How A New Blog & Reddit Increased Our Search Traffic by 1000%

by George Musson

Adtrak News

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.

Blog Background

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.

Old Website | Redesigned Website

Adtrak Website

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:


The Stats

Organic traffic spanning January 2011 - July 2013

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.

Total site traffic & blog specific traffic

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…

Sources of blog traffic

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:

Types of traffic for 2011, 2012, 2013

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.

Evergreen Content

Reddit post for Sam Goddard's #fontfacefix

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.

Referral traffic stats (including Reddit, Stackoverflow, Twitter)

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.

Future posts

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:

Conclusion

Social bookmarking sites

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.

When silence isn't golden

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.

Key Stats

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