We all know that the success of a website is based on the traffic that it gets. Even if you have the best website with the best content, your website is “nothing” without traffic. Technically, we all define how a successful website is. If you are creating something for fun and do not care about traffic then that is perfectly fine. This is your website and you can do whatever you want with it. I was just saying that if you have good content, then people will come to you. They will find you on the search engines and will not have to push and broadcast your stuff all over the place. I mean that is the ideal situation. This does not always pan out. In this article, I will discuss different sources of traffic and why some pages receive more traffic from different sources depending on the type of content being offered.
Google Is a Good Source of Traffic But Very Hard To Get
No matter where you get your traffic from, it is always very, very hard to get. Google search engine is no exception. The reason why search engine traffic is so elusive to capture is because everyone wants it and the best keywords are pretty much already taken and super competitive at this point. Just like with everything else in life, it only gets harder and harder every day to rank for keywords. This is why people espouse going after long-tail keywords. Here is the thing about long-tail keywords, they have some unique properties about them that I will discuss next.
Long-Tail Keywords: Are They Too Specific and Too Niche?
Everyone is chasing after those long-tail keywords because all of the good keywords are already taken. I just want to bring up some things about long-tails. One thing is that some long-tails are too specific and the niche is almost non-existent. Just think about it, you have a highly competitive keyword that has a monthly search volume of 10,000 – 20,000 searches a month according to something like Ahrefs or SEMRush. That is a lot of traffic that we want to get but is too competitive. Then we got our specific niche with a low number of 50 or 100 searches per month. Look at how little the monthly search volume is for the long-tail. You need to capture a lot of long-tails to get a decent amount of traffic. This is a lot of work and you kind of wonder if you are falling into a rabbit hole where the niche is only you and a few other people. This is why I say that you come into SEO with realistic expectations because this is really how it is chasing long-tails.
Why Do People Spend So Much Time on SEO?
The same reason why people constantly promote and sell themselves every single day. That is who you are, a living breathing advertisement. Every single day you go there and prove yourself to other people. You have to know what you are doing and what you are saying. All in an effort to provide worthy value to someone. That is the same idea of SEO. Countless hours are spent on trying to make our website shine more than the next guy’s. Even with that much time invested into SEO, your ranking and traffic barely budge. That is just the way it is. Someone is willing to push themselves to get those rankings and it really is a tough grind at the beginning.
Just like breaking inertia in physics, you have to get over that initial hump at the beginning. Not saying that it will be smooth sailing afterwards, but if you work hard enough the pay-off will be great in the long-term. I mean very, very long-term. So I hope that you chose a very good niche that you know a lot about because you will need to constantly write to exhaust your knowledge in your topic and research new emerging topics to write about. All of this works in an effort to get people to find your website on the search engines. Since we do not want to spend money on paid ads, we take this “free” organic route. I mean “free” as in the cost that you pay for organic traffic is time. You only get 24 hours a day and some of that time is spent on SEO. So in this case, time is very valuable currency because you need to spend it wisely on efforts that will eventually reward you.
Sometimes we do not want to spend every waking minute trying to write novels just to attract people to our website. You can try paid ads but that has some issues too. I will talk about that in the next section.
Should I Skip SEO and Go Straight to PPC?
I generally advocate PPC (Pay Per Click) as a last resort because bidding for keywords is expensive and ad budgets can be exhausted quickly. Also, if you cannot rank on the search engine then that means that your content is lacking. If the search engines view your content as lacking, then people might think so also. This is why I do not consider PPC ads as a way to replace organic SEO traffic, rather supplement if the budget allows. If your website does not rank, then there might be more than just content issues. Other issues that need to be resolved are page load speed and user experience. So you should really get your SEO in order before you go for PPC because as mentioned earlier, a good website will set itself.
Is Organic Traffic Right for Every Page?
Good question, every page is different and you can get traffic from so many different places that maybe your page is not a candidate for organic traffic. I would say that blog articles are naturally good for organic traffic because the content contained in an article is hopefully keyword-rich and ready to go on Google. Some other pages like those that inherently lack content would be JS applications or online forms. These kinds of pages are more interactive and do not really have the kind of content that would be indexed on search engines. A lot of JS applications are used to provide users information based on user inputs but because of how hard it is to get dynamically generated content in JS to index. So in this case, we have to look at other ways to get thin content pages to get traffic. These thinner content pages do not necessarily have to rank if we can get traffic for them from other sources. That is what I will discuss next, other sources of traffic.
