How to increase your blog traffic by 3x with technical SEO
Blogging has become mainstream in its own right, with many now making a full-time career out of it, and companies using blogging as one of the key ways to attract new business.
As blogging has grown in influence, it has naturally become more competitive and harder to stand out from the crowd. Bloggers invest huge amounts of time and money into their content, so just sitting back and posting words you wrote in your kitchen isn’t going to cut it these days.
There are too many ways to make a blog successful to cover in one post, but there are definitely a more manageable set of things you can do to improve your blog’s search performance, especially ones that a surprising number of bloggers don’t take into account.
If you have a blog built around great branding and a fantastic social media presence, but haven’t paid much attention to SEO, then this strategy is for you.
We are going to share the experience of increasing search traffic to a travel blog by 3 times in a 12-month period and increasing visits from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands per month.
The work was focused on technical SEO activities, not on content production or external optimization.
It is important to emphasize that this blog already had a very good presence and many of the technical points were already implemented, so we give a little more detail on the initial description before we start to understand what has accelerated the growth.
- Indexation problems
- Weak content
- Page speed
- XML Sitemap
- Page structure
- Internal links (linking)
- Updating links
The site already had a very good benchmark profile, with a wide variety of links to strong, top publications such as CNN and the Independent, as well as plenty of links to other blogs they had built relationships with.
I won’t go into detail on how to do this as it requires a separate post, but the key approaches were as follows:
- Guest posts: writing posts for other blogs or adding interviews to them, etc. The easiest way to scale and increase the control profile and diversify it.
- PR: Building relationships with journalists or publishing stories in major publications that can get you links and mentions on very powerful sites.
The site has been around for a long time, so it has accumulated a lot of content that has been written by various authors, edited and targeted for SEO.
As a result, many articles and materials ranked well, brought traffic to the site and apparently performed very well.
If you are just starting your blogging journey, then filling your site with really good and quality content should become your priority.
So, as we mentioned at the beginning, the key part of the optimization, which went from 10,000 visits per month to 100,000 visits per month, was technical work on SEO.
We’ve broken down all the key elements we’ve covered below, so if you’re sitting with a blog in a position similar to what we’ve described above, you can also implement these steps to help grow your blog traffic.
We’ve prioritized them to have the biggest impact (with the biggest impact first), but this is obviously up for debate and we can’t be sure what impact each individual action had as they were all implemented for the same period of time.
A common problem for blogs, especially those that have been around for a long time, is having a large number of URLs indexed by Google that are not real pages and do not represent any value to users.
Among them were persistently problematic pages for WordPress sites, such as:
- Category pages
- Tag pages
- Pages of authors
- Archive pages
- Obscure additional pages of parameters, which are generated by engines, are scanned and indexed
We scanned the entire site, identified patterns hiding behind key problematic pages, excluded them from indexing, and updated Google’s Search Console.
The site had a huge number of pages with very weak content.
These were basically category pages with a little intro added, which were clearly created with SEO in mind and meant for long phrases.
However, it was done, the pages were of very low quality and provided very little benefit to the user visiting them.
The potential for these types of pages wasn’t enough to take away the time it took us to add content to them, so they were removed.
When we started, the page speed of the site was extremely low due to different fonts, large images, caching and other problems.
We used plugins to help improve speed, which is not an absolute solution (it’s better when building a site from scratch).
But for bloggers with a limited budget and limited resources and knowledge of html, you can use our tips and improve the performance of your site.
For some key phrases, there are several pages on the site focused on the same topic.
Google was selecting and reranking pages, so it was clear that this was not an option. This is usually a good sign of content cannibalization and suggests that you should combine these pages into a single premium page.
We did just that and soon saw a significant increase in ranking performance.
The site had several different maps presented in Search Console, many of which listed URLs that we didn’t want to crawl, let alone index.
We’ve trimmed the URL display so that only listed URLs with quality content are displayed on sitemaps, making it much clearer what should be indexed and what content is most important on the site.
Advertising is the way most bloggers make their money, so it’s a popular method of increasing traffic and exposure, and we don’t compromise on it.
However, if you overdo it with advertising, it can become ineffective and even hurt your overall performance, so you end up with MORE traffic, LESS conversions, and therefore LESS earnings.
Finding a balance is key, and recent Google updates have been shown to hurt sites with excessive placement of ad units on pages and overriding unique and quality content.
A problem we regularly run into on blogs and websites in general is that heading tags are used for styling rather than structure.
H1, H2, and H3 tags should be used to visually illustrate the structure of your page so that Google can match it to the phrases it expects to see mentioned in the topic.
If the headers of your site are used for styling, contact the developer and change it to use these elements more tactfully and optimized.
Internal links (linking)
We worked closely with the client to clean up and optimize internal links and improve their usability. This included:
- Fixed any dead internal links that were pointing to non-working pages.
- Fixed internal links that caused users and bots to go through redirect chains so that the link points directly to the correct destination.
- Adding more links to important pages throughout the site.
As I mentioned at the beginning, the site had several trusted links that he had built over the years through natural approaches and his connections and sales.
Some of these links were commercial anchor links to the pages, which could give pessimism.
Fortunately, the owners still had contact with many sites where this was the case, so we advised them to update their anchors to brand or more general queries (for example, click here).
Other site elements, pages, html were also involved, but the ones listed above were the key issues that were widespread and caused significant performance issues.
There’s rarely a single silver bullet with technical SEO, but if you address the wide range of issues that can affect you, you’ll see some serious improvements.
Marginal benefit theory can certainly apply here as well, and I would advise any well-established blogger to pay close attention to issues like this if they haven’t already.
We also haven’t done all of the recommendations we’ve suggested yet. One of the standout key points is the introduction of “hub pages” that direct people to all the key content on a topic.
In travel, it’s very goal-focused, and there’s a lot of search interest if you create high-quality pages for these “hub” nodes. This is a key point to move on to help accelerate this site and when it is implemented it will have huge potential.
So if you’re a blogger with lots of great content and links, but you haven’t paid attention to your technical SEO yet, do it now!
Make sure you’re not leaving a significant amount of traffic on the table – you may have huge growth potential. Time to get involved!
Our carriage is already rushing to you, open the door)))))