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A while ago I wrote a blog post (before I even knew what SEO was, and it has since ranked 40/100. However I get daily views from Google searches.
I've got many other posts that have ranked far higher, around the 70/100 mark which don't get any google searches at all.
can someone please help me understand how it's happened? I'm very confused as to why this particular post gets so many views.
SEO is an art for me. Every ppl who work on this field often have their own style lol
Regarding your question, its possible that SEO on page on your article is good and relevant with the keyword, also maybe it has good backlink as well.
If you have google search console, you can see what keywords that lead visitors come to your articles. If you know that keyword, then you can try to research on that keyword. How many ppls that looking that keyword averagely in a month? Analyze your article too including the backlink of it.
Then you will see a big picture of why that article has so many views.
I can't explain more details since its not that easy for beginner ( I am beginner too lol), just take your time and be patience to understand more.
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You can rank an article on Page 1 in the #1 spot but it doesn't mean you'll get traffic.
The keywords you're targeting, or rankings for, will determine if you're going to get traffic.
I can rank an article for "Best basket weaver in Chicago 2016" and get no traffic or I can rank an article for "How to make money online" and get 100,000+ people clicking through to my website each month.
Just because it's ranked doesn't mean it's going to get traffic. Do some keyword research and know what you should be targeting. After you get a dozen good keywords, start writing content, then after those articles are published you'll need to start building some high quality contextual links aimed at those articles in order to bump your rankings up
It's a tough road, extremely tough depending on your niche, but it is a great feeling when your website starts to rank for those difficult keywords you've been targeting for 6+ months