The most effective ways of acquiring traffic: 40+ experts interviewed

The most effective ways of acquiring traffic: 40+ experts interviewed

Not so long ago, I was analyzing different sites to get some inspiration and new ideas on how to boost my client’s traffic. This is an arduous process that takes more than 10 long hours, requires tools like SimilarWeb, SEMrush, Ahrefs, BuzzSumo and many more. Sadly, there’s no guarantee you’ll discover something worth sharing, which means you have to get back to the basics and analyze again and again. Even writing about it is a little bit depressing, not to mention the fact that some of the tools that are critical to such analysis can be pricey (I suppose, I’m among the lucky ones.) Regardless of the occasional roadblocks I encounter, I find myself constantly willing to improve my work processes. If you can relate to that, then another great never-ending source of knowledge is the expert community.
Frankly, this post was birthed due to my exceptional laziness and slight procrastination, but something happened along the way, and it turned out to be a gem, thanks to the 40+ experts we interviewed.

As I was putting together this piece, I got carried away a bit. So, to simplify the way of navigating the strategies of acquiring traffic, I categorized this post based on what kind of information my respondents shared. By clicking on a specific category, you’ll be directed to a list of experts and their favorite strategies:

Content Marketing

James Svoboda

CEO & Partner - WebRanking

Create a solid content foundation strategy
I’m a strong believer in creating a Foundational Content Strategy for every website. We define Foundation Content as pages that are part of your main sales funnel and typically consist of Service and Category pages. Research for Foundation content typically consists of good old fashion keyword research for the desired segments to mine deeper sub-segments that fill out the content topics. This type of content is often considered boring and overlooked by many, making it a very underrated strategy.

Adam Connell

Blogging Wizard - Founder

Develop your content promotion checklist

We have a step-by-step content promotion checklist that we work through whenever we publish new content. Or update existing content.

But, traffic generation starts at the ideation phase. This includes selecting topics that have the possibility of driving traffic from organic search and involving influencers directly within the content creation process (quotes etc).

This initial phase is important. For example, if we don’t consider keyword research, it will limit the lifespan of the piece. When a piece of content is published, we promote it heavily. Some of the steps in our checklist include:

> Emailing to existing subscribers
> Social media posts across popular networks
> Submitting to niche social bookmarking sites
> Submitting to aggregators such as Flipboard/Scoop.it
> Leveraging platforms like QuuuPromote and Zest.is
> Running ads on Facebook and Pinterest
> Native advertising (Twitter/Pinterest, etc.)
> Emailing those mentioned in the post
> Tagging those mentioned on Twitter
> Reaching out to our contacts to help with promotion
> Additional outreach

Ilise Benun

Founder of Marketing Mentor and host of the MarketingMentorPodcast.com - Marketing Mentor

Unleash the power of guest blogging on your site
Guest content is the most effective tool. I know what my ideal clients (self-employed creative professionals) are struggling with and I know where they go looking for help. So I get my content in front of them in the form of guest blog posts, webinars, live stream Q&As, podcasts (guesting and hosting) and, best of all, speaking at live events (webinars and conferences).

Casie Gillette

KoMarketing

Build a monthly Content Calendar based on the most popular search terms

We have a monthly content calendar that is based on search terms, client feedback and industry news. The goal of our content is to drive potential and existing clients to our content and showcase our industry knowledge. That alone has been a huge traffic driver, and I think it’s because we are consistent and we write with purpose.

Kevin Indig

Atlassian - Head of SEO

Connect your articles to a sequence
You want to do your homework and research the most important keywords, topics, and questions of your space. But don’t stop there. Connect your articles to a sequence, as if you were publishing chapters of your book. Cover every important aspect of your space and make sure people always have a next article to read. Then you should repurpose your content to video, slide decks, ebooks, and audio. This body of content usually ranks much better because Google understands that you cover every aspect of a topic, and visitors stick around longer because there is so much to explore about a single topic.

Duane Brown

Founder & Head of Strategy - Take Some Risk

Dig Reddit to find the new content ideas
I think about what questions people have or what do clients keep asking me over and over again. Sometimes I look at specific subthreads in Reddit to see where people are struggling or having any issues. Then I look at creating content that goes beyond the basics. You won’t often find list type posts on our blog or posts that just scratch the surface. We try to go a level or two deeper.

