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
Keywords research is a very important process for search engine optimization as it can tell you the exact phrases people are using to search on Google. Whenever you write a new blog post, you have to check the most popular keywords, but don’t be obsessed by the search volume. Sometimes, long tail keywords are more valuable, and you can rank for them more easily.

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.
Traffic coming from SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is free, while traffic generated from PPC (Pay Per Click) ads is not free. PPC ads are displayed above organic search results or on the sidebar of search engine pages for search queries related to their topic. Landing page keywords, ad keywords, CPC (cost per click) bids, and targeting all influence how those ads are “served” or displayed on the page.
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.
Before developing this subject further, indulge me to remind you that according to Google a robots.txt file is a file at the root of your site that indicates those parts of your site you don’t want accessed by search engine crawlers. And although there is plenty of documentation on this subject, there are still many ways you can suffer an organic search traffic drop. Below we are going to list two common yet critical mistakes when it comes to robots.txt. 

Whether location comes into your SEO strategy really depends on the nature of your startup. Airbnb certainly wants to be showing up in local results, and the likes of Uber, Skyscanner and Deliveroo all rely on location data to connect with users new and old. This is a crucial factor in terms of relevance for suitable searches and you may need to consider this if location plays a key role in your startup.
The "Direct Session" dimension, not to be confused with the default channel grouping or source dimension, is something different. It can tell you if a session was genuinely from its reported campaign (reported as No), or if it was simply bucketed there due to the last non-direct click attribution model (reported as Yes). I didn't mention this dimension in the article because it has some flaws which can cause brain bending complexities, plus it goes a little beyond the scope of this article, which I tried to gear more towards marketers and non-expert GA users. It's certainly an interesting one, though.

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!

Hey James, I LOLed at your comment. In a good way of course. What do you mean you knew about 3 things!? You better get to work then. Just kiddin'. Glad you liked the list and hope you will put it to use. And if you do, I really hope to hear some feedback on how it worked for you. These tips are awesome for websites like those, I have some of those. You should definitely give this list a go, I first tested all these on my main niche site and then on my blog. I can tell you that these sources can make miracles if they are used right.


Hey Brankica! Awesome contest entry! Love it. I, like you, get a decent amount of traffic from Ezine Articles, too! I am not in a rush to do anything drastic just because of the algorithm change. Hubpages is also a lot of fun and I am pretty close to finally making my $100 payout from Adwords. My hubs have been viewed over 10,000 times and I've had a lot of fun there.

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.

It might happen to have some lost links from now and then or a broken page due to some crawling issue or something similar. Yet, when your broken pages and links form up a figure just as big as your phone number, then you might be facing a problem; in terms of site user experience and organic traffic as well. Your bounce rate will increase, your overall usability, you will be loosing links and therefore you will start asking yourself “why did my organic traffic drop”?


I'm not in the contest, but if I was - I'd be SKEEEEERED. This was awesome, really - there were MAYBE 3 things I knew... The rest was new. I'm lame that way. The great thing about this is that as a blogger - you've covered ideas I've never thought of...I get my traffic mostly from SEO (not on my blog, but in my websites which are product based review sites) - but there's enough meat in this post I can use for my niche sites to keep me in the black, so to speak (ink I mean, not socks). Awesome post, Brankica - I'm speechless. (If you ignore the foregoing paragraph.)


As I already mentioned above, it doesn’t matter how small or big your company is; you need to take care of your SEO.  Remember that 89 percent of consumers use search engines to help make their purchasing decisions. To get people to buy from your company, you need to make your site visible at some point in the buyer's journey, which means you need to definitely be visible on the search results pages.

