Getting a Spike in Traffic: Can You Capitalize on Trends?

I recently observed a massive spike in traffic a few days ago. Now, usually, these are caused by bots trying to scrape content or Amazon hitting the homepage for no apparent reason. This time was different, though. It correlated with a trend.

Now, I’ve benefited from micro-bursts of trends before. But this time, everything across the board got a bit of a boost. Mostly, that is thanks to having the blog as well as the YouTube channel covering the same topics.

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How to Use Trends to Capitalize on a Traffic Spike

Now, not all trends are the easiest to jump into when they happen. Sometimes a topic just gets an instant boost for a few days and then pitters out. Especially if it’s something related to a quote from a celebrity or something happening in the news.

However, there are times when a trend will continue to spike for an extended period of time. This is usually when a new product or service comes out, or if it’s environmental.

An example of what I mean by “environmental” is how “working from home” saw a massive spike in traffic during the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. Since then, it still gets twice the visibility as it did before COVID-19.

World Affairs Influence Search

In fact, my little YouTube channel was growing quite quickly during the entire year of 2020. Then, just like the trend, the traffic to the videos started decreasing rapidly.

Identify How Long the Trend Will Maintain

The most difficult part is figuring out how long a trend will keep, well, trending. Some things are fairly easy to determine, such as a great game that people are excited to play.

Other things, though, can quickly dissipate as people lose interest.

Take a look at the Related Queries and Topics in Google Trends. It’ll help you see growth and breakout searches on the topic. It can give you ideas about what you should write about concerning the search phrase.

You can click on any of these related terms and Trends will expand to show you how each one currently performs. If the topic you’re thinking about writing does seem like it has staying power, that’s when you should search the phrase in Google.

Though, it probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to try a few other variations of your keyphrase in Trends to make sure you’re finding the most effective terms for your next blog post or video.

Search the Phrase in Google for the Past Week

Take a look at what people have published in the past week concerning your search phrase. You’ll probably see quite a few people publishing posts within a day of a trending traffic spike.

Go to Google search and click the “Tools” option at the right. Then, change the timeframe to “Past week.”

Past Week Search Results

Google will then list all of the posts it found over the last seven days. How are people using the search term? What kind of content is associated?

You can also switch over to “News” search and see if someone published something that triggered the spike in search recently. It might help you get an idea about how you should cover the topic.

Can You Create a New Post to Meet the Trend?

Here is where the fun begins; now you have to write a post that has the potential to attract an audience. There are a number of ways you can go about this, and it really depends on the topic itself.

You could write a review, a tutorial, add the term to a listicle, or perhaps answer common questions people might have…it all comes down to your knowledge and ability to provide answers for which people are searching.

If you’re not sure what to write, a good method to try is the Skyscraper Technique. This is when you find a top-performing article and do what you can to make it better. It’s a very effective method to help you rank higher on Google.

Not to mention giving you an opportunity to write a high-quality post your visitors will appreciate.

Reshare Older Articles on Social Media if Possible

If there are a lot of people searching for information regarding a trending topic, there’s a good chance many of them might also take to social media. This means you could reshare older articles you may have concerning that topic.

If you’re using WordPress and have push notifications enabled, you could also send notifications from those posts in case new visitors have subscribed. It may trigger a return visit or two and may inspire the individual to frequent your site.

Just make sure you polish up those older articles. Not only do you want to provide the best info possible to human readers, but Google also loves current and updated content. This can help your article perform better in search results.

Using Search Console to Analyze a Traffic Spike…Kinda

Search Console is an incredible tool to help you build a great website. It’ll show you how your content is performing and how people are finding your posts. However, there is a bit of a caveat.

Unfortunately, Search Console’s data is two days behind.

This means it’s nearly useless when a micro-burst happens by something trending for a day or two. By the time you get actionable data, it could be too late.

On the other hand, if the trend is something that continues to spike for several days at a time, taking a look at the data could still offer insights into how you can improve an article to have more of an impact.

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Strike While the Iron is Hot!

A trend is just that – something that has incredible popularity for a certain amount of time. However, trends will not maintain themselves forever. This means you need to act on them as soon as possible.

