A lot of us know that SEO can be a brilliant way to generate traffic for a website.
However, for some of us, search engine optimization might be our only means of traffic and increase search results.
This can be a bad thing.
It is essential that you know how to diversify the traffic that is coming to your website, and not rely entirely on search engine optimization. Otherwise, if your primary traffic source fails you, it could mean the end for your business.
In this post, we’re going to take a look at how you can increase website and blog post traffic without having to rely only on SEO.
We’ll look at a variety of strategies that you can put into place right now and also how you can optimize each source of traffic.
By the end of this post, you’ll have the peace of mind needed to know that your website isn’t going to crash and burn, just because of a change in Google’s algorithm.
Is all traffic equal?
Before we begin, I just want to remind you that not all traffic on your website is equal. You want high quality web traffic.
High quality traffic that is laser targeted is going to generate a better ROI than traffic that is not.
Now while that might sound obvious, it is something that can be easily overlooked when trying to drive traffic to your website.
High traffic numbers can be a great thing, but if the traffic isn’t targeted, the numbers are just vanity metrics.
This is something to keep in mind as we explore the topic of increasing traffic to your site.
1000 untargeted visits is not the same as 100 targeted visits working to drive traffic that sells. A social media platform might produce web traffic but it might not be high quality for your website.
Yotpo gathered data from 65 million e-retail orders accounting for $2 billion dollars in transactional value from 120,000 ecommerce merchants to determine the most crucial sources of web traffic for ecommerce sites.
Social represents a decent 6%, but it’s still a small player in the overall game. Direct and Search account for 40% and 34% respectively, indicating more value.
In another analysis, the remarkable Custora Ecommerce Pulse lists ecommerce orders by channel.
It’s a data accumulation displaying media or traffic sources for some of the most popular ecommerce websites driving sales.
Organic, CPC, and email traffic drove the most ecommerce purchases. Social contributed to just 1.1%. It means search and online advertising could drive more quality traffic to ecommerce stores.
The most effective website traffic not only has a prior interest in your service or product but is already searching for a similar solution and is ready to spend.
At this point, you’re probably thinking, “Do I even need a presence on social media?”
Incredibly, you do. If search engines are the best source of targeted traffic for an ecommerce site, they won’t necessarily produce the same result for a media company.
Depending on your audience’s’ profile and the industry you’re in, social media may drive the most sales for your business. I, myself have made over $300k from Instagram in 3 months. My experience says that social media can be a great source of targeted traffic with the right strategy in place.
For instance, the digitally distributed media powerhouse BuzzFeed relies on social networks like Facebook, Instagram and others to amass huge web traffic. Its social traffic is 5x more than its search traffic.
And most of it is targeted. Because BuzzFeed’s main goal is to reach the millennial audience (who basically live on social networks). They are able to drive qualified traffic to their website by presenting them with share-worthy content.
How does social traffic help BuzzFeed make money, you ask?
Well, BuzzFeed’s primary revenue model is native advertising. It makes money by selling native ads that match its editorial content (videos, quizzes, posts, etc.) to brands that want to reach millennials. The content is then distributed on social media where BuzzFeed’s advocates amplify its reach.
Using a tool like InVideo can help you create awesome videos that can then be distributed across social media channels to generate buzz and awareness.
Purchase intent lifts show that BuzzFeed’s social advertising model works for brands. And it works even better when the content reaches more audiences through word-of-mouth.
All that information makes the personified war between social and other traffic sources seem silly. Ultimately, multiple channels can share the pie. While direct traffic can propel a site’s revenue in the short-run, social and search traffic is crucial to its long-term success.
Always ask yourself what else can be done in order to make each source of traffic that we discuss more targeted when going through each of the suggestions below.
Online ads can instantly generate hundreds, if not thousands, of clicks to your website.
Plus, with a new ad and social media platform appearing and innovating regularly, getting your ads in front of the right people is becoming easier than ever.
In fact, the effectiveness of online advertising is so great, that, in the UK, digital ad spend rose 17.3% last year on an LFL (like-for-like) basis – the biggest increase since a 38% jump in 2007 – to $15.74 billion (£10.30 billion).
