The undisputed currency of doing business on the web is traffic.
Regardless of your business model, product, sales funnel, content … if you can’t get eyeballs to it, it just doesn’t matter. Therefore, traffic first!
These past few weeks have seen many an internet marketer all a-flutter over the latest in Google’s algorithm. In a set of changes that started several weeks ago, Google is seeking to protect its core business, which is matching a searcher with the best content for his or her query.
Whether the latest algorithm update helps Google’s search customers by serving them with the best and most relevant content remains to be seen.
There are plenty of forums and blogs who say otherwise, but then, it’s usually the nay sayers that tend to post.
What does this have to do with traffic sources?
Organic search traffic has long been considered the “best” source of targeted traffic. It likely was some years ago before entire an entire industry was created around SEO (search engine optimization).
If you are able to place your site on Google page one, then searches in your niche market are likely to net you a lot of targeted, free traffic.
However, given the unpredictable nature of effect various search algorithm changes could have on your placement, a wise online business owner would not put all of his/her eggs in the organic search basket.
This means that, while you should definitely pay attention to SEO, and carefully selecting your targeted keywords, there are other sources that could qualify as better traffic sources.
I believe that social media plays a large role in letting people know you exist. However, turning awareness to conversion is a big step, and not all social media networks lend themselves to this process.
For example, Twitter is great for getting the word out. Since a public stream exists, it is likely that search engine spiders pick up “social signals” and somehow mark your content as relevant within that specific context.
Facebook pages (as well as some active groups), on the other hand, are almost as good as having a list. An engaged audience on a Facebook page is almost a guaranteed to high click-through rates.
LinkedIn does well also in the context of Groups or Answers, but is equally untargetted as Twitter when it comes to driving traffic.
The likes of Digg, Reddit, and most notably StumbleUpon are most useful in spreading the word, and getting your link out to audiences you don’t normally come across.
Social bookmarking is also great for creating buzz that can be picked up by search engines, and get you indexed quickly.
However, traffic from social bookmarking tends to be spiky, in that you might see a flood of traffic for a single post, and it dies out quickly.
Social bookmarking is fantastic for launches or big announcements.
The Contextual Backlink
This traffic comes as a result of your link being embedded in a piece of related content on another website.
The power of this kind of traffic is that it quite targeted to the contents of your own website.
In addition, this kind of contextual backlink will enjoy the fruits of the hosting website’s traffic. Once a visitor on that site is done reading the piece of contextual content, they are highly likely to click through to your site to find out more.
Contextual backlinks, are, in my humble opinion, the most lasting of traffic sources as well as the most targeted.
Commenting on relevant blogs and contributing to forums in your niche are great ways of establishing contextual backlinks.
The content on those blogs and forums will continue to exist, and be brought up in search queries over and over again, and your link will be there for the traffic that comes in to follow.
In your traffic strategy, it is important to have a good mix of sources to ensure a steady stream of traffic. It is a risk to rely on any one type of source, and definitely gambling if you rely only on ONE source, say, your Facebook page.
How many different sources of traffic do you target? You are targeting specific traffic sources, right?