“Don’t build links, build relationships.”
– Rand Fishkin
In the five years that I have been building online businesses (including the first year in which I wasn’t successful) I have tried a ton of different traffic generation methods.
Some have worked, but most have not.
Of the traffic generation methods that have worked, some have worked extremely well, while others have worked on a much smaller scale.
In this post, I’m going to discuss three of the most crucial traffic generation methods I have discovered.
They are not new methods by any means and they will likely be methods you have already read about.
However, I’m going to give my take on them and hopefully that will give you new insight on to how and why they work.
Why Traffic is So Important
Traffic… it is the bane of all perspective online entrepreneurs and beginning internet marketers.
Traffic is to websites what shoppers are to brick and mortar stores. For the most part, the more traffic you get to your website, the more transactions you should make—whether those transactions are sales, email subscribers, social media shares, or some other productive action.
So, as online entrepreneurs, we spend a lot of our time trying to get more traffic to our sites, because, quite simply, traffic is the backbone of our business.
We cannot operate without visitors coming to our website, just like Walmart cannot operate without people going into their stores.
However, we must be smart about the traffic we get.
Obviously, if we run a website or blog about hunting rifles, we do not want our traffic to consist solely of 13-year old girls who are obsessed with Justin Bieber.
That kind of demographic will never take action on anything related to hunting and, therefore, we do not want to generate such irrelevant traffic.
With that in mind, we must use traffic generation methods that will bring us targeted visitors that can actually benefit from the content we offer on our websites.
Fortunately, that is not difficult to do…
And, if your main aim is to get more traffic by increasing your ranking on Google (and, ultimately, that should be your main aim), then you can rest assured that Google’s agorithms are advanced enough to ensure that only relevant visitors will find their way onto your site.
So, what you need to figure out, is how to show Google that you are the relevant website that their searchers are looking for…
In my opinion, there are three ways to do that. They are listed below.
Tip #1: Write Long and Thorough Content (For Written-Content-Based Sites)
I’m sure you’ve seen this mentioned hundreds of times…
Content is King.
While I do believe that that statement is a bit misleading, the truth is that you cannot build a successful content-based website without good content.
And, by good content, I mean content that answers your audience’s questions thoroughly.
While there are definitely ways to produce shorter content that still has a ton of value, in my opinion, you are much better off producing longer and more thorough content—especially with regards to written content.
I base this assumption off of a few different factors…
Longer Posts Rank Better
If you’ve read any of my content, you’ve probably seen me recommend that you should be producing long content…
I base this off of personal experience and off of research that other experts have done on the subject.
In fact, Neil Patel of Quicksprout.com conducted a study that concluded that the average word count of the top ten pages for any given search result was a little over 2,000 words.
Now, I’m not sure if there is a specific Google ranking factor that rewards pages based on their word count. However, whether there is a specific ranking factor behind longer content or not is not important.
What is important is that long content indirectly appeases other proven Google ranking factors…
For instance, longer content will naturally target more keywords simply because there is more content for Google to crawl. And, so, the more keywords and search strings that Google can find, the more search results your site will show up for.
But that’s not all…
In addition to longer content targeting more keywords, longer content, typically, is more thorough and, as such, is more likely to be shared and linked to by other quality sites.
This is because the more thorough a piece of content is, the more likely it is to answer your visitor’s questions…
And, ultimately, Google wants to send their searchers to pages that best answer their searchers’ questions.
If your page better answers Google’s searchers’ questions, then you have a better chance of moving up in the rankings.
Furthermore, longer and more thorough content that offers your visitors a more complete answer is more likely to keep your visitors engaged with your content for longer periods of time, which will typically result in a lower bounce rate, and more time spent on your website.
A lower bounce rate and a higher average time spent on your website will tell Google that your content is answering their searchers’ questions and, as such, Google will reward you for helping them achieve their goal.
How Writing Long and Thorough Content Has Helped Me
Clearly I’m not the first person to discover the fact that long, high quality content tends to rank better and generate more traffic.
I’m also definitely not the first person to write about it.
However, it has worked for me and I consider it to be a crucial part of my traffic generation strategy for building and growing new and existing websites.
