In my last post here on the Cafe, I laid out a simple strategy for getting more blog traffic from Google Analytics.
The basic idea was that you can get greater returns on your time by finding the traffic sources that currently work for you and leveraging them for greater results.
And while the post got a fantastic response (over 65 comments and growing at the time of writing this), nearly every comment had the same question:
“Google is sending most of my traffic. How can I possibly leverage more traffic out of the Big G?”
The message was clear: many of you guys and gals still feel like search engine traffic is a mystery force – that you are at the uncontrollable whim of Google.
Today we’re going to change that mindset by skipping the theory and demonstrating a simple, concrete tactic you can steal right now to improve your Google rankings and leverage more traffic from search engines.
I want to show you that there is something you, as a blogger, can do to to directly influence your Google rank, but first we have to understand why controlling search engine traffic seems so hard right now.
Why Even Basic SEO Is Against Your Blog
Even on a good day, Search Engine Optimization is about as straight forward as reading tea leaves or gazing into a crystal ball.
That’s not your only problem though – heck, it’s not even your biggest problem.
No, your biggest problem is that SEO simply isn’t built for blogs.
If you’ve ever wondered why controlling search traffic seems harder for bloggers, it’s because it is.
Basic SEO practices tells us that if we want a page to show up higher in Google search results, and therefore get more traffic, we have to “optimize” that page for a chosen keyword.
Then we need to get outside links to point back to that page, using that chosen keyword as anchor text.
And that’s a complex enough system to follow for anyone, but as a blogger you have to face one very hard question: Which post gets to rank?
If your desired keyword is “model making“, and every post you write is about “model making“, which one of your dozens of posts should you try to rank for the keyword “model making“?
Which one gets the backlinks?
Which one gets the Tweets?
Which ones get lost in the archives never to be seen again?
All those similar posts are weakening your potential Google rankings by spreading out reader attention, backlink potential, and keywords.
Google is hesitant to rank you for your desired keywords, because it simply doesn’t understand which of your many posts are the most relevant.
Increase Google Rankings With Resource Pages
Where many bloggers get confused – and where your blogging train might be leaving the tracks – is in the difference between content geared toward search engine visitors (people who find you through Google) and content geared toward repeat visitors (people who come back as subscribers and fans).
Repeat visitors want fresh, new content.
Search engine visitors want a one-stop resource that answers their question.
It’s the battle between “more is better” versus “quality over quantity“.
Since our goal is improve our Google ranking, and therefore traffic, our strategy is clear: give Google a centralized page that it can rank for large, competitive keywords.
We need what I call a Compendium or Resource Page.
Compendium Pages are blog pages that are meant to organize your posts for specific keywords into centralized, easily rankable, resources.
Think of them like categories, only pickier.
Let’s try an example to illustrate:
We’re trying to rank #1 in Google for the keyword “model making“.
However, we have too many posts about the subject to choose just one and we want to get traffic to all of them.
To get around this, you could create a Compendium Page (just a new blog page) and call it something like “Model Making 101“.
Then we would provide an introduction to the topic, followed by a list of links to your best model making posts, organized as if it were a beginner’s guide to the subject.
It might look something like this:
Model Making 101
Model making is awesome because . . .
- Basic Tools For Model Making
- The 5 Best Classes For Model Making Beginners
- Model Making Exercise To Hone Your Skills
Also, take a look at Ana’s resource pages:
Think about what this does for your blog:
Google gets one page it can rank for big keywords
Instead of bombarding poor Google with backlinks that all use the same keyword as anchor text, but point to different posts, you give them a more focused backlink strategy that is much easier to organize and will compete much better for crowded search terms.
Google visitors get funneled deeper into your content
Search engine visitors are picky creatures because they don’t find your blog by just “surfing.”
They typed in a specific search and they want a specific answer to it.
With a compendium page, instead of immediately hitting the “Back” button, if they don’t find exactly what they’re looking for, their attention is captured by headlines that might be more relevant or specific to their needs.
Other visitors get instant primers into your topic
Visitors from Twitter or Facebook will get an instantly useable, endlessly sharable resource, and a quick introduction into the kind of content they’ll get by subscribing to your blog.
You get a simplified backlinking strategy
Instead of constantly striving to build links and drive traffic to any of the dozens or hundreds of posts you have, you get to focus your efforts and promotional strategies onto one page that funnels visitors toward your other posts.
It also frees you up to optimize your smaller posts for long-tail keywords without splitting your focus.
Other bloggers are more likely to link back to your resource
Bloggers aren’t very likely to link to someone’s individual posts these days.
They will, however, happily link out to resources that are insanely useful for their readers.
Your Compendium Pages become excellent link bait that attracts organic backlinks and massive social sharing.
But the best part of this strategy is that surprisingly few bloggers are utilizing it yet.
A few of the bigger players have caught on and are starting to take advantage, but now is an opportunity for smaller blogs to stake big claims in competitive search results.
So what now?
Now go brainstorm your top keywords that you can turn into Compendium Pages.
Aim for 4-5 pages, with around 10 links per page to start – you can always tweak it from there – then start building backlinks to your new resources.
Not only will this method simplify your SEO world considerably, but it’s also the fastest way to take control of your search engine traffic.
I’ve tried to layout the Compendium Page strategy as briefly and clearly as I can in this post.
However, if you’re not quite clear on how to build one yourself, or if you just learn better visually, you can watch a video I put together that gives you a demonstration of this strategy.