For the short-term, PPC is generally your best bet. The minute your ad runs, it delivers results. But when the budget stops, so do the benefits. Because SEO relies on your website’s content, linking structure, and meta data, developing a thorough strategy that delivers real results takes more time than setting up a PPC campaign. However, SEO’s results may be more valuable to you and your organization in the long run.
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.

There are always high profile blogs in your industry, no matter what that industry is. It might be sites like Business Insider, Forbes, and Inc. It might be sites like Medium and Gawker. It might be sites like Search Engine Journal and QuickSprout. The fact is, every industry has its dominant forces, and as long as you’re not the dominant blog, you can use the dominant blogs as traffic sources for your own.

Direct traffic refers to traffic you receive to your website that doesn't come through any other channel. So, when you type www.hubspot.com into your search bar and hit 'Enter,' you're accessing HubSpot.com via direct traffic. If someone posted a link to www.hubspot.com on Facebook, however, and you clicked on that link, your visit would be bucketed in HubSpot.com's social media sources.
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.
The first step that I take is to do a quick Google search to find pages on my domain where I've mentioned the keyword in question so that I can add an internal link. To do this, I'll use the following search query, replacing DOMAIN with your domain name (e.g. matthewbarby.com) and KEYWORD with the keyword you're targeting (e.g. "social media strategy"):
For our client: We rolled out numerous new pieces of content onto their blog and news section; we aimed to make the content creative and funny. As the client was in the careers space we made use of “funny interview questions” and “technical interview questions” style articles. It was amazing that one of the articles even made it to the first page of Reddit. We also pushed out content which was related to various holidays in that year and also specific to the client’s industry and also current trends in the market. 
Hey Ryan, thanks for including me, I will be over there to thank you as well :) I am glad you liked the post and definitely don't advice on getting into all of them at once, lol. I am the first one that would try all, but I learned that it is the wrong way to go in about anything. The best thing would be choosing one or two of these and tracking results. I learned that Flickr can take too much time for some types of blogs, while others will have great results with it. Depends on the niche a lot. But I know you will do the best thing, you always do! Thanks for the comment and helping me in the contest!

Brands hold a wealth of customer information that may often not seem applicable to SEO — and many times, it’s not. However, if you’re working with an SEO agency, sometimes sharing this knowledge can provide the missing piece to the puzzle. Knowing something as simple as “Consumer preferences are shifting around the color black” could help explain why your traffic is down if your products are often paired with black shoes. Sometimes it’s as easy as connecting the dots.
Note the penultimate processing step (previous campaign within timeout), which has a significant impact on the direct channel. Consider a user who discovers your site via organic search, then returns via direct a week later. Both sessions would be attributed to organic search. In fact, campaign data persists for up to six months by default. The key point here is that Google Analytics is already trying to minimize the impact of direct traffic for you.

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.
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…
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.
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!
Hi , the post is really nice , and it made me think if our current strategy is ok or not , 2 things are important " High quality content strategy " and " Good quality Links " now joining those correctly can pose some real challenges , say if we have n no of content writers who are writing for couple of websites, to be generic let’s consider , 1 writer @ 1 website . We have to write make a content strategy for in-house blog of the website to drive authentic traffic on it and a separate content strategy for grabbing  links from some authentic High PR website i.e. CS should be 2 ways , In-house / Outhouse .

Comments need special attention to be successful, though. Generally, you will have strict rules to follow. You can’t simply leave a “this was great, hey check out my site” comment. It will either be filtered for spam or it will be ignored. You need an insightful, detailed, and helpful message. You need to expand upon the topic in the post, argue against it, or support it with your own data. The point is to be valuable and attract positive attention.

As I mentioned earlier, one of the biggest downsides to SEO is that Google is constantly making changes to their algorithm; they come out of nowhere, and they can drop your domain authority by 5, 10, even 15 points and it almost feels like you need to start optimizing all over again. It's frustrating, it's hard work and the results aren't always visible - but if you can get SEO right, it can truly be an amazing source of traffic.
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 :)
We used to like best to see a fairly balanced mix, back when there were mostly just three sources: Organic, Direct, and Referral. Organic Search traffic is a good sign of general site health, it’s usually the top source of conversions, and it generally shows great ROI. Direct traffic is often the people who love your site or are coming back to buy after they found you in some other way. These two groups of visitors are probably the ones that bring you the most sales or leads.

