Optimise for your personas, not search engines. First and foremost, write your buyer personas so you know to whom you’re addressing your content. By creating quality educational content that resonates with you>r ideal buyers, you’ll naturally improve your SEO. This means tapping into the main issues of your personas and the keywords they use in search queries. Optimising for search engines alone is useless; all you’ll have is keyword-riddled nonsense.
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:
One of the reasons for a traffic drop can also be due to your site losing links. You may be seeing a direct loss of that referral traffic, but there could also be indirect effects. When your site loses inbound links, it tells Google that your site isn't as authoritative anymore, which leads to lower search rankings that in turn lead to traffic drops (because fewer people are finding your site if it's not ranked as highly and more).
Great article! SEM Rush's new ranking study of 600,000 search queries showed a positive correlation between direct traffic and top rankings. They indicated that Google prioritizes domains with authority and consequently more direct traffic when ranking websites in its search results. See their study here: https://www.semrush.com/ranking-factors/. So, direct traffic can be viewed as a positive ranking correlation.
Well as noted in the post it is not just above the links that was only one key part of a wider strategy. This website in question has deep levels of content. So it is not just about a blog section, they have numerous high quality content sections we have developed over time. It would not be advisable ever to attack competitors sites with low quality links.
Wow Brankica, what a list! Completely and utterly usable list that I am sure to apply in my niche. Very detailed post especially as you stated how to make the most of even the well known ones. We usually overlook the offline traffic generation forgetting that once upon a time, there was no internet. Slideshare sounds like something I could use. This post is unbeatable! Good job!
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:
Hey Kim, thanks for thinking about the trees, lol. OK, let me think. First, yes it depends on the niche a lot. But I do need to say that it can also depend a lot on the creativity of a blogger. If you know Kiesha from We Blog Better, she is a really creative blogger. She once wrote a post called "What can bag ladies teach us about blogging". And of course, attached a photo of a bag lady. If it was a Flickr photo, you would go back and tell the author you used a photo on your post and tell him the post name. Everyone would be curious to see what the heck is all that about. I wrote about this Flickr tactics on Traffic Generation Cafe. Anyway, why am I mentioning Flickr? Because it would seem that it is the best place to get traffic if you have a photography blog, right? But in Kiesha's example, all you need is some creativity and it can work for every niche. I for example, am hardly using Quora. Everyone else is (well most of everyone, lol). But I am old school and use Yahoo Answers, that almost no one is using. So my results are great with YA. Answer sites require some time, but not more than commenting does and certainly less than guest posting does. And it is fresh traffic, not just bloggers that you connected with. But out of these all, I would focus on the first group, video/audio traffic sources, just because they are kinda up and coming compared to some others. If I can answer additional questions, feel free to add some, not sure if I answered what you needed me to :) Thanks so much for sharing this with your readers, I really appreciate it.
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.
Hi Brankica! I had to stop by again and let you know how a few of these ideas of yours are working for me. Purely because of this article, I put an ad on Craigslist for my Natural Parent consulting. Also I started posting a bit on Q&A sites, but I should bump that up. Paper.li didn't make a lot of sense to me until the other day when I was mentioned on Twitter, followed the link, and got to see exactly what it was. Then I went, "Ohhh! That's what she meant!" lol Next on my list is Slideshare. My Beat the Stress articles seem to be the most successful so I'll use those. Maybe I should shift focus a little to stress management and parenting? =) Thanks, as always! I should just print out this list.
Would you mind sharing your stumbleupon user name with me? I would love to follow you and your shares! :) I am beginning to get more active on SU and it is definitely paying off. I have had a few posts in the last several weeks that have brought in 600-700 visits each. :) In regards to your "challenge" I am going to try out paper.li I will let you know how it goes.
Traffic from organic search is free and long-lasting, which makes you less dependent on advertising budgets. If you look at the list of the top three American e-commerce retailers, you will find that it matches the above data with the top three companies getting the most organic traffic. This definitely proves that SEO pays off in the long run: you attract quality traffic in large volumes without paying for it directly.
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!
I am so glad you used those tips and obviously have great results from it. It is all about creativity, I guess. If you think of a new and fresh way of generating traffic, that not too many bloggers are using already, you are on a roll. And Flickr was one of those that were not over saturated with bloggers searching for traffic. Thanks for the feedback and can't see the results with new strategies :)
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!
