In this post I will lead you to the discovery of an incredible SEO success story, showing you the data from Google Analytics and providing you with some tricks of the trade: I am talking about the blog of the Pineta Nature Resort in Tavon (province of Trento), passed by the 5,532 sessions acquired (of which 3,665 from organic) in August 2017 to 71,316 (of which 64,159 from organic) in August 2020.
At the end of 2017, I started writing some articles for the Pineta blog as an SEO copywriter and immediately I realized the enormous potential that we could have put to use thanks to an accurate SEO strategy.
Nicola, head of the structure and in particular of communication, then gave me confidence and from January 2018 he entrusted me with the complete SEO management of the blog. I immediately explained to him that on the one hand I would carry out a reclamation of past contents and on the other I planned a new strategy thanks to which to gain visitors and, consequently, potential new customers.
Let’s start with the data (extrapolated from Google Analytics) and then move on to some tricks of the trade in the next paragraph.
Pineta Nature Resort: blog data from Google Analytics
As readers a little more experienced in SEO will know, as reference data I will take the number of sessions (Analytics – Acquisition).
In 2017, therefore before the start of my management, the Pineta blog peaked during the months of August and July, with 5,532 and 5,131 sessions overall respectively. Going into the details of the sessions acquired by organic search, here are the data: 3,665 in August 2017 and 2,549 in July 2017.
To be even more precise, I now provide you with the complete overview of all the data.
Data August 2017 – Blog Pineta
- Total sessions: 5,532
- Organic searches (search engines): 3,665
- Social: 882
- Direct: 840
- Referral: 65
- Paid searches: 54
- Email: 26
- Average visit time (from “behavior / visits”): 2’08”
After a few weeks of work (with some advice also valid for strategies on Facebook and the newsletter), the blog began to gain ground and within a few months we brought home a marked improvement.
To give you a couple of examples regarding the 2018 season, I provide you with the data of March and August (record month).
March 2018 data – Blog Pineta
- Total sessions: 10,112
- Organic searches (search engines): 4,469
- Email: 3,049
- Social: 1,391
- Direct: 1,004
- Paid searches: 147
- Referrals: 76
- Average visit time (from “behavior / visits”): 1’52″
Data August 2018 – Pineta Blog
- Total sessions: 18,460
- Organic searches (search engines): 14,288
- Direct: 2,711
- Social: 1,098
- Referral: 159
- Email: 122
- Paid searches: 82
- Average visit time (from “behavior / visits”): 3’27”
Before moving to 2019 and even more to 2020, how should we read and analyze this data? Already in March 2018 you will have noticed a doubling of the overall sessions compared to just seven months before. A great help certainly came from the newsletter sent out that month but, in any case, we had 804 more organic searches. In addition, the renewed social strategy has also rewarded us as well as direct visits.
The data for August 2018, eight months after the start of my work, are already much more consistent and show strong and constant growth. Without the help of the newsletter and with the social media slightly lower than in March, we have nevertheless brought home 8,348 more total sessions. Indeed, looking only at the sessions acquired by organic, we made a + 9.819!
In addition, the average reading time for each page has increased significantly. In fact, in just one year, we went from 2’08 “to 3’27” and this means that blog users have noticed a higher level of quality in our content.
Let’s move on to 2019 and analyze in detail the data of March and August (record month once again) so that we can make a comparison with the same months of 2018 as we have discussed above.
Data March 2019 – Blog Pineta
- Total sessions: 21,273
- Organic searches (search engines): 17,062
- Direct: 1,855
- Social: 1,597
- Email: 442
- Referral: 183
- Paid searches: 134
- Average visit time (from “behavior / visits”): 3’12”
Data August 2019 – Blog Pineta
- Total sessions: 37,383
- Organic searches (search engines): 32,979
- Direct: 2,541
- Social: 1,500
- Email: 442
- Referral: 316
- Paid searches: 30
- Email: 17
- Average visit time (from “behavior / visits”): 3’12”
The month of March has never been among the best for our blog, yet March 2019 recorded even better numbers than in August 2018. Looking at March 2018, the number of total sessions has more than doubled, while the number related to searches from organic it has almost quadrupled.
August 2019 saw an even more impetuous growth with a number of organic sessions. I think the data speaks for itself and that, in this case, there is nothing more to add.
But … it did not end here and here is the data for May 2020!
