Adtrak News has been running since January 2012 and recently it has raised questions within the company as to its validity. Is it effective? Is the content too basic or not basic enough? Is it worth keeping?
But a recent review of the website’s analytics reveals some interesting and surprising figures; including a considerable increase in organic search traffic over the past few years.
The Adtrak website went through a much needed redesign at the end of 2011 and with this came a companywide push for an active blog. The goal of which was to promote the company online through quality content to help support its status as a fast growing web agency. Each department was asked to contribute to the blog on a monthly basis and employees were more than happy to get involved.
Following the initial website optimisation, minimal SEO was carried out. By this I mean that no dedicated monthly time was spent to build links to the website; except a couple of off-site guest posts purposely written for different agency blogs.
Social Media interaction was an important factor, with a typical blog post being shared by a good chunk of employees through Twitter & Facebook. Some authors would also submit their posts to forums and other social bookmarking websites (which I will get onto later).
Types of Blog Posts
Since its inception, there have been a few common themes that staff have decided to write about. These include:
- Problem Solving Posts – Creating tutorials to fix an industry problem in which the solution is difficult to find. Educating both colleagues and those searching for the answer online. A Beginners Guide To Event Tracking In Google Analytics
- Conference Round-ups - As employees attend industry conferences, it’s been beneficial to share what is learnt not only with each other, but with those following the blog too. This is both topical and resourceful. New Adventures 2013
- Online Resources – Sharing the latest web tools, software, research and hidden gems that we regularly use or have recently discovered. It’s Time To Pivot – Advanced Adwords Analysis
- Topical Analysis – Relating web industry content to major events happening in the world. In The Spirit Of The Games – The Olympic Brand
- Company News – These types of posts are mainly to update employees and clients of the latest goings-on within the company. John Ogroats To Lands End – Just 4 Jake Cycling Challenge
Before the new website and blog went live in January 2012, there was a consistent amount of traffic that did not considerably increase or decrease.
This changed however when the blog went live, as the graph shows a clear but fluctuating increase in total visits to the website. And you can see just how much of this is due to the blog; with little gaps showing between the Blog Visits and All Visits.
Taking a look into the actual numbers behind the graph, we can see the total amount of website traffic over the past few years. Each year has been broken up into two halves to accommodate the first half of the 2013 data.
The table further reiterates the impact of the blog in terms of driving people towards the website, with 80% of the Total Traffic in 2013 entering via the blog.
Sectioning the total visits below goes on to show that there have been considerable increases for all types of traffic since the blog went live. But one area of traffic shows more increases than any other…
Organic Search Traffic shows a 1000% increase compared with the same period in 2011, which we can confidently attribute this rise in search traffic to the introduction of the blog.
From an SEO point of view this is an attractive statistic, as it reaffirms the Internet Marketing department’s belief in the effectiveness of high quality and consistent content. And what better way to prove that than with the agency’s own blog.
Another note on the organic visits displayed, is that the first half of 2013 (20,302), already totals more than the entire previous 2 years combined (18,136).
Below is an overview of all traffic sources by year:
Although we have seen in the stats before that every avenue of traffic has increased, these pie charts show a significant swing in favour of the 2013 Search Traffic in comparison to the past 2 years. With this now becoming the leading source of traffic for the website*.
*The yellow Campaigns section shown in 2012 are social (Twitter & Facebook) referrals, which just makes Referral Traffic the main source of traffic for that year.
The substantial increase in Twitter referrals shown in the second half of 2012 was mainly due to a post from our very own Sam Goddard (Font Face Chrome Rendering). As well as social media referrals, this post still continues to get constant referral traffic (hence, evergreen) from the likes of Reddit, Stackoverflow and an array of web design forums. The amount of traffic can be seen in this side graphic which displays the websites that send the highest referral traffic since the blog post went live on September 4th 2012.
One of the many things that this blog post proves is the power of social sharing. The first step was obviously putting in the effort to create this rare solution to a universal problem for web designers, but knowing where to post it was the vital element. Utilising the categories (subreddits) of Reddit, the post could be prominently placed in the “WEB_DESIGN” section of the website. This exposed the post to its target audience in one of the biggest online communities currently on the internet.
It turns out that a lot of people are searching for an answer to the font-face chrome rendering problem and (with the help of Authorship markup), the post now sits at the top of Google for a range of related searches. Although most of the traffic is referral, this post also generates a lot of search traffic and is mainly responsible for the increases we have seen above. The referral traffic from the likes of Reddit has generated a range of links to the post and domain which has clearly strengthened Adtrak’s presence within the SERPs (search engine results pages).
Being an active member and understanding how Reddit works allowed Sam’s blog post to thrive and get the attention it deserved. It led to further sharing across web design forums, bringing in a wider variety of discussion and questions within the blog’s comments section (which were beautifully addressed by Sam himself).
The blog has benefited tremendously from this evergreen post, but it certainly hasn’t been the only success; with over 30 posts bringing in at least 100 new visits to the website.
With the statistical success of the blog so far, there are types of posts that have only been touched upon that could be looked at to help continue the blog’s growth. These types of posts could help not only broaden the content that already exists but the blog’s audience as well:
- Reviews – Tools and third party systems that we have had experience in and are in a position to critique.
- Case Studies – From split testing to in depth event analysis, well-constructed case studies can prove or disprove theories and expand on strategies.
- Basic Tutorials / Beginners Guides – The expertise within the company can sometimes be taken for granted. And there are a lot of people who are looking online for guidance on issues that we deal with every day.
- Niche Reviews – A comparison of websites or strategies in the same industry. Looking at what is awesome about a company and what is god damn awful.
From an SEO point of view, the figures are inspiring to see. The impact that the blog has made on the traffic further supports the belief in the power of good content and what it can do for a websites’ growth. And with Adtrak News, continued personal investment from our motivated staff members will lead to more quality content.
One thing that we can certainly take away from this review is that engaging correctly with social bookmarking websites could be the difference between being the author of an unnoticed blog post or a viral one. It comes down to knowing and engaging with online communities appropriately, whilst providing content that is well structured and wanted.
It’s rare to truly know how popular a blog post will become, but putting the research into your target audience will help shape and ultimately benefit your content. It is visible just how much of an impact this can make on a blog and it is something that will be considered when creating future content for Adtrak News.
What does this mean for the company?
Potentially nothing or potentially everything.
The blog isn’t a lead generator. But one of the most important representations of a web company is their online one and if the progress of the blog continues, the exposure will continue to promote Adtrak’s online presence. With this comes a more authoritative website and a stronger online brand that will hopefully transcend into the company as a whole.
Subjectively it is difficult to predict the direction of the Adtrak blog, but the most significant point is that there is a direction. Being transparent with our knowledge through the online platforms we utilise every day is a proud thing to demonstrate. It is an attribute of Adtrak that will hopefully convey through to readers, clients and all those associated with the company.
- 80% of the total traffic in 2013 enters via the blog.
- The website has seen a 1000% increase in organic search traffic since 2011
- Facebook referral traffic has also seen a 1000% increase over the same period
- Over 25 blog posts have each brought in 100+ new visitors to the website.
- The number of visitors from organic search in the first half of 2013 is more than the previous 2 years combined.