The Best SEO Techniques Aren’t Enough To Get You Traffic Or Publicity

Let’s get this out of the way; I’m not against using SEO to help you get where you want to be when it comes to your blog or your website. As a matter of fact, it’s still important to highlight your main topics or business just to have a chance to compete with others who are in your field of expertise. I’d even go so far as to say that exhibiting good SEO principles will put you ahead of everyone else who isn’t even trying to use it; absolutely 100%!

will this face drive traffic?

With that said… I almost hate to add this piece, but… the best SEO techniques aren’t close to being enough to get you the traffic or publicity you’re hoping for to reach your online goals. Nope, nada, never. I don’t care what Neil Patel, Brandon Gaille or anyone else has to say on this front; it’s not going to get you there, no matter what you’re trying to do.

Most everyone’s trying to get on the Google train since they’re still the big dog. This means that everyone’s trying to follow what others are saying while using Google as their main goal. In that vein, let’s look at some of the ways authorities have told us to use SEO tactics to get what we want and how it really works for most of us.

1. Titles

Everyone says writing titles that are specific to the article will get you massive traffic. The reality is you might not even get a decent placement on Google… even if it works on other search engines. Here’s a comparison of some of my most specific titles in 2018 and how they fared on DuckDuckGo (my main search engine, which is slowly gaining ground) and Google; just so you know, these aren’t encased in quotation marks:

Mailwasher Email Processor
Duck #1
Google #38

24 Ways To Repurpose Your Content
Duck #1
Google #4

How To Write A Pillar Post
Duck #1
Google #5

Setting Your LinkedIn Privacy Preferences
Duck #2
Google #13

9 Ways To Find Blog Topics To Write About
Duck #1
Google – not in top 300

Easy Ways To Create Tough Passwords
Duck #1
Google #42

Marketing Vs. Promoting
Duck #5
Google #38

Luckily I got two into the top 10, but almost no one who’s not a loyal follower is ever going to see those other articles. However, let’s look at the next recommendation and compare it to one of the articles shown about.

2. Keywords/keyword phrases

Let’s look at the article titled “9 Ways To Find Blog Topics To Write About”. It didn’t even make the top 300 (I stopped searching at that point); didn’t I do the SEO keyword thing properly?

Fed Ex Forum

The statistics show that I used the term “blog” 56 times in the article. That’s 4% of the entire article; the recommendation is at least 2%. Within that, I used these particular keyword phrases: blogging series; blogging/writing; other blogs; blog post/posts; blog topic; business blog; and local blog. I used the term “write” 22 times, which is only 1.5%, but added to blogging it should have done better than it did. Some of those phrases included: writer’s block; writers; write about; writ things; and write articles.

I will acknowledge that I didn’t write the article with specific keywords in mind, as that’s not quite my style. Still, there were obviously enough keywords in there to have the Duck rank me at #1; what’s the Big G’s issue?

3. Long form articles

Supposedly, studies have shown that longer articles do better these days and that the minimum should be around 850 words. That particular article above was 1,475 words. Thus, unintentionally I was 71% above the recommended “new” norm; that should have worked pretty well as an SEO standard.

4. Evergreen content

That article regarding Mailwasher above was a repurposed article from 2009. It’s still a valid and valuable product (at least it is for me), and I didn’t change the link from 2009, even if I slighted changed the title. The gurus will tell you that writing evergreen content will drive massive amounts of traffic to your blog or site. I’m hear to tell you… no it won’t.

5. Google rankings vs actual traffic

Last one to look at; traffic. I’m basing this on pageviews because I feel it’s the most important thing to track when you’re looking at your overall stats. It’s also intriguing to see how well your traffic numbers match up to your article rankings, especially on Google. Granted, I don’t get the kind of traffic I used to get, but you’d think my higher rated articles would have more traffic than the others, wouldn’t you? Let’s look at the numbers; you can match the keywords with the titles above:

passwords 940
marketing v promoting 602
blog topics 546
linkedin 630
pillar 534
repurpose 457
mailwasher 161

By the way, that’s traffic from the beginning of 2018, which means some articles had more time to grow than others. The figures I find significant are the ones for Mailwasher, my evergreen post, and the blog topics post, which is my 4th highest of the list above… and my 10th most viewed article of the year. For the two highest articles on Google, pillar posts was my 11th most viewed article and repurpose was 14th. My passwords article was #2 on the year, but it’s on Google’s 5th page.

