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How I Doubled My Search Engine Traffic In 5 Minutes

February 15th, 2008 · 28 Comments

Search engine traffic doubled

Back in November I implemented some changes to this site in an attempt to increase search engine traffic. Let’s face it, everyone wants more search engine traffic and I’m no exception! Sure I’ve written in the past that I believe search engines are not as relevant as they once were and that social media sites will power the next generation of web users but you can’t ignore the free website traffic the search engines can send you.

The changes I made to the site took 5 minutes to implement and have resulted in a dramatic increase in search engine traffic.

Whilst the changes themselves are related to installing a WordPress plugin, the fundamentals can be applied to any website whether it be a static site made with Dreamweaver or any other blogging or content management system. They’re basic SEO and you may be surprised why I haven’t implemented them before. I’ll go into the reasons at the end of the post but I’m guessing you want to know what I did, right?

I installed the All in One SEO Pack plugin. It took 5 minutes to upload, activate and configure the plugin and that was it. Nothing else. No crazy stuff under the hood. Just a simple case of using the right plugin to do the job.

The All in One SEO Pack allows you to alter your post title, add either an auto generated or manually written meta description and create a set of meta keywords for each post. There are a whole heap of other options but these were the ones I concentrated on for this particular experiment.

Creating unique and keyword focused titles and descriptions are a fundamental part of your onpage SEO. If you’ve read any of the forums or blogs or books (I recommend Aaron Walls excellent SEO Book) you’ll read this time and time again. The problem is that out-of-the-box WordPress doesn’t allow you to do this so a plugin is required. There are a number of them out there which will generate title tags, there are others which will generate meta descriptions or tags but the All in One SEO Pack does them all for you so that’s the reason I decided to run with it.

As I said, it took only took 5 minutes to configure everything and I was good to go. Now I must be honest here and say that I did spend a little bit longer going back to older posts and creating new meta descriptions and keywords but, looking at the referral traffic and which posts have received the most search engine lovin’, I still stand by the statement that 5 minutes is all you’ll need to dramatically increase your search engine traffic.

The guys at Tubetorial have put together a great video on how to use the All in One SEO Pack which I recommend you have a look at. Graywolf takes things one step further with his post Optimizing WordPress Page Titles, Post Titles and Page Slugs. Although he focuses on a different plugin (SEO Title Plugin), you can still apply the concepts to the All in One SEO Pack.

Now I know that some of you will be throwing things at your monitor and calling me all the names under the sun for writing such a sensationalist headline and you may be feeling a bit let down with the answer but the numbers speak for themselves. In the three months before installing the plugin I got 2615 search referrals. In the three months after installing the plugin I received 5418 search referrals. And here’s where it gets a little bit more interesting.

Comparison in search engine traffic over the experiment timeline

Before installing the plugin, 92.4% of all search engine traffic was coming from Google. Since installing the plugin, that figure has dropped to 74.1%. There has been a massive increase in the level of traffic coming from MSN/Live. Now this suggests to me that, despite what a lot of the experts say, that Microsofts search engine still uses meta keywords as part of it’s algorithm and that the meta description does actually play a part in their rankings.

A number of SEO experts say that the meta description isn’t used in the ranking process and that it only enhances your CTR because it makes your listing look more clickable but I’d argue that Microsoft are still using it to a degree. I don’t believe that such a massive jump in traffic can be put down purely to writing a more interesting meta description.

I’m going to test this out a bit more to see if I can prove it conclusively, or at least as conclusive as anything ever is when it comes to search engine optimisation, but I’d be interested to hear what people think.

Is the increase down to a higher CTR or is Microsoft using the meta description as part of it’s ranking process?

OK, so why haven’t I implemented any of these basic SEO practices before? After all, I’ve written in the past about how to improve search engine ranking so shouldn’t I be practising what I preach?

Well yes and no. The fact is that I use this site as something of a test ground. I regularly tweak things to see what works, what doesn’t and basically play around with ideas before implementing them on my other sites. I rarely write keyword heavy content on here or write stuff with the search engines in mind because this site is more of a personal blog in the original sense of the word than any of my more commercial interests.

Up until I installed the plugin, most of my traffic came from referrals which is kinda how I like it. People recommending my content rather than search engines. Sure my traffic is probably lower than it could be (around 5000 visitors per month) but that suits me just fine.

So going back to the experimenting, older readers (and I mean people who have been reading the site for a while rather than grizzled pensioners smelling of wee) may remember that I stripped the site of all meta descriptions and tags back in January of last year. I wanted to see what effect it had on the old Google supplemental index results. The experiment worked and, to be honest, I hadn’t bothered replacing them.

Now that I know that my latest experiment has worked and that the All in One SEO Pack really is the mutts nuts, will I be uninstalling it and trying something new? Hell no! I like the new found traffic far too much! What I will be doing, though, is going back to some of my older posts and playing around with the meta descriptions and meta keywords to see if I can prove my Microsoft theory. Knowing my luck I’ll finally get conclusive proof on the day that they announce they’ve bought Yahoo! and I’ll have to start all over again…

Tags: Search Marketing

28 responses so far ↓

  • Steve @ Paid Surveys // Feb 15, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    That is a good experiment and seems conclusive looking at the way the numbers increased and the fact that the increase was mostly from Microsoft. I’ve been using the All in one plug-in for about two months myself and have seen a similar increase. Just some more data to prove your theory :>)

  • Mike // Feb 15, 2008 at 9:38 pm

    Interesting. Did you get any increase in traffic from the likes of Yahoo! or Ask? Yahoo! has increased a wee bit for me but Ask has pretty much stayed the same…

  • Sarah // Feb 16, 2008 at 11:48 am

    Interesting but my story is something different. I have never installed seo plugin but I am getting approx 60 to 70% of traffic from google and its really amazing that I got more than 50% of the site on google 1st or 2nd page.