Hey Don, that is a great question and I will give you the overview. Now I have been trying these out for almost two years, for example Yahoo Answers was one of the first ones I tried and brought great results then. So first you need to decide which ones will you try and then track the results. I use Google Analytics to track the incoming traffic. So if I am focusing for example on blog commenting, I will note where I commented, how many times, etc and then see if those comments brought me any traffic. It depends a lot on the type of comment I make, the title of my ComLuv post, but you can still get some overview of how that traffic source is working for you. There are of course sources I discover "by chance". For example, in the last month Paper.li brought me 24 visitors, that spent more than 2 minutes on average on my blog. That is more than some blogs I comment on regularly bring me. So in this case, I will try to promote the paper.li a bit better and make it work for me. I will unfollow some people on Twitter that are not tweeting anything good so my paper.li chooses better posts hence better tweeps and get me exposed to them. A lot of them will RT my paper.li daily, so there is more potential of my content being shared. In case of the blog I mentioned, since none of the posts are becoming viral, the blogger is average, it is obviously not bringing me any traffic, I will start commenting less and work more on those that bring me more traffic. Now this is all great, except I get emotionally attached to blogs I read so I don't look at numbers like that :) But that is how you should track results. The main thing after reading this post is to choose up to 5 of these sources you feel comfortable with, work on them and track results. Keep those that work for you and ditch those that don't. It is a lot dependent on the niche you are in, too. I always try one source for up to a month, if there are no results in a month, I stop working on it and move to another one. If I didn't answer all you wanted to know, just ask additional questions, I am more than glad to help :)
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."
If you indulge me an analogy, if you’re moving from one place to another, you would like the postman to send all the love letters to your new address and you wouldn’t want them lost in an old mailbox that no one uses, right? (I am guessing you would want the bills to be sent to the old address instead). A similar thing happens when it comes to moving your site’s address.
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You might remember “Face Off” , a movie from ‘97 where Nicolas Cage is a terrorist and John Travolta is an FBI agent. And, as it happens in movies, they became obsessed with one another. Travolta needs information from Cage’s brother, so he undergoes an operation in which he gets Cage’s face; a few plot twists later and Cage has Travolta’s. They continue to pursue each other with new identities, the bad guy the good guy, the good guy the bad guy and so on and (almost) no one knew who is who. Dizzy yet?
For our client: We were lucky enough to remove most from the prior agency outreach, we also went directly to many webmasters in which we wanted to remove links. We did not use the Disavow tool as it was not around when we completed this link cleanup, but we all know it has been said that if you are going to use the Disavow Tool to use it with caution.
Who are you man!? You better be back here till tomorrow and give me number 51 or you will be doing push ups for the rest of your blogging life!!! RLMAO Hey Steve, thanks so much for the comment and I am glad that there is someone after all that is getting all the traffic his webhost can take! I am already thinking of how to enter your Webmaster tools and redirect your whole blog to mine... thinking, thinking, thinking.... Thanks for the RT and love having you as my blogging friend!
Hey Kim, thanks for thinking about the trees, lol. OK, let me think. First, yes it depends on the niche a lot. But I do need to say that it can also depend a lot on the creativity of a blogger. If you know Kiesha from We Blog Better, she is a really creative blogger. She once wrote a post called "What can bag ladies teach us about blogging". And of course, attached a photo of a bag lady. If it was a Flickr photo, you would go back and tell the author you used a photo on your post and tell him the post name. Everyone would be curious to see what the heck is all that about. I wrote about this Flickr tactics on Traffic Generation Cafe. Anyway, why am I mentioning Flickr? Because it would seem that it is the best place to get traffic if you have a photography blog, right? But in Kiesha's example, all you need is some creativity and it can work for every niche. I for example, am hardly using Quora. Everyone else is (well most of everyone, lol). But I am old school and use Yahoo Answers, that almost no one is using. So my results are great with YA. Answer sites require some time, but not more than commenting does and certainly less than guest posting does. And it is fresh traffic, not just bloggers that you connected with. But out of these all, I would focus on the first group, video/audio traffic sources, just because they are kinda up and coming compared to some others. If I can answer additional questions, feel free to add some, not sure if I answered what you needed me to :) Thanks so much for sharing this with your readers, I really appreciate it.
Brankica, aloha. Yet another great article. With the in-depth info and resources you have been giving us, I don't know how you have time for anything else. This is another one that will live on my computer. You mention several words/places that I have not seen before. Look forward to exploring. Off to tweet. Will be working on a 51 for you. Take good care, my friend. Aloha. Janet
Unless you have an invite, you can’t comment or submit a new product to PH. Even then, if you were to submit yourself, the likelihood is that you’d miss out on a lot of traction compared to someone influential on PH submitting. You only get one chance to submit to Product Hunt so you’ll need to identify someone who would be interested in your startup that also has influence within the PH community. To do this, go to Twitter and search the following query in the search bar:
Hey Brankica, These are some great sources to get more traffic to your sites. I do agree with your arguments about answer sites and forums. Most of us, including myself, don't use these much, nowadays. I clearly don't know the reason. But I can tell you one thing : Some forums ban you if you promote your site (that depends upon what type of forum it is). Anyway, thank you for sharing the great resource ! And Best of luck with the contest :D I think you would probably win the contest :D (because you have useful posts). Jeevan Jacob John
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Referral means people clicked on a link somewhere else. This can be email or social, but is mostly links on other websites. If you switch the view in the Channels pie chart to Sources/Mediums, as we did for the screenshot below, you can see your most important links. For our lab site, Pinterest is major, as are Google’s educators’ sites and several homeschool sites. We can click on Acquisitions> Referrals to see more. Referral traffic can be a little confusing because it overlaps with Email and Social; more on that later.
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.