However, if you want to drive traffic through search engines using online ads, it is important that you know, beforehand, how you’re going to make money from this traffic.
Odds are you don’t have a bottomless pit of money, so your media platform needs to be effective. You need to find a way to generate an ROI from your ads if you want to advertise sustainably in the long term.
Remember – when running an ad campaign, traffic means nothing if you can’t turn a profit from your website.
This big challenge can be broken down into two separate ingredients.
Advertising something that people want is the first ingredient. And, creating high-quality ads that encourage the right people to click on them is the second.
We can’t talk about advertising a product that people want here, but we can briefly cover the creation of high-quality ads that work on search engines or on a social media platform.
In general, there are two things you need to acknowledge when creating ads – the targeting of the ad and the design of the ad itself.
The design of an ad includes the copy and the image. If you want to get better at designing ads that will generate clicks, study some of the ads that your competitors are running.
Amazingly, tools that give you insights into your competitors’ ads are hidden in plain sight.
For instance, if you click the downward arrow present at the top-right corner of a Newsfeed ad on Facebook and choose “Why am I seeing this?” i.e. the last option, you’ll get an insight on how your competitor targets people.
In the advert above, you can see who JetBlue Airways is targeting – people who’ve provided the company with their contact information off Facebook.
The insight could be based on demographics, interests, or geography – and can be quite precise.
Another thing you can do is subscribe to your competitors’ email list. When you do, you’ll be added to their Custom Audience list on Facebook, which companies use for retargeting campaigns.
So, once you’re among those audiences, you’ll start to see more of your competitors’ ads on your Facebook Newsfeed.
Additionally, you can also tell Facebook that you’re interested in seeing certain types of ads by clicking on the “this ad is useful” button.
Study these ads and see if you can emulate their success by deducing what makes them work.
For keeping tabs on your competitors’ PPC ads, I recommend using a PPC spying tool – there are many available. If you’re looking for a free option, give Moat a shot. It offers deep collection of PPC ads from advertisers and also reveals where a specific ad was last seen.
But if you want to dig deeper, WhatRunsWhere could be your best bet. It gives you information on not only ad placements, but also your competitors’ PPC ads and which media channels they’re being placed on beyond AdWords.
If you want more options for tracking your competitors’ ads, check out the resource below:
You can also create something known as a swipe file, which is essentially a record of eye catching ads that have caused you to take action.
Targeting refers to who the ads are shown to through search engine optimization.
Each ad platform has its own form of targeting, and you’ll need to do some homework on your chosen platform ahead of time.
Thankfully, with innovations such as ‘Lookalike Audiences,’ targeting your ads is now a lot easier than it used to be.
For instance, let’s assume one segment of your audiences (out of five or six) is converting better than others. You can’t figure out the reason, but you can’t deny the numbers, either.
Lookalike audiences allow you to make a clone of that high-converting audience so that Facebook can deliver ads to more people similar to them. You can also select a percentage (such as 1%, 5% or 10%) and country to tell Facebook how tightly defined or narrow you want the audience to be.
If your website covers diverse subjects, you can segment your audience by using the ‘Custom Audience’ feature in Facebook Ads Manager. This helps avoid wasting ad spend to promote your site to some people who may not be interested in specific topics.
So, if I publish a blog post about Instagram, I may want my ads to reach only those who have already read posts related to this topic.
To achieve my purpose, I will create a Website Custom Audience of people who visited Instagram-related pages with keywords related to the topic in the URL.
After creating the Custom Audience, I could ask Facebook to show my ads who have visited specific web pages on my website in the past 30 days (the maximum time period is 180 days).
Why go through all this hassle when you can just use Facebook’s default targeting options?
First, ad campaigns that target custom audiences do well on Facebook’s Relevance Score. This is a measure of how well your ad is going to fit your target audience. The higher this score, the more traffic you can expect (and the lower CPC, too).
AdEspresso’s experiment proved this practically. The company presented the same exact ad and campaigns to two varying audiences.
One was vaguely targeted, while a custom audience was used for the other. The results were astonishingly different.
