Benjamin Crozat The web developer life

SEO case study (2022): programming niche (+5117% increase)

Benjamin Crozat Benjamin Crozat10 minutes read

Since I started in September 2022, clicks on Google increased by 5117%.

I’m programming for a living, not doing SEO. But I’m a fast learner and like to learn by doing. In this article, I’m sharing every best practice I try to apply to rank my blog as high as possible with many keywords.

Growth in the Google Search Console

Table of contents

Why should you care about SEO?

For me, traffic is like money; it should be as passive as possible. Let me explain.

When promoting your content on social media, you might get two or three visitors, or maybe thousands depending on your popularity. But no matter who you are, this will be a short traffic spike.

Writing content people search for on Google and others will drive traffic for a potentially indefinite time. And trust me, it’s actually not that hard. It just requires patience. Lots of it.

What to do to get more traffic from search engines

Don’t wait for Google to crawl your pages

The Google Search Console is a precious tool. You can get valuable data about how your pages are doing in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).

But did you know you can actually “force” Google to crawl your pages as soon as you publish them?

In the search field at the top of the console, enter any new or updated URL, and Google will (most of the time) crawl it and update its index in a matter of hours.

This practice is well documented by Google.

URL inspection in the Google Search Console.

Your technical SEO should be good enough

As a web developer, I have the luxury of not having to use WordPress or any other platform.

My blog lays on a completely custom platform I coded from A to Z. (Excluding open-source components I use like everyone else.)

Therefore, I can guarantee maximum scores on various benchmarks (Ahrefs, Lighthouse, etc.). It’s natural for me to apply all kind of web performances best practices.

If you’re using something like WordPress, I recommend being careful when choosing themes and plugins, as most are low quality and can significantly impact your site’s performance and, therefore, your rankings.

Good news, though. Google doesn’t require perfection. It cares about:

Learn more about page experience signals from Google and use PageSpeed Insights to see if Google is happy about your website.

Pagespeed Insights results for this article.

One other thing before I forget:

But there’s more to technical SEO. Keep on going using Google’s SEO starter guide (which is a goldmine for those who are serious about SEO).

You should do keyword research

Keyword research is the process of finding words and phrases that people use when searching for information on the internet.

By doing it, you can learn what people are looking for and how to make your website more visible to them.

To do keyword research, you can use free means like:

Then, put your findings in Google’s keyword planner. You’ll be able to see:

When you’re just getting started, it’s better to try to rank for low-competition keywords. Because Google don’t trust your website and they don’t want to show it to too many people yet.

Once you have everything you need, you can start writing blog posts around them. This will help your website frequently show up in search results, and ultimately, get more traffic without lifting a finger.

Write a bunch of articles and update them regularly

My process:

Link building isn’t most people’s cup of tea. Myself included. But it needs to be done, because it’s one of the most critical ranking factors.

Backlinks are links from other websites to your website.

The more you have backlinks from quality websites with high authority, the higher Google can rank you in the search results.

For a backlink to be followed by Google’s crawler, it has to be an <a> tag without the nofollow value in the rel attribute. Otherwise, the authority won’t be passed to the target.

I essentially get them by posting community links on various popular websites in the niche (these links are also reused in newsletters, which is an additional channel of traffic).

Sometimes, my articles get noticed and people link to them (on sites such as the JetBrains’ blog, Freek Van der Herten’s blog and Larachat for example).

It’s a passive way to build links, but it works.

Bonus: use premium tools for speed of execution

Successful SEO can be achieved by just analyzing Google’s SERPs, the search console and the official keyword planner. You can stop there if you don’t have extra money to invest.

But you can do more a hell lot, quicker, thanks to the tools below.

Semrush

Semrush

Semrush is a digital marketing suite that provides a wide range of tools for SEO, PPC (pay-per-click), social media, content marketing, and competitive research.

Keyword research is the reason why this blog is growing so fast and if I had to keep only one premium tool, that would be it.

Get started for free

Copy.ai

Copy.ai

I’m often stuck with a blank page when I start writing, and having an AI that generates good enough content in a matter of seconds is invaluable. The process of making it better and add my personal touch naturally flows once the hardest part is done.

Get a lifetime free account with 2,000 words per month, no credit card needed

Jasper

Jasper

Jasper is another AI content generator. I wouldn’t be able to tell which one is better and I recommend you to try it as well and make up your own mind. 👍

Get started for free with 10,000 credits + 10,000 bonus credits

Surfer SEO

Surfer SEO

Surfer is a tool that helps you write content that makes Google’s algorithm happy. It also analyses competitors gives you advices on how to outrank them.

You can see it as a very effective spell checker for SEO.

Start with unlimited free plan for new websites, no credit card needed

Reports for each month since the beginning

November 2022

Google Search Console report for November 2022.

The numbers:

For this month, my strategy almost didn’t change. I still wrote more articles and still tried to acquire new backlinks.

What I did differently though is to write titles differently. Now, I put the main keyword I want to rank for at the beginning. For instance, this article is called “SEO case study (2022): programming niche (+x% increase)”, because I try to rank for “seo case study 2022”.

As always, we’re never sure about anything that’s not officially documented by Google, but it seems to produce good results (but not for this article… yet).

October 2022

Google Search Console report for October 2022.

The numbers:

What I did:

The Google Discover effect

Google Discover numbers.

I recently got picked up by Google Discover.

I’m not a Google guy outside of their search engine, so I didn’t know much about this service until they gave me 1.08K visitors in a day and a few hours.

I read about how it works on the official documentation and things became more clear. My Laravel best practices: the definitive guide for 2022 showed up because:

The traffic from Google Discover dropped substantially the next day. I guess it’s like spikes on social media: it’s not worth it on the long run. But what do I know? Time will tell.

September 2022

Google Search Console report for September 2022.

The numbers:

What I did:

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