I have been retweeted, or that I have a new follower.
I am now up to 149 followers, so have picked up about 120 new followers in the last 10 days or so and about 40-50 over the past 2 days. Still not anything to shout about, but if the trend continues I might soon be able to show my stats in public without feeling inadequate!
So, here are the traffic stats…
Saturday 6th July: 11 visitors (no content added)
Sunday 7th July: 10 visitors (no content added)
Monday 8th July: 51 visitors
Tuesday 9th July: 110 visitors 🙂
At the time of writing, it is 10.30pm and as I have been averaging about 10 visits an hour for the past few hours I am going to predict that by the end of the day the figure will be at least 120. To be crystal clear, the current number of visits is 110, but the unique visitors number is 91, so I believe today will bring 120 visits from 100 unique visitors.
Edit 10/07/2013: Final figure was 133 visits from 112 unique visitors – hence the reason for the change in title!
The bulk of the traffic continues to be referral traffic and direct, with twitter leading the way (I anticipate it to have brought me around 40 visitors by the end of the day). One thing I forgot to say is that I have been taking the time to leave thoughtful comments on articles I have read from other bloggers and the links from these are now also bringing in traffic to the site.
So, that brings things right up to date and it is time to reflect on where things stand.
Firstly, I am well aware that 133 visitors is not a lot of traffic, but if we consider that the site is not yet receiving any ‘autopilot’ search engine traffic and that every one of those visitors is the result of the marketing I have been doing for the site, then I think it is a pretty good level to be at after just 2 weeks.
To clarify I am not doing any ‘link building’ or anything like that and am simply putting out the best content I can and promoting it through social media and other channels. If things go to plan, this will result it me obtaining natural, editorial links from other sites. I have already picked up a few, which should see me start to gain some search traffic over the coming weeks.
Wait a minute (I hear you cry), isn’t guest posting link building? No! I am only going to be posting on a few high quality sites and will be doing it for the direct referral traffic and (hopefully) editorial links which follow. Yes, I will get a link back to my site, but that is not the primary reason for the guest post.
I will live or die by my own white hat sword and the evidence will be posted on here for all to see!
So, that wraps it up for the first installment of the journey of Top 5 SEO. The next update will be in around 2 weeks time, so be sure to subscribe to the blog by email or RSS and follow me on twitter if you want to know what happens next!