Case Study: increasing organic traffic without creating any new content
I wanted to start writing some case studies about some of the work I do for two reasons. Firstly, I’m a huge SEO nerd, and secondly I love sharing. I’ve got to admit that I’m really nervous about the reception to this post so if you do find it useful, please let me know.
The first case study I wanted to write about is my own website, The Glasgow Food Blog. I’ve been writing this blog since 2010 and I’ve included a graph from SEMrush showing the organic traffic since 2012. As you can see, there wasn’t much coming my way in terms of organic traffic for the first few years… when I had no idea about SEO! Then there’s a solid increase in traffic coming from Google search from the start of 2018. Before I tell you about why that is,
Let’s go back to where it all began…
In 2016 I was made redundant and started freelancing. I knew a little bit about SEO and wanted to know more. I discovered the world of Kate Toon and realised how much more there was to SEO. I stumped up the money to do her big course called The Recipe for SEO Success. The ecourse was amazing and I honestly loved it - something about SEO clicked for me, I really enjoyed the technical side as well as creating SEO-friendly content.
So what’s with the traffic increase?
If you take a look at the blog, you’ll see I only wrote two new posts in 2018 (and two blog posts in 2019 so far!). I’ve not had much time for food blogging to be honest – I’ve been really busy freelancing for the past two years! The rest of the blog of the content is from 2017 and earlier.
So last year (2018), instead of creating new content, I focused my “blogging time” on improving the old content on the site instead.
Here’s what I did:
Checked the searches in Google Search Console to make sure people are finding the content they’re looking for.
Tracked my metrics in Google Analytics.
Updated any post about a business which has subsequently closed down.
Looked at keyword rankings and improved as many pieces of content as I could where I was ranking between 11-20 to move onto page 1 of Google.
Kept the dog friendly post up to date – this post gets a lot of traffic, so I want to keep it fresh and current.
Made sure I turned on AMP for my blog post pages as Google prefers to surface this in search results. AMP is accelerated mobile pages so make sure that when people are looking at content on-the-go, it loads quickly. I use Squarespace for my blog so it’s a matter of just ticking the AMP button in settings.
The two most important steps?
Out of that list, I’d say the two fundamental things that everyone should set up to help their SEO is:
Set up Google Search Console. Google Search Console is a free tool from Google which tells you (amongst other things) what keywords people are typing into Google to find your website.
Set up and regularly check Google Analytics. Google Analytics is also free, and gives you detailed insights into where people are visiting your site from (social media, organic search from Google, ads etc), and what they’re doing on your website.
I hope that brief overview is useful! This advice isn’t just for blogs either, it’s applicable to any kind of website. So don’t feel like you have to constantly create new content to get traffic, sometimes it’s a better strategy to improve your old content.
If you liked this post, can you either comment below to let me know or tweet me? I plan on writing more about SEO this year but want to know if people are really keen for this kind of chat!