Increase and Diversify Your Traffic Sources by Going Beyond SEO

For the longest time, people have only wanted SEO traffic, and it’s hard to blame them. SEO traffic is great because it’s not only the highest converting traffic, but also the most cost-effective in the long run. The problem, however, with SEO is that it is time-consuming and it requires knowledge and experience to do it right. Five to 10 years ago, SEO was fairly easy to do without having to worry about Google too much. Today, not so. These days, an SEO’s job isn’t only limited to directory submissions. There is a lot to think about… from website content and structure, to link building.

Don’t get me wrong. Search engine optimization is great. It is cost effective and can eventually bring you a ton of free traffic, but good rankings won’t come overnight.

Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket:

  1. SEO results take time. If you can afford to wait months to years for top rankings, then I guess you can continue to only focus on SEO. But remember, this is a lot of initial investment with very little return in the beginning.
  1. SEO takes experience. If you don’t know what you are doing, you could potentially do more harm than good to your rankings.
  1. SEO is really not free. The time that is spent doing SEO is actually an expense. Whether you hire someone or you do it yourself, you have to pay for that time. Isn’t your time valuable?
  1. If your traffic is from 100% organic search engine rankings, you are limiting yourself to only one source of traffic. While a majority of Internet traffic originates from search engines, a good portion of Internet users also visit sites through referral sites like Facebook or Yelp. Also, what will you do if you suddenly lost your Google rankings? Do you have a plan B?

With that said, I would recommend allocating some of your marketing dollars to other channels while you are waiting for your search engine traffic to grow.

Traffic Sources Other Than SEO:

SEM

SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing, so in other words, it is advertising via the search engines. SEM offers you the same quality of traffic as SEO, but without the wait. Start an SEM campaign and you can have targeted traffic to your site within a few hours of launch. SEM is sometimes referred to as PPC because you are charged by the click, but PPC doesn’t necessarily have to be search engine marketing.

PPC (Pay-Per-Click)

PPC can refer to any type of advertising program that charges by the click. So, if you place your banner ad on a publisher site and they charge per click, then it can be referred to as a PPC campaign. Some examples of PPC advertising are Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads, Google Adwords, and Bing Ads. Some of the major ad networks and news sites are focused on PPC campaigns so if you want wide reach, it may be something to consider.

Banner/Display Advertising

Banner advertising can be used to describe any advertising campaign where you place your banner on any 3rd party site. With banner advertising, you are typically charged by the click, per 1000 views, a flat rate per time period. The key to a successful banner ad campaign is traffic quality and topic relevancy. Too often I see advertisers trying to place their banner on sites that have nothing to do with what they are promoting. Banner advertising can be purchased directly or via an ad network.

Direct Navigation or Domain Redirection Traffic

This is one of the least known and under-utilized traffic sources. You could say it never went mainstream because it is really not your typical advertising program. It’s most often used by veteran domainers or people in the Internet marketing industry. Direct Navigation is traffic that is redirected from a domain name that receives traffic but is not being used for a website. Direct Navigation is sometimes referred to as Domain Redirection traffic or Redirected Type-In traffic. There are a few ways a domain name can be set up to redirect traffic: via domain registrar, web hosting company, or a Direct Navigation traffic seller. There are several companies that sell Direct Navigation traffic and it seems to work for some advertisers, while others complain that it does not work.

Forum Traffic

Believe it or not, forums are one of the best ways to attract targeted visitors to your site. Members of forums regularly frequent forums to get or give advice and to network. This means that you can leverage forum posts grab the attention of interested members and bring them to your site. Forums allow members to build their reputation, so it often helps to be a long-time trusted member.

Blog Traffic

There are two ways you can get traffic from a blog post. You can either publish a blog post on your own blog and hope the search engines find your article, or you can write a guest post on a 3rd party blog. There are pros to both types of blog posts. Publishing a blog post on your own site is good because you control the content and you can make changes to it whenever you want. Also this is good for organic rankings. Guest posts are good because it allows you to gain a backlink from a relevant 3rd party site and there is also the possibility of direct and search engine traffic. I recommend doing both because this is the most natural approach.

Email Marketing

You may have heard of the saying: “It’s all in the list.” This is true with email marketing. A lot of people make a good living from selling products via their email lists. Not only can a clean email list generate sales for you, but it is also one of the most effective forms of Internet marketing.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is very appealing to advertisers because it is very cost effective. How would you like to pay your salespeople only when they have made a sale? Well, that’s the idea with affiliate marketing. You only pay your affiliates once they have made a sale or generated a qualified lead for you. There are hundreds of affiliate networks to choose from, or you can start your own affiliate program on your site. Starting your own affiliate program can save you money, but you will have to do the legwork of finding your own affiliates. A big benefit of affiliate networks is that they offer you an instant pool of publishers and affiliates to work with.

Popup, Popunder, or Interstitial

These types of ads have gotten a bad reputation due to their “intrusive” nature. Let’s face it – most people hate those annoying popups while surfing the web. So… you might ask “why would any advertiser want to pay for this type of traffic?” Well, there are all types of websites out there. Some sell products. Some offer services. And, some just publish information, such as blogs. For sites that only want traffic, but not looking to sell anything, this type of traffic may serve its purpose. For most advertisers, however, it will not be worth your time because the conversion rates are so bad.

Video Ads

Video ads are similar to banner advertising. The only difference is that one displays videos while the other shows a still or animated image.

Any of these traffic sources can be effective. You just have to know what you are doing and fine-tune as you go. So many business owners get discouraged and quit advertising at the first sign of failure. There can be a number of reasons why your campaign may not be working. You may be targeting the wrong demographics. You may be targeting the wrong locations. You may be targeting the wrong keywords or the wrong websites. Maybe you are bidding too little or too much. There are many variables so you have to test and optimize.

Social Media

Last but not least, social media is a good way to drive traffic to your site. Not only is social media effective, but it is also free to use. Though for some small business owners, managing social media accounts may be a challenge because they either don’t know how or they don’t have the time to manage them. If this is the case, you can cut down on management time by utilizing a service like SproutSocial or HootSuite, or by hiring a part-time social media account manager. Another way to bring in more traffic via social media is to run ad campaigns, and there are two methods. One, you can purchase sponsored messages directly through a 3rd party account owner (someone popular), or two, buy advertising directly through the social media company like Facebook or Twitter.

If you need advice on any of these traffic channels, let me know.

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