2007 Small Business SEM Blog Stats

Filed in Site News by Matt McGee on January 4, 2008 6 Comments

Self-examination is an important part of self-improvement, and that’s what this post is all about. As I type this right now, I haven’t begun looking at last year’s charts and graphs, so I don’t know if I’ll be pleased with what I discover. Oh, the fun of discovery! And we get to do it together.

What Happened in 2007

Feed Subscriptions
I do know one area where I fell short of goals: feed subscribers. Here’s a screenshot I made at the end of last year (notice the date highlighted in the yellow box):

2006 Feedburner stats

I had 159 feed subscribers at the end of 2006, and set myself a goal to reach 2,000 subscribers in one year. The Feedburner chicklet in the upper right of the blog has been ranging between 1,700 and 1,800 over the past couple weeks, and I think the high was about 1,820. It’s a huge jump over last year, but some of that is also the artificial increase from when Google Reader subscriptions were added to Feedburner’s numbers.

I may have been able to reach 2,000 subscribers if not for the fact that I spent the past six months writing a book 5-6 nights a week. From about July onward, my posting level was about 50% of normal, and I’ve held several major posts back (one of which should appear here next week).

I may have fallen short of the overall goal, but the growth chart is pointing in the right direction and I’m pleased with that. Here’s 2007′s feed subscriber growth:

2007 Feedburner stats

Blog Traffic
Alright, time to look at Google Analytics.

2007 SBS Traffic stats 1

This blog began in April, 2006, so I don’t have a full year of stats for 2006 to use for comparison. I do know, though, that my average visits per day was 89 in 2006, and jumped to 240 this year — that’s about a 250% increase. Works for me. :) I’m pleased with the 26% bounce rate because this blog attracts some very off-target traffic. The “Top 21 Signs You Need a Break from SEO” post always gets traffic from people searching for “signs you need a break from your girl/boyfriend”, and the “SEO Industry Look Alike” post gets all kinds of “lookalike” search traffic from people not interested in SEO/SEM discussion.

Traffic sources chartTraffic Sources
Search engine referrals made up less than 1/3rd of my overall traffic. I like that. I’m not a fan of being beholden to Google, Yahoo, etc., to bring eyeballs to SBS. On November 26, I started using Dean’s Permalinks Migration plugin to make my URLs more SEO-friendly, so I’ll be curious to see if there’s any impact from that in 2008.

As far as individual referring sources go, I’m not at all surprised to see that social media sites are the primary drivers of traffic here. StumbleUpon, Sphinn, and Yahoo Answers are all in the top four. Nice. And all ten of these have bounce rates lower than the site average (26%), which I like. However, it would be nice to see those big SEO sites at the bottom of the list moving up in 2008 — that would mean my articles and blog posts are being recognized more by the premier industry sites. (BTW, the “Google.com” in the #3 spot is Google Reader and iGoogle traffic.)

Referring sites chart

As far as search referrals go, I’ll spare you the chart and just write it out: Google sent 91% of my search traffic, MSN sent 3%, and Yahoo sent 2.2%.

Most Popular Content
Here are the ten most popular posts of 2007 based purely on traffic. And please don’t Sphinn any of these; remembe, I changed my URLs six weeks ago so the Sphinn button will make it look like these were never submitted, but they were.

1.) 10 Likely Elements of Google’s Local Search Algorithm – I’m surprised by this. I would’ve guessed Top 10, but not number one.

2.) How to SEO Your Site in Less Than 60 Minutes – Not surprised by this one. It’s the only post I’ve ever written that’s been translated into different languages. At least the only one I know of. :) I’m going to update and expand this one in 2008.

3.) Strange goings-on with Merchant Circle – The post that keeps on giving, more than a year later. It goes like this: Merchant Circle cold calls small businesses to get them to sign up to see reviews of their business. Business owner finds no reviews on MC’s web site, so goes to Google and searches for their business name to learn more. My article above is one of the top listings for their name. I get boatloads of traffic. Did you know? The phrase “merchant circle” is the top referring keyword to this blog. It’s true. Number two isn’t even close.

4.) Top 21 Signs You Need a Break From SEO (2007 version) – No surprise here. It’s the #2 all-time post on Sphinn at the moment.

5.) Google Maps at the Gas Station? No, Thanks – Here’s where it gets weird. A little rant I threw together in about 10 minutes and this thing caught fire on StumbleUpon. Maybe I should rant more often…

6.) How Amazon.com Became the SEO-Smartest Retailer Online – One of my favorite posts because Amazon is such a throwdown to any retailer who complains about not being able to develop content around their products.

7.) Top 21 Signs You Need a Break from SEO – The original post from 2006 still brings in traffic in 2007. That’s what good linkbait is supposed to do, isn’t it?

8.) 8 Things the Search Industry Can Teach Small Businesses – I think this is the most recent post to crack the Top 10.

9.) What Apple’s Marketing Can Teach Small Businesses – Huh. I’m surprised to see this here, but I guess any post that even draws a comment from Mrs. McGee must have some merit. :)

10.) YouTube Marketing Tips – Never would’ve guessed this one in a million years. It must rank well for “you tube marketing” or something along those lines.

So that’s it. I’m left with this feeling: It was a good year, but could’ve been better if I’d really worked hard at it for the full 12 months. Now it’s time to start thinking about realistic goals and plans for 2008.

A sincere thank you if you’ve read this far :), and thank you to everyone who visited, left comments, and/or linked here during 2007. I hope I give you reasons to do more of that in 2008!

Comments (6)

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  1. oldschool says:

    Congrats on winning the Best Local Search Blog award, and congrats on the site growth. I dare not share my stats, but I am looking forward to having a great blogging year myself in 2008.

    Anthony a.k.a Old School

  2. NYC SEO says:

    It is a very impressive that less than 1/3 of your traffic came from search engines. I am trying to build something along these lines so I guess social media is one of the best routes according to your reports. Do you have any other useful tips?

  3. John Lee says:

    Matt,

    You mentioned reporting back on the results of your permalink migration. Did this give you any trouble? i.e. Did your traffic fluctuate after the migration?

    Recently made a similar change to PPC Hero and I’m trying to get a feel for how similar blogs fared in the switch!

    Thanks,

    John

  4. Matt McGee says:

    I just looked over my stats going back into 2007, and there was no noticeable dip in search engine traffic after I switched this blog’s URLs. Referrals stayed pretty consistent until the Christmas week dip, then began to rise in early 2008 and have been solid since then.

    So, all in all, no trouble in switching the permalinks here on SBS. Thx for asking, John.

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