Back in October, Helen and I were super excited to move our travel content from here on The Mini Millionaire to its own blog – Inside Our Suitcase.
We had around 15 articles pre-written, all of which had recently been overhauled to be super optimised for SEO using SEM Rush and all the techniques we’d been learning about over the past ten months or so.
However, three months post launching the blog and now with more than 42 published posts I’m asking myself “Why is my website not showing in Google search?”
It was then in December that we decided to start a ‘family lifestyle’ blog. A place to write about toy reviews etc. and hopefully grow further when we have children.
At the time of writing this post, The Harrison Household our family lifestyle blog has just 32 posts published. The content isn’t as heavily optimised as Inside Our Suitcase and is nowhere near as long-form. Yet, as you’ll see in the screenshot below. It’s ranking for some keywords.
None of the keywords The Harrison Household ranks are related to its domain name. Unlike Inside Our Suitcase, who’s one (out of two) keyword is based on the name of the blog…
Having decided that I’d given Google more than enough time to find my site (as demonstrated by the fact it found The Harrison Household) I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands and start figuring out exactly why my website isn’t showing in Google search.
As soon as the blog was set up I had the sitemap made through Jetpack and sent it straight to Google. My first port of call is checking that there are no current issues with the sitemap.
I’m not a pro at Google Search console but I’m 90% this shows that I’ve indexed the site properly and Google has (at least sort of) found the web pages.
Comment On Other Blogs
I actually didn’t realise this was still a thing. However, when I posted my issue to the guys in the DNW Facebook group. It was Sharon herself who mentioned that commenting on other blogs is a good way to kick-start Google to ranking your website.
An so, I went around and commented on around ten blogs within a similar niche.
Gaining backlinks is a great way to increase your DA (domain authority). Google will use your DA to help decide where your site should rank for particular keywords. Thanks to the great blogging community I’ve been part of I’ve managed to get around 10 backlinks from various different people to Inside Our Suitcase who have DA’s of 20+.
It’s probably going to be a couple of months until I really see any results from this though…
It’s been three days since I started this mission, and I’ve just checked both SEM Rush and KeySearch to find zero change. I secretly hoped that they’d have been a change, but unfortunately nothing yet. At this point, I’m fresh out of ideas and I’m really going to have to start looking at what else I can do.
I couldn’t sleep last night… All I could think about was the different ways I could begin to show any kind of ranking on Google. I woke up this morning and decided to check my keywords again…
I fear that the locations Helen and I have written about may actually be too popular despite the fact we’re trying to rank for a more long-tail keyword.
Here are some examples of the volume and ‘score’ of some keywords in KeySearch.
While we could try and rank for different keywords within that current article I fear it will be difficult as the content is mainly a destination overhaul (of around 2,000+ words)
At this point, we could create multiple pieces of content around destinations and aim for different long tail keywords with each. The flow of the content would make much more sense that way, although we’d really need to try and purposefully ‘bulk out’ the word count.
It’s my understanding that long-form content has a better chance of ranking, so we’ve always gone for one long piece of content and hope to rank for multiple keywords.
I’ve decided to do some research on how other travel bloggers have formatted their content.
It seemed rather fitting to start with Where’s Sharon. Sharon also runs DNW and has been a huge source of inspiration and advice when it comes to enhancing both mine and Helen’s blogging techniques.
Despite being a travel blog I actually found (thanks to SEM rush) that most of Sharon’s traffic comes from reviews of travel-related products. When I did manage to find the best source of traffic for one of her destination pieces it was a niche long-form piece.
This was the first destination piece I found. The Google Chrome app word counter plus confirmed that this was around 3000 words (the words include titles, navigation bar etc… so you’ve got to allow for a small percentage not to be relevant ‘post’ content)
This kind of made me start doubting my keyword decisions. Had I really just gone wrong with content all along?
Since following Jess on Instagram and finding out she’s located just 5 miles down the road, I’ve been a bit of a content stalker / fan boy. It, therefore, seems only fitting I compare her blog next.
While it’s not entirely my style (I’m never, ever going to end up writing about fashion!) it still gets an amazing amount of traffic and is a really informative travel based blog.