This is because trends are difficult to predict in many cases. Is it going to last for two or three days, or will it be around for a couple of years?

Take the traffic spike that inspired this post, for example. Monday was one of the biggest days for traffic this website ever experienced. However, it’s 7:33 am Thursday morning and the traffic is beginning to stabilize.

Traffic Spike Dying Out

People are done with the sudden burst of searching for Textbroker.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t still write planned content when a trend is pittering out. In fact, those articles may help drive a few people to keep coming back to the site.

Just keep in mind that it probably won’t feed the fire after the apparent trend flatlines. You’ll probably still get a bit of traffic, but it may not have the same massive impact it would have had in the beginning.

My point is that you need to act fast once you notice a trend happening.

How I Discovered the Pattern in a Traffic Spike

Step 1: Seeing the Spike in Daily Stats

I take a look at my website statistics on a daily basis. It’s all part of coming up with ideas and figuring out where I should go from here.

One of the topics this website is popular for relates to Textbroker. It’s how I started as a freelance writer and let me quit my full-time job back in 2013. So, when I saw a jump in daily visits, I just assumed it was another bot raid of some kind.

I’ve had issues with Amazon bots triggering views in Analytics in the past.

Visitors Spike in Analytics

This time around, though, I decided to take a closer look. Unlike the bots from before, I also recorded quite a few clicks on ads within a certain article, which resulted in a slight boost to my income on AdSense.

Step 2: Analyze Google Trends for a Correlation

Needless to say, it piqued my interest. That’s when I decided to take a look at Google Trends.

I searched the primary topic of the particular article that was getting the massive amounts of traffic. That’s when I initially saw the spike in search.

Traffic Spike in Google Search

I also searched a few other phrases to make sure the traffic spike wasn’t appearing for anything else I cover. Unfortunately, this was the only topic that was spiking.

Step 3: Verifying through Other Means

I’m always skeptical when it comes to traffic stats. Bots can wreck all kinds of hell on the numbers and influence your decision on what to create next. Luckily, I have other means to see if the trend is really human-driven.

Because a lot of my Textbroker videos are available in a Google search on the front page, I decided to take a look at YouTube. Sure enough, there was the same spike in traffic and watch time to the video content.

Textbroker Videos on YouTube

Though, I’m kind of kicking myself at the moment. If I would have targeted “Textbroker” and set up my Amazon ads, I might have made a few book sales that day.

That’s what happens when you procrastinate or forget about certain things you want to do.

Step 4: Take Action (Create Related Content)

I didn’t do much for the trend when it happened. After all, I do have a lot of Textbroker content on this website and on YouTube. I don’t have much more I can dive into when it comes to the content mill.

Plus, I’ve outgrown Textbroker and have moved on to greater things.

However, researching why I gained such a massive jump led me to realize that I don’t have a proper review for Textbroker.

I have no doubt that if there was a review on this site, the traffic numbers would have been greater. I’m still going to write one regardless. In fact, it’s been in draft mode since 2016.

Between getting busy and simply forgetting to write the review, it’s been sitting there waiting to be finished for quite some time.

Anyway, I wasn’t able to squirrel away enough time to really explore the trend as it was happening. Between my regular job and everything else I’m trying to balance, there simply wasn’t enough time to jump on board.

Nonetheless, it’s an incredible way for something of yours to go viral if you hit the trend at just the right moment with that one perfect article that people are looking for during the craze.

Never underestimate the value of a trend.

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Have You Seen a Traffic Spike with Your Blog?

Not all spikes in the numbers in Analytics are related to bots. While it’s true there are a lot of bots out there that can skew your data, sometimes it’s the right person or article that inspires others to take to Google en mass.

That’s when your content comes into play.

Do what you can to capitalize on trends as quickly as possible. You just never know when the fire will die out.

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Michael Brockbank

Michael has been a freelance writer since January of 2012. He has completed more than 8,000 jobs for a variety of clients ranging from animals to travel. Currently, he is the Content Marketing Team Lead of GreenGeeks Web Hosting.

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