I’m a believer in learning from the past, and that’s why I post annual review of what happened here on Small Business Search Marketing for anyone who wants to read. Actually, it’s mainly posted for me — sort of a bookmark of my progress as a blogger, audience builder, and so forth. As always, I’ve begun writing this post before I’ve even started looking at last year’s web analytics. That means I’ll be making discoveries as I write — no predetermined conclusions.
As I think back on 2010, I feel like there were some good and bad things that happened here.
Good: It seems like it was a good year for growth in terms of page views, comments, RSS subscribers, and all that stuff. Page views and RSS subscribers are important because I sell advertising. Comments are important for a ton of reasons, primarily because I know that a lot of readers are smarter than me and have great things to add to what I write.
I also feel like I had a good variety of traffic sources and don’t rely too heavily on any one type or source of traffic.
Bad: I feel like I didn’t post as consistently as I wanted, and that I never posted on several important topics that came up during the year. That’s frustrating. I feel like I didn’t focus enough on reminding new readers that I offer a good, inexpensive SEO ebook. (I’m a terrible salesperson; always have been.) And I feel like maybe I didn’t get as much Twitter/Facebook traffic as I could have. We’ll see.
The Actual Numbers
Almost 250,000 visits for the year and a 25% increase over 2009. I like that. And I recall that 2009 was about 25% higher than 2008, so that means steady growth. A 15% increase in page views is good, but I would’ve expected it to be higher since I stopped showing full posts on the home page a couple months ago. Ditto on the pages/visit stat. Will need to dig into that a bit more.
This is a bit alarming. Search engines made up 56% of my incoming traffic. That was about 50% in 2009. I take pride in doing good blog/Wordpress SEO around here, but I don’t want too much traffic coming from one source. With a nasty domain like smallbusinesssem.com, I’ll never get a lot of type-in traffic, so no big deal on that being about 20%. I’d really prefer if Referring Sites made up more than 24% of my traffic. Idea: Switching away from full RSS feeds might increase referral traffic. But I’m a big fan of full feeds for the readers’ benefit, so not sure what to do there.
Wait! I just looked at my keyword report for the year and I think I can explain why search traffic was up to 56%. When John Wooden died in June, I got a lot of traffic from the phrase, “john wooden pyramid of success printable.” Apparently, my SEO Success Pyramid ranked highly for that term and my search traffic was through the roof for a short while. So that may explain the increase in search traffic and decline in referral traffic. Whew.
Google was again the top referral source to this blog in 2010 (that means Google Reader, iGoogle, etc. — not Google search). And how about my good friend David Mihm sending me 54% more traffic than he did in 2009? Thx DM! (That’s because he links prominently to my 10 Likely Elements of Google’s Local Search Algorithm article from the uber-popular Local Search Ranking Factors.)
Most of those top 10 referring sites are the same as they were in 2009, with the surprising exception of Facebook — that wasn’t in the top 10 a year ago. My article, Bad SEO Advice for Real Estate Agents … from the NAR, is apparently pretty popular among Facebook users. (And probably more specifically among real estate agents on Facebook.)
As I write this, the somewhat unreliable Feedburner chicklet says I have 7,354 subscribers. It’s been as high as 7,700 recently and seems to be in the 7,500-7,600 more often than not over the past couple weeks. I was at about 5,800-5,900 at the end of 2009, so I’m counting that as a 29% increase in feed subscribers in the past year. Thank you!
Most Popular Articles
I’ll ignore the evergreen content from years past that always gets a lot of traffic, and focus only on articles that were published in 2010. Here’s the top 10:
- 10 Likely Elements of Google’s Local Search Algorithm – rewritten in 2010 after originally being written in 2007 and falling out of date
- Why Local SEO is Harder Than SEOs Think — and, with 67 comments, I think it was also the most commented-on article of the year
- 5 Quick Impacts of Google’s New Local Search Results
- Local Citation Finder: Must-Have SEO Tool
- Warning: Don’t Use Google Maps Service/Home Business Tools Yet
- 9 Great Marketing Quotes You’ve Never Heard Before
- 7 Questions Small Businesses Should Be Asking – this might’ve been my favorite article of the year
- Bad SEO Advice for Real Estate Agents … from the NAR
- What Does Advertising on Yelp Get You?
- Two More Studies Confirm: People Research Online, Buy Locally
Lots of local search content at the top of the list. That makes me happy. Thanks for reading all of those, and the rest of the stuff that gets published here. Most of all, thanks for all the excellent comments you’ve left over the past year — I know I need to do a better job responding to and recognizing those comments, so please hold me to that in 2011.
Cheers to you for a great 2011!