While Neil Patel’s research concluded that the average length of posts on the first page were roughly 2,000 words, I try to build my websites around a few big guides that are at least 5,000 words long.
In my opinion, as long as all of the content is on point, and you aren’t just writing content for the sake of a big word count, then the longer the better.
One of the biggest ways that I took my first successful website from being a solid earner, to being a monster earner, was by improving and expanding on two of my main guides. Originally, those two main guides were about 2,000 words long each.
I sat down and tried to think of how I could expand on those guides in a way that would so fully cover the topic at hand, that my visitors would get all of the information they needed from those two guides.
The guides went from being 2,000 words each to easily surpassing 15,000 words each.
Within a matter of months of releasing the revamped versions of the guides (as well as making a few other changes that I will discuss below), my site’s traffic had nearly doubled and my affiliate sales started coming in at an alarming rate.
Now, I’m not saying that writing 15,000-word guides is the route you should take. In some instances it probably isn’t possible.
What I am saying, though, is that you should seek to write guides that so thoroughly cover the topic at hand, that they are, by default, incredibly long.
If you can do that, then you will put yourself in a good position to succeed in content marketing and traffic generation.
Notice, though, that I did not say you will succeed. The truth is that, along with thorough and high quality content, there are a couple of other factors that will determine how much traffic you generate.
And, one of those other factors is your ability to promote your content.
Tip #2: Outreach and Promote Like an Animal
If content is King, then promotion of content is the Queen, or perhaps even better yet, the Pope.
Promotion is Pope.
That doesn’t quite have the same ring as Content is King, but it’s so silly that… maybe it will stick?
In any case, you can write all of the amazing content you want, but if your promotion strategy for that content isn’t good, you can kiss all of your hard work goodbye.
Yes, long and thorough content is, in my opinion, essential if you want to rank high and generate a bunch of traffic.
However, long and thorough content alone will not get you traffic.
You need to be able to put your amazing content in front of people who want to read it.
And, there are quite a few ways to put your content in front of more people, but there are a couple of promotion strategies that I like the best…
- Promotion method #1: Increase your Google ranking
- Promotion method #2: Outreaching to influencers
Of course, the first method of promotion, increasing your Google ranking, is the result of having good on-page SEO, providing a good user experience, and getting backlinks to your content.
However, as stated, I consider promotion to be the act of putting your content in front of a large audience. And, one of the best ways to do that is to improve your search rankings.
Of course, there are numerous ways to boost your rankings in the search results, a few of which are discussed throughout the entirety of this post.
However, promotion method #2, outreaching to influencers, is currently one of the best ways to do so.
There’s essentially two goals that you should aim to get out of an outreach campaign:
- Get influencers to link back to the content you are promoting, and…
- Get your influencers to share the content you are promoting to their audiences
If you can get both, that is great.
If you can only get a backlink, or only get a social share, that’s good, too.
Although, if you get a backlink, that’s pretty much the same thing as getting both a link and getting put in front of the influencer’s audience.
In any case, though, you need backlinks from influencers to increase your rankings.
The more quality backlinks you get, the higher you will rank, and the more traffic you will get.
How to Approach Outreach Campaigns Correctly
In a sense, conducting outreach campaigns has become the new “guest posting” in that it currently is perhaps the most effective white hat SEO technique.
Outreach campaigns aim to inform other authority figures in your niche of content you have on your site, in the hopes that they will share your content with their audience.
However, authority figures aren’t going to share your content simply because you send them an email asking them to do so.
(Although, that can and does happen from time to time…)
That is why you have to take time crafting the email you send out so that it is more likely to get responded to.
For starters, you need to be friendly and humble and you need to illustrate why it is beneficial for these authority figures to link back to you or share your content.
If your outreach attempt comes across as spammy, desperate, inconsiderate, or just weak overall, you can forget about getting a link back.
And, here are a few tips that I try to use in my outreach emails that can help you craft better outreach emails that have a greater chance of being read and acted upon…
- Don’t be too long with your pitch. Most influencers are busy, so keep it simple and to the point.