Jess’s highest ranking traffic piece is this one. However, it’s keyword difficulty is through the roof… It’s an itinerary piece on a destination and the keyword she ranks for is a single keyword rather than a long tail keyword like I’ve seen on WheresSharon.
I decided to see whether this was the only piece of content on this destination. There was one other piece. A review of a particular meal style/type only found at the destination in question.
I feel like this might of been a bit of a one-off / lucky strike so I went to look into the keywords she was ranking for further. They were a lot less specific when compared to Sharon’s and didn’t provide me with much more information and clarity.
Hand Luggage Only
I LOVE Lloyd and Yaya.
Their blog is stylish, fun and has gained an amazing following in a short space of time. Their website simply had to be the deciding factor when it comes to what I should do in regards to my keyword/content strategy.
The traffic this blog gets from Google compared to The Travelista is around 30 times more – WOW!
Scrolling through the keywords they rank best for it’s easy to see that they have an SEO strategy. Yaya and Lloyd pretty much confirmed it. I’d gone wrong with my content strategy.
This could be the reason I’m not getting any traffic, however, there’s only one way to find out… I have a long night ahead of me.
Change Content Strategy
At FinCon the amazing Rosemarie Groner from The Busy Budgeter spoke about not getting bogged down with big tasks that had little impact.
Right now Inside Our Suitcase is running a very fancy theme. It looks the part, but if it’s getting no traffic what’s the point?
Navigating through it while making the content changes is going to be hard so I’ve decided to switch to an old Pipdig theme I used to use here on The Mini Millionaire. The navigation is super basic I’m hoping it’ll really help me.
It’s also the theme I’m currently running on The Harrison Household.
Moved pages to trash
Deleted all categories
Moved all scheduled posts back to drafts
42 posts to go through and I have a good mind to send them all to drafts and work from there if I’m honest… That’s what I ended up doing.
Now got 60 drafts…
The first post is A Complete Guide To Leeds, it’s got 1800 words… I’m going to split this based on keyword research. The easiest way to sort through the mass of results on any main keyword such as “Leeds” is using filters.
I’ve basically cut the relevant content and created draft posts with researched keywords and phrases around that particular piece of content. Once I’ve done this for all 60 posts I’ll be able to write more niche content for the number of posts I have and get to publishing.
Managed to publish 9 posts pretty much straight away. These are niche posts already and are things such as reviews for hotels etc.
I’ve trashed 25 posts. All posts are in different statuses. Some have had 90% of their content removed and split between other posts that are now in drafts. Others have 90% of their content remaining but the quality isn’t going to be good enough to split and niche, or the niche is too popular to ever rank for.
I was mainly looking for keywords with a difficulty of 60 or less. 70 maximum. Especially with me only having a DA of 1.
There are now 39 posts in drafts. Some of which I have no idea what to do with… Others are just titles and blank content.
This is going to take a while…
Despite the fact I’ve not finished adding new posts to the blog. I’ve decided to delete the old sitemap and resend a new one.
This is because I’ve deleted some posts and the last thing I now want Google to do is use that old sitemap and find old links that are now 404.
We Are Ranking For A NEW Word!!!
It may not be the best keyword in the world, however, it shows there really is light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve gone onto KeySearch this morning and refreshed the keywords it’s got down for the site and noticed it’s added a new one.
It’s still very much early days when it comes to the content reform. In fact, we only finished publishing all the posts (there’s now just 26) however, we’re already seeing results.
Keysearch shows us with two keywords
SEMRush shows us with one keyword
Google Search Console shows nothing…
In the terms of Google Analytics… It’s not huge, but it’s better than zero and it shows that we’re actually being found.
In the space of just one week, we’ve gone from daily questioning why the website not showing in Google search to FINALLY ranking for something on Google. This may not seem a lot to most people however we’ve been going at this now for the best part of three months so to finally achieve something is great!
I’ll certainly be putting what I’ve learnt from this into practice in the future not just with Inside Our Suitcase but with all the blogs that Helen and I go onto run. As always we’d appreciate your feedback so if there’s anything you can think of that we should add / might have missed please let us know.