7 Lessons I learned from Increasing My Search Engine Traffic by 200% in 6 Months
I’m a huge fan of organic traffic (which is pretty much Google these days…), because it is one of the best sources of traffic to a website that can be consistent without you actually having to keep doing the same thing over and over again.
One thing, though, is that I hate complicated aspects of SEO; I want to keep things as simple as possible, and I’m not interested in cramming all SEO slogans that exist.
Last year, I decided to do something that changed how I viewed SEO completely; I spent a whole week writing 31 guest posts that were submitted to smaller blogs, and I focused on a few selected pages on my blog. The result just 6 months after has been stunning; I was able to increase my traffic by around 200% in 6 months.
Now, when I say that I increased my traffic by 200% in 6 months, I’m not just referring to a short increase in visitors. I’m talking about growing from 35,000 visitors 6 months before the challenge, to 94,000+ visitors just 6 months after. That’s a huge increase of over 60,000 visitors in 6 months, for just one week of work.
I wrote about the challenge on my blog, you should read it here if you’re interested!
The main point of this article, however, is to share the major lessons I learned during the process. Some of these lessons are stunning, and they will probably debunk major SEO myths you’re already familiar with.
While the increase in data is subjective, I’m pretty sure the challenge contributed significantly to the traffic increase; I didn’t do anything after the challenge to help my SEO, and I noticed an increase of 100+ visitors a day just 10 days after the challenge.
Below are some of the major lessons I learned from increasing my SEO traffic by 200% in 6 months.
1. Guest Blogging Still Works
Guest blogging is currently the most trending marketing tactic online today, and it is completely overhyped if you don’t know how to use it to your advantage.
The thing about writing guest posts for big blogs is that you get a few hundred visitors the week the guest post goes live, and the traffic dies down gradually over the week. Nowadays, guest blogging on a big blog might not even send you up to 100 visitors the same month it is published, due to the fact that almost every post on the blog is a guest post. However, when I calculated the amount of traffic I got per guest post in 6 months, each blog I wrote for sent an average of 1,900 visitors.
If you consider the fact that all the blogs I wrote for combined sent me less than 150 visitors directly when the guest post was published, and that you’ve probably never heard of any of them, I think that’s impressive.
The difference, however, is that the traffic isn’t directly from those blogs. It is from the increase in search engine traffic that they influenced.
Guest blogging still works, not by going about it the traditional way, but by developing a smart approach focused on helping you get the best return on investment. For me, the best way to get the best return on investment was to build backlinks, and it was a really smart decision indeed.
What more? Those 31 guest posts for smaller blogs you’ve probably never heard of outperformed every guest post I’ve ever written for a big blog; not because the blogs are better, but because I had a strategy toward the challenge. I’d have gotten better results from a big blog, if I had a strategy.
In other words, guest blogging still works, but only if you can develop a strategy.
If you’re not familiar with guest blogging, here are 3 articles that can help you get started:
- The Ultimate Guide to Guest Blogging
- Daniel’s Mass Guest Blogging Strategy
- 3 Little Known Ways to Find Guest Blogging Opportunities
2. You Can Create Link Relevancy
If you’ve followed the SEO world for any more than a few weeks now, you’d have heard several times over how important link relevancy is.
Basically, the idea is that you won’t get that much from a link if it isn’t from a relevant site in your niche. Actually, my challenge proved that wrong because none of the blogs I wrote a guest post for was relevant to my niche. I’m in the writing/freelancing niche, and the blogs I submitted a post to were in the tech niche, the blogging niche, and the make money blogging niche.
One thing was different, though. That one thing was that my content was relevant to my link.
Notice the two things; the blogs were totally irrelevant, but my content was.
You might be wondering how this is possible, but it’s all about bridging the topic between your blog and the host blog. If you’re writing for a “tech blog” and own a “blogging tips” blog, your article can be about the Top Apps Every Blogger Should Install. By taking a look at that title you will notice you appeal both to your audience, and the audience of the host blogger.
3. Don’t Just Link to the Homepage
One other thing I did during the challenge was to link to the homepage than other pages. While the keyword I’m trying to rank for is quite competitive, I’m only ranking on page 3 of it 6 months after getting a significant number of backlinks. Other pages, however, are ranking better and getting good traffic.
