Search Engine Land: Top Stories & Stats, Jan. 16, 2007

Time for another daily stats review, since yesterday was our second busiest ever non-Digg day. Below a look at the top stories that sent us traffic, along with tips and suggestions on how you might do the same.

Google No Longer Linking To Yahoo, MapQuest Maps was our top story, with about 1,000 views. Most people came from Techmeme, about 400 in all. Google keyword searches sent about 100 visitors, with terms like Yahoo and MapQuest seeming to send them from Google News. Then smaller chunks of 10-20 visitors came from places like The Only Republican, Greg Sterling’s blog [who wrote the post and mentioned it there], Google Blogoscoped and Jeremy Zawodny.

The takeaway here is two fold. First, listen to your readers. Our post came out of an email we got from reader Aaron B. Hockley, telling us he spotted the change and noted it on his Another Blogger blog. Taking a look at that, then going a bit further to reconfirm the change and get a comment from Google helped us develop the story further.

Second, reach out to other blogs. If Aaron hadn’t gotten in contact, we might not have seen this via him (and provided a link back). But he did, we did, and I hope new people discovered his blog.

comScore: Google Wins Again & IE7 Doesn’t Stop Microsoft’s Slide was our second most popular story, with about 700 views. Techmeme again lead the referral sources. About 170 people came from there. Google keyword searches sent another 120, from things like microsoft at Google News. Google News also sent another 40 from those browsing headlines. Search Engine Watch noted our write-up, which sent another 40 people our way. Dare Obasanjo of RSS Bandit (my newsreader) kicked over another 10 or so people.

SEO Blogs Under Hack Attack was the third most popular story, with about 500 views. That was driven from SEO sites, SEOmoz sending about 35 visits and the Online Marketing Blog another 10. The bulk of visits came from our own readers, seeing the story showing up in their feeds or in the SearchCap newsletter that we send out.

Study Says Get In Top 5 Not Top 10 & Search Engines May Need To Highlight Official Sites was the fourth most popular story, with about 400 views. StumbleUpon was a top source, sending about 50 visits. Search Engine Guide shot us another 30. It didn’t make Digg big time, but we’ll take the 10 visits Digg did send! Bruce Clay’s blog sent us another 7 readers.

I had fun doing this story. Often you read about studies briefly, but people don’t dive deep and read into them. Instead, they’ll write about whatever the key points are that are being highlighted by the authors. With this study, it was focused on the impact that long descriptions might have on users in results. I was more interested in the user behavior of interacting with the top results. I also had one of my key audiences in mind, that of search marketers. So I made sure to cover the story in a way to bring the findings home to them. So the takeaway? Read those studies and dig out the interesting nuggets for your particular audience.

Wikiseek: Leveraging Wikipedia For Web Search, Poorly was the fifth most popular story, with Google keyword searches sending the most traffic, about 60. This came off of terms like wikipedia and wikiseek via Google News, as best I can tell. Takeaways here? Think about your page titles, of course. I made sure to have the names of both key players in the page title, to help do better for those words.

Second, not being first can suck! I knew Wikiseek was coming. Many bloggers did. They’d been in contact with several. But the company clearly gave Techcrunch the nod, knowing that handing over to them first would generate a lot of attention. Andy Beal over at Marketing Pilgrim suggested Techcrunch somehow didn’t wait. Not at all. Techcrunch clearly went out with a story "early" with Wikiseek’s cooperation. That fueled getting Techcrunch a ton of Digg love.

Hey, I get to go out with stuff before others at times, and I love when that happens. But if you can’t get the scoop, what can you do. I debated dropping a comment at Digg to my own article. But I didn’t have time to engage in the conversation there. I had a ton of other things to write yesterday. So I avoided doing the link drop. In other cases, this might have been a great way to tap into the traffic blow. Neil Patel has great tips on this in his There Is More to Digg than the Homepage post.

If you can’t get the scoop, what can you do? Do something different. For me, it was easy. I decided to actually use the darn search engine and see how it worked, rather than just write about how it was supposed to work. As it turned out, I found it disappointing. But it would still have been a good different angle if it was great, simply because I didn’t see a lot of people doing comparative reviews.

So that was yesterday, with just under 9,000 page views and 5,100 overall visitors. Overall top sources were:

  • Direct Navigation: 1,458 visits
  • Google Organic/Keyword Driven: 728 visits
  • Techmeme: 526 visits
  • Google Home Page/Reader Referrals: 418 visits
  • Bloglines: 189

At sixth place as a referral source was Download Squad. I haven’t mentioned them yet. That’s because the were a major source of traffic but not for one of the top five stories yesterday. Instead, they’d seen our More Spotting Google’s Related Searches At Bottom Of Page post and referenced it. That sent about 100 visitors.

There’s another takeaway here. We’d reported on those darn searches back in December. Then I started seeing everyone talk about them again. Part of me thought "old news." But clearly there was a ramp up with these, plus people weren’t aware that these had started over a month ago. So it was time to do a short revisit. Old news can be new news.

Also interesting is how last week’s powerhouse article 25 Tips To Optimize Your Blog For Readers & Search Engines from Jennifer Slegg kept bringing in the referrals. It still drew 200 views yesterday, with Jen’s own site sending probably around 100 visitors over the past few days, and StumbleUpon contributed as well. When I do the monthly recap, it will be interesting to see if all the traffic from that article from various sources can rival Digg traffic. Sort of tapping into the long tail of referrals, I suppose!

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About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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