Ok, this might be a naive question, but why does average daily organic traffic increase semi-linearly over time?
One of my hubs has steadily increasing organic traffic, which started in June. It's not backlinked-to from anywhere other than Pinterest, and it's not seasonal. It's not the increase I don't understand, it the gradual increase over periods of months. If the ranking changed, wouldn't the upwards trend be stepwise, rather than linear?
Does ranking improve gradually day by day?
Not all hubs have traffic that increases "semi-linearly over time." Some do, but some hubs just lie there like a wet dish rag, and others take off like a rocket.
Early success is not necessarily an indicator that traffic will rise. Some start out great, but then fall like they've gone off a cliff.
If you are noticing this happen to some articles and not others on the same website, one indicator could be user interaction. Probably, the other top ranked articles hold on to the readers for longer and over time are promoted higher on the search page.
Google has done this for years and years. Basically, it takes them awhile to warm up to you.
Your ranking on the search results isn't static. It's very dynamic unless you get to the top few spots. And new pages take a while to rank, usually. The domain they are on decides where they begin and then there are plenty of other factors that come into play. Since it's not a static increase you do not see increases in steps.
But does ranking improve day by day rather than in sudden steps and why?
Is it possible to graph ranking in GA?
Is there a degree of positive feedback in the system? So if Google notices that a page is popular, it boosts its ranking, which further boosts its visibility in searches and again causes Google to boost it's ranking, this process continuing indefinitely.
When I describe the fundamentals of getting search traffic to an article I typically list three things.
Relevancy - the article needs to be relevant to the query and the intent of the query. For example an article title Yahoo Password Reset, could be relevant if someone is looking for information on how to reset their yahoo password, but when you think about the intent and the navigational aspect, they want Yahoo!'s password reset page.
Article Quality. Google has made tons of progress on scoring article quality. This includes the depth of content, unique value, signals it was written by an expert, readability, user experience and more. You need a pretty fantastic article.
Backlinks. We've been discussing this a bunch internally. Backlinks play a super important role in rankings. One great backlink can be a huge difference maker.
I don't think you can create backlinks yourself and prosper unless you are very well versed in the dark arts. But if a page is genuinely good it will slowly accrete good inbound links. That is one reason articles gradually rise in the rankings.
A link from a genuinely high authority site can send your page skywards quite suddenly. Once a hub gets to the first page of search results, and gets plenty of traffic, the links should turn into a steady stream and cement its position.
Unless the site itself takes a hit, of course.
User metrics really do matter though. A page with poor read times is never going to go anywhere.
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