The long tail and SEO work

On May 8th, I made a post about how a previous post from a year earlier had a resurgence in traffic.

I thought that traffic would eventually subside, but I was wrong. In less than 3 months, that post has almost doubled the amount of page views it has:

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, blogging has taught so much about how the Web works. When I made that post, I never envisioned that more than a year later it would still be receiving consistent traffic.

The Web works so much different than print. With a daily newspaper, for instance, all the views for a story basically come in one shot on the day an article is published. The day I launched that post (and the day after) are nowhere near the biggest days of traffic for that post.

That post also never had a huge day of traffic, and posts don’t need to generate giant days of traffic to be able to bring in a lot of traffic to a blog in the aggregate. About 90 was the most page views that post ever received in one day, but it has consistently drawn traffic. It has about 1,400 page views now, and in a year, it will probably have between 2,000-3,000.

A couple months ago I made a big SEO push on this blog. I changed the URL structure, put the post titles before my blog name, made sure I wrote headlines with lots of keywords for SEO, developed a site map and made some other changes to the site. I knew that my summer might be busy (I did BeatBlogging.org and Stripes at the same time during June), but I didn’t want my traffic to drop off that much.

And it hasn’t. While, I haven’t been setting records, July will probably be my second-highest month in terms of traffic for the JI. Not bad, considering I don’t post that much anymore, and I haven’t had a big, really popular post in awhile (BeatBlogging.Org is where my best work is these days).

But what I do have is a lot of long tail traffic. 165 posts received traffic yesterday, in large part due to strong SEO. With each post I make (this is No. 301), that long tail traffic gets more robust. Most of my traffic comes in via search engines and referrals right now.

Every journalist should at least experiment with blogging. I have been doing Web work since the the 90s, but blogging has taught me so much about the link economy of the Web. More journalists need to understand that economy.

It’s how the Web works.