The Magic Number: How Many Blog Posts You Need to Generate Traffic

Aaron Marco Arias
/
Scale
/
24.1.2023

If you're looking to engage qualified audiences through content, there's one question you've probably asked yourself: How many blog posts do you need to generate traffic?

In short, there is no magic number. But here's the closest we can get to one:

  • You’ll probably need to publish 15-30 posts before you see any significant traffic spikes
  • We recommend a publishing regime of 2-3 posts per week for consistent results

In this post, we'll dive into how we found these "magic numbers". 

We’ll cover:

  • How many blog posts do you need to start getting organic traffic
  • How to get the most out of your blog posts
  • What's the optimal posting frequency for a blog

Ready? Let's dive in!

How Many Blog Posts Do You Need to Get Traffic?

The average agency estimates that a company needs 10-30 blog posts to start seeing SEO results. 

Personally, we’ve worked with companies that began seeing SEO results from the 15th blog post onwards. But, why?

In this section, we’ll cover:

  • The idea of compound interest, applied to SEO
  • A frequently quoted but outdated Hubspot study
  • Programmatic SEO & its impact on SEO scale

Compound Interest

Naval Ravikant, co-founder and former CEO of AngelList, once said that everything we value in life comes from compound interest. From building a friendship to mastering a skill, it’s all about doing a little every day. And that’s exactly the case with SEO.

Google (and users) like websites that are alive and growing, constantly providing new useful information and optimizing their user experience.

As you publish new posts:

  • Google refines its understanding of your website’s positioning, so you start ranking for more relevant queries
  • Google understands that your website is active, which may favor your positioning
  • You build internal backlinks that make your site’s structure more robust and easier to navigate
  • You target more (and more precise) user needs, allowing you to be found by more, better-qualified users

It’s easier for Google to understand and evaluate a website with 20 URLs, than a website with a small handful of pages. And, as your website grows, you’re likely to your platform’s traffic grow in a way that’s similar to the typical compound interest curve.

Less is more. But, when it comes to SEO, we could say that more is more and less is a bore.

But, is the “10-30 posts” recommendation based on more than just anecdotal evidence? 

Tipping Points

The most solid reference we came across is a Hubspot study from 2010.

Hubspot graph showing the impact of blog size on monthly leads.

This study covered 762 Hubspot customers, and focused on the impact of blog size on monthly lead generation. It found that companies experienced three tipping points in their blogging journey:

  • When they entered the 12-23 blog post range, they received one new monthly lead on average
  • When they climbed up to the 24-51 post range, their read generation efforts grew by 13%
  • When they indeed the 52+ range, they experienced a 77% increase in lead generation

This study covers under 1000 companies, and it’s over 13 years old! The internet has changed a lot in the last 13 years. Major events like the 2020 COVID pandemic completely revolutionized the digital landscape. And, between 2010 and 2023, the Google algorithm, users’ behavior, and the inbound marketing sector changed as well.

Are these findings relevant at all?

Thousands of Valuable Pages, Created Automatically 

The idea that publishing more leads to more traffic still holds up. However, we don’t have the data to estimate demand and lead generation. 

But, when it comes to traffic, if a website’s targeting thousands of highly relevant keywords and delivering useful, properly linked content, of course it’ll perform. That’s why programmatic SEO makes sense to begin with.

In short, programmatic pages are pieces of content created by curating a database to match search intent.

For instance, film streaming platform Mubi has a data base with 10,000 independent and critically-acclaimed films. These films are available on the https://mubi.com/films/ subdirectory.

Screenshot from the browse page of Mubi, showing a number of films.

If you look for any of these films, you’ll find that all their individual pages have more or less the same structure:

Two screenshots from Mubi. One from an individual film, the other from the catalog.
Twomore screenshots from Mubi.  One from an individual film, the other from the comment section on the blog.

While extremely useful, all of these pages’ content comes from curating:

  • Third party sources
  • Internal content collections

Only a few words are unique to each page. But still, they’re incredibly useful. Programmatic SEO shifts the workload from heavy, time-consuming creation to lean and efficient curation.

Mubi’s programmatic pages aren’t just available for individual films, but also for carefully curated film lists. Some of these lists are curated by MUBI users. And they all link to specific film pages.

MUBI is an SEO mammuth. In part, because it has cleverly combined programmatic SEO with user-generated content. The result? 

Success at scale:

A graph showing organic traffic and organic keywords from Mubi.

No-code integration platform Zapier is another example. Here’s their growth curve: 

A graph showing organic traffic and organic keywords from Zapier.

Zapier targets 1.4M keywords and received over 2.6 million visitors per month. 343 thousand of those visitors come from Zapier’s programmatic pages, which can be found under the /apps subdirectory.

