If your referrers have moved to HTTPS and you’re stuck on HTTP, you really ought to consider migrating to HTTPS. Doing so (and updating your backlinks to point to HTTPS URLs) will bring back any referrer data which is being stripped from cross-protocol traffic. SSL certificates can now be obtained for free thanks to automated authorities like LetsEncrypt, but that’s not to say you should neglect to explore the potentially-significant SEO implications of site migrations. Remember, HTTPS and HTTP/2 are the future of the web.
Lee Wilson is head of enterprise SEO at Vertical Leap and has been leading digital marketing teams since the early 2000’s. He has headed up the SEO department for a top 10 leading search and digital agency (Vertical Leap) from 2010 to present. In 2016, he had his first solely authored industry book published (Tactical SEO – the theory and practice of search marketing).
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Thanks for the comment, I would not say it is impossible to create high quality backlinks from scratch without content, you just need to do a review on competitor backlinks and see if their are any easy targets. We have had some good luck in the education space acquiring links on the same pages as competitor from PR5+ edu sites. It all revolves around the outreach strategy in which you put in place.
Wonderful little article, lovely detailing and the possible sources of direct traffic which could lead to various positives and negatives to your overall SEO strategies. Direct traffic could be the prime conversion getter for your eCommerce website or could be a flaw in your website as a whole which looks like direct traffic has a correlation with organic traffic as well. As organic traffic increases, your overall direct traffic increases along with it. Does some type of bot activities lead to direct traffic as well?s
Nice post. I was wondering if all this content of your strategy was been writien in blog of the site, or if you added to content in some other specific parts of the sites. I don't believe 100% in the strategy of reomoving links. If Google just penalize you taking into account your inbound likes, It would be so easy to attack your competitors just by buying dirty link packages targeting to their sites.
If you’ve done all of this, and you’re still not getting the traction you’re looking for… you may need to take a closer look at the other aspects of your digital marketing strategy. Are you using creative content marketing ideas to send positive signals to search engines about your content? Are you leveraging your social media accounts to send a steady stream of traffic to targeted pages? What’s your backlinking strategy? Are you using tools like HARO to earn valuable backlinks to your optimized content? Each of these is one piece of the puzzle, and a fully developed strategy always produces the strongest results.
Wow! I have learned so much from you this evening. Thank you. It prompted me to create a list of my own I have sporadically (and unfocused) have been doing myself. I have been using Flickr, but not linking back to my post... shame on me. Going back tomorrow and starting to add links. I do Cinch my articles which can be found on Itunes and I use Odiogo where people can also listen to all of my articles (including the ones I don't personally Cinch). Also, I like Blog Glue to refer and be referred. My main goal is to have a focused plan. I like your recommendation to focus on 5 at a time. Thanks again.
This is an easy one. Don’t use meta refreshes or JavaScript-based redirects — these can wipe or replace referrer data, leading to direct traffic in Analytics. You should also be meticulous with your server-side redirects, and — as is often recommended by SEOs — audit your redirect file frequently. Complex chains are more likely to result in a loss of referrer data, and you run the risk of UTM parameters getting stripped out.
A link in the comment itself may or may not be called for. I recommend only including a link of you have a post on your site that ties in nicely. If you do, you can use it to expand your comment. “By the way, I wrote a post on this topic as well over here. My conclusions were X and they seem to contradict yours; what are your thoughts?” If you aren’t able to work in a relevant post, limit your link to in your profile for the comment, where the website field sits.
The online space has definitely become extremely competitive. New businesses, platforms, and complimentary services are entering the market almost every day. In fact, nowadays you can even set up an online store in just five minutes, but to sustain it as a profitable e-commerce business requires significant amounts of time and resources, plus a great amount of business experience and marketing knowledge.
We are here to give you the best web traffic you can get. We are experts in SEO methods and have been in this business for many years. We understand that our customers need to be our number one priority so one of our main objectives is to ensure the rapid growth of your website and to do everything to make your business more visible online.          