Regarding Link Detox, links it diagnoses as Toxic are generally fine as they're either not indexed by Google or have malware/viruses/etc., but I recommend a manual review of any diagnosed as Suspicious. I used it recently to get started cleaning up our backlinks and some legit sites and blogs were under Suspicious simply because they didn't have many links pointing to them.
Look at the biggest startup success stories and analyse their content. Airbnb positions itself as the place to find unique travel experiences with locals, Uber is the cheap, on-demand taxi alternative and Skillshare carved its niche as a free learning exchange platform. They all address their audience concerns in a way nobody else is doing and their content has a friendly, approachable tone – even when we’re talking about software startups like IFTTT or Slack.
Good question, for most directories I use they ask for mobile number to send a message of verification, for the ones which phone you for verification inform the company before hand to tell their customer service people to be ready. I know the bigger the company the more tricky these things get you just have to find out what works best to answer the calls even if they give you a direct number to use. 
Interviews can be a source of some decent traffic, both in giving and hosting them. On the giving side, you’re building your reputation and you’re gaining links, as the places who interview you publish a link to you as their source. On the hosting side, you publish links to influencers you interview, who have a decent chance of linking to you as a “check out this interview I did” comment somewhere. They have an interest in promoting it, after all.
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.

When you run a PPC campaign -- whether through Google or some other PPC provider -- you can track how much site traffic it drives in this part of your sources report. Obviously for proper PPC campaign management , you'll also need to be reviewing whether that traffic actually converts , too. Like email marketing as a source, be sure to include tracking tokens with all of your paid search campaigns so this is properly bucketed as, you know, paid search.


I just joined digg a few minutes ago. I gotta tell you that I have been researching on this topic for several months now. By far the best article I have come across on traffic generation. It's one of the most comprehensive ones I've read. And includes a variety of sources which never struck me before. I'm a musician and I plan on starting a blog and uploading videos soon. This is really going to help me a lot and I'm gonna follow. :) I really like the idea of using sites like wiki, about.com, scribd etc...
I have always believed in good quality content, well structured and written in a way that isn’t just about promotional talk. Thanks for sharing this information with us, it’s always helpful to have everything written in a concise manner so we can remind ourselves now and again of what it takes to increase organic traffic. As an SEO consultant myself I come across websites all the time that are messy and still using tactics that have long been out of date. Having a successful website is all about quality content and links. I like it that you stated what the problem was and then how you fixed it for the client. Great article.

For our client: We only used a smaller quantity of very high-quality link building each month. So, for example we only built 40 of the best links each month to supplement the work we were doing on the content marketing front. We also invested heavily into tracking competitor backlink profiles, using Majestic SEO and Open Site Explorer. We worked out how the competitor's acquired specific backlinks, then by using outreach and content creation we obtained these links.

Being a good internet Samaritan is great and all, but how does this help you build links? Let me explain: the kind of broken links you’re looking for are found on sites relevant to your business, industry, or niche. By finding these sites and informing them of these broken links, you strike up a conversation with the site owner and give yourself the opportunity to suggest a link to your epic piece of content be added to their site.


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.
The Forums – yes, I know some bloggers are telling you that you can not get anything from the Forums, but I can prove them wrong. One example: I met one of my dear blogging friends on a Forum way before I started blogging. She has been helping me since. Instead of struggling with some newbie mistakes, I skipped most of them and went straight for success. Most forums allow links in signatures – use it!
Search engine traffic. Search engine traffic is that traffic that comes from visitors clicking on links on a search results page for any search engine — whether Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Blekko, or similar. This traffic source is divided into organic or non-paid search engine traffic — meaning that the visitor clicked on a so-called natural search result — and CPC or paid search engine traffic, which is the traffic you purchase (via pay-per-click ads_ from search engines. Search engine traffic usually indicates that you have good or at least reasonably good content. It also can mean that you have chosen a good software platform. Be sure to learn which keywords are driving this traffic. Multi-channel merchants, as an example, may find that their brand name is a key search term. When this is the case, offline marketing is usually the real traffic driver.

