Jason Calacanis Challenge Update

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On Monday I blogged about the [Jason Calacanis challenge](http://www.pronetadvertising.com/articles/calacanis-seos-next-evangelist0307.html) and how he received a 21% increase in traffic with only 10% of the changes being made so far. Many people have been wondering what the 10% of the changes were and some have even blogged that it could have been a [fluke](http://www.calacanis.com/2007/03/28/seo-crack-pipe-increases-traffic-at-calacanis-com/).
Just to give everyone a better understanding of how I calculated the 21% increase, I first took the 6 days before SEO was done and compared it to 6 other days roughly 20 days after SEO was implemented. The data before SEO was done was a bit biased because on one of the days his traffic doubled because he wrote on the Oscars and the following day his traffic returned to normal. On that Monday, if he had normal traffic and did not blog on the Oscars his search traffic due to SEO would have increased by over 40%.

For those of you who are wondering what changes have been made so far, they are related to the title tag and meta descriptions of post pages.
Post titles where: The Jason Calacanis Weblog – [Name of post entry]
New Post titles: [Name of post entry]
Meta description tags before were blank and contained nothing.
New meta description: [First 20 or so words from the post]
These overall changes cause a few things from my understanding:
1. It helps the content look more unique in the eyes of a search engine.
2. Search engines place more weight on the words near the start of the page title so by moving the important words towards the beginning it helps with rankings.
3. It also helps make listings look more relevant in the search results and thus get a greater share of the clicks.
And as promised here is some education on SEO (some contrary to “popular” belief):
1. There are multiple factors that can cause a site to increase search traffic such as links, but on-page optimization is also a key component.
2. SEO is NOT a short term strategy, it can take months if not years. Buying traffic through PPC is a quick way to increase your traffic, SEO is long term.
3. Higher rankings on search engines can build trust and increase reputation. Getting a few extra hundred visitors a day to your website that may have not seen your blog before helps with branding.
4. SEO is not a quick fix or a quick way to get traffic. Getting on the homepage of [Netscape](http://www.netscape.com) is a quick way to increase your traffic.
5. SEOs can optimize garbage and in many cases increase a sites ranking, but where it is really effective is when you optimize a website that is filled with quality content and information. So if you spent that ten to twenty grand somewhere else you may get a big boost in traffic but ideally you would want to spend money on original research, video, audio, photos, services, etc… as well as on SEO.
6. In many cases sites rank for terms that they shouldn’t rank as high for such as “HDMI cables” but sooner or later search engines will keep on improving and more relevant results will be placed at the top of search engines.
Granted there could have been other things that caused an increase in your search traffic such as more links, but due to all of this I am confident that there was a good increase in search traffic from SEO. This is not a quick fix but instead a healthy way to organically improve search traffic. Either way I will still keep up my end of the deal. 🙂

Neil Patel
Neil Patel is the co-founder of KISSmetrics, an analytics provider that helps companies make better business decisions. Neil also blogs about marketing and entrepreneurship at... Read Full Bio
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