Go on, admit it! More than once you’ve asked yourself how do I build more traffic to my website? It’s easy to look at your traffic, take a deep breath and wonder why it’s the same as it was yesterday.
The truth however is that we live in a world where we’re used to instantaneous gratification and it’s making us all perpetually impatient. The demand for instant results is seeping into every corner of our lives, and not just virtually.
We put more focus on vanity metrics such as rankings and Likes than we do on establishing authority and trust in our industry. You need patience and a long-term mindset to focus on the latter and I’m not going to lie when I tell you that most businesses simply haven’t found that yet, at least in the online marketing space.
We live in an attention economy where everyone is fighting for consumer attention, and there’s only so much to go around. What this means is that in order to stand out from the noise we have to provide exceptional value and our growth is likely to be exponential. Until we develop authority we’ll first need to develop patience and persistence.
So what are some of those strategies we can implement if we want to increase traffic in 2016?
1. Linkable Assets
“Linkable assets are simply awesome pages on your site that you can leverage for links over and over (and over) again. However, because they have to be phenomenal, they aren’t easy to make. That means you want each one that you create to be a hit.” – Neil Patel, Quick Sprout.
I’m so tired of hearing the phrase “content is king” because it gives businesses the impression that producing mediocre content will make an impact on your traffic, it won’t! I also hear from many established entrepreneurs that all you need to do is create content but their view is often skewed because they have an existing audience.
Brian Dean defines a strategy called the Skyscraper technique. He outlines three simple steps:
- Find link-worthy content
- Make something even better
- Reach out to the right people
Using paid tools like Buzzsumo and Ahrefs we can identify the most socially shared and linked content on the web which means we
- know what works and is being shared
- We remove the guesswork and gain a better idea of what “value” looks like.
- We can find influencers to promote and share our content.
Content syndication is what happens when you publish your content to third-party websites, such as social media, either as a link or in a form that is natural to the platform.
Video is the ultimate content form for syndication but I’m the first to admit that I often shy away from it. Most business owners are no different.
Video is powerful because of its ability to be converted into multiple forms of unique content. I say unique content because we’re not trying to duplicate or spam when it comes to syndication.
Let’s focus on the process when we create a video (such as an interview):
- We can distribute it to platforms such as YouTube, Vimeo & Facebook.
- We can broadcast live on platforms such as Periscope and Meerkat during the making of it.
- We can use audio, as part of a podcast, and add it to Sound Cloud, iTunes, or Stitcher.
- We can transcribe audio into text for your blog or LinkedIn Pulse
- We can take quotes and pictures from the filming for inspiration for Instagram.
- We can make infographics for Pinterest.
With a single piece of high-value content, you’ve been able to increase your reach across numerous platforms, plus create links back to the website, and at the same time build a linkable asset on your website that Google and your audience will love.
Take a look at Gary Vaynerchuk and the #AskGaryVee show if you want to see this strategy executed.
3. PR & Guest Blogging
Guest blogging is still relevant in 2016 regardless of some industry experts saying it’s dead. What we do know however is that Google hates spamming any technique that can be used for link building. What you’re looking for is opportunities to create valuable content for authoritative and relevant websites in your industry.
We need to steer clear of the mindset of content for the sake of content.
In its simplest form guest blogging works by creating content for a website other than your own typically according to some guidelines. In return, you may receive a link back to your site in the signature or somewhere on the same page, that’s a benefit but not always your goal.
Any link helps build authority to your website and also drives new visitors to your site.
More recently we’ve seen websites such as SourceBottle launch which is a tool used for gaining free publicity amongst journalists and bloggers. All you need to do is list the categories you’re keen to comment upon and then wait for the regular emails asking for your response. Once signed up you’ll start receiving emails like this which provide you with an opportunity for response.
This strategy has seen my business develop numerous high-quality backlinks including major Australian news sites such as the Sydney Morning Herald.
A single Facebook member may be exposed to up to 1,500 pieces of content per day and over 2 million blog posts or more are created every day. We can no longer accept the “publish and pray” approach to our content marketing or live in hope that creating content and hitting publish will have any impact on our rankings.
If you were disappointed with your traffic in 2015 it’s important to reflect on what small steps you took each day to improve.
Unfortunately for those of us that don’t have a ready-made audience for our content, it means that we need to put even more effort into marketing and promotion. Many businesses are socially active but that’s just one form of marketing and we need to focus on more advanced strategies such as:
- Broadcast – Social, Email Marketing & Events
- 1:1 – Outreach via email, in person or direct social contact – highly recommended
- Paid amplification – Facebook advertising, remarketing etc.
Using tools such as Ahrefs, Followerwonk and Buzzsumo we can find exactly who is sharing content and target them to develop ongoing relationships for promotion and marketing to their audiences.
If we develop a content marketing strategy around creating high-value linkable assets we now have something that gives us leverage to reach out to existing audiences and ask them whether they’d be interested in linking to or distributing to their audience.
5. Paid Traffic
We’re no longer restricted to Google Adwords in terms of paid marketing and we’re now presented with a range of affordable paid traffic options such as Facebook and Twitter where we’re provided granular control to pinpoint our exact audience.
There is a difference however in platforms for advertising – Intent (Google) versus demographic (Facebook) advertising.
Paid traffic can be a little like gambling if you don’t approach it with a specific goal in mind. Before you begin advertising understand what you’re trying to gain from it, do you need more leads, brand awareness or greater reach to an already existing audience?
What are you trying to achieve – sales, brand awareness, trust or something more? This will help you minimise your wasted advertising spend and target the right audience.
Let’s look at some potential examples:
- Intent – Sell a local service – We could use AdWords and target searches that have a specific intent i.e. plumbing services Melbourne.
- Demographic – Product (e-Book) – We could target Facebook users that have an interest in our book topic.
- Remarketing – Product (shoes) – Through remarketing, we can continue to target visitors that have already visited our sites and remind them of products they were interested in.
- Remarketing – Brand awareness – Through remarketing, we can target existing visitors with ongoing content and increase their awareness and trust in our brand.
With the affordability of paid advertising, every business can afford some form of paid marketing in 2016 and begin testing what works best for them for as little as $10 dollars a day.
To give you more perspective, check out this case study on how we helped our client increase their return on Ad Spend by 46% while also reducing their ad spending!
In 2016 content will continue to be the backbone of traffic-building strategies but we need to shift from “good enough” to “best available” content and focus on the promotion and continuous marketing of such content.
If the content is king then god is the promotion and amplification of such content. When we create linkable assets it provides us with leverage for outreach and improves our ability to amplify our brand awareness.
In 2016 we need to develop a strategy and have someone responsible for the following:
- Content Research
- Content Creation
- Content Marketing & Social Media
- Outreach & Promotion
Businesses that develop a strategy and hire key personnel to manage one or many of those aspects above will have greater success in 2016.
Don’t forget that many of the principles of traditional offline business still apply to online business too.
- We still need to focus on building partnerships – partnerships allow us to be referred or marketed to existing audiences/customers.
- We need to focus on creating something of value that attract potential customers through our virtual business “doors”.
- We need to focus on having a “virtual sales approach” that us to move visitors from the top of the funnel to the bottom of the funnel.