It Ain’t SEO

I was delighted to celebrate Handshake 2.0's top traffic-producing content creators for 2009 in Top Content by Top Content Creators for Handshake 2.0.

I would like to celebrate these top content creators further. They brought traffic to Handshake 2.0 without the affected, gaming manipulation of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  (Having been in this biz since the days when white text was hidden on pages to spam search engines, I am a fan of search engines serving up what users seek, not what webmasters can make them find.)

They generated site traffic by offering value.

Here are the top 5 of the top 10 traffic-producing posts on Handshake 2.0 from January 1, 2009 – December 10, 2009, according to Google Analytics.  Beneath each, I offer my theory as to what generated high traffic on Handshake 2.0.

1. Blacksburg Makes the List – Lots of Them, Z. Kelly Queijo

An inherently interesting, well-written post, for the value it offered, it received that all-important link in from a site with high, repeat traffic.

2. The Not So Simple Truth about Online Résumé Scanners, Christina Motley

As she mentions here and here, Christina Motley is a power user of LinkedIn.  She shared her post with her LinkedIn network. They liked. They clicked.

3. Cloud Computing – Just Draw Me a Picture, Anne Clelland

The top source of traffic to this post continues to be Google search results.  Not understanding technology can be perceived as a weakness in today's business culture. One of the gifts of search engines is being able to find answers to questions in private, thus saving face. I'm imagining relieved business execs seeking and finding this post.

4. PE Central Soars as #1 Site for Physical Activity Resources, Anne Clelland

In business for more than a decade, PE Central has the #1 result in Google for "physical education" and a massive database of customers and contributing experts. PE Central emailed the link to the post to its entire database. The post was commissioned by PE Central's site designer, client Automation Creations which, too, shared the link with its contacts.  While the opportunity to access the post was shared with many, I attribute the choice of the many to view the post to the human interest value  of the PE Central story.

5. The Power of Twitter – An Allstate Story, Richard Hammer

Richard Hammer shared the link to his post using his Twitter account. Richard Hammer is a designer for Modea, considered one of the sexiest, most innovative, connected companies to work for in its locale.  Modea has over 2000 followers on Twitter and is known for deeply respecting its employees. Modea shared Hammer's post, too.  News about valued companies is valued.

In the top 5 for top traffic for their categories from among 100 categories on Handshake 2.0, I would like to make special mention of the content creators of the categories ranked #1 and #5. How did they do that?  I think it's pretty straightforward:  For delivering high quality content, consistently, over an extended period of time, they created an audience.

#1  The Today's Eclipse category, written by Melissa Obiso and Rik Obiso, contains 39 posts.

#5  Connecting People in the RNR, the category containing the video report by Stuart Mease, contains 45 posts.

Site traffic created by people who run sites and link to a site's content because they believe it has merit, by people who check out content based on a referral from a valued member of their communities, whether through online, email, or in-person networks, and people who create not just traffic for their content, but an audience – that ain't SEO. 

That's humanity.


SmartCollegeVisit, founded by Z. Kelly Queijo, and Automation Creations are clients of Handshake Media, Incorporated, of which Handshake 2.0 is an enterprise.

The Personality of the Brand
Today's Eclipse - Trou de Bonde Roux


  1. Anne, your post drives home the point that creative, well written content is one important part of the traffic equation. The complete formula is a string of variables that when added together and multiplied equals the big number!

    There’s the writing, intelligent use of key words, content that resonates with readers, the strategy driving the promotion of the post, the support by those who link, tweet, email and post/repost and sometimes, plain old dumb luck.

    I feel that once a post I’ve written is published, it’s no longer mine and ownership of it becomes that of the reader. What happens to it after that is up to the reader!
    So, thank you, Handshake 2.0 readers, for reading, sharing, linking, and everything else you do to that brings new faces to Handshake 2.0!

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