Mary Hartman

Account Manager - Hanapin Marketing

Original industry researchers
We pride ourselves on developing industry-leading content that inspires and informs our fellow marketers, including our blog PPCHero.com and publishing industry surveys like The State of Paid Social 2018 and The State of PPC 2018. Our full resource library is located here.

Julia McCoy

CEO - Express Writers

Use long-form content to capture leads
Our #1 marketing technique for lead gen is long-form, comprehensive blog content. Consistent content creation for 7 years has earned us an audience of 3,000+ daily site visitors, 5-10 new clients a week. We strategize at the ideation stage to increase traffic. Our top strategy for more traffic includes creating content pieces around high-volume keywords (100+ or more monthly visitors). Once we’ve researched and found the right keyword, it’s all about creating high-quality, engaging content. We need to give people a big reason to click on *our* blog in search engine results, so we invest a lot into the creation stage.

JD Prater

Ads Evangelist - Quora

Create original researchers
My favorite two ways to generate traffic is to produce original research and using paid advertising to amplify it. In the world of content saturation and falling social shares, the big winners generating traffic are sites that have built a strong reputation for original, authoritative content. Secondly, to ensure the right people see your content, drive highly relevant traffic to your content using paid acquisition channels like search ads and social media ads.

Laura Hogan

Ricemedia

Answer your audience’s burning questions in your content
Blog content is so important in driving traffic. We actively try to answer questions with our content and then nurture users through a journey once they’re on the blog.

Chris Green

Head of Marketing - StrategiQ

Add real value to your content
Write about something good. I don’t mean the “just do good content” or “go searching for unicorns.” On countless clients (and my own websites) I’ve had the most success by ADDING REAL VALUE in content.

Not searching around a subject until I’ve found a niche that no-one else has (although that does work), but rather writing something detailed, in-depth, and genuinely helpful.

If I ever have to research a problem and have to cobble the answer together myself from other sources, that— for me— is a prime opportunity to add real value. Write a guide, go to town on it, capture some top-of-funnel traffic.

I’ve got my own blogs without any focused link building which is driving 0,000s of visits based on strong content which solves something. There is still an element of luck to this, I’m not Midas – no one is!

Increase your chances of success here by being active and keep challenging yourself, ask “am I adding value here with this content”?

Andrew Cock-Starkey

Founder - Optimisey SEO MeetUp

Educate and entertain your audience through content
This may sound a bit trite— and I hate when Google use lines like this but— ‘make useful content’.

That’s always where I start. If your content isn’t useful to your target audience, why would they come to your site anyway?

You don’t have to rival Shakespeare or invent a new iPhone, but you do need to know who your audience is, what they want and how you can ‘be the best answer’ to what they’re after.

And ‘useful’ is a broad term too. Useful doesn’t have to mean practical ‘how to’ videos. Sites like Buzzfeed get tonnes of traffic just by being a fun distraction from the daily grind, which is just what their audience wants.

Solve your audience’s problems. Engage with them. Help them. Entertain them.

And be patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Anton Shulke

Head of Video Content - SEMrush

Repurpose your content as much as possible
I will be specific to my part of what SEMrush does in terms of marketing 🙂 We recently started to add Transcript (condensed) to compliment webinar’s videos

Jacob Simkovich

Communications Manager - Similarweb

Quality Content Means Quality Traffic

Create quality content. If you have insightful, unique and relevant content, then the traffic will follow.

Luckily for us at SimilarWeb, we have a team of expert analysts doing our research (insightful), who have full access and tons of experience with our platform (unique), and are capable of creating content across a variety of use cases and industries (relevant).

Content (Insightful + Unique + Relevant) = Quality Traffic

SEO

Luke Monaghan

Senior Account Manager - Fetch

Bucket search terms by theme
We also have a section of our checklist devoted to content repurposing (Slideshare, etc.) This is extremely important to ensure we get as much mileage as we can from everything we publish.

– When it comes to traffic, while quantity is a principal aim, it’s the quality I like to focus on. A lot of the traffic I generate is built from a foundation of extensive keyword research, really understanding what consumers are searching for relating to the product I’m marketing.

– With keyword research, I bucket terms by theme, creating content around the themes I’ve identified, building in co-occurrences and synonyms.