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.
If the blog post you’ve selected has less than 2,000 words, one simple way to increase organic traffic is to increase the word count — but don’t just fluff it up. Make sure any content you add also adds value. Instead of watering down paragraphs, add completely new sections that cover points you haven’t introduced yet. Chances are, the added word count will allow you add additional keywords. Speaking of…
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.
Hey Brankica, I'm going to have to kill a tree for this one too.... going to print it! :-) (but is it as bad if I use a piece of paper that I printed something else on the other side?) Lots of great ideas here I haven't seen as well as some reminders- thanks! Personally, my biggest challenge is consistency! Have you found that some methods take longer to see results or are there certain things you do that consistently work for you? Just curious... I would think that it might depend on the niche as well? (of course you don't know until you try it, huh? ;-)) Thanks for such a great resource- I'll definitely be sharing this with my readers too! :-) Kim
If you indulge me an analogy, if you’re moving from one place to another, you would like the postman to send all the love letters to your new address and you wouldn’t want them lost in an old mailbox that no one uses, right? (I am guessing you would want the bills to be sent to the old address instead). A similar thing happens when it comes to moving your site’s address.
Oh, I wish you told me what was wrong with it :) I only discovered it recently but I am getting nice traffic from it. I hope you will let me know how it worked for you. At the moment I am posting both to my page and personal profile. I also realized that I might just leave it on the personal page (yeah, sound weird) cause on my fan page, I kinda like to add a little comment to the post. Anyway, thanks for the comment and I will try to find your blog over there and subscribe to it on Networked blogs.

In other words, businesses have much less visibility into which keywords searchers are using to find them, making it much harder to understand which words and terms are or working -- or not working -- in their search engine optimization. Google said this would only affect about 11% of searches, but the truth of the matter is the number is much greater than that, and is only continuing to increase as Google's user base grows. It's important to keep this curveball in mind when evaluating organic search as a traffic and lead generation source.
For reasons we’ve already discussed, traffic from bookmarks and dark social is an enormously valuable segment to analyze. These are likely to be some of your most loyal and engaged users, and it’s not uncommon to see a notably higher conversion rate for a clean direct channel compared to the site average. You should make the effort to get to know them.
If, on the other hand, you’ve already migrated to HTTPS and are concerned about your users appearing to partner websites as direct traffic, you can implement the meta referrer tag. Cyrus Shepard has written about this on Moz before, so I won’t delve into it now. Suffice to say, it’s a way of telling browsers to pass some referrer data to non-secure sites, and can be implemented as a element or HTTP header.
If you publish whitepapers or offer downloadable PDF guides, for example, you should be tagging the embedded hyperlinks with UTM campaign parameters. You’d never even contemplate launching an email marketing campaign without campaign tracking (I hope), so why would you distribute any other kind of freebie without similarly tracking its success? In some ways this is even more important, since these kinds of downloadables often have a longevity not seen in a single email campaign. Here’s an example of a properly tagged URL which we would embed as a link:
Hi Pavan, I would agree that it's a long post - but some posts are just worth the read no matter how long they are - especially this one since it's loaded with useful resources. I've actually bookmarked it and I plan to read it a few times over in hopes of putting these great tips to use. All in all - it's not length that matters - it's how a post is presented and the information that it contains within. If a writer can keep me captivate or entertained during the entire thing - then I'm willing to read it regardless of how long or short it is. Just my opinion :). Have a great week. Cheers
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
Wow, great post, Brankica!!! I've used Flickr in the past and while I haven't gotten much traffic from it, I've gotten a ton of backlinks. Like there's this one photo in particular that I tagged as "SEO" and included a link in the description back to the blog post I used the photo in. I guess there are lots of autoblogs that scrape stuff like SEO-related images, and since they scrape the description, too, I get lots of automatic backlinks. Sure, they're crappy backlinks, but still backlinks :)

The first step to digging into organic traffic is to analyze what content on your website is performing best in this area. For obvious reasons, the homepage is almost certainly the landing page for most organic traffic, but the other top pages are often revealing. To view this data, we’re going to head over to the Behaviour section in the Analytics sidebar, then choose Site Content and finally Landing Pages.

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.
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