My SEO efforts are paying off

There’s recently been a couple of content marketing discussions on this forum. Here’s a chart showing how my website traffic has been growing while I’ve been regularly attending to SEO, primarily through better content and focussed content:


  • Before the chart’s time period, my traffic was flat for a couple of years.
  • The Facebook ad campaign sent lots of traffic and resulted in plenty of downloads but led to no discernible sales increases
  • Getting a link from a Patrick McKenzie article puts one’s analytics out of whack for a while!
  • The y-axis starts at zero. Which means, yes, my traffic has doubled in a year (comparing with the point annotated “separated blog from website tracking”. Sales have gone up significantly too, although they haven’t increased at the same rate.
  • The usual warning about confusing correlation and causation applies. And yes, I have done other things that may have helped with traffic. The beginning of the chart coincides with releasing a Windows port of what used to be just a Mac product.
  • The total market for my product category is shrinking, so I’m not getting any “rising tide lifts all ships” benefit.

Feel free to ask questions about what worked, what didn’t, where to start, etc.


My question is going to sound funny but it is a little at the opposite…

How do you update a well ranking page/blog without affecting the ranking… in other words, how do you not loose. Because what ranked you in the beginning of 2015 for example is still supporting your by its natural ranking in 2016… sort of building on top of previous things…

I understand how to grow better than how not to loose… lol I currently have a page that ranks very well in french… I have not touched it in years and it still ranks first or second for ‘how much does a website cost’ … in french… lol

Now I want to update it but not loose its ranking… I know about the basics like constant URLs and redirects and such… I am not concerned about the mechanics but more about updating the contents… and maybe loosing keywords in the text?

For example, the blog I am referring to gets a lot of visits through this one high ranking article… if I was to loose it, it would take my whole seo strategy back soo much…

So how do you not loose while building up^

Congrats! Can you link to that?

Sure. It’s here, a few paragraphs down, in between links to Fog Creek and to Perfect Table Plan:

I got a load of extra referral traffic, direct traffic AND organic traffic, around the time that article was getting shared around. Unsurprisingly I didn’t get any sales bump from it.

A fair question. Sometimes you have to take risks…

Each week I’m tweaking pages that rank well.

My SEO expert friend tells me that it seems to be completely acceptable in the eyes of Google to occasionally make minor updates to a web page and maintain Google ranking. In fact, according to him, it can be helpful to your Google ranking.

But really, perhaps you should consider, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” :slight_smile:

Small tweaks or additions. If it ranks well in French have you tried a separte English version?

Great job with the SEO. Just curious if you are able to attribute any sales improvement to the SEO improvement?

Small tweaks … hmmm… Actually, I want to re-structure it and mostly organize it so I can benefit from the trafic… I have nothing to loose I guess as it is a loss right now… I guess you have to live dangerously if you want to stay on the edge with google Steve… lol

I can appreciate the amount of work that goes into a steady climb like you did… Its funny, new year so I am making an inventory of the assets I have… I even have a car repair video with 1.3 million views on Youtube… lol Stuff you abandon that if you had stuck with it you might have done well…

I like Youtube as a SEO magnet… you can get a lot of traffic from a good video… but then you have to do something with the traffic… silly me… lol

lol …

I wonder in English… would be a lot of work to redo…

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I’m curious about the types of blog content and strategies you are using. In my research there seem to be three approaches:

  1. random posts that are specific to the product and/or market, large gaps of time with no posts
  2. plentiful planned, regular posts that are more about the focus market, but very generic and mostly click bait, ie top 10 lists, top 5 fav tools etc, nothing that really ties product to market
  3. planned posts at regular intervals that are focus market specific and relate back to product offering but are not as frequent, only a few per month

1 is really no strategy just haphazard, 2 is the shot gun approach that I suspect most low level SEO and content marketing firms pump out, 3 seems to be the right mix but it requires patience for things to build up.

I tried #1 for the longest time because I would rather spend time building the product and features than writing blog posts. In hind sight that was a losing strategy. I have since moved to #3 as it seems the more effective path to getting long term SEO and content success. I keyed in our a few phrases that all competitors in my focus market were after and focused posts and content around those terms. The results have been very positive, I went from page 5 and further back on the two most critical search terms in google to page 1 within 6 weeks and page 3 with the other. Monthly traffic has more than doubled over 4 months and signups trial/paid have followed suit. The challenge I see is continuing to come up with fresh content ideas that I can slowly churn out over time.

