The 2-Year Blogging Nosedive (& How To Overcome It)
by Henry O'Loughlin • 4 minute read • September 10, 2018
Do you work at a B2B company that has a blog that’s been active for at least a year?
Then you may have noticed, or will soon notice, what I have: After almost exactly two years of great growth from B2B blogging, visits (and therefore leads) flatline or decrease for multiple months in a row. We’ll eventually pull out of it and grow again with a simple strategy I’ll explain later, but that multi-month flatline is painful.
Here’s how I’m defining the “blogging nosedive” for this article: Four consecutive months of fewer blog views than the peak month.
While our data (shown below) comes from B2B companies and my advice applies specifically to them, this article may also be helpful to people in the following situations as well:
- You have a B2B blog that has been around for more than a year but it’s been flat on results the whole time. (You may have a different issue like not picking the right strategy outlined here.)
- You have a B2B blog that has been around for less than a year. (This article will be helpful in predicting what’s likely to happen soon.)
- You have a B2C or personal blog. (I would bet the same drop happens in B2C, but I’m not absolutely sure, and Nectafy doesn’t work in B2C.)
Here’s where the data and stories come from:
Nectafy helps B2B companies grow visits and leads through content (like blogs). Three of our longstanding clients have all hit the blogging nosedive around two years, so we’ll share that data here counting from the first month we worked together onward.
Story #1: The blogging nosedive hits after 24 months.
|Month we started blogging||April 2014 (109 blog views)|
|Peak month (pre-nosedive)||March 2016 (29,522 blog views)|
|How long it took to hit||24 months|
|Nosedive period & impact||April - July 2016
*14% decline in visits
*This is from the peak month (just before the nosedive occurs) to the last month before growth continues again.
Regrowth & results since the nosedive:
Since the bottoming out (July 2016) through the next two years, the blog regained its growth rate and climbed from about 25,000 views per month during the nosedive to 100,000+ during the peak.
If you are blogging (and getting no results or even some nice results), I strongly recommend reading the post below that fits your scenario:
- The Proven Content Strategy If You Have <1000 Organic Visits/Month
- The Proven Content Strategy If You Have 1,000 to 25,000 Organic Visits/Month
Story #2: The blogging nosedive hits after 25 months.
|Month we started blogging||November 2014 (435 blog views)|
|Peak month (pre-nosedive)||November 2016 (57,135 blog views)|
|How long it took to hit||25 months|
|Nosedive period & impact||December - March 2016
*11% decline in visits (with some noise)
*This is from the peak month (just before the nosedive occurs), to the fourth month of the nosedive. This story, although it has the classic two-year nosedive, has some noise in it as well:
- Decembers are historically bad because of the holidays (this was the first month of the nosedive).
- We stopped working with the client in the middle of the downturn (Feb 2017), making the following months essentially an experiment with different inputs.
Regrowth & results since the nosedive:
This blog bottomed out around 40,000 monthly blog views, then grew to a peak of 65,000. In this case, the lackluster results lasted for nine months rather than the usual four because we weren’t working with the client during that period. The blog didn’t have a chance to recover.
Download Now: How To Statistically Prove What Blog Posts Bring In The Best Leads
Story #3: The blogging nosedive hits after 26 months.
|Month we started blogging||February 2015 (993 blog views)|
|Peak month (pre-nosedive)||March 2017 (131,888 blog views)|
|How long it took to hit||26 months|
|Nosedive period & impact||April - July 2017
*38% decline in visits
*This is from the peak month (just before the nosedive occurs), to the last month before growth continues again.
Regrowth & results since the nosedive:
Since the bottoming out (July 2017) through the next nine months, the blog grew from 82,000 views at the bottom to 162,000 at the peak. Now we’re fighting off a shorter cycle of declines again.
Why do blogs nosedive at two years?
The successful articles you wrote a few years ago start to lose keyword rankings (and therefore views and leads) because Google thinks they are old.