So… if SEO isn’t the all powerful way of driving traffic to your site, what is? It’s not just one thing, and it’s going to take a lot of work that almost none of us have the time to do, but here are some suggestions.

1. Read the article I just linked to

I wrote that in 2014, and it gives tips on how to increase your traffic if you’re ready to do the work. I give 10 things to shoot for there but the most important are:

* Find 10 bloggers who you either respect, who are in your niche, or whose blogs are ranked high and comment on their blogs consistently.

* Find anywhere from 1 to 9 other people whose blogs you like, whether they’re in your niche or not, but make sure they’re popular.

* Post at least 3 of your blog posts 5 times a day on Twitter and Google Plus, and connect at least one of your blogs to LinkedIn

* Ask if you can write a guest post

Those are a good start for you, but read the article for more. Ignore all the Google Plus stuff since it’s going away soon. By the way, if you go the guest posting route, please, PLEASE be professional about it.

2. Promote, promote, promote

I’ve talked about the work that promotion takes as well as some of the things others have done to get noticed in the past. Well, it’s not only a challenge, but it can backfire on you if you get it wrong as well as work in your favor long term.

I have to admit that I promote more than the “normal” folks but less than the supposed big timers; I just don’t have my heart in it to post 10 times an hour every day. So, the bulk of my traffic comes through my blog’s home page, and the search engines are second, though way down the list. Even further are the social media sites where I promote my articles, but at least it’s in the top 3.

An email list might help but you still have to get people to your site to sign up for it. We come back to the “promote” thing; you have to get your name in front of others, and the best way to do it after all these years is taking time to comment on other people’s blogs; trust me on this one.

3. Find ways to get people to talk about you and link back to you

I’m not going to do it today because it’s way too easy, but I’ve spent time over the years posting links to other bloggers and some of their articles… without any of them asking me to do it. You shouldn’t go up to anyone you don’t know and on whose blogs you haven’t participated on and ask them to mention you or link to you; that wouldn’t work with me.

However, there are still ways to get it done properly. For instance, whenever I mention someone and link to them, I always share with them on Twitter and sometimes on LinkedIn if I post something there. At least half the time they’ll reshare those articles, and if their follower list is larger than mine (which isn’t hard to to) then they’ll come to see what you had to say about someone they’re following.

Actually, I’m about to break what I said above about not linking to anyone, but I have a specific reason for doing it. I was mentioned in an article written by Lisa Sicard, which she shared on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. So of course I’m mentioning it, especially since it’s a recent article. I’ve also already shared it on Twitter; see how having connections can work?

The thing is, I’ve never reached out to the gurus to specifically comment on their blogs. Maybe it’s pride; I don’t really know. Back in the day I used to comment on Problogger often when Darren was writing most of the content, as well as Basic Blog Tips & a site called The Sales Lion. These days Ileane’s site is mainly for guest posting and Sales Lion isn’t blogging anymore, but I get to say I knew both of them “way back when”. 🙂 Still, it’s not bad advice I gave above if you can find someone you truly like and comment there when you can… and of course write good comments.

I could go on forever, but the article has to end somewhere. The takeaway is that blogging isn’t easy, SEO isn’t the answer to everything, and to get what you want is going to take a lot of work, perseverance, integrity and, of course, good writing. Do you have it in you? Let me know!

11 thoughts on “The Best SEO Techniques Aren’t Enough To Get You Traffic Or Publicity”

  1. Hi Mitch, LOVE It, you are right, we could work 24/7 and still not rank #1 for many things without spending money on promotion. (What will you use after G+?, Instagram more or Pinterest?)
    But since you mentioned SEO, I recently hired someone to do some SEO for me since I can’t do it ALL anymore. I’ll let you know in 3-6 months how it goes because I know SEO takes time and a lot of it.
    I’ve always said you gotta spend time or money to generate more money, no matter what it is you do.
    Thanks for the mention Mitch.
    I do like commenting here and there on interesting blog posts like this one 🙂
    I don’t always check their rankings or stuff like that, I have to be interested in it to read it through and then be able to leave a comment.
    Do you use Duck for search? Hmm….I haven’t checked that one out in years.
    Enjoy the rest of your week Mitch and Happy Halloween.