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Definitely, although the sales increase was not as great as the traffic increase. I guess that’s because whereas I used to mostly get traffic from people searching directly for my rather specific product category (“poker tracking software for mac”) I now get substantial traffic from non-direct searches (“essential poker statistics”).

First, I’m not doing this as blog content. My blog seemed to stop working around 2012 as an effective way to communicate with my customers and prospects. Instead I’m adding articles to my main website.

In my calender, I mark every Monday as Marketing Monday (I picked up this discipline from @jitbit’s talk in 2015, who in turn acknowledges Mike Taber). I have a checklist of tasks to work through each Monday, which includes:

  • either writing new content or touching up existing content
  • checking the analytics (I mostly use Google Search Console for this) for content that is ranking unexpectedly well, or is getting way more impressions than other new content. This supplies new content ideas. (I also use this step to find content to discard.)
  • read a blog post or guide to SEO. This gets repetitive, but that helps cement the knowledge.

My content approach for the first few months of the year was scattershot, as I didn’t really know what I was doing and had to feel my way. I figured writing any content was better than writing none. After doing that for a while, I got a sense of what worked.

Two specific strategies have worked well:

  • copying @Andy’s targeted landing page approach (“Perfect Table Plan for <insert highly specific category>”). Whereas I’ve been unable to get into the top 3 Google results for my preferred keyword, with this approach I own position 1 in Google results for several specific phrases.
  • @Clay_Nichols’ observation that whereas I had been writing about me (“Poker Copilot is great because…”) I should instead write about what my potential audience wants (“Improve your poker game with these techniques…”). This seems so obvious in hindsight, but was an eye-opener.

One final step:

  • Finding the right content writer. When I realised that high quality content for my audience works, I spent some months looking for a subject matter expert who could write some content for me. I’ve now found such a person, and he is supplying me with content whose quality is way above anything I could write on the subject.

Do you have any tips for finding a content writer?

Ah, that’s a hard question. I got lucky - I kept my eyes and ears open and didn’t rush. Eventually someone posted on the poker subreddit that he had just finished writing some poker content for a client, and linked to the content. It was exactly the style I was looking for so I contacted him directly to see if he was available. By chance, he was, and we were able to negotiate a fair price.

I think @polimorfico has found some excellent content writers for - perhaps he can give some tips on this.

Any ideas on why the blog stopped working? Seems like articles and blog would be the same thing (except that you have blog on a sub domain). This is an example of a recent blog post on my site, , the goal is to push for a trial conversion. Maybe blog and article difference is just semantic.

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  1. It would be interesting to see an A/B test between the same article with a heavy focus on your product “How to use Poker Copilot to play the odds better” and a softer approach where you start with the goal “How to play the Odds in Poker” and then have more of a soft sell.

  2. Who is picking the topics for the articles?

  3. Are you doing a newsletter as well?
    Its a great way to get another bite at the apple. It also makes your website sticky (or mor evergreen).

Yes, just a semantic difference. I was thinking of “blogging” in the older sense of a frequently-updated personal web log. But your blog example is identical to the concept of my articles.

Initially me, based on observed search queries, customer support queries, and knowledge of my field. My content person is adding some good suggestions.

[quote=“Clay_Nichols, post:15, topic:4659, full:true”]Are you doing a newsletter as well? Its a great way to get another bite at the apple. It also makes your website sticky (or mor evergreen).
I do a newsletter, but I could improve this dramatically. It is erratic in timing, content, and quality. So many things, so little time!

You mentioned a Facebook ad campaign which brought a lot of traffic, but no discernible sales…do you do any adwords/ppc advertising as well? Just wondering if you have seen any changes in the adwords traffic if you’ve been running a steady campaign during that time.

Also, I see that you have “Articles” on your main domain, and a blog with content as well on a subdomain. Do you have a strategy around that? What goes in the Articles vs. Blog for example?

I really like how you used video in there… right in the flow of the article… But why Vimeo? Why not Youtube where you could be found and used as seo back to your site?

Yes, I like how your site is structured, not blog like at all… more like an instruction site on poker… I learned a lot reading through… No kidding you are positioning right for poker topics… darn that’s a lot of good text… that is a lot of work…

No video?