Ahrefs screenshot on Zapier.

So, in short: Yes, scale wins the day. With that in mind, the “10-30 posts” recommendation looks extremely reasonable. Now imagine combining those initial 30 posts with programmatic pages. 

At this point, you may be wondering: After publishing those initial pieces, how often should you publish new content?

Let’s dive in! 

What Is the Optimal Frequency of Blog Posts to Increase Web Traffic?

Now that we’ve covered how many blog posts you should publish to get your foot at the door, let’s explore another question: How often should you post? 

Really, there isn’t an answer set in stone. Some teams take a quality-over-quantity approach. Others create the processes and structures necessary to produce dozens of blog posts every month.

So far, we found that publishing 2-3 times a week is usually more effective than publishing once a week. 

An image showing two graphs.

Publishing short pieces twice a week brings results in the long run. Especially if:

  • The site already has the leverage to rank new content almost instantly (we’re talking thousands of backlinks)
  • The content targets a real, underserved user need with a precise answer

Publishing long-form pieces 2-3 times a week brings some interesting short-term results. Especially, when combined with link-building and other awareness-raising initiatives. 

How Long Does It Typically Take for Blog Posts to Start Generating Website Traffic?

If you repurpose your content properly and distribute it across relevant channels, it can take you a couple of hours to get traction.

But, when it comes to organic search traffic, it can be a couple of days or weeks before you start receiving traffic.

How to Get Traffic to a Blog Post Faster

Trying to get results from your blog post soon?

Aside from repurposing and distributing your content, you can:

  • De-index low quality pages
  • Build internal links
  • Use Google Search Console’s “Inspect URL” tool
  • Leverage Indexnow
  • Keep your technical SEO in check
  • Make sure you’re targeting the right keywords

Let’s dive a little deeper.

De-Index Low Quality Pages

Watch out for your low-value pages. That is, pages that don't have a valuable role in your users' journey. There are many reasons why you should de-index your low-value pages. 

For starters, these pages can have a negative impact on your website's search engine rankings. But, additionally, low-value content can:

  • Make it hard for search engines to find and index your website's most valuable pages
  • Waste your crawl budget

The term "Crawl budget" refers to the number of pages that a search engine will crawl and index on a website. If a website contains many low-value pages, the search engine will waste resources crawling and indexing them. De-indexing these pages means that the search engine will instead "spend" the crawl budget on more important pages, which can help improve your website's overall visibility in search engine results. This can lead to improved organic traffic, higher rankings, and an overall better user experience for those who land on your website.

Build Internal Backlinks

The best way to welcome a new piece into your website is by building links to it from your most successful pages. Maybe you can link to it on older posts, or add it to a content hub. But make sure you build these backlinks.

Use Google Search Console

Want to make sure a new post has been indexed?

Here’s how:

  1. Go to Google Search Console
  2. Enter your new post’s URL in the search bar and press enter
  3. If the URL’s not indexed, click Request Indexing

Next, a pop-up window will appear, letting you know that Google’s testing if the URL can be indexed. If that’s the case, the page will be added to the priority crawl queue.

Screenshot form google search console.
Screenshot form google search console.
Screenshot form google search console.

Leverage IndexNow

The IndexNow protocol works by submitting the website page URLs to search engine bots to be indexed as soon as the content is published. This helps to ensure that the website is indexed quickly, thus allowing the website to rank higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs). 

IndexNow’s main limitation is that it can only submit URLs to search engine bots, rather than entire web pages. This means that if the content on a website is regularly changing, IndexNow may not be able to keep up with the changes. 

Additionally, only Yandex and Bing participate in the IndexNow protocol. So you’re missing out on over 80% of global users.

Keep Your Technical SEO in Check

Elements such as noindex tags, misplaced canonical links, and miswritten robots.txt files can severely affect how Google crawls and indexes your site.

So, if you’re facing systematic indexing issues, you may want to check your website’s technical SEO. 

Make Sure You’re Targeting the Right Keywords

If you’re targeting the wrong keywords, it take years for one of your blog posts to drive organic traffic - if it ever does. 

We recommend you refrain from:

  • Targeting hyper-competitive keywords
  • Competing for keywords that don’t align with your offering

Always try to target underserved keywords with a good search volume but low difficulty. Want to learn how? Check out our guide on 9 ways to boost organic traffic.

Let’s Talk Strategy! 

In this post, we covered the impact of publishing quality content frequently. But it’s easier said than done.

At Postdigitalist, we help some of the world’s most innovative venture-backed and bootstrapped startups to grow their audience and create more pipeline with content marketing. We combine long-term commitment, strategic insights, and a quality-oriented production process.

Curious? Book a free consultation.