Blogs, Volcanoes, & Your Conversion Rate Calculation

Your blog is like a volcano, visible to search engines, interesting to readers.

Your blog is like a volcano, visible to search engines, interesting to readers.

The Conversion Rate is calculated as the number of conversions – leads, sales, subscriptions, trials, etc. – divided by the number of visitors to the site from organic search traffic, paid search, referrals, email, etc.

Thus, your conversion rate can be improved in two ways: get more of your visitors to convert (the top), or reduce the number of unqualified visitors. With changes to the algorithms of the Google, a blog turns out to be a great tool to do both.

I’m fond of saying that blogs are like volcanoes. Volcanoes can be dormant, like some websites. Changes to Google’s algorithms don’t favor these sites in the rankings.

Other volcanoes, however, erupt regularly. They continue to pour forth content like magma, growing larger and more prominent over time. No one forgets these volcanoes exist because they don’t let you forget. They are a font of information and insight. They are “blogcanoes”.

Google Studies Blogcanoes

Google is like a team of seismologists who study volcanoes. They exist for blogcanoes. Just as seismologists keep track of changes that indicate activity in volcanoes, Google keeps track of changes in information and content.

Your readers are drawn to blogcanoes by the “show” put on as content bubbles out like fiery lava; the better the content, the better the show. Relevant is more and more critical to setting up your visitors to convert.

Google is constantly tweaking its algorithms to give searchers information in real time.

It made several major changes in 2011 toward that end. Not every kind of information gets this ongoing attention. But companies staying on top of the volatile flow of change, blogging about new products, services, trends and issues, will be on Google’s watch list and your prospects’ itineraries.

An active volcano, with content flowing and forming a new layer, then flowing again, rises and looms larger and larger in the picture. By the same token, a blogcano rises in Google’s results and customers’ awareness.

The Google team isn’t interested in big, dead rocks that don’t contribute new information.

“That Volcano still there Joe?”


“It doin’ anything?”


“Okay then.”

The Google team gets excited about volcanoes where tectonic plates are shifting, and content magma is being forced up through channels. Google loves an active volcano that constantly belches out relevant, optimized, red-hot content magma.

Google Prefers Mt. Blog To Mt. Vesuvius

In November, Google announced it had tweaked its algorithms, again, to make sure that when searchers type in a query, they get the most up to date information. The new Refresh algorithm endeavors to make sure that information that’s updated regularly is ranked high.

Not every topic needs constant updating. Information on the War of 1812, for example, doesn’t change a lot. But the business and tech world, the world of social media changes rapidly. That’s one kind of information Google wants to keep fresh, which helps customers stay on top of those trends.

If you type in “The importance of content conversion” you want recent blogs and articles, not something published in 2008. Let’s say you are the magma chamber of a blogcano, responsible for generating  content. If you’re producing relevant information, your post is likely to be listed ahead of information that came out a year ago, a week ago, or an hour ago even if it doesn’t have hundreds of backlinks.

The new algorithm also makes sure information that must be kept current, like election results or news of a merger, will be listed according to the latest update.

If you type in “election coverage” you’ll get coverage of elections in 2012, not 1971. The same holds true for recurring events, like the Olympics or SXSW.

What Is The Sulfur Content Of Your Blog?

Google doesn’t love just any old content lava. Different kinds of volcanoes spew different kinds of lava. Some are nutrient rich and some are just rock. Last year, Google came out with its Caffeine Web Indexing System which could crawl and index the latest information on a huge scale very quickly. But that inspired some sites to crank out content of very little value that was attached to ads.

The content rose to the top by being fresh and full of keywords, consumers clicked on the ads, and voila, the spam sites made money. Google wanted to clean out those sites to make more room for blogcanoes that helped internet users, not spammers. So Google updated its  algorithms again, waging war on the lower quality spewing of sites like content farms and going after site hackers.

That doesn’t mean your lava always has to be prime original content. Often, you can enlighten your customers by commenting on others’ content, called “curating content.”  This information can come from other bloggers, reports, studies, white papers and articles. As long as you give credit where credit is due and the content is relevant to your audience, you’re still serving as a valuable content provider.

The important thing is to have someone in your organization staying on top of news, trends, issues and insights both within your organization and in the arenas your customers focus on, then keep content about those topics flowing.

Google’s new algorithms will recognize your content as contributing to the conversation and you’ll show up a lot more in search results, be found more easily by customers, and achieve higher conversion rates.

Treat Your Blog Posts Like Landing Pages

The key to increasing conversion rates is to treat the pages of you blog like landing pages. To stretch this blogcano metaphor to the breaking point, it’s like setting up a gift shop on the slope.

Your blog pages need to provide a next step for your readers. Calls to action in the content as well as alongside it can offer more informational products for lead generation, links to your product and category pages, and teasers for your offerings.

Think of it as advertising on your own site. Unless you’re the New York Times, you don’t have to separate your journalistic content and promotional content. The right balance will be relevant to the reader and will make your cash register ring as well.

To affect both sides of the conversion rate fraction invest in blogs are relevant to your prospects and focused on what’s happening now.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Analytics | Search & Conversion


About The Author: is the Conversion Scientist at Conversion Sciences and author of Your Customer Creation Equation: Unexpected Website Forumulas of The Conversion Scientist. Follow Brian at The Conversion Scientist blog and on Twitter @bmassey

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  • trinity_hartman

    Hi Brian. Would you recommend that a small company hire a dedicated blogger?

  • eseidelman

    Good article. Do you have any examples of blogs that you feel are following these guidelines and doing things effectively.

  • Brian Massey

    Trinity, I think a dedicated blogger is a real asset. Consider that frequency is the metric most associated with the growth of blog traffic. I would also encourage you to consider them a content creator. You don’t have to limit yourself to just text. Infographs and video are doing very well and can create super eruptions for you in social networks.

    Thanks for the comment.

  • Brian Massey


    I particularly like what Copyblogger has done with their blog. They sell software products, but always position themselves as publisher (and their content is great, IMHO). KISSMetrics and Hubspot have built their businesses on content all centered on their blogs. For me The Conversion Scientist blog is the driver of my business.

    Perhaps other readers have recommendations outside of the marketing world.


  • tanvon

    hi, Brian,
    I really liked your story, it is a real thing, content is everything, but fresh one, oh must have for a blog fresh and flaming content is the life or as you said LAWA, I liked you terms, and learnt a new thing to treat blog posts as landing pages, thanks again.

  • Brian Massey


    “fresh and flaming” is my new mantra for content. Thanks for that!



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