A client recently asked about blog post popularity at her website. She’s a hands-on client, and often suggests topics for us to write at her blog. Yet she continues to see that the strongest drivers of traffic are evergreen posts on basic questions.
This is often true. If you’re a veterinarian, you’re likely to see lots of traffic to basic posts that help people decide what breed of puppy is best for their circumstances or how to crate train. You may have up-to-the-minute information on dogs’ influences on their owners mental health and in-depth articles about mastitis in dogs, but a third of your visitors come to your paper-training page.
I reassured our client that those specialized posts weren’t wasted. For one thing, niche posts can show up at the top of search and reach people who need your goods and services immediately. Even more important, though, frequent posting of high quality content increases your value in the view of search engines.
This brought up another question.
How does Google know we have frequent, valuable posts?
You may know that Google has robots — bits of software, basically — that go out and read new web pages. These robots, called spiders, determine whether a page should be indexed or not, decide on the subject, and rank the page according to its quality and value. You want these spiders visiting you regularly.
When your indexed website publishes new content, it’s like a fly hitting a spider web. The Google spider notices the new content and checks it out.
Using an algorithm with hundreds of factors, the software determines the value of the page. Some of the factors include spelling errors (or rather the lack of spelling errors), the presence of solid facts with strong references, and originality of the content. The algorithm as a whole is a secret, but Google does its best to gauge the quality of the post.
Frequent, high quality posts are a sign of a valuable website.
Why are some posts less popular?
Sometimes you’re writing about things that fewer people want to know about. If we ask one hundred random dog owners which topic they want to know more about, canine mastitis or paper training, we know that far more people will be concerned about house training their dogs.
If your primary goal for your website is traffic, you might conclude that you should write more about house training. And there’s certainly no reason not to write more on that high-value topic. Ask yourself this, though: who is more likely to go to a vet, a dog owner who wants tips on paper training, or a dog owner who’s worried about his dog’s mastitis?
Some posts get less traffic, but that traffic is more likely to convert.
We like to have a good balance for our clients:
- Posts that answer common questions we know people search for answers to
- Posts that entertain and inform so some visitors will come back regularly to read updates
- Posts that speak to people with specific needs we can answer
Blog post popularity is a worthwhile metric. But it shouldn’t be the driver of your blogging strategy.
If you don’t have a blogging strategy, contact us. We can help.