Add to that a few basic principles your blog is likely facing:
1. You can’t replicate what you accomplished in two years over a few months.
You’ve given yourself two years of opportunities to hit a few home run topics, and you’ve done so. It’s not realistic to think you’ll be able to hit a few more home runs in the few-month period when you’re declining. You simply don’t have the same number of chances.
- One old post lost 14,000 monthly views from the peak month to the end of the nosedive.
- Three successful new posts collectively brought in 2,500 new monthly views during that time—but that can’t make up for the 14,000-view loss.
2. New posts grow at a slower rate than old posts decline.
Even if you do hit another home run during the nosedive, it’ll take a long time for the results to kick in.
- An old post went from 10,000 views at the peak to 5,500 views over four months (a loss of 4,500 views).
- A new post written during the downturn went from 0 to 11,000 views, but that took 13 months to occur.
3. Your blog is likely experiencing the Pareto Principle.
Also known as the 80/20 rule, it’s likely that 20% of your articles will bring in 80% of your views (or something close to that).
- In one of the examples above, the top 20% of articles actually bring in 87% of the views.
- With just a handful of slips on those top posts, we had no shot at making it up with new posts in a few months alone.
How can you overcome the nosedive?
The simple key to getting great growth with your B2B blog is to:
- Write new posts targeting new keywords to bring in new growth.
- Rewrite old posts so they stay as close to their peak as long as possible.
I get the sense a lot of B2B blogs are only doing #1 and ignoring #2. If you continue to post new, great blogs but your results have stagnated or declined after a few years, that is why.
The Power Of Rewriting Old Posts
In story #3, we identified that the nosedive was upon us. Many of our top posts were decreasing month by month, and the new posts weren’t making up the difference.
We set out to rewrite seven critical posts over the next few months. We increased views to these seven posts by a combined 27,000 views over a two-month span (or 13,500 views per month). A rewrite of one post in particular contributed to that article reaching one million views in three years.
Here is a table from Emily’s great article, How To Grow Website Traffic By 37% With Your Existing Blogs, showing the data about the blog rewrites in detail:
|Blog Post||2 months prior||2 months after||Difference||% Difference|
How To Find Which Posts Need To Be Rewritten
If you’re facing a two-year pullback, I can safely assume you have at least 50-100 blog posts (and likely more).
Although it’s easy to see total blog views and trends, it’s harder to track how each individual post is trending on its own. In fact, this is what it would look like in HubSpot if you only had twenty posts to track.
Instead, we use a spreadsheet that looks like this to compare views of each page on the website over any period you want (month to month, quarter to quarter, or even peak month vs current month):
You simply export the views for all blog posts from one period, then the next period, and put those outputs in different tabs. Use a third tab to do some VLOOKUPs to find the views for each URL, compared side by side.
Then the key is in the “change” columns where you can see, at scale, which posts are in trouble, and plan to rewrite them.
Tweet at me if you would like a copy of this Google sheet and I’ll send it your way.
Trust us on this two-year, B2B blogging nosedive. In these three stories alone, we saw blog views decline at 24 months, 25 months, and 26 months respectively. We identified the nosedive (although slowly; reading this will save you a major headache) and pushed forward for some meaningful results:
- Story #1: From 109 to 100,727 monthly blog views in just over 4 years
- Story #2: From 432 to 64,601 monthly blog views in under 3 years
- Story #3: From 993 to 162,047 monthly blog views in just over 3 years
Here’s what you need to remember and implement for your B2B blog:
- If you’ve been blogging for a few years, I bet you’ve hit a multiple-month plateau or nosedive.
- It’s because your older posts (likely 18-24 months old) with lots of views and leads are slipping in their keyword rankings and losing lots of views.
- Your new posts can’t make up for the decline in such a short amount of time.
- Rewrite, refresh, add to, and republish the old posts that are slipping and you’ll regain the growth to your blog.
Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments section below or on Twitter.