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.
Woah Brankica. I came over to support you because you are a good friend and you deserve it, but now that I am here, I am supporting you because this post is friggin insane!!! Fark, so glad I am NOT in this contest now, how could I compete with this?!?! Honestly Brankica, this post deserves to win because its genuinely one of the most thorough and easy to digest posts on traffic generation that I have EVER read. Respect
Hey Peppy, I am glad you found this post too :) I wanted to write it in even more details but it was getting so long I thought if I add one more word, no one would read it, lol. I tried all these traffic generation sources, some worked miracles some were so and so. But I can bet everyone can find winners here. Actually all these sources can work miracles, it all depends on what you find more natural to do. I am for example really slow with videos and still not comfortable making them so YouTube doesn't bring thousands of people to my blog. It brings some. But when it comes to answer sites, I had so much success with some of them, that I just have to recommend them. Blog commenting is working better as I learn to write better titles, so people click on my Comment Luv links. Anyway, thanks so much for the great comment and hope to hear some feedback from you, about how there worked out on your blog.
Selecting “All Traffic Sources” from Google Analytics left-side navigation will show you a table listing the most active traffic sources and their medium. Direct traffic, as you would expect, has a medium of “none.” Traffic from Facebook, as an example, will have a medium of “referral.” Search engine traffic will have a medium or “organic” or “CPC” as described above.
The first is that it’s caused almost exclusively by users typing an address into their browser (or clicking on a bookmark). The second is that it’s a Bad Thing, not because it has any overt negative impact on your site’s performance, but rather because it’s somehow immune to further analysis. The prevailing attitude amongst digital marketers is that direct traffic is an unavoidable inconvenience; as a result, discussion of direct is typically limited to ways of attributing it to other channels, or side-stepping the issues associated with it.
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.
Thanks, John :) You are right about the forum, if you are answering some questions that you don't really get into but are only trying to self promote, people can tell. That is why genuine people have great traffic coming from forums, cause everyone can see they are trying to help. I have a rule for myself, where ever I try to build traffic and establish myself as a person that want to help, I never post links all the time. I only do so if it is really related to the question. I think that is why I have success with it. I think you could rock with Reddit because your art is great. Can't wait to see what results will you have with it. I am also thinking that Digg and Flicks might me good solutions for you.
This quickly turns into a “chicken-and-egg” situation. Are fewer people coming to your site due to poor visibility in the SERPs? Or have you shifted your product focus, and is that why consumers are no longer interested in your brand? For a quick check, look at Google Search Console data, and pull positions and clicks by page. If position is staying relatively stagnant, this means your brand is not losing visibility in the SERPs, and there may be a bigger issue at play.
Very often, display advertising stands at the beginning of the customer’s journey, and with this type of ad you can target a much broader audience during the inspiration/awareness phase and create attention for your brand thanks to targeted placement. It is also one of the cheapest ways to increase brand awareness. Just going off of the Google Display Network alone (which SEMrush provides data on), it reaches approximately 92 percent of all internet user and 65 percent of those users are reached daily.

There are always high profile blogs in your industry, no matter what that industry is. It might be sites like Business Insider, Forbes, and Inc. It might be sites like Medium and Gawker. It might be sites like Search Engine Journal and QuickSprout. The fact is, every industry has its dominant forces, and as long as you’re not the dominant blog, you can use the dominant blogs as traffic sources for your own.
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.
Note the penultimate processing step (previous campaign within timeout), which has a significant impact on the direct channel. Consider a user who discovers your site via organic search, then returns via direct a week later. Both sessions would be attributed to organic search. In fact, campaign data persists for up to six months by default. The key point here is that Google Analytics is already trying to minimize the impact of direct traffic for you.
What we look for in a list like this is to identify the pages that are performing well so we can continue to capitalize on those. In this example, we see that the inventory pages are getting significant traffic, which is great, but we also see that the Team page and the Service page are both also ranking well. With this information in mind, we should revisit these pages to ensure that they are structured with the right content to perform as the visitor’s first page view, possibly their first glimpse at your business.
I had great results with Stumble Upon cause I have been a user for years and Stumble a lot of things that have nothing to do with blogging or my blog. And Networked blogs is working great for me too :) I am glad you found some new sources here. I would love, if you had the time, to look into one or two that seam interesting to you, and maybe try them out... and then come back and tell me if they worked OK for you?

