The beauty of the Internet is that anyone can write and publish a blog on any subject they want—pure breed Labradors, open source software development, life as an Alaskan soccer mom, eco-friendly construction—the sky really is the limit. The downside of the Internet is that anyone can write and publish a blog on any subject they want, meaning there is a lot of noise and clutter and competition out there. You could write the single most brilliant blog post ever but there is no guarantee that anyone will actually pay attention. It takes a lot of hard work, and a little bit of luck, for any one blog post to have a significant impact on your overall SEO program. Most successful content marketing campaigns are the result of consistent content creation and promotion over time—the more you write the better you get at it, the stronger your point of view becomes, the more in-tune you become with your audience and the more people you connect with day by day. But, even with all that being said, that doesn’t mean you can’t be the one to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and write one blog post that has a huge impact on your site!
Below is some analytics data from a B2C client of mine who recently experienced a surge in organic traffic. From one month to the next organic traffic jumped 123! A little digging in Google Analytics revealed that this surge was the direct result of one blog post. Over the course of about 6 weeks this one blog post garnered 1,867 visits, amounting for 47% of their overall traffic. Considering this client is a very small business and has only really been “doing” SEO for about 6 months that kind of organic exposure is exceptional.
I did some more digging and found that for all the non-branded keywords visitors used to find this post, my client was ranking #1. While maybe not the most competitive keyword in the world, there is a far amount of content around the central idea of his blog post (including on some big name sites) so to be ranking so well organically is a really big win.
While I can’t say for sure why this one post is doing so well, I do have some theories:
1. His Google+ profile is properly linked to the blog.
Moz recently reported a high correlation between a URL’s number of Google +1s and rank. Cyrus Shepard, the author, pointed out that Google uses Google+ to discover new content. I definitely think that by sharing this post on Google+ as soon as it went live, plus having his personal Google+ profile linked to the blog through the rel=”author” tag, helped give this post an extra boost in the SERPs. A few other authors ranking in the SERPs for the same search query also have that rich snippet, but it’s not quite as heavily used in his industry as it may be among marketing professionals so I think that definitely had some positive influence on the impact of his blog post.
2. The post got a lot of other social love.
In addition to being shared on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and the company LinkedIn page, this post also garnered additional social shares on other networks like Reddit, Pinterest, and StumbleUpon. All the social networks sent a fair share of traffic over to the site, which is another plus in the post’s favor. I think having all those extra social signals gave the blog post a needed boost in the SERPs. I’ve interviewed many SEO and online marketing experts recently and many have hypothesized that social signals are only growing in importance when it comes to doing well organically. Greg Finn remarked that
“The influence of social on rankings is definitely growing. At SMX Advanced this year Eric Enge of Stone Temple Consulting had an excellent presentation showing just how important the signal actually is. Using nothing but social shares (no traffic, links or GA on pages) he was able to rank content using all major social networks.”
3. This post in particular really resonated with his audience.
At the end of the day, if you want your content to do well it has to be something that people want to read about. I think this post just connected exceptionally well with my client’s target audience and, since it’s an evergreen content, it’s the kind of post that will continue to attract readers in the coming months. But in order to figure out what topics really resonate with your audience you have to write a lot of content and see what gets noticed and what falls flat! This one post’s success is actually partially dependent on the small successes and failures of his previous content. By learning what tone, language, and style works best over time it’s easier to pull all the right elements together in one post.
While I would never expect every single blog post you create to see this kind of traffic it’s not totally out of the realm of possibility. The thing to remember about content marketing is that it takes time and consistency to really see a positive impact. Every post you write creates another touch point with your target audience, can earn a link or two plus a handful of social signals (which add up over time), fine tunes your own writing skills, and gives you better insights into the mind of your audience. A lot of hard work and a little luck, right?