    1. Hi Lisa,

      Truthfully, I’d eased away from G+ earlier in the year. I wasn’t getting anything from it other than it automatically posting my videos. No one ever talked or communicated there, so it wasn’t worth the time to go anymore. For now I’m going to stick with the main 3 and possibly start introducing my blog topics on Instagram… one of these days. lol

      Let me know how it works with your SEO company. I did that kind of work from ’08 – 12; it was kind of fun but hard to get clients because they couldn’t understand much of what I was going to do for them. At least my accountant let me trade services with her; she’s the highest ranked accountant in town on the search engines! 🙂

      I started using Duck Duck Go as my main search engine about 6 months ago after I noticed that things I was searching for information on Google were showing up in the Scrabble game I play on Facebook. Duck & a few others don’t do that… for now… so I’m using Duck and haven’t had many issues with them. Sometimes I still have to go to Google for more specific information based on a direct search, but never for products any longer.

  2. Hi Mitch,

    You’re right that the best SEO might not get you ranked high on Google. Your examples are great proof of your claim. However, there might be some overlooked issues that could prevent Google from ranking your article.
    For example, many time I fail to check my article for plagiarized content all in the hopes and confidence that my blog post is unique.
    But the article I published yesterday was an eye opener. How?
    I guest post contributor submitted his article for evaluation, I tested it for plagiarism and that it contained 48% plagiarized content, as a result I rejected it.
    Then I decided to check mine as well, then I saw 2% plagiarism in my post. It’s no surprise because others in your niche might have written on the topic using the same phrase as you. Thereby making your content bad blood for Google. This kind of activity affects your Google rankings.

    Or it might be that the keywords you used have high search volume which effectively mean that you cannot rank high on that keyword.

    1. Hi Moss,

      Even if there might be other issues keeping the articles from being ranked higher, it still proves the idea that waiting around for SEO to do your work for you is a failing proposition. It’s even more definite if you’re writing on topics that hundreds (thousands) of other people are also writing on. As you saw in the one article I highlighted, I certainly hit upon the specific keywords I wanted to rank for multiple times in the article. And, based on the way I write, the only source I could ever plagiarize is me! lol

  3. You are right that doing a normal SEO is not enough to drive the traffic. I have also used a normal SEO technique, but I did not a success
    Thank you so much for sharing these kinds of information.

  4. Hi Mitch,
    Its great to know that your many articles ranked in top 10 on Google. Although this is the first time I have heard of DuckDuckGo. Will surely be checking it out. On my first blog, I used to write just 300-500 words articles. I wasn’t serious about it so just let it die. But now on this blog, I maintain an average word count of about 1500 words. I just hope that it’s going to turn out better than the last one.
    Vineet Saxena

    1. Dedication to the process will help greatly, but there are never any guarantees. There’s a lot of competition out there but blog commenting can help you go a long way to meeting other people who’ll see your posts and hopefully share some of them with others.

  5. I completely agree. SEO will help you but is not the only answer drive traffic. I think sometimes we get caught up in the SEO processes and forget what else is important too.

  6. Great Post! It is very helpful! engaging posts can also help in terms of SEO. Linking back to your site is really good as long as you do it the right way and not just spammy linking.

    SEO nowadays is getting harder and harder. Google’s updates I swear gets me confused lately. One thing I would say is, content is still KING.

    1. I agree that content is king, but I’m not sure what’s considered “spammy” (it’s not a word I use all that often lol) when linking back to one’s own content. For instance, the highest ranking website is the word belongs to W3C, with Wikipedia just behind it, and both of them link to their own content multiple times on almost every article published. Now, if someone’s content looks dodgy and they’re linking to it, then they should rewrite some of that nonsense. lol

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