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Anatomy of a Killer Blog Post

By | 06.01.15
Anatomy of a Killer Blog Post
2015 Blog Traffic
Illustrating the dominance of one blog post over the others.

We’re pretty pleased (and proud of the fact) that our blog keeps attracting great traffic, and we keep a close watch on performance. It’s interesting to see which blog posts seem to catch fire and spike lots of traffic but then eventually settle down. It’s even more interesting to see those few outliers that get popular and then stay popular, driving thousands of page views every month.

Why does this happen? Inquiring minds want to know, so here’s what we have discovered.

  • We have published around 2,000 blog posts
  • 5 of our top 10 blog posts in 2015 are lists
  • 4 of the top 10 blog post titles start with a number
  • Over 46% of our traffic goes to our top 10 blog posts
  • Our #1 blog post, based on traffic, gets 3x as much traffic as our #2 blog post
  • Our #1 blog post is responsible for 19.2% of the traffic to our blog this year

What is it about our #1 blog post that makes it stand out the way it does? This is far and away the most popular post we’ve published up till now: 32 Business Listing Sites That Will Get You Referral Traffic

  • It’s a popular topic with our Small/Medium-sized Business (SMB) audience. Tips on increasing traffic to their websites is a top concern for our readers.
  • It does NOT rank well for the search term “referral traffic” or “get referral traffic” so it’s not getting a boost from Google search results for that.
  • We do NOT send any paid traffic to the blog post.
  • Social referrers to the blog post are fairly low in number, but Facebook sends more referrals than LinkedIn or Twitter.
  • BUT, the post ranks #1 in Google organic results for “business listing sites” and “listing sites”. This is undoubtedly a major factor in driving traffic to this blog post.
Google Link Search
Checking out the backlinks helps explain the high traffic numbers.

Checking on the backlinks to the blog post we find that Google shows over 400 backlinks, most of which are from Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. There’s not one (or more) that stand out as a big driver of traffic, but taken together, they definitely extend the reach of our blog post.

If every one of the people who posted a link to this post has a couple hundred followers, that increases the visibility exponentially.

Which came first? The high ranking in Google or the relatively high number of backlinks? Or did they progressively feed each other? I was hoping for an “aha” moment, when I could discover just what it is about this blog post that sets it apart and I think it’s a combination of factors.

Our conclusion:

The number 1 ranking (for a competitive keyword phrase) in Google organic results combined with over 400 backlinks is jointly responsible for pushing this blog post into top position and keeping it there. What drove the desire by so many people to link to this blog post? We can’t say definitively, but it’s probably a combination of the topic, which is a great match to the audience, and the list format. Throw in a little juice from the great outbound links in the blog post, and I think we have our answer.

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  • Pingback: How Often Should a Small Business Publish a Blog Post? - CX3 Group()

  • Acronyms are problematic – what is SMB? You lose communication with your reader when you use a term not spelled out in the previous paragraphs. Much like using a foreign language phrase at an important point in an article. I complained to the Wall Street Journal when I often encountered that situation.

    • Marion Jacobson

      Hey Jon –

      Thanks for the comment, and you’re absolutely right! Most all of our readers are SMBs, but I’m sure there is a percentage that don’t fall into that category and I need to remember that. I’ve edited the blog post 🙂

      SMB = Small/Medium-sized Business

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