2008 Small Business SEM Blog Stats

Filed in Site News by Matt McGee on January 2, 2009 6 Comments

What a crazy, challenging, and ultimately wonderful year 2008 was on a personal level. I held two corporate jobs; was laid off from one and resigned from the other; ultimately decided to be a solo consultant and will add a third client this month; and also took on a role as Assignment Editor for Search Engine Land. (That’s just the career stuff; nevermind that I published a book, continued to manage an uber-popular U2 site, and started Hyperlocal Blogger, too.)

But this post is just about this blog, Small Business Search Marketing. And I’ll start with a confession: This post is as much for me as it is for you; this is the post where I talk out loud to myself about successes and failures of the past year, look at what worked and what didn’t, and lay the foundation for what I hope will be continued growth of this blog in 2009. But first, I think you have to start by looking back.

2008 Stats

Visits & Pageviews

stats

That’s a screenshot from Google Analytics showing numbers for the full 2008 calendar year. At the start of 2008, this blog was averaging about 240 visits and 696 pageviews per day. So, visits went up by about 80% when measuring the daily average, and pageviews went up about 5%. I should continue to think about only showing extracts of posts on the home page, which is something I’ve given thought to from an SEO perspective, and would certainly help increase pageviews, too — a key metric for advertisers.

But I think the pageview thing is more about a change in the way I blog here: Since the blog began in 2006, I’ve averaged 27 posts per month and 350 words per post. Towards the end of 2008, though, I’ve been averaging below 20 posts per month, but about 450 words per post. My blogging has changed to less frequent, but lengthier, more in-depth posts. I’m trying to avoid echo chamber posts as much as possible. I hope that’s a good thing.

(All the stats and charts won’t show what I think is the smartest thing I did all year: In May, I dropped the registration wall and opened up comments to anyone who supplies a name and email address. The impact was immediate and dramatic, and I’ve met a lot of great people from the comments they’ve shared and the conversations we’ve had.)

Traffic Sources

referrals chartI’m thrilled that search engine traffic only makes up about a third of my overall traffic. It’s not good to rely too heavily on a single traffic source; diversity is key for any web site. At the same time, you want to have an SEO-friendly web site, too, and on that count, I think this blog is doing well: That 37.59% for 2008 is up from only 28.8% in 2007, so things have certainly improved. The top keywords bringing me search traffic remain the same as in 2007: “merchant circle,” “google local search,” “msn local,” “how to seo,” and “local search marketing” are all among the top 10 of referring keywords.

As far as referring sites go, the top of the list is pretty much the same as a year ago. Where it gets interesting to me is at Nos. 9 and 10. My friend David Mihm has become a primary referrer to this blog. 84% of those 1,100+ visits are from his excellent Local Search Ranking Factors. (Thx for inviting me to take part, DM.) And then at No. 10 is Twitter, which I resisted joining for a long time, saw no value in it, then joined … and now can’t imagine not using it.

referral sites

Among search referrals, Google sent 83% of my search traffic, down from 91% in 2007. Yahoo sent 10%, up from 2% a year ago. And MSN was at 2%, just below 2007.

Feed Subscribers

At the start of 2008, this blog had about 1,700 feed subscribers and is now in the 3,400 range most commonly. Every so often that bumps up above 3,500. I’m pleased to have double feed subscribers in the space of a year, but don’t know if that’s a realistic goal for 2009.

Top Content

The blog’s home page and this old post about Merchant Circle continue to be the two most-visited pages on the blog, but I’ll limit this list to just the content that was published in 2008.

1.) SEO Success Pyramid – Can’t say I’m surprised; this is probably the best thing I’ve ever written/created.

2.) 8 Social Media Sites for Local Networking

3.) Adding A Business to MSN/Live Local Search – I know we talk a lot about Google Maps, but I get so much traffic from small business owners wanting to know how to get listed on MSN Local.

4.) 12 Tips on Creating Content for Social Media

5.) Big List of 2008 Prediction & Resolution Posts

6.) Part Two: Why Use Yahoo! Answers – one piece of a 3-part series

7.) Google Still Loves Yahoo Answers

8.) 5 Google Products a Small Business (Probably) Shouldn’t Use

9.) A Guide to Social Marketing on Yahoo! Answers

10.) Part Three: How To Use Yahoo! Answers

Interesting to me that six of the ten articles listed are about social media in some way. I guess the message is that there’s a lot of interest from people wanting to learn about those marketing opportunities.

That’s all for now … thanks for reading this far, and thanks to all who read this blog on a regular basis. I’m always open to feedback and constructive criticism, so if there’s something I’m doing that you wish I wouldn’t, or something I’m not doing that you wish I would, please use the contact form and tell me about it.

Happy New Year!

Comments (6)

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  1. Weekly Blogging Roundup | Matt McGee | January 3, 2009
  1. David Mihm says:

    Matt, it’s been a terrific year for you. I can’t imagine going through the career shift you have AND publishing a book at the same time. I hope that 2009 is as fulfilling for you as I think it will be!

    Awesome that so many people are visiting your blog ! I can’t think of a better resource for small business owners interested in SEO and SEM.

  2. Donace says:

    Congratulation man; Your post prompted me to check my stats; I finally hit the 5k+ unique’s mark per month on the last quarter though with 40% or so from searching and a whopping 45% (of 55%)referral traffic to one post!

    Hopefully in 2009 I will start to utilize social media a bit more and gain more traffic; as is evident from your graphs and try and beat my traffic figures since my site was born (7 months ago).

    Good luck to you for this year

  3. Matt McGee says:

    Thank you, both. :) David – are you gonna post any blog stats? I’d love to see the impact of the Ranking Factors. That started sending traffic to me almost immediately.

    Donace — good luck to you, as well, this year.

  4. Frank Reed says:

    Matt,

    Congrats on the progress with the blog and your freedom as a consultant ( I wasn’t fully aware of that one actually til today). I hope this year will be the year for increased traffic for my blog. i am learning from folks like you so I hope I can get some more traction.

    Keep up the great work!

  5. Matt says:

    Great recap of your stats, I appreciate your candor and willingness to share. Looks like you are doing the right things to generate traffic.

    Best of luck in 2009,
    Matt

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