Once a quarter I take a few minutes to look at my Google Analytics report for my blog DevelopmentCorporate.com. Sometimes I find some interesting stuff. I have been blogging for a little over 10 years on enterprise product management and mergers/acquisitions/divestitures. I was a senior executive for several software companies. I have been a VP of Marketing, Product Management, Customer Service, and Corporate Development for over 20 years. I have led five acquisitions and over a dozen divestitures. I blog because I like to write and have the crazy idea of writing a book one day. I am a novice writer and just learned SEO basics a few years ago. Since January 1, 2020, I have had 57,473 pageviews, 41,684 users, from 175 countries and 5,667 cities. During my review, I noticed that I had four readers from Port Morseby, New Guinea. They had read two of my top ten posts. I asked myself a question “Why would someone from Port Moresby reading my blog?”
Almost 80% of my traffic is to one of my top 4 posts:
Almost 80% of my traffic comes from my top four posts. I wrote my top post, How to Calculate the Enterprise Value of a Private Company, in 2008. I rewrote it in 2019 once I learned some basics. Here’s what the traffic has been since then:
Organic search accounts for 90% of my traffic:
25 search terms account for almost 25% of the impressions:
My content is the #1 search result displayed for over 45 search terms: It is on the first page of Google for 245 search terms.
According to Google Analytics, my blog has had visitors from 175 countries and 5,667 cities in the past 18 months. 12 countries account for 90% of the visitors and over 75% of the sessions: There are readers from many countries that I have not yet visited but would like to one day. These include New Guinea, Bahrain, UAE, Qatar, New Guinea, Latvia, Tanzania, and Fiji.
People from over 5,000 cities have visited. About 40 cities account for 40% of the users and sessions:
I understand my top-ranked post was an accident. I picked a topic that people were interested in and wrote something unique. Traffic did not take off until I rewrote the post and applied some lessons I learned. These lessons included:
If your content sucks, no amount of SEO tricks can help you. Readers (and Google) value content that shows Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T). There is no magic potion to grow traffic. Google’s guidelines are over 160 pages. They consider hundreds of factors. It is almost impossible to game the Google rating system.
I write about topics that I have deep personal experience with. I have focused on product management and mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures. I have worked in startups as well as late-stage mature software companies. I have lived primarily in the United States, but also in The Netherlands. Belgium, and Germany. Now I am semi-retired and live in Costa Rica. My experience provides a foundation for my writing. I have had many successes, but also many failures. As my Dad used to say “Expensive lessons are the ones you learn the best.” My draft posts folder is full of half-written pieces. I abandoned them halfway when I realized I was just regurgitating something I had read on the Internet. They were not something I had real Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.
Once I have a topic I want to write about, I begin with keyword research. Over 90% of my traffic comes from organic search. Keywords are the foundation of search intent. Search intent is the primary goal a user has when searching a query in a search engine. I identify the keywords or keyphrases I want to focus on. Then I search Google for those items. I use the free Moz toolbar to see the page authority and domain authority of search results. Here is an example for the search “calculate enterprise value private company”:
First impressions count. Writing a good post headline will improve your search rankings. The free Coschedule headline tool can help you craft a great headline:
Most of us are not professional copywriters. I can write quickly, but my grammar, spelling, and clarity suffer. I use three free tools to improve the technical quality of my writing and SEO.
Grammarly is a free plug-in that works with Microsoft Office and Google Docs. It identifies common grammar and spelling mistakes and offers solutions: They offer a paid upgrade that covers a number of other items like word choice, tone adjustments, etc.
The Hemingway Editor App is a free web app that assesses readability, adverb use, passive voice, and sentence complexity.
I use WordPress as a blogging platform. Yoast offfers a free plug-in that can assess the SEO quality of your writing.
The combination of Grammarly, Yoast, and the Hemingway Editor will significantly improve the quality of your writing.
There are 17 SEO hacks you can use to improve your search rankings. These include:
- Key Phrase in Title/Headline
- Key Phrase in First Paragraph
- Key Phrase in Excerpt
- Key Phase in Meta Description
- Key Phrase in Closing Paragraph
- Key Phrase in URL
- Key Phrase 1%-2% Density in Text
- Key Phrase in ~50% H2 Headings
- Paragraphs ~ 300 words
- Post Length >1,500 Words
- 2 to 5 Images
- Alt Text for All Images
- Key Phrase in 50% of All Alt Text
- Key Phrase in Image File Names
- Readability Score ~8th Grade Level
- At least 3 to 5 Internal Links
- Use Structured Data Blocks
Almost all of these items are self-explanatory. If you have a question simply Google it
Structured data is important to Google. Structured data is used by Google for items like rich cards, rich snippets, and the knowledge graph. Most blogging tools have features that allow you to create structured data.
The simple answer is I wrote something that answered a question they had. I made an effort to:
- Do Basic Keyword Research
- Write a God Headline
- Write Good Content
- Write Clean Copy
- Leverage Many SEO Hacks
One day I hope to visit a few of the interesting locations where my readers live. I am available to conduct on-site workshops anywhere in the South Pacific 😉