Blogging and Writing

What Does Google Think of Your Blog?

the word Google under a magnifying glass

Here on MH@H, 2020 has been the year of the Google. I’ve had a huge increase in the number of visitors that arrive at my site via search engines. It’s nice to see because I want people to hear what I have to say about mental illness. Interacting with the WordPress community is by far the most satisfying part, but to a fairly large extent, I’m preaching to the choir, so it’s nice to have a mix of both.

What’s changed very recently is that I’m now getting more visitors via search engines than via WordPress. I’m not sure if there’s been a slowdown in WordPress, although in general, my WordPress Reader feed has felt quieter than it was a few months ago. Absolute numbers aren’t that interesting, but ratios are. Last week, for every 10 visitors from WordPress, I had 15 visitors from search engines, and 6 visitors from Pinterest.

Search engine visitors, and Pinterest visitors, for that matter, interact differently. They’re less likely to have a WP account, so they’re not clicking the like button and they’re not that likely to leave comments. I only know what they’re looking at from stats.

Because I’ve aimed from the beginning to have a broad reach, I’ve tried to incorporate SEO as I went along. When I upgraded to the business plan last summer and was able to start using the Yoast SEO plugin, I spent a shit ton of time going back and sprucing up old posts. I’m always a bit surprised, though, by the posts that do well (you can check this using webmaster tools like Google Search Console).

Last month, I did a post called Jewellery Box Stories. For some reason, Google started serving it up as a Google Discover recommendation to people searching on their phones. It strikes me as an odd choice, because it was kind of fluffy. Not that fluffy is bad, but I’m surprised Google was interested.

Screen shot from Google search for "are chakras real?"

Lately, a post I did on chakras is getting a bunch of traffic from Google. When I type in “are chakras real,” aside from the Wikipedia featured snippet, my post is the first result, as shown in the image above. Search results are served up based on location and usage history, but regardless, the post is ranking high enough to get a lot of clicks. On Friday alone, there were 32 clicks through to that post from Google. WTF?

Where things get really interesting is the text that’s shown beneath the post title. Normally, Google would display the “meta description” I entered for the post using my SEO plugin. Not this time, though. Instead, they’re showing the most recent comment, which gives a very different picture than what the post is actually talking about. I’m guessing people are clicking on the post because of that and disappointed by what I have to say on the topic.

I’m also getting a lot of clicks on a post about Free Mental Health Workbooks and my review of The Body Keeps the Score. Those surprise me because I would think three’d be a lot of competition.

In the past, if I searched Google for Mental Health @ Home, my blog would be nowhere to be found, because the words overlap too much with mental health care organizations. As I was writing this post, I tried searching it again and it came up as the first result. I checked the next day and I’d dropped a few, but I was still on the first page. I’m guessing it’s just because Google knows me, but it’s still interesting that it changed.

So, that’s what’s been happening with me lately in terms of search engines. Do you get many visitors to your blog that way? Is it something that you’re trying for, or is it totally unimportant?

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35 thoughts on “What Does Google Think of Your Blog?”

  1. Ah you know me Ashley, I haven’t got a clue when it comes to blogging and the stats on my site. I mainly enjoy reading other people’s blogs, though I don’t follow many people tbh. I go for the slimline approach to blogging 😂. Amazing what the ‘World Wide Web’ can do though. Your site is great and deserves all the positive recognition it gets. Well done 👏

  2. Well done with your recognition. I don’t check often to see where mine come from here much to know. Only time something may catch my eye when an old post crops up and I may be like, ohhh. 🙂
    My blog started like any other as a place to air while close friends could be kept up to date.
    Having a wider circle was a bonus.

  3. Opposed to your other commenters thus far, I have an ADD-like obsession (is that an oxymoron?) with my stats and learning everything I can. I finally upgraded to the business package and have a professional doing a complete overhaul. I guess there are some decent tools to allow my obsession with behavioral economics and statistics to really go full-blown.

  4. Ooo it’s awesome you’re getting more traffic via Google. I doubt I’m getting any. I know it’s independent of Google but I’ve dropped another DA point randomly after Moz went down again the other week. Really peed me off. I don’t imagine Google likes me much either.

    1. I have no idea why Moz does what it does. I did the free trial of their fancy plan, and mine went up, but then went down again by a couple of points shortly after the free trial ended. Seems rather suspicious to me…

  5. I’ve noticed that Google noticed me too. Every day there are 2 or 3 people through Google. Pinterest is also in the stats daily. But the most views for me are through WP.
    Well done on the Google recognition! So good that you appear on the first page when typing MentalHealth@Home. I think it’s funny from Google to show comments on your post instead what you’ve typed out. The internet can be an interesting place!

    1. It really can be! And yeah, i have no idea why Google would choose to show comments like that. It seems like any time I start thinking I have some sense of how it all works, I get surprised and realize how little I actually know.

  6. The only part that I truly understand is the ranking in Google.
    I know what SEO is about, Search Engine Optimization.
    Since I use the free plan that is not available to me. I am just happy that people do find my blog, for some I am not sure how they found it.
    I love interacting with everyone and I feel I have made some friends along the way.
    So Ashley congratulations about your Google ranking!

  7. I’ve had my blog going for a few weeks now and honestly, most days I get no traffic at all haha. I have each post optimized with Yoast SEO and I made a Facebook page to connect to as well. I really don’t want to spend money advertising so here’s hoping it will pick up soon with me putting up a new post each week.

  8. Funny enough, 2020 has also been the year my blog has gotten tons more recognition as well, though for me it’s specific posts that have gotten a lot of search engine traffic. I’m happy about it too, though I certainly did not expect it.

  9. I’ve been feeling like things are more quiet on my WP feed lately as well. I don’t have a business plan to compare search engine traffic, but definitely feels quieter on WP lately.

  10. I checked last night and was surprised to see so many people coming from Google too. I thought more people on WP reader come to our blog. It’s pretty strange haha

  11. I think I have 10 people who read my blog regularly. Ok, maybe more, but probably not much more. 🙂 Someday maybe I’ll get serious about it, so I’m going to bookmark this post. Good info!

  12. Ohhh wow I had no idea about this search engines and all. But I’ll check out the links you have provided for WP beginners. I started a month ago and I still don’t know anything about the blog except writing what I want to write.

    1. One of the great things about blogging is that there’s always new things to learn, but none of it is necessary. It’s the writing that really matters.

  13. SEO is very important for sites…Thank you! Yeah that should help. When I first started blogging…

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