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hey james - congrats on your success here. just a question about removing crummy links. for my own website, there are hundreds of thousands of backlinks in webmaster tools pointing to my site. The site has no penalties or anything  - the traffic seems to be growing every week. would you recommend hiring someone to go through the link profile anyway to remove crummy links that just occur naturally?
Great post, though http://www.blogcatalog.com that sends millions of visits a month to blogs and has an engaged community of bloggers from startup bloggers to pros should be on any list. BlogCatalog is the parent company of http://www.bloggersunite.org a site dedicated to harnessing the power of the blogosphere and another great site for bloggers to connect and get traffic and become more effective bloggers.
Fantastic post Tom! There's a lot of confusion on direct traffic to begin with. These are even more finer nuances that you have explained. I have a client whose top source of traffic is direct, and part of it is maybe due to the fact that they don't do any promotion, and it's mostly shared around internally within their team. But I just noticed that their URL is http and not https so this might be something for me to take back to the team. Thanks!

Conduct a quick Google search using “site:yourwebsite.com” to make sure your pages are actually indexed. If you’re noticing that critical pages aren’t appearing in the SERPs, you’ve likely found the culprit. Check your robots.txt file to make sure you haven’t blocked important pages or directories. If that looks good, check individual pages for a noindex tag.


Thank you Jayne, for doing all that voting and sharing, means the world to me! I am glad you saw some new ideas and looking at all the comments, I think I killed a really bug tree with this post, that is how many people want to print it out, lol. If at any point of time you get stuck with one of these, send me an e-mail, tweet, what ever and I will try to help you with extra ideas :)
Google measures average time on site by first collecting each visitor’s exact time on a particular page. Imagine that a visitor lands on page 1 of your site. Google places a cookie, including a unique code for the visitor and a time stamp. When that visitor clicks through to page 2 of your site, Google again notes the time, and then subtracts the time that the visitor arrived at page 2 from the time that the visitor arrived at page 1. Google then averages each and every page’s time spent to get the average time each visitor spends on the site.
Hey Jeevan, Forums can ban people for promotion but most of them only do it for certain types of behavior. For example, some of them don't allow signatures until a certain number of posts. All of them will allow related links if it helps answering the question. I have never been banned from a forum and try to play by their rules. Thanks for the compliment and I think you have a great contestant as well, I RTed it the other day cause it is really useful!

Using the same 2 steps, we can also filter the All Pages section and the Content Drilldown to explore further how our organic traffic is using the site. A focus on this Organic Traffic is important because this traffic is, in many cases, free traffic that your website is receiving. Focus on doubling down on your pages that perform well and working to identify any pages that aren’t getting the organic traffic they deserve.


Hey Bryan, thanks for the awesome comment. When it comes to videos and photos I kinda have the same feeling like you do, but when ever I do and see some great traffic coming from it, I kinda kick my self in the ...you know... I think article marketing will go on and on, I never had problems with it cause I always approached those articles as I do my own blog posts. So I think, as you say after the adjustment, there will be more of article traffic generation. Thank you so much for the nice words!
At our agency, we work with sites of varying sizes, from very large to quite small, and recently, we have noticed a trend at the enterprise level. These sites aren’t relying as much on Google for traffic any more. Not only are they not relying on Google traffic, but also, the sites are getting less than 10 percent (or slightly more) of their organic traffic from the search giant.
Hey Mavis, thanks for that :) I wrote down all the ideas from the comments as well so there are at least 65 ideas now, lol. I just wish we all had more time in a day to really work on all of them. I guess all that testing and tracking comes now so we can focus on the best for our blogs. But do I even need to say how much I hate testing and tracking.