- Vague Audience: $0.142 CPC, 278 clicks
- Custom Audience: $0.03 CPC, 1,103 clicks
At the start, you may not have access to the custom audience targeting feature. Instead, you’ll have to rely on internet targeting to reach new people.
But once you start receiving decent engagement or website traffic, you can switch from interest targeting to a custom audience as the feature becomes available.
The way that you target your ads will influence how much you’re going to be spending.
For example, the industry you’re trying to advertise within will deeply affect your website marketing costs.
This is especially the case with Facebook.
When running ads, you don’t need to go big straight away, nor should you.
Test the waters with $5-$10 a day and see what happens.
Do that for a week, just to learn how any one media platform works.
Then, the next week, work on improving some metrics such as profit or email signups generated.
Make sure you experiment with different ad platforms.
If you’re looking to advertise for a B2B and reach decision makers, LinkedIn might be your best bet. That’s because 4 out of 5 LinkedIn members can influence the decisions made within their company.
Also worth mentioning, LinkedIn accounts for more than 60 percent of all traffic from social media channels to company websites.
Yes, there could be an exception, where Facebook drives the most traffic for a B2B company. But, for the most part, LinkedIn is the best channel for driving qualified traffic to B2B websites.
LinkedIn’s robust targeting capabilities play a major role in generating traffic for companies.
For instance, you get the option to match your target business against the 8+ million business pages on LinkedIn with its account targeting feature.
With contact targeting, you can market to known contacts and prospects by connecting to your content management software or uploading your email address lists.
All these targeting features are a part of LinkedIn’s Matched Audiences – a set of targeting capabilities that empowers you to combine the platform’s powerful professional data with your first-party data.
If you’re looking to advertise primarily to the B2C sector, Instagram might be a better social media platform.
Bloom and Wild managed to achieve a 62% increase in bouquet orders thanks to Instagram Ads.
They wouldn’t have been able to achieve similar results on a different social media platform like LinkedIn.
You can also use guest blogging as a tool for generating visitors to your website.
I firmly believe guest blogging is an effective option for driving visitors to your website. Quicksprout wouldn’t have been so successful if I didn’t pay attention to guest blogging.
You could call it the lifeblood of my digital businesses.
Other entrepreneurs have also found guest blogging to be a viable method for generating website traffic.
According to Ahrefs, Mob.is.it’s CEO and founder Silvio Porcellana leveraged guest blogging to boost his website traffic by 20%.
Gregory Ciotti of HelpScout added 36,733 more qualified subscriptions to his email list through guest blogging.
There is no telling the benefits you’ll get if you leverage guest blogging strategically.
There are two things that you need to get right when it comes to guest blogging.
The first is finding websites that are suited to your niche and accept guest posts.
You can find such websites by searching for them on Google.
Use the following search strings to find relevant opportunities.
If you want to find blogs in your industry that are accepting guest posts, use the following search queries to see more specific results:
- Name of your niche + “write for us”
- Name of your niche + “submit guest post”
- Name of your niche “ “sites that accept guest posts”
- Write guest article + ‘name of your niche” + blog
- Guest blog by + “name of writer” (e.g., guest post by “Darren Rowse”).
To discover more authoritative websites that will accept guest contribution, Peter Sandeen mentions the “140+ Best Sites to Guest Post.”
And that’s not all – you’ll see more opportunities pop up when you search others who frequently contribute high-quality blog posts to industry-related sites.
Most companies and bloggers share posts written by guest contributors through their social media profiles. Enter this search string in the search bar of a social network:
· “person name” + guest post
· “company name” + guest post
To find sites where a specific company or blogger has published a guest post.
In addition, research online biographies of specific companies and bloggers. More often than not, their web profiles contain a handy list of sites where they’ve been invited to guest post. That’s a plethora of most fitting guest blog opportunities presented to you on a silver platter.
The next thing that you need to work on is writing a compelling piece of content for the site that you’re going to be writing for.
Great content does one important thing: strengthen your branding. It also gives the right target audience a strong reason to read your content.
There are three tactics that you can use to generate guest post ideas.
