When was the last time you thought about the the ways your website gets traffic? You've probably heard that when it comes to generating web traffic, you shouldn’t put all of your eggs in one basket; well, there’s more to it than that.
There are many SEO benefits to having a diversified portfolio of traffic sources. And because search traffic has vulnerabilities and fluctuations that are out of our control, it's best to err on the side of caution.
There are two primary reasons to ensure your website traffic is coming in from multiple sources: not only does having multiple traffic sources boosts SEO rankings, but equally important is the fact that it also keeps you from relying on SEO as a single source of traffic to your website.
Should search traffic ever alter your ability to drive website visits (intentionally or unintentionally), you won’t be in a tough spot. It’s best to not overly rely on Google and other search engines, and instead pull traffic from multiple sources. Because Google is continually updating its search engine algorithms in unpredictable ways and timeframes, you want to decrease the amount of stake you have in their algorithm. "By investing too heavily in Google, all it takes is one mistake, penalty or algorithm update for [all of] your organic traffic to crash,” says Brett Bastello, SEO manager, Inseev Interactive
Diversify your profile, and you’ll diversify your risk.
Now let’s explore how you can get traffic from these other sources.
Use social media to reach your audience, and to get the attention of potential customers. Social media is a great way to share relevant content with your target market. Facebook and Twitter are necessities, and their advertising platforms can be tightly targeted to the right audience and can help you make great leaps for user acquisition. But don’t forget about LinkedIn, Google Plus, Instagram, and Pinterest -- they all can contribute traffic (as well as awareness which can lead to eventual organic and direct traffic) and can round out your social media efforts. You can post relevant content, feature releases, or fun and interesting information that your audience would enjoy. Social media is all about engagement- interact and respond to your audience to foster a stronger connection and more clicks to your website and content.
Paid Twitter and Facebook ads can also contribute to significant traffic. The benefit of paid social media advertising is that it often contributes to more followers, which leads to more sustainable organic and unpaid social media traffic. Optimize your targeting, and constantly run tests to see what works best. Always be honing and tweaking your ads. Facebook’s advertising dashboard is particularly helpful with targeting, retargeting, and going after similar products and competitors. Also, be sure to set up Facebook and Twitter cards so that when the link to your website is shared across the network, a custom appealing image and/or text can automatically be shared with it.
A Report by Econsultancy
found that 75% of people in the 18-26 age group used recommendations on social sites in product research before making a purchase. A strong social media presence will result in social proof, which breeds trust, which drives higher-quality traffic. Not only does the quantity of “likes” or “followers” increase your company’s perceived value, but peer recommendations and mentions also help spread the word about your company.
Partner referral links have the potential to drive quality traffic. This is especially helpful if your product integrates with the product that they already use. The added familiarity creates a sense of trust in your brand. Your partners can feature your company in a landing page that can introduce their users to your product, in a clear and digestible format. They can include a demo video and other materials that can let people know what your company is about, so that traffic will be high-converting.
Depending on the type of relationship that business partners have and how much their audiences align, forging these partnerships can lead to collaborations that stretch beyond a simple partner’s page. Mutual guest blogging, utilizing each other’s email subscriber reaches, collaborative social media campaigns, and fun pushes like giveaways can all drive traffic by working together. Additionally, smaller brands can get a significant boost in traffic when their name is associated with a more well-known company, because they benefit from added the added trust and social approval that the connection creates. On the flip side, large companies can use smaller companies to help them penetrate into smaller niche markets that often have more devoted and loyal followers.
Medium and LinkedIn
Blogging platforms like Medium and LinkedIn typically have a reach that goes beyond supporters and users of your brand. Frequently writing quality articles on these platforms can significantly increase your website traffic, given that you clearly link to your website. Having a link in your header/bio as well (when relevant) in the body is essential. Share your articles, and give them a boost with content distribution strategies (post them where they can be found by people who are likely to be interested). Engage with commenters and respond to comments and questions. Also, consider posting them at strategic times where they can gain the most views.
Utilize Medium publications either by growing your company’s own Medium page (the most advantageous strategy since it will drive more brand awareness) or contributing to other publications (which can reach many more people in a shorter timeframe than growing your own followers over time). You will have to reach out to the “owners” or “editors” of publications and asking them if they’d like to add your post. It can be tricky to track down these people since Medium’s spam preventative measures no longer allow users to submit drafts to publication owners directly.
Broaden your LinkedIn article’s reach beyond just your own followers and the followers of your company’s page by sharing content in relevant groups. You should contribute to the group and add to discussions in an appropriate and helpful way, by sharing your expertise and experiences, and engaging with other people’s insights. Only after giving back to a community should you post your content, and only in a way that furthers the goals of the group. LinkedIn especially frowns upon self-promotion and content marketing for the sake of clicks.
Guest Posting & Media Placements
Public relations can do wonders for diversifying your website traffic and helping your brand reach more relevant people. Guest posting can utilize your employees’ expertise to elevate them into a thought leader, and send traffic your way via their author bio or from the body of the piece. The best kind of guest posting is when the content is relevant to what your company does, what problem it solves, and how it can help. Especially useful is evergreen content that is helpful and can be shared for months and years to come, gaining tons of potential views over the article’s lifespan.
Media placements are also highly valuable, especially if your brand is mentioned or featured on a site with a lot of viewers who are part of your target market. Be sure to share these articles wherever you can: social media, email newsletters, etc. The higher the exposure, the better the chances of it becoming “sticky” in search. But, the major takeaway for diversifying your traffic is to make sure that you’re not only catering to Google.
Create content for the benefit of your audience, not Google bots. Be authentic. Littering your posts with keywords will not help you long term, don’t be fooled by any short-term benefits. If real people are not finding value in your content, they will not share and it will become just another drop in the ocean.
If all of your strategies for driving traffic are targeted correctly, with content that matches or exceeds expectations, at a consistent pace (keep active across all platforms), then you should be successful at diversifying traffic and finding out what works for you.
Leeyen Rogers is the VP of Marketing at JotForm, a popular online form-building tool based in San Francisco.