Most bloggers are seeing tremendous changes in traffic to their blog posts due to changes in the Google Algorithm, most recent being the Google Hummingbird update. Here is a quick SEO analysis of three blog posts on ActiveRain and how traffic has varied dramatically based on the quality of the content.
On this blog post, The Flooring Girl Debbie Gartner of White Plains, NY asked what she can do to regain lost traffic to some of her FAQ's as she is seeing forums on larger web sites like City-Data.com taking traffic from her web pages.
Caveat: I know no magic. I am not an SEO expert, but I know enough to be dangerous. I am pretty good about creating process to understand what is happening and thinking about what to do next.
Here is my mental process:
1) Tools: Open up a subscription to SEOMoz/OpenSiteExplorer. I use Open Site Explorer pretty frequently to understand what Google is up to. I think there is a 1 month free offer. The subscription is month to month so you can cancel at any time.
2) Basic Analysis: Put in your blog or web site. Really understand the domain authority and the page authority of your top web pages. Debbie is one of the top bloggers and SEO people on ActiveRain. BUT, her domain authority is only 28 which is not very high compared to the sites she is competing against. Her home page has a page authority of 39. Social data is not showing up for Debbie right now. Debbie cites City-Data as her competition. You can see City-Data.com has a domain authority of 88 and better metrics across every category.
3) Understand the Competition: Open up an incognito or private browser on Chrome or Firefox. If you are on Google Plus or Google has cookied you, your search results won't be representative of the average consumer. Do a basic search in a private browser and see who you are competing against. See below for Oil vs Water Based Polyurethane. You can see Debbie's web page has been pushed all the way to the bottom of page one of the SERP
4) Compare Page Authority & Link Metrics: You need to do this for all the key pages. I am only going to look at the oil vs water based polyurethane page on Debbie's site and I compared it with the number one page in the Google results from FamilyHandyMan.com (which purports to be the number one DIY site for home improvement).
Use the "Compare Link Metrics" tab comparing metrics for these web pages.
You can see that SEOMoz ranks Debbie's web page only slightly lower than the FamilyHandyMan.com web page from a page authority point of view with more backlinks to Debbie's page. For some reason, Open Site Explorer is not pulling up the social sharing information on Debbie's page. I would say that FamilyHandyman.com web page looks like a better to the eye, so I will assume it has a slightly lower bounce rate than Debbie's page.
5) Domain Authority: So I think the main issue lies with Debbie's domain authority. When you do a quick glance down the stats comparing the web pages, FamilyHandyMan absolutely dominates only when you look at the entire web site in aggregate. Unfortunately, the only solution is hard work to keep building backlinks from high quality domains and create high quality content on the site. Google has shifted over the past two or three years to look more at the domain authority of the backlink as more important than the number of links. When we compare backlinks to the domain, FamilyHandyMan.com has significantly more backlinks from high quality domains with domain authority 80-90 range which Debbie only has links from Houzz, Healthit.gov, and ActiveRain.
Domains Backlinking to Debbie's TheFlooringGirl.com
Domains Backlinking to FamilyHandyMan.com
SO WHAT SHOULD DEBBIE DO:
1) High Quality Backlinks to the Web Page: Get a high quality backlink or two (80+, Non ActiveRain since she has so many already) to this web page. See if that pushes your page authority up since it is so similar to the others. We have seen even one or two high quality backlinks make a big difference in the SERPS. Interesting to see the forum links from Yahoo Voices and the social links from Pinterest. More investigation would be needed on whether those are followed or not. I would do the basics of making sure you have backlinks in these "free" media, but also talk to the local and national press for backlinks.
2) Social Marketing: Market your web page / content on social networks especially Google Plus. Debbie has an incredible Google Plus following which should really help her attract consumers. I can't see this for Debbie on SEOMoz, but she should take advantage of this strength.
3) More High Quality Backlinks to the Domain: Build more high quality backlinks to the TheFlooringGirl.com When pages are close in quality, Google defaults to the higher domain authority. Look at your competition and where & how they are getting backlinks. Contact those sites and see what content you can create to get high quality backlinks.
4) Repeat 1& 2 for key pages on your site.
Good luck. Hope this was somewhat helpful.