How does search engine traffic affect your blog?

by Mack Collier

I am definitely not an SEO expert, but after a couple of years of studying up on how search engines work, I think I have at least a 101-level understanding of the topic.  Still, as with most other things, I can learn something better if I can figure out for myself why it works.

Earlier this year I started paying closer attention to the percentage of this site’s traffic that came from search engines.  I noticed that at the first of the year, less than 10% of the traffic came from search engines.  This seemed really low to me, and the most common answer I was given for increasing search traffic was to post consistently to the blog.  The idea was that over time, search traffic should rise as more content from the site was indexed.

And here’s the graph for the weekly search traffic here:

In February, search accounted for just 6.53% of the traffic here, but through last week, search was responsible for 34% of the traffic here for this month.  And the nice steady growth in search traffic you see in the above graph backs that up.

But I noticed something pretty interesting when I was reading my site’s stats.  For the year, 73.84% of the people that visited this site were here for the first time.  Yet when I look at just the search traffic for the year it was even higher, the percentage was 78.25%.  So that means that almost 80% of the search traffic here were people visiting this site for the first time.

I think this is pretty significant because many of us that blog want to avoid covering topics we have already previously discussed.  But at least for this site, roughly 75% of the people that see every post, are seeing this site as a whole for the 1st time.

This leads to some interesting questions, such as…

1 – Should we as bloggers be attempting to more narrowly focus our content?  For example, instead of covering 5 complimentary topics, focusing on just 1 or 2 areas, and creating content that often covers the same ground?

2 – Or should we instead be looking for ways to get more visits from return visitors?

3 – What IS the ideal percentage of new visitors?  Very little in social media is ‘one size fits all’, so how can bloggers decide what that percentage should look like, based on what they want to accomplish with their blogging?

Would be interested to hear what y’all think, and also how my stats compare with what you are seeing on your blog.  I used Google Analytics to find mine, and I don’t think there is a ‘right’ answer here.  If your percentages are higher, that could be good, and if they are lower, that could be good as well.

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