Note: Google made a change a few years ago to how they track keywords and it has had a big impact on the discovery process. Before the change, Google would show which keywords consumers were using to find your website, making it easy to understand where and how your website was ranking. Google changed their tracking system so that any users who are logged into a Google account while searching will no longer have their keywords tracked as their Google activity remains encrypted. Due to this, when looking at Organic Traffic reports you will see (not provided) as a keyword throughout the reports – this often makes up over 90% of organic traffic and requires us to dig a bit more creatively to find what we need.
When a user follows a link on a secure (HTTPS) page to a non-secure (HTTP) page, no referrer data is passed, meaning the session appears as direct traffic instead of as a referral. Note that this is intended behavior. It’s part of how the secure protocol was designed, and it does not affect other scenarios: HTTP to HTTP, HTTPS to HTTPS, and even HTTP to HTTPS all pass referrer data.
In order to get the whole bundle of internal links for your website, in the same Search Console, you need to go to the Search Traffic > Internal Links category. This way you’ll have a list with all the pages from your website (indexed or not) and also the number of links pointing to each. This can be a great incentive for discovering which pages should be subject to content pruning.
I feel that an article is only good if it adds value to the reader, and this one qualifies as a great article because it has shown me quite a few new ways in which to generate traffic to my blogs. I would like to tell you that I had read your suggestions about using flickr images on blog for traffic generation some other place as well and I have religiously followed that on my blog and today at least 15% of the traffic to my site comes from there! I am therefore going to follow the other suggestions as well (the ones that I am not following now) and hope to take my blog from Alexa 500K to sub 100K in the next couple of month!
Hey Mavis, thanks for that :) I wrote down all the ideas from the comments as well so there are at least 65 ideas now, lol. I just wish we all had more time in a day to really work on all of them. I guess all that testing and tracking comes now so we can focus on the best for our blogs. But do I even need to say how much I hate testing and tracking.
I would also advise to continue doing what works. If something you have rolled out generates great traffic and links bring out a new version of the content, for example the 2012 version worked effectively bring out the 2013 version of the content. Another effective strategy is to make the piece of content into an evergreen article which you add to over time so it is always up to date.
Hi Brankika, With respect to EZA, I no longer submit to them. They rejected some of my article for saying that the page I was linking to did not contain enough information. I linked to my blog and to the original article. I believe they didn't like the link to the original article. That being the case, they no longer allow one of the cardinal rules of syndication as per Google itself..."Link To The Original". Once they stopped allowing that, they were no longer useful to me. Thanks for the great resource. Mark
Hey Delena, I am not worried about you stalking me, I like it :) I think you can advertise any service on Craigslist. The idea you have is awesome. Not only you can point your ad to your blog but also make some extra cash. And instead just going locally, I am sure there is something you can do worldwide, like give people advice over Skype or something. Thanks for the awesome comment and the twithelp suggestion.
Sanjeev, I really appreciate the feedback. I am glad you actually put to use these tips and made them work for you. I love hearing people getting results from my tips :) Is there such a thing as Ph.D in traffic generation? LOL, I know some that would love the title, but somehow never really walk the walk... Now about those leads and closures, I will have to consult you, seems like you know some things way better than I do, I would like to see how that happens! Thank you so much for the comment and I hope you will have even better results in few weeks!
So, how can we minimize the amount of dark social traffic which is bucketed under direct? The unfortunate truth is that there is no magic bullet: proper attribution of dark social requires rigorous campaign tracking. The optimal approach will vary greatly based on your industry, audience, proposition, and so on. For many websites, however, a good first step is to provide convenient and properly configured sharing buttons for private platforms like email, WhatsApp, and Slack, thereby ensuring that users share URLs appended with UTM parameters (or vanity/shortened URLs which redirect to the same). This will go some way towards shining a light on part of your dark social traffic.

A great way to break your web traffic without even noticing is through robots.txt. Indeed, the robots.txt file has long been debated among webmasters and it can be a strong tool when it is well written. Yet, the same robots.txt can really be a tool you can shoot yourself in the foot with. We’ve written an in-depth article on the critical mistakes that can ruin your traffic in another post. 
