2014 year in review: How I do SEO for my blog

Among other things, the routine SEO practice helps drive this blog’s traffic – about 180,000 page views and 120,000 visitors in 2014. SEO techniques deployed for this blog include (a) proper metadata writing and (b) keyword research and placement.

MulinBlog site stats in 2014

Blog traffic in 2014 saw another year of continued growth. WordPress.com site stats report shows 178,987 page views, more than double that of 2013. About 120,000 visitors from 211 countries visited the blog, and as seen in the screen shot below, most of the visitors came from United States, with UK and India not far behind.

The WordPress Referrer report shows majority of the page views were sent by search engines, with other referral sources such as Twitter and Facebook trailing behind. It should be noted that this report does not include direct traffic, which usually includes visits that result from user directly typing a URL in the browser or by following a link in emails. Google Analytics report shows direct traffic as the second largest referring source.

How to do SEOHow to do SEO

And here is a list of posts/pages with more than 2,000 page views for the year. Some of these posts/pages were made in 2013 or even 2012, but somehow have had a strong staying power.

How to do SEO

How I SEO my blog: metadata writing

Proper metadata writing can help people get a quick idea about the page contents and thus will encourage click-through by people who are interested in this topic.

For each new post or page, I will write the SEO title and the meta description in a way that  they convey essential information about the post, and are within the search engine snippet length limit.

As an example, one top-ranking page, Free Online Journalism Course Schedule, shows up on page 1 of Google search results for the keyword phrase “online journalism courses.” Notice in the screen shot below that neither the title nor the description is being cut short – I wrote them with the length limits in mind.

online journalism courses   Google Search

How I SEO my blog: Keyword research and placement

Following guidelines in the keyword research tutorial I once wrote, I try to include one or two long-tail keywords in the body of the post/page, as well as in the metadata texts.

Sometimes, the keyword strategy works like a charm; for instance, in a recent post about mobile journalism, the keyword phrase I targeted is “mobile journalism examples,” and in four days, that post tops Google search results for mobile journalism examples:

mobile journalism examples

That said, the keyword strategy does not always work beautifully; an example would be the post Google Maps tutorial: How to create a free heat map with Google Fusion Tables. This post does not rank high for the primary keyword, “Google Maps tutorial,” but ranks better for secondary keywords – page 1 of “create heat map,” page 4 of “free heat map.”

There have also been times where I did not plan or include keywords in a post, but the post somehow becomes popular and consistently brings in organic search traffic.

Most notable in the group of “unplanned and unexpected popular posts” is the top-ranking post, How to embed a “live” webpage in WordPress blog posts. This post was written in 2013 and somehow becomes the most-visited post on my blog, generating about 33,000 page views in 2014 alone.

Related posts:

About Mu Lin

Dr. Mu Lin is a digital journalism professional and educator in New Jersey, United States. Dr. Lin manages an online marketing company. He also manages MulinBlog Online J-School (www.mulinblog.com/mooc), a free online journalism training program, which offers courses such as Audio Slideshow Storytelling; Introduction to Social Media Marketing; Writing for the Web; Google Mapping for Communicators; Introduction to Data Visualization; Introduction to Web Metrics and Google Analytics.
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