As a self-respecting publisher, you surely already know that the lifeline of your website is the traffic it attracts. Figures related to traffic can be something to boast about, provided that you are successful, or become a source of worry if they get stuck in the lower margins. In any case, most publishers are afflicted with an unsustainable traffic “hunger”, for which even respectable amounts of quality traffic are almost never sufficient. You do not want to see the majority of traffic coming from social media sites, and the best way to prevent this is to engage in driving more traffic from “alternative” sources. Read on to learn more on why you shouldn’t focus on social media for traffic only, and how to bring this effort to the most fortunate conclusion.
Driving traffic from social media has been compared to working at a city planning department. In essence, your website acts as an urban area with roadways acting as points of origins for your audience. Social media engagement is seen as a pillar of this traffic infrastructure, with an important caveat: it is a road overcrowded with content, which burdens it and hinders its role as a marketing and traffic driving channel. Back in the day, social media served as a sort of ‘business bullhorn’ allowing a magnified presence in an environment containing less content or “noise”. Back then, posting links and multimedia content was enough to make audiences drive high traffic numbers. Today, the overload of content means it easier for users to just scroll ahead in search of other content sources, making social media less attractive as a source for driving traffic.
Crawl Budget: Cleaning Your Backyard
Instead of this, you can fight these trends by improving your organic traffic, the source that keeps on giving. Search engine traffic, for example, offers relevant and quality targeting along with better conversions compared to its social media counterpart.
Clearing your backyard of bad backlinks and low quality pages can be an important first step in the right direction here. At the same time, building or earning quality backlinks will allow you to compete with stronger websites. First of all, you’ll need to go through your website’s backlinks and evaluate them in terms of potential; “pull the weeds”, so to speak. Once you are left with the best quality backlinks, you’ll have to try to let them flourish and hopefully, generate many more. These are backlinks that come from websites relevant to your niche, offer contextual value or refer back to well-researched or longer articles.
The same goes for poorly performing content, which offers no links, traffic or conversions. Any page with zero efficiency regarding these three elements represents an excellent candidate for deletion. If you grow lazy about this, these pages will act as an unwanted anchor that weighs your site down and wastes the crawl budget that Google allocates for your website. This means that any new content you provide, as well as its updates will be crawled less frequently, thus hurting your rankings and traffic.
Do Not Let the Fruit Rot
Similarly, picking up the right keywords can mean driving healthier search engine traffic instead of that generated by social media. It increases your website’s visibility and ranking, preventing it from languishing on the heap of obscure search results. Your efforts here are helped by long tail keywords, which many describe as the low-hanging fruits of the SEO tree. This process starts by trying to rank for keywords which allow you to be as specific about them as possible. If your blog, for example, deals with helping your audience find the most desirable vacation resorts, you’ll need take into account the competition which comes with using broad key phrases and the high search volumes they generate.
Instead, you can be more specific by trying to rank for “narrower” phrases, such as those referring to the resorts in specific locations (Mediterranean, for example) or those that are suitable for an audience on a budget. In this manner, your website will define its reason for existence in more precise terms, while drawing the audience that is looking for the most appropriate content for their personal needs. Driving traffic this way requires you to act intelligently, as well as become proficient in the use of keyword analytics tools such as Adwords Key Planner, Raven Tools, Moz and others. They will help you scoop out trending key phrases and words as a stepping stone that will help you identify long tail keywords that work best for your website.
Social referrals can exhibit unpredictable traffic trends
Image Credit: Forbes
Making Use of Untapped Traffic Drivers
Driving traffic away from social media is an effort which profits from thinking outside the box, particularly for publishers who want to tap into underutilized traffic sources as part of this effort. Something such as an organization of a webinar can be an excellent source of audience engagement and boost traffic. If executed with style, your webinar is bound to attract huge audiences whose referrals to your website will not only drive traffic, but spread the word about your website’s brand. It is also known that paying close attention to how you handle paywalled content can significantly drive traffic, with Google’s failed first click free idea being the perfect example.
Similar effects can be achieved by engaging in guest blogging on reputable sites. This achieves an important effect that will ultimately drive traffic your way: it will be targeted, i.e. involve quality audiences that you ultimately “borrow” in order to drive them to your site. The prerequisite is to provide your audience with the value they need, which is done by engaging in serious research regarding the topic that may interest them the most. In addition to valuable audience, guest posting will earn you quality backlinks that will improve your search ranking and send the traffic in your site’s direction.
Dividing your traffic pie into proportionate slices means being able to strengthen sources which do not originate on social media sites. Due to an overabundance of shared content, social media has become less of a stable traffic source. Thus, publishers should attempt to tap into other sources of healthy traffic, which is done by trimming the backlinks and content that wastes away Google’s “crawl budget”, improving the use of long-tail keywords and engaging in webinar making and guest posting as ways to stimulate your traffic.