15 Oct 2009

Blogging tips: Let Google tell you what topics to write about

13 Comments search engine optimization, social media

(in other words, how to NOT have a blog that gets no traffic)

Every few days I go into Google Analytics to see what’s driving traffic to my site.  If there’s a sharp spike, it’s usually because of a guest blog post or speaking at a conference.  If it’s a gradual increase, it’s because I’m ranking on some organic keywords.  The number 3 keyword driving traffic to my blog over the last few days has been “facebook application promotion“, and that’s been driving new consulting business to BlitzLocal.

facebook_app_promotion_kw

So when you see that you’re getting traffic on an organic keyword, the next thing you should do is search on that keyword and related keywords.  So I did that search.

facebook_app_promotion_serps

2293239853_ddd6bc4ef4And found that I was ranking #2 out of 58,300,000 results, with the #1 result being Facebook themselves.  Here’s what I’ve learned: if Google thinks your blog is good enough to rank on a competitive keyword, then by all means you should blog more about that keyword and related keywords.  Maybe you rank on a term that is not ultra competitive, such as “cell phones suck“.  Well, with some work, maybe you can eventually rank on “cell phones”. Think of it like winning in junior varsity before moving to varsity or pro.

There are 4 things to consider here:

  • How many hits you’re getting: Don’t worry about the terms that you give only a few hits a month– look only at your top 20 terms.
  • What position you rank: 10 hits a day could be due to ranking #1 on a low volume term or ranking #35 on a high volume term.  So you need to assess how much room there is to grow.
  • The quality of those hits: If the bounce rate is greater than 70%, you have a problem.  It means that people aren’t getting what they’re looking for– and you know that Google notices that bounce rate, too. In search, it’s called bounceback rate– the percentage of folks who “bounce back” to the search engine results page to keep looking.
  • Whether those keywords have economic value: How much are those users worth via AdSense or some affiliate program?

Thus, if you listen to Google, they will help you make more money.  I hope these tips helps you get more traffic– and more earnings– to your blog!

Update: Looks like dennis-yu.com is not ranking #1 on “facebook application promotion” on Google.

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written by
Dennis Yu is the Chief Technology Officer of Portage. He is an internationally recognized lecturer in Facebook marketing, having been featured in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, LA Times, National Public Radio, TechCrunch, Fox News, and CBS Evening News. He is also an author at InsideFacebook and AllFacebook. Dennis has held leadership positions at Yahoo! and American Airlines. He studied Finance and Economics from Southern Methodist University and London School of Economics. Besides being a Facebook data and ad geek, you can find him eating chicken wings or playing Ultimate Frisbee in a city near you. You can contact him at dennis@portage.co, his blog, or on Facebook.
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13 Responses to “Blogging tips: Let Google tell you what topics to write about”

  1. Reply Keith Wilcox says:

    excellent advice. I do this to some extent, but try not to look too much at the numbers because I want to still write about what I want to write about even if it might not get huge traffic. But, occasionally I hit on something that is quite popular. In those cases I try to follow it up with more. yes, good advice.

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  3. Reply Internet Strategist @GrowMap says:

    Great idea and well worth implementing. One thing that bugs me about bounce rates though. If you land visitors on exactly what they search for (when that is information) they are MORE likely to bounce – not less.

    Bounce rates make more sense for ecommerce sites where you want visitors to get more information – and that makes me wonder if you offer tabbed information on a product page whether those clicks are counted as separate pages or not.

    You could make Google love you more if you split every post into two pages but that would probably annoy your readers. There is great danger in assumptions and incorrectly applying analytics to algorithms.

    It always makes me think of that great quote variously attributed to Mark Twain, Benjamin Disraeli and others, “Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics”.

    • Reply Dennis Yu says:

      Gail, you’re so right! Hate having to choose between the engines and the users– but users win. At Yahoo!, we looked at the number of searches that went to the second page– that was more pageviews, but a sign of a poorer user experience. It meant that they didn’t get what they wanted on the first page.

  4. Reply Michael Jung says:

    Thats spot on, Google can help you to identify keywords and topics.

    Back in 2006 I started blogging on wordpress.com (the days where you had only categories and no tags). Eventually I found out over a period of 1 year, that by writing about whats in the news and hip and controversial, massive and appropriate keywords, linking to other blogs, there are tactics and strategies you can deploy to drive traffic to your blog. Even when the content wasn’t THAT good.

    This summer I took on again blogging, and reactivated http://michaeljung.wordpress.com/ – took down all the old stuff and started about my love for everything ‘Economics’. This time, being very conservative and concentrating on content and quality. And doing it for my own share.

    Being of value, not success.

    Cheers,
    @michaeljung on Twitter.

  5. Reply Priceline Bidding Tips says:

    Great advice, Dennis. Glad I found your blog (came from your post on John Chow, but you already know that!). Looks like you have some good stuff here, and I will add your site to my blogroll. I am still working on getting a “proper” site together where I can then get some analytics running and start the detective work. Looking forward to the process.

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