The other difference is that traffic to my homepage rarely converts, while traffic to the other pages lead to more traffic to my blog and converts better.
Most people make the mistake of only linking to their homepage in their SEO campaigns, and this is actually dangerous than it appears. No, it won’t get you blacklisted, but you won’t be able to get as much results as directing your traffic to a specific page with a call to action.
Focus on building links to inner pages on your site, and let the links/traffic to the homepage come naturally via word of mouth marketing.
4. Use Natural But Descriptive Anchors on Your Links
The anchor text is the text that is used in the link. When you submit a guest post usually you can choose any anchor you want.
The first mistake you can make with the anchor text is to use a generic term like “click here” or “visit my website”. Those won’t help the visitors know what your site is about, and search engines won’t gain any insight from it either, which doesn’t help your SEO.
On the other end of the spectrum there’s another mistake, which is to use artificial and highly optimized anchors. This is bad because it might get the guest post rejected right away, and because it might flag your website for over-optimization with Google.
A better strategy is to use natural but descriptive anchors. Those will help your search rankings in a natural way, and they won’t create a risk of getting your website penalized. For instance, use “visit my Freelance Writing Blog” as anchor, but don’t use “find freelance jobs online”.
5. A Well-Planned Campaign Might be what you Need
Something worth noting is that before embarking on the challenge to write 31 guest posts in one week, I’ve literally written hundreds of guest posts that had little impact.
The difference between the hundreds of guest posts I wrote earlier is that they were scattered and without plan, but the 31 guest posts in a week was actually designed to help my SEO; I knew which keywords I wanted to rank for, I had them all planned ahead, I wrote all the guest posts in one week, and I submitted them on the same day.
In other words, I planned a campaign.
Sometimes, you might not have the time to go on such a campaign, but if hiring an expert is feasible, go for it!
6. Getting a Lot of Links at the Same Time Doesn’t Hurt
Now, I’m not talking about gaining a thousand backlinks at the same time.
If you read the 2nd article I linked to as one of the resources in my first point above, you will understand what I mean. It is an article from Daniel about how he developed a guest blogging strategy to grow his blog to 50,000 subscribers as soon as possible; one major thing Daniel lays an emphasis on is the important of getting as much guest posts published with closer proximity to each other. That way, you will be able to hit the blogosphere with storm and get people to notice you.
The same thing applies to SEO, but at a much smaller scale depending on the authority of your site. Focus on getting a significant amount of articles submitted at the same time, and you will increase your chances of getting results for years to come. There are a lot of advantages to this, and one major one is that your articles won’t all be published at the same time; in other words, all the links won’t be available at the same time, but a significant number of links will be available at a point in time to get the search engines to notice you.
The good thing is, if you could get ranked for the keywords of your choice you will be able to get enough people to keep linking to your article naturally to keep the momentum going.
7. It Doesn’t End There
While having a solid SEO campaign can influence your results, it really doesn’t end there.
One other thing that influenced my campaign was updating my blog regularly. The regular content I published on my blog contributed to the increase in my traffic, but it wouldn’t be significant without the campaign. In the same vein, the traffic I got as a result of the campaign wouldn’t have been as significant if I didn’t have a blog.
If you’re a blogger, update your blog regularly. If you’re a company, start a blog, and hire a professional writer if possible.
Bamidele Onibalusi is a professional freelance writer and copywriter, he helps others learn to write for traffic and money. If you want to get results from writing online, make sure you download his free eBook, The Writer’s Handbook: How to Write for Traffic and Money.
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18 Responses to “7 Lessons I learned from Increasing My Search Engine Traffic by 200% in 6 Months”
great tips, I think most of tips to improve ranking on search engines is writing high quality content and building backlink, that’s all.
Naveen | Expert Blog Tips
Excellent post Oni,
I am a regular reader of your blog. Thanks for offering another valuable post Daniel.
Leif G.S. Notae
Great tips here, and valid ones too. I keep losing focus on doing this, but it seems I will have to keep trying. Thanks for the article!
Slavko@ Lifestyle Updated
Great post really.
I’m just now trying this strategy, and building the guest posts archives. Planning is very important just as you said, so here goes that a good post, on the right time, on the right blog, and with the right anchor text can make wonders.
