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.
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?

This, of course, if you do care about your organic traffic and your overall inbound marketing strategy and you don’t want to make a mess out of them. The truth is that Google has so many rules and algorithms for scoring a website and that the SERP is so volatile that it’s nearly impossible to predict which site will have the best organic traffic and from what exact reasons.


What about Twithelp? I just discovered them, and went a little hog wild posting answers for people with various natural parenting questions. I'm afraid I might've spammed my feed, I was having so much fun. Oops. =) I like the Craigslist idea, as well. Even though right now I don't have any informational products to sell or for free download on my blog yet, I started wondering if I shouldn't advertise there as a natural parenting consultant, and offer to visit people's homes or meet them for an hour or two of consult with their little ones. I could do this locally very, very easily! Thanks again, Brankica! (I promise, I'm not stalking you! lol) Delena
Organic traffic is the primary channel that inbound marketing strives to increase. This traffic is defined as visitors coming from a search engine, such as Google or Bing. This does not include paid search ads, but that doesn’t mean that organic traffic isn’t impacted by paid search or display advertising, either positively or negatively. In general, people trust search engines, and sayings such as “just Google it” reinforce that humans are tied to the search engine. Thus, paid search, display, or even offline campaigns can drive searches, which may increase organic traffic while those campaigns are running.
This was an extremely comprehensive, well-thought out list Brankica! I would never have thought of eBay or Craigslist- so I thought your spin on that is interesting. I would definitely recommend this list to any newbie blogger. :) So it took me awhile to come up with a #51 just because you seemed to cover everything-lo. It's an angle on the answering questions- volunteer to be interviewed on your niche for other bloggers or on a site like HARO. If you provide some great value, it is the next logical step for something to visit your site to learn more about you. Great work!!
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.
For example, sometimes this could include social media websites, sometimes it might not -- in HubSpot's software , social media websites are not included in referral traffic because they're included in a separate "social media" bucket. Another instance of variance is whether subdomains are included -- HubSpot software, for example, includes subdomains (like academy.hubspot.com) as a traffic source under Referrals. And sometimes it's not that tricky -- you'll always see third-party domains, like mashable.com, for instance -- right under here. This is particularly helpful if you're trying to ascertain which web properties are great for co-marketing, SEO partnerships, and guest blogging opportunities.
Hey Roezer, thanks so much for the comment. I have to explain my links, lol. I think you can see I didn't use many and most of them were actually attached cause I forgot to uncheck the ComLuv box. However, for example, in the reply at the very bottom of the page, I replied to Ben from EpicLaunch telling him about the list I included him in, and attached the link so he can see it if he was interested. The SEO 101 link I have included is, what I think a great post I posted last week and I thought people might like to read it. So several links I did attach on purpose, were there for a reason. Again, as I said, there were few attached that I forgot to uncheck, mostly that I had log in problems time or two. I always do something like that with my guest posts and try to avoid using ComLuv a lot, because I don't feel I am entitled in so many links, just like to play fair. But, when it comes to titles you mention, if you want a Com Luv link click, your title has to be great. I am practicing and I can see that practice makes perfect. Although I am far from being the master of titles, I get way more clicks now than I have when I first started blogging.
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.
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.
This is just one of the benefits when you buy social traffic . Building your Facebook and Twitter profiles can not only get you unlimited targeted social traffic, but it can also help to improve your reputation on the internet and with your existing customers. It can also have a viral effect if done correctly that will vastly improve your visibility.

Get really good at campaign tagging: Even amongst data-driven marketers I encounter the belief that UTM begins and ends with switching on automatic tagging in your email marketing software. Others go to the other extreme, doing silly things like tagging internal links. Control what you can, and your ability to carry out meaningful attribution will markedly improve.


Now, there's one more little group that might fall into direct traffic -- it's something you might have heard about as "Dark Social" if you've been staying up to date on, well, dark social as a referral source. Basically, dark social is what some people are calling the social site traffic that most analytics programs can't capture since it lacks referral data, but is coming from things like emails and instant messengers (which, technically, are social mechanisms). Often, this unidentifiable traffic -- anything without a referring URL -- is also bucketed into direct traffic. Now, as BuzzFeed so eloquently puts it, "all 'dark social' traffic is direct traffic, but not all direct traffic is dark social."
Brankica, I read through this and subscribed to the comments. Boy, it gets a little frustrating when you get so many emails that aren't to you:) When I first read I understood very lttle (very very lttle). Reading again has really been helpful. I understand these ideas so much better now. It follows that Hindu teaching, "When the student is ready the teacher will appear". You bring such value with your presentation style and willingness to go the extra miles (in this case). I will post exactly what my numbers are about two weeks from now after implementing at least 5 of these. I am hovering around 80 visitors daily in the last 10 days. I know it'll be a good report! Thanks, you rock girl. Live it LOUD!
You might see referral traffic coming from search engines like Google or Bing, a blog, newsletter, or email or social media sites like Facebook. Referrer traffic could be organic or through a paid search like cost-per-click (CPC) advertising or a paid advertising campaign that you have created (but in many cases, the paid advertising will show up in its very own Paid traffic type).
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.