- Consider how the influencer will benefit by sharing or linking to your content and be sure to include that in the email (in a tasteful way)
- Be respectful and don’t demand anything from the influencer (believe it or not, this happens!)
- Pay your influencer a sincere compliment
Essentially, you want to come across as an acquaintance, rather than someone looking for a free hand out. And, if you can throw in something for the influencer to sweeten the offer that’s even better.
For instance, I aim a lot of my outreach campaigns at University and college clubs that have relevant resource pages on their sub-site.
Since college clubs are always in need of funding, one way to sweeten the offer is by including a donation if they link back to you or share your content.
In any case, there’s a lot of ways to sweeten the pot for your influencers and the more you can offer them, the more likely they are to promote your content.
And, ultimately, the more your content gets promoted, the more direct traffic you will get from the promotion and, perhaps more importantly, the higher you will rise in the search engines, thus gaining more long-term traffic.
While producing long and thorough content and combining that with a good promotion strategy can get you a ton of traffic, there is a third factor that must be considered and implemented if you want to cover all angles of traffic generation.
And, that third traffic generation strategy is to provide the best possible user experience for your audience.
Tip #3: Improve the User Experience of Your Website
I was originally going to title this tip “Improve Your Site’s Speed and Load Time” but in reality, improving your site’s speed and page load time is just one facet of improving what is really important, your user’s experience.
Let me start off by telling a story I’ve told multiple times, but that I will continue to tell until it is no longer relevant…
About three years ago my first successful site had really started taking off. I was climbing in the search engines, getting more traffic, and pushing through more affiliate sales at an ever increasing rate.
I started making enough money to where I could quit my part-time job so that I could work on my website full time.
In fact, I was making more than twice the amount of money per month on my website as I had ever made in any job I had had before then.
(Although, that’s not to say that I was rolling in money, because up until then I had never really had a high-paying job to begin with!)
Everything was going better than I could have imagined and I had finally come to the realization that it is possible to make money online.
However, that excitement was short-lived.
A few months after my site had starting earning me a significant monthly income, it plummeted in the search results after a Google update shook up the rankings.
It was devastating, but it was the wakeup call that I needed.
You see, while my site had good content, it really didn’t offer a great user experience.
The site was slow, the design was ugly, and the content was pretty good—but not amazing.
So, I got to work on really improving my website. My goal was to completely revamp it so that it offered a much better user experience.
First, I switched my site from a shared hosting plan on Host Gator to a dedicated server on Synthesis hosting.
Then I redesigned my website and at the same time lengthened two of my main guides from being ~2,000 words long to being well over 15,000 words long. (As I’ve mentioned above.)
Finally, I added a content delivery network and paid someone to configure a caching plugin to speed up my site.
The result was a much cleaner website that loaded faster and had better content. My bounce rate dropped by 10%, my average time on page increased by a few minutes, and my affiliate click-throughs jumped significantly,
And, within a few months my website was ranking higher than it ever had before and I was getting 5x more traffic and making 5x more money than I was prior to the change.
All because I improved my site’s user experience.
So, regardless of where you currently are in your online business, whether you’re just starting or you already have an established website, you should definitely look for ways to improve the user experience of your website.
And, if you can do that, along with producing better and longer content, and promoting that content like an animal, then you will have mastered the art of building successful online businesses.
What Traffic Tips Are Working for You?
While these traffic tips are well-known and somewhat general in nature, hopefully I have dove into them enough to give you some new insight on why and how they are so crucial to your success.
In fact, in my opinion, these three strategies are essentially the three most important traffic generating tips currently available.
And, ultimately, if you have a website that provides an amazing user experience, with high quality content that answers your audience’s most-pressing questions, and you promote that content extremely well, you will be well on your way to generating a significant online income.
So, now I want to ask you, what do you think of these traffic generation methods? Have you put them to use?
If so, did they work? And, if not, what went wrong?
Post your answers in the comments!
This post is a part of my goal to publish 50 different posts in 100 days. This is post #7 in the series. I’m using The Freedom Journal to track my goal and help me stay focused. To read more about my goal and how I plan to achieve it, click here.