  • Mike // Feb 17, 2008 at 10:27 am

    Hi Sarah. Good news that Big G is sending you so much traffic but have you thought about getting more from the other search engines? The plugin will certainly help from what I’ve seen. Also it will help remove your current duplicate meta descriptions and keywords.

  • Ibnu Asad // Feb 17, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    Hi Mike :) Well, the results I had is pretty much the same as yours. Before I had the All In One SEO Pack plugin installed, 90% of traffic came from Google.

    After I installed the plugin, traffic from search engines started pouring in…especially MSN Live which I had never had a referral from up until I install the plugin 😀

  • Mike // Feb 19, 2008 at 1:52 pm

    Glad to see you getting some good traffic coming in there, Ibnu. I still need to do some work on whether it’s the improved description or the use of keywords which MSN are gobbling up. Have you done any kind of testing?

  • Commenter // Feb 21, 2008 at 3:47 am

    That’s a great news for you! Everybody wants to get more traffic to their website. I wanna try that also!

  • Mike // Feb 21, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    Thanks for your comment. I’ve changed the anchor text you used. Can I ask that you have a quick peek at the comment policy. Drop me an email or reply if you want to let me know a more suitable text to use. Thanks :)

  • Rony John // Mar 4, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    This is so cool..i too want to increase my blog traffic…

  • Mike // Mar 5, 2008 at 12:18 am

    Download the plugin and give it a whirl. It might just help you out :)

  • art // Mar 11, 2008 at 12:21 am

    Thanks for the info. I will try the plugin and see if my traffic goes high. I will spread the words and come back here to tell the outcomes ok!

  • Mike // Mar 11, 2008 at 5:07 pm

    Art – I’m assuming here that you have other websites you run since the one you link to isn’t powered by WordPress…

  • Tom DeMattia // Mar 13, 2008 at 10:23 pm

    Doing my own research and found this article very cool.!

  • Mike // Mar 14, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    Hope it works out for you, Tom

  • Cheryline // May 15, 2008 at 11:16 pm

    Some people are scared of plugins and uploads. I try to stay away from them, but this does look intriguing. Thanks for the post. I will try your tips and bookmark your page.

  • Gills Secret traffic generator // Aug 29, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    Good post, may I use it?

  • Mike // Aug 30, 2008 at 12:22 am

    Depends on how you mean use it. Use the tips? Sure. Use the article? So long as the article is attributed to me with a link back to the website then sure.

  • Daniel, The Hosting Blog // Oct 4, 2008 at 10:57 pm

    I have been telling all my clients with popular blogs to add the All in One SEO plugin. Its the best (and only)thing you can do in 5 minutes that will increase your website traffic dramatically. In my opinion, All in one SEO is by far the best plugin ever released.

  • Mike // Oct 7, 2008 at 10:24 am

    It’s important to remember that using the plugin won’t solve all your SEO issues but it’s certainly a great method to up your profile.

  • Sam // Nov 9, 2008 at 4:25 am

    Great read,

    I’ve got Platinum SEO installed so I’m hoping it’s just as configurable as AIO SEO.

  • James // Dec 5, 2008 at 11:43 pm

    I’m going to give this a whirl. I once used a different plugin that generated meta tags but it was hard to use. I downloaded this one today and have been playing with it. I like the intuitiveness of it. Thanks for the tip!

  • Mike // Dec 7, 2008 at 2:57 am

    One area I’ve found very useful with the All in One SEO Pack is the ability to change the title tag.

    The key thing here is to ensure that your page title – the one you specify within WP – is sexy, punchy and appeals to your readers. Obviously you want to include your keywords in here and in the post slug. However the AIO SEO pack allows you to change the title displayed in your web browser. You can tweak this to make it more focused for the search engines.

    Maybe I’ll write a longer post about this some time. It works really well.

  • Andrei // Dec 17, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    did oyu buy traffic?? its not good for long term

  • Mike // Dec 18, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    Never paid for traffic and never will :)

  • Sam ZIJA // Dec 23, 2008 at 11:29 pm

    I wrote a few things about SEO and I’ve heard about many strategies. However, I never heard of anything to work like this. You never really see actual data tables and it seems that nobody actually gives out real numbers of what happens after SEO. You did. That was a great post, thank you for the information.

  • ran // Jan 20, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    Thank you, that was right on spot!
    I was wondering if I should install All in one SEO on my WP website, didn’t know it created meta tags to pages.
    I found out that in a not-so competitive niche, meta does make a difference.

  • JC // Jan 21, 2009 at 10:58 am

    I’m a big fan of the all in one seo package, and also manually did a dofollow, noindex of the paged pages in the header to elminate duplicate content.

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