This is a fantastic list! I thought I had it covered, but I'm only half way there. I can't wait to tackle some of these. It can all get overwhelming at times, because there's so much information and so many resources out there. I would like to take advantage of Facebook and Google ads, but I'm not sure if they'll be worth the investment when compared to everything else out there. I just started guest posting, I have three due this weekend. And I'm going to start writing articles for Biznik.com - which is a great site and has put me in touch with loads of local people. Love it. The forums is an area that I just recently started dancing around it and I'm still finding my way. Thanks for sharing this great information.
What if I read anymore information my brain will explode--so where do I go if I supply all the content, but am too lazy to read all of this. Who can I pay to run with this?--(Also-I know enough to do all the grunt work-just need some direction) I have a really fun project/marketing challenge, a moderate amount of coins, and other than today-usually a ton of commitment.  http://bdehaven.com
Brankica, what a valuable post you've contributed here! These are all great methods for driving traffic to your website. Here's two more suggestions: 1. Write Amazon reviews on products/books related to your website and sign those comments with your name, the name of your blog, and its URL. You can even do video reviews now and mention your blog as part of your qualifications to review a particular book or product. 2. QR codes on flyers. People can scan these with their phone and be sent directly to your blog. I'm seeing these all over the city lately linking to things like bus schedules, Foursquare pages, and what not. Once again, thanks for this post!

The thing about SEO in 2018 is that Google changes its algorithms more than once a day! Reports say that the company changes its algorithms up to 600 times a year. While the majority of those updates consist of smaller changes, among them is the occasional, major update like Hummingbird or Panda that can really wreak havoc with your traffic and search rankings.

Hi there Brankica, Super WOW! You have a bunch of quality, very applicable listing here. I believe being present on these sites would mean alot of traffic and sales because these are targeted and well renowned sites. I bet I need a lot of hardwork to be present to these sites. And this hardwork pays! Thanks for sharing this entry of yours. This has been the greatest list I've ever read so far. Good job. Cheers, Kira Permunian
This is a crucial area. If you do not have schema markup and rel="author", you are costing your business money. It is as simple as that. As an example, say I want to make spaghetti (pasta) for dinner I search for “Spaghetti Recipe” and instantly I see some great markup in play, but one competitor has no markup and no rel="author" they are losing business in my eyes. Wouldn't you agree?.
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.
When you run an email marketing campaign, we hope you're including links in that email that lead recipients back to your website -- to read more content, convert, whatever. When you take a look at email marketing as a source of traffic, you'll be able to see how much traffic is sent to your website due to email marketing campaigns you've sent out. That's how we found out, for instance, that driving blog email subscriptions was extremely important to the growth of a business blog -- because many of the visits we receive each month come from subscribers who get pinged in their inboxes that a new blog post is published, prompting a click through to the post! Just be sure to include tracking tokens in the links of your email, otherwise the clicks won't be properly bucketed under the email marketing source.

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.[1]

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.

This traffic source comes from search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Remember, paid search ads or PPC (pay-per-click) advertising are not included within this source category. If you choose to run a paid advertising campaign for your business, it will not affect your website’s ranking within an organic search. Organic search is obtained through natural placement on search engine results, without paying for it, through search engine optimization best practices.
Traffic data is a great way to take the temperature of your website and marketing initiatives. When you are writing and promoting blog content on a regular basis, you can use traffic data to track results and correlate these efforts to actual ROI. Be sure to look at traffic numbers over long-term intervals to see trends and report on improvement over time.  
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