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SEO Snowball Effect in Action

I saw something that surprised me in Google Analytics yesterday. I’m quite used to seeing the same top 10 landing pages, but there was a newcomer at #7 — my snappily titled “Complete List of HTML/xHTML Tags, With Guide to Proper Semantic Use“.

My top 10 landing pages in Google Analytics (last 28 days)

My top 10 landing pages in Google Analytics (last 28 days)

Now, I knew that page had been online for a while (since May 2010 in fact). But I had never seen it among my top landing pages before.

So I dug a bit further and looked at how many people landed on that page each month since I published it.

Landing visits to this page over time

Landing visits to this page over time

The page did not attract a lot of attention back in May 2010. But look what has happened since. Almost every month, more people have landed on my site via that page than the previous month. And since December 2011, traffic has grown significantly month-on-month.

I then looked at the growth in inbound links from MajesticSEO.

Growth in inbound links and linking domains

Growth in inbound links and linking domains

In short, the page has got a few new links every month, which has driven its steady growth in rankings and traffic.

The important question for your sites and your clients’ sites is: Why?

Why has this page, which took me a few hours to create, started getting so much traffic — two years after its publication?

Fortunately, there’s an easy answer, which I wrote about at length here. It’s simply because it’s good content.

The Snowball Effect

In this case, it’s also relatively timeless content. It isn’t news, just a useful resource. (If you can make something newsworthy, that’s a great way to get links in the short term.)

This is the snowball effect in action. Publish good content and — provided it gets some exposure — people will find it, like it, and link to it, which will create a virtuous cycle.

The Secret of Winning at SEO

It is tempting to go for short-term gains, with costly pay-per-click advertising, or even buying or renting links. But they’re simply bad value compared to the right SEO.

Just look at these traffic statistics:

  • At the time of writing, this page has brought 39,335 visits to this website.
  • Google AdWords Keyword Tool tells me the approximate cost per click for the #1 search term people are using (“html notes”) is £2.92
  • So that’s potentially about £114,000 worth of traffic – from a few hours’ work!

And how about the links?

  • According to MajesticSEO, it has links from 19 different domains (websites).
  • According to OpenSiteExplorer, it has links from 13 different domains.
  • These links look perfectly natural to search engines — because they are perfectly natural. And they took zero work to get, aside from publishing the page.
  • When I have done link building (for content that isn’t great), there is no way I could get good links from 19 different sites in half a day. Maybe I could do it in a week (of boring, repetitive work)!

How I Can Help You Enjoy This Success

I would like all businesses to be able to see success like this. So here’s an idea.

I’m starting an exclusive online coaching group, where I’ll not only take you through my methods, but also give you direct, personal advice on how you can transform your site’s SEO.

We’ll meet using Google Hangouts — free multi-person video chat. (If you haven’t experienced Hangouts yet, they’re great! I use them to get my whole team together twice a week.)

What You’ll Get

  • Two 2-hour face-to-face group calls every month with me and my Elite team
  • Expert analysis of your on-site and off-site SEO factors from professionals
  • Specific, actionable advice on what you can do to boost your online success
  • Direct support from the Elite team outside the group calls
  • Free access to my “SEO from Scratch” video series (which gives you all the background info you need)

I want to keep this group quite intimate, so I’m going to limit membership to just ten people. I want to get involved with your business and your online marketing, and to watch your online business grow with you over time. It will be an open-ended programme.

In addition to the direct coaching, you’ll also learn a tremendous amount from other group members’ experiences, and the advice I give them.

The price is $399 per month, on a first-come first-served basis, and strictly limited to the first ten members. (If I only get two or three people, they will really get an amazing bargain.)

To book your place, please email me. Remember, there are only 10 places available.

About the author

Ben Hunt

Ben is the creator of Web Design From Scratch. He started writing articles about web design to kill time on a long train commute, and is now one of the most influential figures on the subject of effective web design. He has written three books and spoken at multiple conferences internationally.