Improving organic traffic can sometimes be challenging, but if you apply the correct SEO strategies, the hard work will eventually pay off. Search engine traffic is great because it’s relevant and targeted. For most websites, organic traffic converts much better than traffic from social media or other sources. Another great advantage is that visits from search engines are much more consistent.
If you’ve done all of this, and you’re still not getting the traction you’re looking for… you may need to take a closer look at the other aspects of your digital marketing strategy. Are you using creative content marketing ideas to send positive signals to search engines about your content? Are you leveraging your social media accounts to send a steady stream of traffic to targeted pages? What’s your backlinking strategy? Are you using tools like HARO to earn valuable backlinks to your optimized content? Each of these is one piece of the puzzle, and a fully developed strategy always produces the strongest results.
It works in a similar way as a canonical tag does to show when a duplicate version of a page exists. But in this case, it helps Google index local content easier within local search engines. It also helps to pass trust across sites and improve the way Google crawls these pages. To know more about how errors you should not make when it comes to hreflang tags, you can check our previous article.
You could spend a week researching and writing a 3,000 word in-depth guide only to find that in a month its traffic is being eclipsed by a 300 word blog that took you one tenth of the time to write. That little gem could start ranking for some pretty valuable keywords – even if you never planned for it to. Give it a makeover and you’ll see your rankings on SERPs (search engine results pages) and organic traffic values soar. We’ve seen this strategy work with both our clients and our own website. Big bonus: it’s actually an easy strategy to pull off. Here’s how:
The term “organic” refers to something having the characteristics of an organism. Although black hat SEO methods may boost a website’s search engine page rank in the short term, these methods could also get the site banned from the search engines altogether. However, it is more likely that readers will recognize the low quality of sites employing black hat SEO at the expense of the reader experience, which will reduce the site’s traffic and page rank over time.
So much traffic sources here, that I have not even come across. While there are the "most popular" ones, half of the sites you mentioned here are relatively new to me, so they all will be worth checking out. You are right about "forums" though, and although I am basically stuck with two (warrior and another that is unrelated), it does provide you some traffic provided as always, that you provide good feedback, help people, engage effectively with the community and of course, having a good and well structured signature :) Finally published :) Hopefully on your way to 300+ RTs, LOL
Understanding how people landed on your website is a key component of optimization. If you’ve ever looked at Google Analytics (and if you haven’t you should), you’ve probably seen the words “Direct,” “Referral,” and “Organic” in relation to your traffic. These are the sources where your users come from — or what Google calls channels. But what do these words really mean, and why do they matter?
Brilliant stuff Brankica! This is a very comprehensive overview of major traffic generation strategies. My guess is that nobody will actually need to use all of them! Identifying a few which are relevant to your particular niche and fit the vision you have for your blog is the way to go. Awesome post, loads of value in there... Well done! All the best, Jym
Visitors can also fall into the direct category by clicking a link to your site from an email or PDF document, accessing your site from a shortened URL (which is an abbreviated version of your website address), clicking on a link from a secured site to your non-secure site, or clicking on a link to your site from a social media application like Facebook or Twitter. And, there is a chance that accessing your site from an organic search can end up being reported as direct traffic.
While it’s best to create a custom dimension for filtering out bots, applying the generic bot filter is a good place to start. It’s important to note that filters cannot be applied retroactively, so if you’ve recently turned on this feature, you should be receiving less traffic. Additionally, double-check that you are filtering out your own traffic and IP address.
That helped explain some of the organic traffic loss, but knowing that this client had gone through a few website redesigns, I wanted to make sure that all redirects were done properly. Regardless of whether or not your traffic has changed, if you’ve recently done a website redesign where you’re changing URLs, it’s smart to look at your top organic landing pages from before the redesign and double check to make sure they’re redirecting to the correct pages.
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