Data May 2020 – Blog Pineta
- Total sessions: 51,116
- Staff searches (search engines): 43,914
- Direct: 2,811
- Email: 2,067
- Social: 1,819
- Referral: 297
- Paid searches: 208
- Average visit time (from “behavior / visits”): 3’53”
Data August 2020 – Blog Pineta
- Total sessions: 71,316
- Staff searches (search engines): 64,159
- Direct: 5,475
- Social: 1,208
- Referral: 361
- Paid searches: 76
- Email: 37
- Average visit time (from “behavior / visits”): 3’38”
Awesome, right? To give you an even clearer idea, in this latest data table I will show you the comparison between the months of May 2017 – 2018 – 2019 – 2020 as regards the overall sessions and those acquired by the search engines.
Sessions comparison between May 2017 – 2018 – 2019 – 2020
- MAY 2020: total sessions 51,116, organic search 43,914 (85.91% of the total)
- MAY 2019: total sessions 17,378, organic search 14,284 (82.20% of the total)
- MAY 2018: total sessions 8,009, organic search 5,836 (72.87% of the total)
- MAY 2017: total sessions 2,578, organic search 1,481 (57.45% of the total)
This is not the place where I will talk about conversions but, as you can imagine, a blog with these data is helping us a lot in letting new potential customers discover the Pineta. For several years, several “experts” in the sector have been writing on their websites that hotel blogs are “out of date” and that SEO for hotels has long since died.
I personally thank these colleagues because, if someone had followed their “skillful” advice, one of the beneficiaries would have been the Pineta itself: less blogs on the web = less competition on numerous keywords. And, when in a future article, you will read the equally great improvement in the conversion rate … you will be equally astounded!
And now I reveal some small secrets thanks to which I brought the Pineta blog to these results.
Blog Pineta: some SEO tricks
The first and fundamental “secret” to be able to create a winning SEO strategy concerns the skills and availability of the people with whom one will collaborate. This is of course true in every sector of work but, to stay within our field, very often I work with totally incompetent people on the subject.
The classic phrase that I am told is: “Riccardo, I don’t understand anything. Do it yourself and don’t even explain the details of your work to me! “. An SEO consultancy is however a job of great responsibility and therefore I always try to explain – even with very simple words – the details of my work to my customers.
The Pineta case is different, however, because Nicola has been a great digital marketing expert since not suspicious times (the Pineta has received several social awards over the years and was one of the first hotels in Italy to claim the listing on Google My Business). So our collaboration started immediately and the fact of living a few steps from the hotel and knowing its reality very well represented further help.
From a technical point of view, I initially concentrated on cleaning up old content. In some cases I have eliminated the articles, while in others I have revalued them (for example: new SEO title, lengthening of the text, insertion of the keywords in the focal points, addition of internal links …).
At the same time I started writing several posts in person and Nicola did the same. In this way we managed to position ourselves on numerous new keywords and the blog started to take off. For some time we have also made use of the collaboration of some good bloggers, whose original contents have met with great public success.
All these new articles have been written following a precise and not random strategy. Flexibility is however a very important element in SEO and, therefore, the strategy designed at the table has often been integrated and improved.
And now, despite the success in recent years, we continue to publish new texts and improve past ones. “Who sleeps does not catch fish” says an old popular proverb and we have decided to follow it literally. In fact, if we were to stop here, the blog could certainly live on income for a few months but then it would be gradually downgraded by Google and the various search engines in favor instead of those direct competitors continuously on the piece.
To know the news from the world of the Pineta, what can I recommend if not to follow our Blog!
The success story of the Pineta blog depends on the combination of numerous factors, first of all the fruitful collaboration between me and my employer and my daily desire to stay updated on the latest news from the SEO and digital marketing sectors.
Such an improvement (and, soon, I will show you the conversion data in a new post) is of course not the norm since behind it there is a high-level professional job, in which more people have committed themselves for years day after day.
But it shows that certain results are achievable, despite the struggle to gain positions on Google and the various search engines is increasingly difficult. The Pineta blog case is not the only one obtained during my career by SEO specialist and, in this regard, I will soon write a new post of this kind on my work with Elastic Interface® Cycling Pads.
What more can I tell you? To colleagues I say to continue to study and update daily, while to those who wish to optimize their website and increase the number of visits (and, consequently, potential conversions) I say not to waste too much time because if you already start doing this job in 2020 it is rather late, in a few years it will become almost impossible to be able to emerge (especially for small businesses).
Riccardo Tempo – SEO Specialist & Digital Marketing