It’s no secret that my blog traffic has been at an all-time low. Where I once was getting an average of around 3,000 readers a month, I now am getting several hundred. This is partly my own fault — but it is also the fault of social media, particularly Facebook. For those who pay attention to these sort of things, Facebook went and changed their algorithm. This actually isn’t a bad thing for Facebook as a platform, although it does screw publishers of content. Facebook organic page reach has declined in order to sell more ads, and Facebook groups reach as declined as well. Basically, Facebook wants you to buy ads now, and interact with your friends more. That’s why instead of Facebook, I’ve turned to the process of building links for your blog, which has paid off nicely.
Let me explain — backlinks are the #1 ranking factor that Google uses for organic traffic. These backlinks represent other sites linking to a page on your site. This process is intrinsically linked to other parts of SEO like keyword research. However, unlike keyword research you can build these link yourself through editorial outreach or tactical link building, which is actually what I do for a living as an Offsite SEO Manager. For some reason, I never thought (or was too lazy) to do this for my own site, as social media traffic was doing a great job of getting readers. I also didn’t feel like making any changes, as things were working out just fine.
However, the truth is that these readers weren’t dedicated in any real sense. They’d click on my blog because I wrote something controversial, not because they had any interest in reading more after that article. In fact, my bounce rate (meaning readers who just read that article and then bounced) was really high. In fact, it was close to 90%. That’s pretty bad when your goal is for people to read your blog, not just get outraged and leave. Fortunately, building links for your blog is a way to capture a portion of readers who are looking for a specific search query. If they’re happy with what they read, they’ll often go on to read other articles on your site.
This has happened with several of my articles, most notably my Bioshock Infinite article on Daisy Fitzroy. Articles like these do well on search because they provide a certain informational function — people want to learn more about Daisy Fitzroy. Given that that’s one of my better written articles, and likely the most definitive article written on Daisy Fitzroy online, it tends to convert people to read more articles on my blog. While I haven’t built any links directly to this article, building links for your blog to other articles on your site helps to increase your overall domain authority. There’s a complex argument if domain authority is actually effective as a metric, but when marketing a blog , building links for your blog is of paramount importance.
While organic social media marketing is on its way out, building links for your blog is a sustainable way to gain organic traffic from Google and other search engines like Bing and Yahoo. I may not be getting thousands of readers like I was previously, but I do have almost 60 published articles that I’ve been mobilizing for search. This may not be bringing in a ton of readers, but who is reading is much more dedicated and more likely to read other articles and come away with a positive opinion of my writing. And as a writer, isn’t connecting and communicating with readers what matters?
It may not be bringing in many readers right now, but the numbers will definitely grow over time. Search engines have been my main source of traffic for some time, and it’s a lot better than depending on the fickleness of social media. I get traffic even without doing any promo and my bounce rate has been declining over time. Your strategy is right on. Keep it up!