One tactic is to search Buzzsumo to find popular topics that are being shared a lot within the niche where you want to guest post.
The second tactic is to use Buzzsumo to search the site that you want to post on. View the topics covered by their most popular content and the style that their high-quality content follows.
You then either write something that is ten times better than what already exists or you can write something that is very similar.
If you need some inspiration, simply take the top piece of content you have found on the site and put it into Buzzsumo.
You’ll then see examples of how such a piece of content can be made better.
You’ll also see examples of content that is similar to what you found in the first place. High-quality content ultimately aids your SEO.
The third option is to write something based on your own personal experience. You could write a case study, for example, that outlines what you have managed to achieve.
When writing such a piece, it is essential that you provide ‘how to’ instructions for the people that are reading so that they can achieve similar results. ‘How to’ articles do well in organic search.
In the same vein, before writing the post, conduct some demographic research to understand your ideal audience. The better you know what type of content your target audience needs and looks for, the more impact your guest contribution will make in their lives.
Because every blog reader is at a different stage of the buy cycle, writing for a broad audience (e.g., digital marketing) may not be the smart approach to guest blogging.
Knowing the demographics of your target readers you’ll create content that will help you align your blog post to better suit their needs.
Use Alexa.com to get some demographic insights. On the site’s homepage, enter the URL of the blog you want to write for (e.g., searchenginejournal.com) in the top-right field. Then click “Find” to see the monthly pageviews and the average number of visitors your target blog receives per day.
On the results page, scroll down to find the audience demographic:
At a glance, it’s clear that Search Engine Journal has more male readers. These target audiences have graduated college, and they use the internet from home and work – not from school.
Equipped with demographic insights, you can create reader personas to tailor your guest blogging content to represent your target readers based on real data about them.
By decoding your target readers, their wants, and which websites they visit regularly, you will remove the guesswork and create a proven roadmap for guest blogging success.
Remember to be respectful when approaching any sites that you want to guest blog on.
Follow the instructions provided in their editorial guidelines when submitting a guest post proposal.
Most blogs have a “guest post” or “write for us page” that tells you exactly the topics the website owner is interested in, the format you should follow, and the style of writing they prefer. Find it, and review all instructions carefully before writing your guest post.
Only if you don’t find the guidelines anywhere is cold outreach acceptable.
If one site doesn’t approve your ideas, don’t be afraid to approach them again and propose new ideas.
After all, they rejected the idea and not you.
Go over your guest blog idea again, and reflect on how it can be updated, improved, and edited. You may even ask the target website’s owner about what theme content they’re aiming to publish. Once finished, send the revised idea to your target blog again.
As another option, you can pitch the same idea to another website.
Sometimes the rejection of your idea may have zero connection to whether it’s “good” enough.
Sites that do not solicit guest contributions may not be open to outside content at all.
While it depends on the industry you’re targeting, a low reply rate is common in the guest blogging world.
Top industry blogs receive constant guest post pitches, so they may not even see your email. This is especially true if you reach out to sites that have closed their doors to guest contributors.
It could be that your guest post pitch is created around an idea that’s not suitable for the blog’s audience.
For instance, your pitch on “How to Get Started with Facebook Advertising” may be useful for a beginner audience, but if you’re pitching to a website that has tons of articles on advanced topics like “How to Use Custom and Lookalike Audiences to Drive More Conversions with Facebook Ads”, your idea probably won’t appeal to them.
Fortunately, you can pitch the same idea to another website that publishes social media content for beginner audiences. It’s always a smart thing to avoid waste – especially when your rejected pitch can become someone else’s best performing blog post.
If you do happen to get something published on a site, make sure that you always answer any questions left in the comments section.
Doing so will strengthen your credibility and help you build a relationship with the target blog’s readers.
Here’s an example:
Shane Barker made a guest contribution on Problogger.com. The post received a lot of comments from different audiences. You can see that Shane did a great job at keeping up, answering questions and providing suggestions to the best of his knowledge.
Prompt responses to the comments left on your guest post raises the value of the content. It also makes the site look better and the editor of the site will encourage you to write for them again.