Lab Report: Blogging for Search

SEO requires constant research, and most SEO professionals have sites they play around with for testing purposes. Our lab site launched on April 18th. We’ve been gradually testing things — various kinds of onsite optimization, social media, variations in our affiliate marketing approach — but basically so far we’ve just gone with excellent content refreshed daily.

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As you can see, our traffic zoomed up during Back to School and fell afterwards (normal for an educational website) and is now beginning to climb back up again.

We’re using blog posts to increase traffic, and so can you. The question is, what should you write about for best effect?

In our case, the traffic pattern shows that people are mostly reading us at work (if you don’t see that, check out “Does Your Website Work Weekends?” for details). We know that our subscribers are mostly using school email, so we’re confident that our audience is made up of teachers.
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We checked our keywords, but we have thousands, and right now there’s a very broad range of things. During the Back to School heyday, we had a preponderance of “classroom themes” queries, and in particular some trendy themes. We used that information to be sure we were writing about the right things, and it paid off.  Right now, though, we’re not seeing any particular trend.

So we head to Google Insights for Search, which you can reach from your Google Analytics dashboard. Insights for Search lets you check on overall trends in search, and you can specify place and time parameters. We have global traffic, so we went with worldwide search over the past 30 days, the time period when our traffic dropped.

You can specify search terms to check and compare, or you can leave it open if you just want to know generally what people are looking for. We made some guesses about things our audience might be searching for, and you can see from the red line below that we had a winner: lesson plans.

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We hadn’t caught that in looking at our keywords, because there were searches for everything from “Jack and the Beanstalk lesson plans” to “math lesson ideas,” but now that we know, we can be sure to give our readers what they want.

Give this method a try at your own blog and see how it works for you.


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