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?
On the basis of this article alone, you should be given a Ph.D in internet traffic generation. Absolutely fantastic set of ideas & sources for traffic generation. I had taken a print of this article the first I read it and then took some serious action of some of the ideas that have mentioned here - flickr images, blog commenting, slideshare (this even resulted in some great business leads and closures), sites such as blog engage, blog interact, social media sources such as LinkedIn, forum participation etc. And they have done wonders to my sites. The fact that there are 319 comments here even as I write is testimony to the authenticity of the ideas presented here. Great article which will one day be a classic - if it is not already.
Reddit is also worth a special mention here. It’s a cross between a social network and a web forum, which is a traffic source we’ll discuss later. Reddit is one of the largest sites online, and the entire focus of the site is based around posting links and discussing the content of those links. A lot of the content you see trend on Facebook or Twitter is trending because Reddit got hold of it and started engaging with it. However, Reddit is a very tricky platform to use for marketing. You have to avoid approaching it like a marketer, because Reddit users are like piranhas. If they sense you trying to use their audience for money, they’ll swarm you and savage you until you feel like you can’t use the site again. Make sure to read up and take great care before trying to market on Reddit.
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.
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.
Organic traffic is a special kind of referral traffic, defined as visitors that arrive from search engines. This is what most marketers strive to increase. The higher you rank for certain keywords, the more often your search result appears (increasing your impressions), ultimately resulting in more visitors (aka clicks). It’s also important to note that paid search ads are not counted in this category.
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.
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.
Organic is what people are looking for; the rest of these simply put things in front of people who may or may not be seeking what you offer. We know that approximately X number of people are looking for Y every day. So if we can get on front of those people, we have a much greater opportunity to create long-term relationships and increase our overall ROI.
So, you have downloaded your links profiles on a CSV and you now have an extensive list of all your linked domains. If you have been doing SEO for 8+ years like me you can probably just know from analysis which links are bad from a TLD and URL point of view. If you do not know too much you can use tools such as Link Detox: http://www.linkdetox.com/ to complete analysis of your link profile. I would always consult the advice of an expert SEO in this instance because it is easy for these tools to mistake good and bad links.
Google doesn't always include a whole paragraph of text in the Featured Snippet. If you add "Step 1," "Step 2," "Step 3," etc. to the start of each HTML heading within your content (for example, within your H2 tags), Google will sometimes just list out your headings within the Featured Snippet. I've started to see this happen more and more in keywords beginning with "how to".
After adjusting that, the table refreshes again and I’m looking at a month-by-month summary of my Organic Traffic. Hover your mouse over any single month dot to view a summary of that month’s numbers. In this particular example, we can see that recently there’s been an increase in Organic Traffic. January had 6,630 organic sessions, February (short month) had 5,982 and then March came in strong with 7,486 organic sessions. This information lets us know that something on the site is performing better than usual in March. In most cases, this means that either interest in a topic has increased or the website has begun to rank better in the search engines for specific keywords. In the next section we’ll begin to break this down further.
I'm not in the contest, but if I was - I'd be SKEEEEERED. This was awesome, really - there were MAYBE 3 things I knew... The rest was new. I'm lame that way. The great thing about this is that as a blogger - you've covered ideas I've never thought of...I get my traffic mostly from SEO (not on my blog, but in my websites which are product based review sites) - but there's enough meat in this post I can use for my niche sites to keep me in the black, so to speak (ink I mean, not socks). Awesome post, Brankica - I'm speechless. (If you ignore the foregoing paragraph.)
Are you currently excluding all known bots and spiders in Google Analytics? If not, you may be experiencing inflated traffic metrics and not even know it. Typically, bots enter through the home page and cascade down throughout your site navigation, mimicking real user behavior. One telltale sign of bot traffic is a highly trafficked page with a high bounce rate, low conversions and a low average time on page.

So we’re confident that the high social traffic in the sixth example above reflects the highly successful social media campaigns the organization is working on. We could also see this pattern for a site which has decided that they can’t succeed with search and has, as Google suggests for such websites, chosen to work on social media success instead. The difference is, one site would have good Search and Direct traffic and really good social media, while the other might have dismal Search and rely heavily on social media, which is very time consuming and often has a low ROI. This second pattern is one we’ve seen with microbusinesses where the business owner is spending hours each day on social media and making very little progress in the business. Making the investment in a better website would probably pay off better in the long run, even if it seems like an expensive choice.
There are two ways to hook up interviews. The first is the manual option. Identify sites and specific people you want to interview, or who you would like to interview you, and approach them about it. Send them a message asking if they would be willing to interview you, or saying that you’re available if they would like to interview you about something specific related to your industry. In the second case, generally try to have a specific subject they’ve talked about recently, a press release of your own that might intrigue them, or a case study with data they might want to use. Something to sweeten the pot, basically.
Lol, start from the middle :) Yeah, Squidoo is doing great and I know they are cleaning out all the time when they see a lousy lens. They have angels over there that report stuff like that (I am an angel myself on Squidoo :) And it is even not that hard to make money over there which I always suggest to beginners that don't have money to invest in blogs and sites.
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.
"We have used quite a few tools for tracking SERPs and keywords as part of our content marketing effort. And there was always something missing. It wasn’t until we found AccuRanker that we were completely satisfied. It has increased our productivity. The powerful filters, tagging, instant checks, integration with GSC, multiple URL detection per keyword, accurate search volume, and notes, are all features we now can’t live without. AccuRanker really has taken our SEO efforts to another level. We were able to grow our organic traffic by 571% in just 13 months."
The Featured Snippet section appearing inside the first page of Google is an incredibly important section to have your content placed within. I did a study of over 5,000 keywords where HubSpot.com ranked on page 1 and there was a Featured Snippet being displayed. What I found was that when HubSpot.com was ranking in the Featured Snippet, the average click-through rate to the website increased by over 114%.
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.

