steady progress

progress

In June this year we bought leaving-cert.net in a bid to strengthen our position as the country’s no.1 leaving cert website with theleavingcert.com. Almost 6 months on and we can say it was a very smart decision…

2010 -v- 2009

If we compare this year’s traffic with last year’s we can see a dramatic increase in traffic. Over 300%. That’s not just down to our takeover of leaving-cert.net, but also some hard work and changes introduced earlier in the year.

leavingcert stats

We’re now raking in about 20,000 visits & 60,000 pageviews per month. 88% of all that is organic traffic, straight from search engines. The best kind of traffic.

What’s the secret?

So why is 88% of our traffic coming from search engines? (roughly about 500 visits per day). In three letters, SEO. Something i’ve been fascinated with for years. There is no magic formula to work your way up to the top of Google, especially these days. That’s a point Google are always eager to stress too…

two young girls laughing behind another girls back
Creative Commons License photo credit: studiostoer

However there are some very important things you need if you’re looking to out-muscle competition;

  • patience
  • content
  • ability to piece together competition’s SEO strategy

Without patience, you’ll crack up trying to figure out how google works and why you’re not moving anywhere or perhaps even going backwards. Without content, you can kiss goodbye to long term ‘security’. Google want useful content or at the very least new and fresh content. Keep it coming too. The more the merrier.

This may seem obvious, but if you want to get to no.1 in Google, you need to study the site that is currently in that position and you need to find out why they’re in that position. They may have simply ‘fluked’ it, but if you’re competing for popular keywords, it’s highly unlikely the site at position no.1 has claimed that spot without working very hard to get it.

Expansion

I hate to see competition expanding or revamping their sites… it always worries me. On the web, if you just focus on your own users and services, you’ll get left behind. I don’t buy in to the ‘lets just focus on our site’ mentality. You need to see things from a users perspective to stay ahead of competition.

Balcony
Creative Commons License photo credit: -Kj.

With theleavingcert.com we have loads of plans and many new features that we’ve failed to roll out. This upcoming Christmas break is the first real block of time i’ve had off from college since the summer so it’s the perfect time to introduce a few new features.

These new features will add content and they will improve SEO (and hopefully they’ll actually be of use to our users too!). I’ll also be trying to build a social media strategy and really get us moving on facebook & twitter. Up until now it’s all been half hearted really. We have set up pages and gotten hundreds of likes etc… but we haven’t really ‘attacked’ it with venom.

I’m doing a dissertation on social media so i’m hoping to bounce that off my work on theleavingcert.com and kill a few birds with the one stone. I may as well work smart, play to my strengths… there’ll be marks in it for me plus there’ll be traffic, plus valuable insight & experience.

You can’t buy this stuff

When it comes to stuff like SEO, you can’t do a degree in it, you can’t pick up a book and say you know everything about SEO. The rules change constantly. What works today may not work tomorrow. So it’s a really difficult thing to master and to keep up with yet it’s absolutely crucial in order get yourself seen and to pick up ‘free’ traffic / customers. Social media is rather similar… all of this stuff only works well if it’s tailor made and to tailor make anything takes time and the ability to adjust and react in real time.

2010 Beijing - 03
Creative Commons License photo credit: davecobb

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