Organic traffic is considered the easiest to get, but nobody ever talks about how hard it is to make all of this into practice. And while it’s hard it certainly pays off.
This is more of a business strategy than a simple tip. And by what I analyzed, it works each and every time.
Oni, you are writing 31 guest posts in one week, and it would be more than 31 articles because you still have to write for this blog, or other blogs you have. That means at least 4-5 articles per day.
And doing posts for guest posting you surely have to post quality articles or they will delete your post.
Could you later disclose how can you write so much a week? I have a 9-5 job so it is already very effective for me if I could post 1 article per day. I don’t think I can do 4-5 quality articles everyday.
Also for these things I do not want to host a campaign, or hire anybody to do it. Wanna do it all my own to ensure quality met.
Thanks for the tips!
Guest blogging is a good way to build ‘business’ relationships with other bloggers and create backlinks to your website. I believe it’s important to guest blog on blogs/websites that resonate with you.
Note on “Click Here” … I’ve read that it’s okay to use “Click Here” because it offers a high return. Huh? Maybe the phrase works when you’re selling a product/service. Thoughts…
Steve @Money Infant
How many keywords and pages did you target with your 31 guest post campaign? And were these pages that already ranked fairly well for the keyword you were targeting or were these brand new (or fairly new) pages/keywords?
Great Post, I have been doing guest post to get traffic and backlinks. its really helpful way to get good rank.
Nice post, Oni.
There are people out there with very heavy guest posting schedules, who seem to be getting some good results from this.
The anchor text thing, has been talked about quite a lot…and most people say to avoid the more generic forms “read on” “More” etc, though, others say the opposite.
Not pointing(linking) to the homepage is said to help, for inner pages, though, again there are mixed feelings about this.
Getting a flood of links in a short time frame may be a bit risky at present. Even if they are genuine links, Google may pull the trigger, if they consider the build up unnatural. Or, they may consider this as seo over-optimization…….
This is a great post!
Cool! I personally do most of the tips written above although I don’t guest post in high volume these days. I also don’t plan it as much as you guys do but those are the things that I would definitely consider doing once I start guest posting again.
@Slavko I’m glad you found the post useful!
You’re right about the importance of planning, and it is sometimes important to experiment to see how things turn. You’re also right about this being a solid business strategy, and I can’t wait to see how effective it is for you!
@Daniel About the use of anchor text, I think it is better if you vary your keywords; you can use call to actions like “click here” and “read more” to make things look natural, but you should use your keyword more to emphasize what you’re trying to rank for.
The homepage lacks a unique purpose, so it will be a huge waste of your guest post to focus your link building efforts on it; inner pages should be a priority.
@Amandah In regards to using CTAs like “click here”, that will only be effective if what you want is direct traffic. In this regards, we want links and better SEO so the focus should be on keywords.
Guest posting is the tactic I keep meaning to take more action on. Finding the time to write quality content for other sites is tough, but I’ve done it before, and it works well. Getting in front of a different audience is tremendously valuable.
Your results show that having a plan focused on supporting quality content with relevant back links will drive traffic to your blog by improving your long term SEO. This is great advice for all bloggers and it is now much easier to find blogs that are open to guest posts. As with all social media marketing, the more that you put in to your blog, the more that you get out of it.
Lee Ka Hoong
Onibalusi, writing 31 guest posts in a week is killing and this is not a task that anyone can do! It comes to 4-5 posts per day, and it may takes about 6 hours to write a 800 words post, I believe that full time blogger could do this, and it might be slightly difficult for a part time blogger who has only 2-3 hours online per day. But nothing is impossible if you have a plan for it.
Anyway, guest posting is always the best method to get one way dofollow backlink and boost search engine ranking, this is what Google wants the most all the time. I’d been stopped writing guest posts for quite some times, looking at your result, I think I have to start doing guest posting again.
You have a great guest post here Oni! Keep going!
Peter @ RSFB
This is a very interesting points. I have been trying to gather as much information on how to increase blog traffic and I was a little intimidated in the beginning when you said you wrote 31 guest posts. Although the rest of your points seem to be manageable and your numbers much higher than my expectations. Thank you for sharing, very helpful.
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