For big websites getting 100,000 organic visits from Google per month may not be an achievement but for many bloggers it is. One of my websites in April 2013 received 102,944 organic visits from Google.com and in this post I will give you more details as to why this is happening.
I am not writing this post to tell you what you are doing wrong or to insist that this is the only way to get Google traffic. I am sure that there are many ways to get to this number, what I will explain below is my method which is tested and proven on many websites I have built in my 12 years online.
If you believe this post will provide you with secret tips, fancy link building techniques or overnight recipes, you can go away now because what you will read below are white hat practices and ideas to keep both your users and search engines happy (in this case Google).
What you see in the screenshot above, is a snapshot from Google Analytics for the period April 01 – April 30 (click the image to enlarge). The report is “ALL Traffic” and besides the number of visits from Google it also shows the total site visits for the month: 181,758. I have deliberately hidden the other metrics (Pages/Visit, Avg. Visit Duration, %New Visits and Bounce Rate) and other sources of traffic for 2 reasons. The first reason is to concentrate on the Google traffic and the second is to protect the website by not sharing all the data.
If you think this is a Photoshop trick, you can also visit this link in Google adPlanner which shows the website data for the same period. The total number of unique visitors is slightly different and this is because the data from Google Planner is based on the number of ad serves (cookie based) and not the total number of visits.
Case study details
Now that we all agree that the data is correct, let me give you more details about the case study.
Web site name and URL: Calorie Secrets – www.caloriesescrets.net
Age: 1 year, established April 2012
Purpose: To provide top quality services and up-to-date information about dieting and weight loss
What is the strategy to get to 100,000 organic visits per month?
What I will describe below is the high level strategy I have used to get to this number in one year. If you want more details about each step you can find them in my book: traffic boost your web site which is published by amazon.
Step 1: Build a team
When running a website and not a personal blog you may need to consider building up a team rather than trying to do everything yourself. There is a risk of losing your initial investment if things don’t go as planned but a team can do more than a single person.
One of the reasons caloriesecrets became popular (especially in Google and Facebook) is the fact that it has a great team of professionals writing top quality content and ensuring that what gets published is well researched and based on studies or other forms of scientific evidence. My job is to work on SEO, social media promotion and keep the site in good shape.
Try to think out of the box and identify tasks that can be performed better by other people and outsource them. For example, if you want to create a website about ‘nutrition’ but you are not a nutritionist you can hire a certified nutritionist to write the articles. This implies that you will have to take a risk and spend some money until the site grows but it’s the only way to provide top quality content for topics you are not an expert.
Step 2: Be patient
I consider ‘patience’ to be the most important characteristic of anyone wishing to make a living online. If you don’t have the necessary patience then this job is not for you. Any changes you make to your website either for SEO purposes or otherwise may take months to generate results. You have to be willing to wait, analyse the results and not rush into conclusions.
Google is making more than 500 changes per year in their search results and some of them may have a positive or negative impact on your website’s traffic. If every time this is happening you are stressed out, you won’t be able to go far that’s why patience is a key factor.
Step 3: Don’t just publish content, offer services as well
Your website needs to have a purpose. There is nothing wrong with publishing content but in my opinion content alone is not enough. Look at some of the examples below:
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- Searchengineland provides great content about search marketing but at the same time they also promote their all famous search marketing expo events.
- Seomoz.org besides having a blog on SEO, they also promote their software product and services.
- Caloriesecrets – besides the great content, it also offers several free services to readers like a calorie counter and food tracker, a BMR calculator and a free 7 days diet plan.
- Reliablesoft – besides the content we also promote our seo packages, seo audit and book.
The main idea is that besides publishing SEO articles you need to have something more to offer to your users. It doesn’t have to be a paid product or service; it can be a free but useful service to your readers that will distinguish your website from the rest and not be considered as another MFA (made for AdSense) website.
Step 4: Content planning starts before you launch your web site
One of the mistakes many people do is register a domain name, setup a website and then start wondering what to write about or what type of content to publish. Defining your content strategy is among the first things you should do even before you acquire your domain name. In the case of caloriesecrets, I did the following:
- Decided the niche (weight loss, dieting, fitness)
- Decided in advance which posts to showcase in my home page, site categories etc.
- Prepared in advance the titles for the first 30 posts. See also: how to use the Google keyword tool to select your blog post titles
- Created the caloriesecrets team (made up of certified fitness experts and nutritionists)
- Decided on a publishing schedule (3 times per week)
- Had the first 10 posts written
- Designed the website
Step 5: Don’t forget about SEO
When writing articles or publishing content do not forget about the basic SEO copywriting tips and try to avoid making mistakes. There are plenty of articles that cover all SEO concepts in our SEO TIPS category that can teach you anything you ever need to know about optimizing your website for search engines. What is important is not to forget about it because it does play a big difference when it comes to getting organic traffic.
Step 6: Forget about Google!
Don’t get confused: you should not forget about SEO but you should forget Google! What this means is that you should not try to over-optimize your web site for Google or try in any way to trick Google by building artificial links or participating in any weird forum you can find on the web for the purpose of increasing your Google rankings.
When you manage to establish a constant flow of traffic from other search engines, social media, direct visits and other related websites then Google will naturally follow the trend. In fact soon enough Google will be your top traffic source because they have the biggest user base and because they are better than the rest in identifying and promoting high quality websites in their index.
What I did was to concentrate on promoting my web site on other places besides Google and fortunately there many free ways to get visitors to your website.
Step 7: Proper monitoring and control
You won’t get to 100,000 organic visits overnight. It took caloriesecrets one year to get to this number and it is important during this period to monitor your progress. Besides having the website registered with Google Analytics, Google and Bing webmaster tools, I also keep track of the important metrics in a single table – on a monthly basis. The table looks like this (figures are actual):
|Calorie Secrets||Facebook Page||Google+ Page||Links||Index|
This helps me identify progress (or lack of it) and it is also useful for comparing statistics among different websites.
Step 8: Respect your readers and give them incentives to come back again
Repeating visitors are valuable for your website because besides increasing your daily traffic, it is also a very good indication that your content is good. The best incentive to give your users to come back is new content so make sure that you keep your content fresh. You don’t need to publish daily, 2-3 times per week is sufficient.
In addition to providing incentives you also need to respect your readers. In my opinion respect has to do with proving them with accurate and up-to-date information as well as making your website accessible on the devices they choose. You cannot assume that all your users use a desktop PC (or mac) but you also need to provide friendly versions for your mobile and tablet users.
Caloriesecrets is accessible on both desktop and mobile. We also have native apps for Chrome, Android and Windows mobile (iPhone app is under development).
Step 9: Be proud of your work
Be proud of your work and spread the word both in the online and offline World. If you don’t want to promote your website because you think it’s not good enough then this is exactly the reason why you are not getting much traffic.
The strictest judge of your work is you and if you are not happy about it, you only have 2 choices. First is to quit and regret it later and second to review your website with a critical eye and make all the necessary changes to improve the quality and be proud of it.
Step 10: Rinse and repeat
If you have reached this point, well done! I hope that you now have a better idea of the strategy you need to have in order to succeed in getting Google traffic. The next step is to optimize your strategy by fine tuning the steps and repeat it again. Each time you complete a cycle you are a step closer to better rankings.