Now, there's one more little group that might fall into direct traffic -- it's something you might have heard about as "Dark Social" if you've been staying up to date on, well, dark social as a referral source. Basically, dark social is what some people are calling the social site traffic that most analytics programs can't capture since it lacks referral data, but is coming from things like emails and instant messengers (which, technically, are social mechanisms). Often, this unidentifiable traffic -- anything without a referring URL -- is also bucketed into direct traffic. Now, as BuzzFeed so eloquently puts it, "all 'dark social' traffic is direct traffic, but not all direct traffic is dark social."
Another good thing to look at is domain authority and core page authority. If your site has had a few redesigns, moved URLs, or anything like that, it’s important to make sure that the domain authority has carried over. It’s also important to look at the page authorities of your core pages. If these are much lower than when they were before the organic traffic slide, there’s a good chance your redirects weren’t done properly, and the page authority isn’t being carried over through those new domains.
Now, there's one more little group that might fall into direct traffic -- it's something you might have heard about as "Dark Social" if you've been staying up to date on, well, dark social as a referral source. Basically, dark social is what some people are calling the social site traffic that most analytics programs can't capture since it lacks referral data, but is coming from things like emails and instant messengers (which, technically, are social mechanisms). Often, this unidentifiable traffic -- anything without a referring URL -- is also bucketed into direct traffic. Now, as BuzzFeed so eloquently puts it, "all 'dark social' traffic is direct traffic, but not all direct traffic is dark social."
The amount of dark social that comprises one's direct traffic is going to vary. For example, you might be diligent about incorporating tracking tokens into your email marketing campaigns, and asking your co-marketing partners to do the same when they promote your site content. Great. You won't have a huge chunk of traffic dumped into direct traffic that should really go into email campaigns. On the other hand, perhaps you're embroiled in a viral video firestorm, and a video on your site gets forwarded around to thousands of inboxes ... you don't exactly have control over that kind of exposure, and as a result you'll be seeing a lot of traffic without referral data in the URL that, consequently, gets bucketed under direct traffic. See what I mean? It depends.
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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!

Once you’ve identified a relevant keyword target, add in it — but don’t stuff the page. Only use additional keywords where it makes sense. Don’t forget to hyperlink these keywords to other relevant blog posts you’ve written, and incorporate them into headings and sub headers for increased SEO oomph. If you need some additional help here, check out our guide on how to write a blog post that ranks well (and converts!).
Hi Brankica, Really hard pressed to come up with #51 here as it's such an extensive list. Quite a few of my customers have had success driving traffic and awareness with Groupon recently. By setting up special offers they are able to get real people through the doors too. Just by asking people to quote the coupon code when they fill in the contact us form, or when they pick up the phone, it's a great way of tracking success. Still getting my head around how this could be used my an online only business, but for a brick and mortar with a web presence it's a nice little option.
Hi Brankica, Thanks for a great article, you are so generous with sharing your knowledge and I always look out for your posts etc. I recently bought a product for my personal use that really blew me away, so I wrote about it on my blog, and sent the supplier a link. They were absolutely delighted when they saw my blog post they added it to their testimonial page with a link back to me. Indirectly the product links to a topic covered on my website so this was a great way for me to get a little extra exposure. I'm def going to work through your list and do at least something new from it every day. Cheers, Caroline

What an awesome stuff you're sharing here, Brankica. I'm a big fan of social networking site and blogging communities. Social Sites are great way to connect other bloggers and marketers. I've great success with blog commenting. I think it's another great way to connect with blog owner and build relationship. In the earlier days of my blogging, i did commenting just to get traffic but now i do commenting to build relationship with blog owner/connect with blog owner. Anyways, Thanks for sharing this great Post. Keep Rocking. Good Luck. ~Dev

Looking back at our lab site, we can see that Organic Search is doing well for us. However, if we put a little effort into social media, we’d probably see growth in that sector — and a bigger pie. We’ve got some strong referrals (and high quality links that improve our search presence), but if we put some work into building more of those links, we’d probably see more referral traffic and, again, a bigger pie. Should we add paid search? For this site, no. It’s part of our community service and has little revenue potential, so we wouldn’t see much ROI from ads.
I am actually using a free service called Cloud:flood created by Glen of the ViperChill. I had great success with it, making a file available for download (I shared a list of 140 blogs worth following). It has two options, a person can RT the download that will take new people to a post where the download is (or what ever landing page you want them to come to) or they can share it on Facebook instead of tweeting it.
Organic traffic is the primary channel that inbound marketing strives to increase. This traffic is defined as visitors coming from a search engine, such as Google or Bing. This does not include paid search ads, but that doesn’t mean that organic traffic isn’t impacted by paid search or display advertising, either positively or negatively. In general, people trust search engines, and sayings such as “just Google it” reinforce that humans are tied to the search engine. Thus, paid search, display, or even offline campaigns can drive searches, which may increase organic traffic while those campaigns are running.
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