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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 :)
I would like to talk about a case study for a large start up I worked on for over eight months in the Australian and US market. This client originally came to the company with the typical link building and SEO problems. They had been using a SEO company that had an extensive link network and was using less than impressive SEO tactics and methodologies over the last 12 months. The company was also losing considerable revenue as a direct result of this low quality SEO work. So, I had to scramble and develop a revival strategy for this client.
In most cases, the largest amount of traffic to your site will be comprised of direct and organic traffic. If you have a partnership with an industry association or manufacturer, you may see referral traffic from their website. If you decide to do paid advertising such as pay-per-click marketing, you might see traffic coming in from ad campaigns as well.
The good news is, however, indications are that dark social should decrease more and more over time, as social media as a sharing mechanism -- as opposed to email -- only continues to grow. In fact, in the same article we mentioned earlier, BuzzFeed cited a preference with millennials to share over Facebook and Twitter, alongside a longer term downward trend of sharing over email.
One of the things that makes social media a bit more attractive than search engine optimization is that you get to maintain a bit more control over your success. You can always find new ways of improving your strategy and you can learn from your mistakes and your wins so that you can improve your traffic in the future. The same can't really be said about SEO - although it's very clear what not to do, it's not always as clear exactly what strategies can help you improve your ranking.
You had to know social media would be on the list. I generally recommend that a site only have a presence on 2-3 social networks, at least while they’re small. It’s a lot of work to maintain, engage, and update a social network profile, and keep its messaging consistent with your branding. You can always spay someone to do it for you, but then it’s not a free traffic source, is it?
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:
Recent studies have found that upwards of 80% of consumers’ outbound sharing from publishers’ and marketers’ websites now occurs via these private channels. In terms of numbers of active users, messaging apps are outpacing social networking apps. All the activity driven by these thriving platforms is typically bucketed as direct traffic by web analytics software.
Yahoo Answers is one of my favorite traffic generation sources when it comes to answer sites. It has been one of my main traffic sources on a niche site for a long time, even after I haven’t used it for months. The main thing is to give your best when answering. If your answers are chosen as the best ones, you will have more respect in the eyes of the visitors so… yes, more of them will come to check out your blog.
Blog comments have a number of sources of value, and traffic is just one of them. By monitoring your competitors and your betters, you get a keen sense of what the industry is doing and where trends are going. You leave valuable comments and people take notice, including industry influencers and possibly the owners of these top-tier sites. You create a gateway back to your site, and even though the links are nofollowed, they’re still links for people to click. You also build a personal reputation as a commenter around your industry, raising sentiment and value.
The Google, Yahoo!, and Bing search engines insert advertising on their search results pages. The ads are designed to look similar to the search results, though different enough for readers to distinguish between ads and actual results. This is done with various differences in background, text, link colors, and/or placement on the page. However, the appearance of ads on all major search engines is so similar to genuine search results that a majority of search engine users cannot effectively distinguish between the two.
Hi Brankica Wow, this is a super-comprehensive list for me to go through one by one and try those I have not even heard of till now :-) As always, some very useful information for those of us serious about our traffic generation and making an impact in our niche. Thanks for sharing your own experiences and I'll let you know how I go when I have implemented some of your suggestions. Patricia Perth Australia
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.
To sum up all of this information, even organic traffic, like direct traffic, has some gray areas. For the most part, though, organic traffic is driven by SEO. The better you are ranking for competitive keywords, the more organic traffic will result. Websites that consistently create content optimized for search will see a steady increase in organic search traffic and improved positioning in the search results. As a marketer, it is important to look at your keywords and high-ranking pages to identify new SEO opportunities each month.