Wouldn’t we all?
Would you be interested if I told you I discovered a secret tip for increasing search engine traffic?
I followed the tip, and my search engine traffic increased thirteen times!
It’s easy, it’s free, and it’s the opposite of everything you’ve been told about how to get search engine traffic.
In order to present a case study of how I increased my search engine traffic thirteen times, I will use a before and after format– before I discovered the tip and after.
Before I Received the Search Engine Traffic Tip
I was a new blogger and eager to learn all the information I could to be the best blogger I could be.
I had heard that you could use up to 15 tags for each WordPress blog post. Use them I would.
I was as creative as my out-of-the-box thinking allowed me to be.
For example, I was offering blogging advice, so I would tag my post “advice”.
I was offering blogging solutions, so I tagged my posts “solutions”.
Today, I know that this is silly. Anyone looking for blogging advice at Google would type in “blogging” or something along those lines.
Needless to say, my 2014 search engine traffic was low.
Wiser, I stopped giving my blog posts irrelevant tags. However, I still continued to make sure I packed my posts with relevant tags and categories that totalled a maximum of 15. I sure was going to make sure I got the biggest bang for my buck I could get.
I patted myself on the back all year. I was proud at what an ambitious tagger I was.
I networked often in order to grow my blog. All over the blogosphere I saw blog posts that had a category called “Uncategorized.”
That definitely wasn’t going to be me. I certainly wasn’t going to miss an opportunity to be found in search engines.
Needless to say, my search engine traffic remained low.
Was I red flagged? No! Should I have been? Yes.
I’ll tell you why I wasn’t alarmed. I know blogging isn’t one of the trendiest topics to write about. I just assumed everything is relative.
Then, as I started to talk to people across the blogosphere further, we discussed what our Number One traffic referrers were. Everyone reported “search engines” except for me. Facebook had always been my Number One (now it’s StumbleUpon).
At this point, I was confused. I am pretty familiar with the trendiest topics at Buzzsumo. Many bloggers with higher search engine traffic than mine were blogging about topics that would not get high marks at Buzzsumo.
However, I was happy. My community was growing, and I was discovering a joy in blogging I had never before experienced.
People started to write me for tagging help.
I explained it this way:
Think of an outline complete with Main Points and Subpoints. The categories are the Main Points and the Tags are the Subpoints.
Easy? So I thought.
Needless to say, my search engine traffic remained low all last year.
Two days before 2016 started, I received a tip from a successful blogging friend.
He sent me an Email that he had been privy to a blogging tip. He divulged that the source of the tip wished to remain anonymous.
A tip from an anonymous source? Deep Throat, the informant who wished to remain anonymous when he met with Watergate reporters Woodward and Bernstein in an underground garage, came to mind.
My source had an anonymous source? How exciting! How intriguing!
Now I’m going to share the tip with you. Are you ready? Here it is:
Use fewer tags. That’s it.
I was mildly concerned. What if this were true? I had hundreds of posts by the end of 2015 all tagged with 15 relevant keywords.
But, it couldn’t be true. Hey, I worked hard at tagging my posts, and hard work gets results. Right?
After I Received the Search Engine Traffic Tip
To be on the safe side, on the off-chance that the rumor was true, I hardly assigned any tags to the post I was in the middle of composing.
Immediately, my search engine traffic went up.
A coincidence, right? On the off-chance this wasn’t a coincidence, I started to go back into a few of my posts and decrease the number of tags.
Within six days my search engine traffic rose and continued to rise. This was for the period that included New Years. The blogosphere is usually slower over the holidays.
I didn’t know what to do. Should I tell someone? Should I tell my readers?
I decided to test the tip for two months. If, at the end of two months, my search engine traffic remained spiked, I would report the secret tip and my findings.
I am not going to include screen shots. Again, everything is relative. What is an abnormally high number for me might be a low number for someone else.
The bottom line is my search engine traffic is thirteen times higher than it was less than two months ago.
There is an added benefit to following the tip. I have more subscribers as a result of using the search engine traffic tip.
Starting the middle of January, I asked new subscribers like I always did how they found me. Three said from Google. Normally, no one answers that way. Two said they found me by researching Pinterest and one said he lost all his subscribers, Googled what to do, and my name came up.
A Plausible Explanation the Search Engine Traffic Tip Works
This is how it was explained to me. By having too many tags for your blog post, you are building yourself too small a net to catch enough search engine users. You are boxing yourself in. In my mind, you are building too small a box.
Proof the Search Engine Traffic Tip Works
There is support for this theory that you should use fewer tags for your posts, not more.
Consider this comment from a reader:
I have had my own recipe blog for almost a year and rarely get traffic from Pinterest. If I search using very specific terms (i.e. the name of my own recipe) it doesn’t show up in Pinterest’s search at all, which is rather frustrating.
My question is: Am I missing something? My pictures are quite pretty, I use relevant keywords in my descriptions, I re-pin other people’s pins, regularly re-pin my own, all without success! Any ideas where I am going wrong?
This was my response:
I read about a method that appears to have success with various search engines for everyone who has tried it. I, myself, am testing the method, and will write a post on its effectiveness after I’ve tested it for several months.
The method contradicts existing research that says the more specific your keywords are, the better your search engine results.
The method basically says do NOT be specific when you tag your posts and pictures. Even if you are using broad terms like relevant keywords, if you are using “very specific terms”, you are pigeonholing yourself. Stop! Your net is way too narrow, and you are catching no one.
If you have broad tags, your net will catch a wider amount of people.
In Jason Cushman‘s post on tagging, he ended by advising bloggers to “Think basic, think generic.”
The frustrated commenter admitted she was using “very specific terms.”
Even Chris McMullen says to only use few tags. Think of tags people might search for at a search engine.
Testimonial the Search Engine Traffic Tip Works
According to Danny Ray, by using general tags, you cast a much larger net, while too many specific tags pigeon-hole your page. And this is especially important if the platform like WordPress limits the number of tags.
Danny reported, “I started using general tags at the beginning of November, and my unique visits and new followers rose exponentially!”
In conclusion, this post has been presented in a cause and effect format as well as a sequential format. It should be plain to see that reducing the tags in your blog post will result in more people finding you in search engines, not less.
I mentioned at the start of the post, Search Engines was my second biggest referrer of traffic, and Facebook was my first. Search Engines is still my second biggest referrer of traffic after StumbleUpon, but it is now head and shoulders above Facebook.
If you follow the one simple tip in this post, user fewer tags, you can also experience greater search engine traffic.
Readers, please share so the secret tip isn’t a secret anymore and more bloggers can benefit from increased search engine traffic.
What are your experiences with SEO? Do you feel there is a connection between tagging and search engine traffic? What do you feel causes increased search engine traffic– more tags or less? I look forward to your views.