WOW Brankica, cannot believe that you also includes Craigslist.org on your list! What a great post, indeed. ;) Elise add #51 email list building, so I would add #52 rss feed submission, #53 review websites like resellerratings.com, reviewcentre.com, etc., #54 blog search engine like Technorati, plus I have about 40 video websites where you can upload and share your video like break.com, blip.tv. Good luck with the contest. ;)

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.
Hey Tia, thank you so much for the comment and glad you liked it. I like Hub pages and Squidoo for traffic but the money is equal to none compared what you have to do to get so many views, lol, guess no pain no gain. I am also not worried about Ezines because I actually wrote unique articles and did my best to make them great quality ones. Guess that is why I posted just a few of them, lol. But they still get me nice amount of traffic. I like it more that I didn't have to post 200 articles to make it worth. Thanks again for the comment!
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?
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.
If you feel as if your business is being overtaken by your competitors, it may be because they are already taking advantage of everything that social traffic can do for them. Having a Facebook page or Twitter account with a huge amount of likes or followers automatically makes you look more legitimate. For example, would you rather buy something from someone whose page has 50 likes, or someone whose page is really popular and has 2,000 likes? The answer is obvious.
WOW Brankica, cannot believe that you also includes Craigslist.org on your list! What a great post, indeed. ;) Elise add #51 email list building, so I would add #52 rss feed submission, #53 review websites like resellerratings.com, reviewcentre.com, etc., #54 blog search engine like Technorati, plus I have about 40 video websites where you can upload and share your video like break.com, blip.tv. Good luck with the contest. ;)
As we mentioned before, when someone finds your site via a link on a social network, they'll be bucketed under social media as a traffic source. This could include someone tweeting out a link, or it could include you posting a link to your Facebook page. If it's you doing the posting, you can also add a tracking token before posting to track those links as part of a larger campaign for you to analyze later!
Once you've set up an alert within Mention, go to your settings and then 'Manage Notifications'. From here you can select the option to get a daily digest email of any mentions (I'd recommend doing this). You also have the option of getting desktop alerts - I personally find them annoying, but if you really want to stay on the ball then they could be a good idea.
Another special mention is Quora. The question and answer site is like a high class, actually-useful version of the defunct Yahoo Answers. Experts find questions in their industry to answer and provide detailed answers, either in the form of a moderately lengthy post, or in a post that links out to their websites. You, too, can take advantage of industry questions by answering them the best you can. Users can vote on the most useful answer, and it floats to the top, so the more useful you can be, the more exposure your link will get.
Hi, Having read all this advice I can see its going to be a busy weekend! After 'Panda' many sites have collapsed but I have found that Squidoo has surprised me as it seems to be keeping popularity and as mentioned above, makes a little money as well as helps driving traffic. Hmmm...50 ideas....shall I start from the top or be different and work my way up from the end of the list?
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.
As I said at the beginning of the article, more naturally earned backlinks, will help you get more organic traffic and improve SEO. You can suggest your readers to link back to your website by having a small widget at the bottom of your posts. Just as you have the social media sharing links, an embedded linking widget will increase the chances to get more backlinks.
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.
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?
Use social media. Build a presence on social media networks like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ etc. All of these activities help to get your name out and website address out on the internet. Read about how we doubled our social media audience in a week. Add share buttons to your site to make it easy for people to share your content. And write content worthy of sharing.
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