What Are the Other Sources of Traffic Besides Search Engines?
Traffic can come from a lot of different places. Ideally, we collect and pool traffic from all of these different places. The ones that you use depends on where you are at in your online journey. You first need a good website first, so this is why organic traffic with SEO is a great start. You could spend most of your efforts just getting organic traffic and not worrying too much about the other source of traffic. The reason why is because doing SEO ensures that you are only sending the highest quality of content to Google. As mentioned before, if Google is saying your website is search engine worthy, then it is ready to show people. Once you broadcast your website on somewhere like social media, you better make a good first impression on people. Also, pushing content can be hard because people can be very critical of you on social media. If you get noticed, you will have to deal with the onslaught of user comments that can hurt your website.
Backlinks: These Are Good On Highly Trafficked Website
I wrote about getting more backlinks in one of my articles. This is a good source of traffic if you are placed in a prominent spot on another website. Even better if you get a do follow link and receive some of the linking website’s domain authority. Backlinks are great for websites with a lot of traffic and can really help you receive a boost when your organic traffic dive or plateaus. Just think of not putting your eggs all in one basket, especially if that basket is PPC.
Paid Ads: High Cost and Users Must Convert
I mentioned how PPC cannot replace SEO earlier in this article. I have not talked about how expensive it is when users do not convert for every click of your ad. That is a problem when you look for short-term traffic with PPC. Your website might not even be ready and using PPC means that you are less likely to convert. With organic traffic, you are under less pressure for your users to convert because the only cost that you incur is time. With PPC, you spend money instead of time but if your budget only allows for a few clicks and you receive no conversions then it was all for naught.
Newsletters: You Need a Large Mailing List and Users Not Opting-Out
You can only get this kind of traffic once you become widely known and have a really large mailing list. Sending out newsletter e-mails is tricky because you have to be careful how frequently you send them out. Email clients can mark you as spam and people will unsubscribe if they feel that your newsletter means nothing to them. There is just so much brand recognition and loyalty that you need before you even consider sending out newsletters. Instead, you might have better success with social media because you do not have to wait until you collect so many users first. You just broadcast posts and hope you find some people who like your stuff.
Social Media: You Need Subscribers and Followers Though
Out of the different sources for traffic that are not organic, social media has the least barrier of entry. You just create accounts and post your stuff on there. As far as how long you should wait before posting to social media, I guess that there are two schools of thought on approaching it. The first school of thought is that you should wait until you have a good amount of content so that people are visiting a complete website. This will impress people more and make them feel like you put time into your website before sharing it.
The second line of thought is to start on social media as soon as you have something to show. The idea is that the sooner that you start on social media, the sooner that you can build your presence. I can see why someone would say that. The issue is that you are sharing what I would think is an incomplete website. People will know this and they might not visit again because they see something that is unfinished.
My personal belief is more along the lines of the first option where you should have a website that is launched first. Then you can go to social media and share your content. This actually will be better for you because the more content you have to share, the more that you can post on social media regularly. Nothing looks worse than social media accounts that have no posts because they ran out of steam too early. So just take it slowly and get your website complete and ready to share before you worry about social media. It is better to be in a place where you have too much content to share than too little.
This article is meant to highlight some of the issues with organic traffic and SEO. You should start getting traffic here first because Google is a great resource in knowing how good your pages are before sharing them with other people. So I highly recommend you check your page speed scores before you look for other sources of traffic because like I said earlier, if your content is not good enough for search engines, then it might not even be good enough for people. Chasing long-tail keywords and putting a lot of time into SEO is worth it even though it takes a lot of work. Do not skip over SEO and go straight to PPC because you find SEO too hard. PPC should only complement SEO if you have the budget to do so.
Some other forms of traffic that are not organic are backlinks, paid ads, newsletters and social media. Backlinks are great if you get them naturally but sometimes you have to be willing to pay for them. If you do pay for a backlink, make sure to get it as a do follow link. Paid ads quickly use up budgets and are under pressure to convert because of their high cost. Newsletters only work after you build up your brand loyalty to your audience and even then, you might have issues with spam and unsubscribing. Social media is a good avenue to broadcast your content to people online. Your website is complete and full. You definitely want to have something for people to look at and come back to later.