Lately I’ve been on a quest to finding the reason why all my blog income streams went down.
Brands I work with on sponsored content were telling me traffic is only going down for a long time now. My top content that was bringing me nearly 80% of the traffic (the Pareto principle is always in play) was barely visible in my Google Analytics, which means it wasn’t performing nearly as good as it used to.
That led me down the rabbit hole in terms of finding a new blogging strategy. I figured something might be wrong with the site so I focused on SEO. I found many issues in Google Search Console, contacted my host, did my research, and played around with optimization plugins.
It wasn’t until I interviewed professional blogger and SEO and traffic expert Adam Connell of Blogging Wizard that things started to click.
When blog traffic drops
One of the questions I asked him was how he deals with a sudden drop in blog traffic. And his response was this:
“Calmly. I work to understand why traffic has dropped, then I list out every possible solution or tactic that could help reclaim lost traffic, and grow it further.
In the case of SEO, you’ve got to dig into analytics at a granular level.
Sure, some ranking factors operate at a site level, but Google ranks pages not websites generally. So, you need to look at the content that’s slipped rankings.
I’ve had some weird situations where a minor sub-heading tweak has taken an article from nothing to 100s of visitors per day.
On other occasions, content has just needed a minor refresh. Nothing more.
It’s also possible that some keywords no longer gain the traffic they once did. The search terms people use change over time and you’ve got to adapt with those changes.”
After digging into analysis and Google Search Console, I went ahead and considered the following as possible issues:
- Page indexing issues
- Duplicate content
- Query strings
- Updating my sitemap
- Mobile usability issues
- Loss in crawl budget
- Incorrect settings of W3 Total Cache and Autoptimize plugins
And so on.
Until I began thinking that the only solution would be to hire an SEO expert, which would be costly and won’t even guarantee any results.
But the truth is my site speed was good, and while Google wasn’t indexing many pages on my site, it was also indexing plenty so things are working correctly. What blogging strategy did I need to focus on then?
I emailed Adam to ask what his take on this is and what direction I need to take next. His response was amazing. Here are some highlights:
“Google’s quite good at identifying what makes sense to include in its index and what doesn’t make sense. For example, most of the time it will look at a URL that has a query string at the end of it and recognize that it shouldn’t be indexed or rank in search.
I’d recommend leaving the performance stuff for later. Page load times are only an issue with rankings if they’re crazy slow. Providing your site loads reasonably fast, that shouldn’t be an issue. Google overhyped the importance of this when they released Core Web Vitals. Your site loads quite fast so that should be fine.
Next, it’s time to look at the content and figure out why traffic has dropped. This means a content audit.
When it comes to the audit, there are some ways to speed things up but it has to be done article by article because that’s how content is ranked by Google.
Moving forward, my recommendation would be to use keyword research as the starting point for planning new content. Then optimize every new article.”
I was relieved to hear that nothing special needs to be done to fix issues on my site, and my job is what I’ve always been focused on up until a year ago – content.
This is the process I began in the beginning of this year, actually. I exported all my pages, looked into keywords, made a plan on what to update, keep as is or remove and redirect. It was a lot of work and I knew the results would take a lot of time. The only blogging mistake was that I stopped doing it, probably with the hope of finding a quicker solution, but it’s not how things work.
So, time for me to get back into content audit mode. Plenty of work waiting for me in the next months. And of course, I can’t use this as an excuse not to create new optimized content.
So if your traffic has dropped, if income stopped coming, if you’re trying hard to keep up with blogging trends and keep your blog relevant, this is for you. Maybe the answer isn’t in discovering a unique blogging strategy and implementing it to see quick results. Maybe it’s focusing on what has always been your most important aspect of blogging – content – and giving it your all.
In this case, updating old content, optimizing it better, making decisions as to what needs to be deleted, updated or republished, and turning this into a consistent practice.
Doing it for a month or two just won’t do. Any big blogger and company running a big website is doing this regularly. They track the metrics of their existing content and often come back to it to update it. For your cornerstone content, that needs to happen even more often.
You want to give people the most updated information, you don’t want them to find errors and links that don’t work and low-quality images in the article. And you want to follow Google’s guidelines and make changes in your content so it keeps ranking for the keywords you’re targeting (or target a new keyword phrase when necessary if things have changed).
This seems to be the only way to:
- Grow a new blogging business;
- Keep your blog relevant and up to date;
- Maintain blog traffic over the years;
- And increase your blog metrics after they’ve went down.
Ready to implement this blogging strategy?
It would be best to never stop updating old content and publishing new useful and optimized articles. But the reality is that most bloggers take a break from that at some point for different reasons.
I did it for over a year and the reason was that I focused on the course business. I assumed that because the blog was bringing in a stable income month after month (mostly passive), things will continue this way. But even passive income requires maintenance.
I stopped investing time and energy into the blogging business, and so things went down. Now, I will have to do the heavy lifting for a bit to bring them back up. Once that’s done, I can only focus on maintenance again.
If you’ve been experiencing something similar, this might be the simple but powerful blogging strategy that works for you too. Go back to that old content, update it and optimize it so it can rank better.
Boost SEO and increase blog traffic by focusing on this one thing, and stay consistent with it so you don’t end up in the same situation again.
And if you want help creating your content strategy and writing and optimizing blog content, make sure you check out my signature course for bloggers Blog to Biz System, because that’s covered in detail there (among other key things such as monetization, blog design, email marketing, and so much more).