– Building targeted content is great but ensuring it’s discoverable by crawlers is critical when looking to benefit from it. Ensure you’re making it as easy as possible for crawlers to find your content— resolve broken links, reduce redirects, optimize page load, don’t rely on JavaScript to load the content.

Helvis Smoteks

Market Me Good

Find a searchable topic that hasn’t yet been covered
The key to never paying for traffic is KEYWORD RESEARCH.
I find queries that people are looking for, but nobody has written an in-depth guide (2 000+ words).
That’s all!
If you do stellar keyword research and write an awesome post, you won’t have to worry about the traffic. People will find your posts.
It sounds simple, right? That’s because it is.
To rank articles easily on Google, you have to find a topic that has less than 20 million results on Google and make sure that other high authority websites are not on the first page. If you can find such topics, your post will bring Free traffic.

Benjamin Beck

Online Stampede

‘S’ is For Strategy
My favorite way to drive sustainable and profitable traffic to a website it through a simple blog content strategy.

1) Find out what keywords are most valuable to the company.

The easiest way to do this is through PPC ads.

2) Make sure priority pages are optimized for keywords that convert.

These are service or product pages where the company make its money.

An example term for a priority page would be “Car Accident Attorney Denver” for a lawyer who focuses on these types of cases in Denver.

3) Make content that aligns with priority pages.

Priority pages are, well the priority for companies, but they are usually very competitive and can take a lot of work to rank.

The next step is to create content to capture potential clients while they are looking for answers. These terms usually have more demand and less competition that can rank more easily.

Blog content ideas for a Denver lawyer could be:
– Cost of a car accident attorney in Denver?
– When to hire a car accident attorney?

Following this simple strategy can turn your blog into a traffic powerhouse to help grow your business.

Sune Eghjort Schulze

Accuranker

Put SEO First
I always put an SEO strategy first. I don’t just start with keyword research. You need to know what is/are the goal(s) of acquiring traffic. What is the purpose of the site? What do you want the users to do when they enter the site? It’s not about the quantity of the traffic; it’s about the quality of it. Relevant traffic is the key.

Bird-eye view

Gerry White

TakeItOffline.co.uk

4 ‘Ps’ of marketing place and product
In 2018, our team at digital marketing almost has to take a step back; it isn’t as much about tricks and hacks, while some work, it is fundamentally about two of the four P’s of marketing– Place and Product. You need to be where your audience wants you to be and your product needs to really stand out. Increasingly, businesses are finding that pay-to-play is the way forward, and while as an old-school organic guy, I know that the same techniques work across all channels— understanding your audience and having a product or service shown to be better. As a marketing guy, the key part is showing this element to users through the channel best suited to the users (social, search or another).

Critically, having the best product means your users will return, which in this pay-to-play world typically means they will be cheaper than new users.

Gianpaolo Lorusso

Founder - ADworld Experience

Identify your ideal visitors
If you want to do serious business online, you have to ask yourself: Who are my ideal visitors?
Then, what may interest them? And finally, how can I deliver that?
Ask to these question correctly, and the traffic will come.

Phoebe Fasulo

Associate Director of SEO - Eduvantis

Start with making sense of data
I drive organic traffic to a website by looking at the whole picture, traditional marketing to paid digital to organic and social media.

1. I think one of the most impactful things you can do to drive traffic is to align the content you’re providing with what and how your users are looking for it. The key idea here is user intent.
2. I also believe that any strategy whether offline or online should be rooted in data.
3. Ensure that your content/website is properly optimized for search, meaning everything from the structure of your website to on-page content is buttoned up.

Kayla Hammersmith

Manager of Copywriting & Content Strategy - Perfect Search

Keep a balance between organic and paid channels
There are so many strategies you can employ when trying to drive more traffic to your site. It’s about striking a balance between paid and organic strategies. For us, we use paid search, display, remarketing, and paid social ads to try to drive more targeted traffic to our site. We also put an emphasis on organic and referral traffic as well. For organic strategies, we sign up for directories and optimize our profiles, respond to Quora questions with natural and relevant links back to our blog, and use HARO (Help a Reporter Out) to try and get free backlinks to our site.

Community Management

Natasha Woodford

Director of Recruitment - clockworkTalent

Build your own community
Our top tip for generating traffic has to be— get involved with your online community! We regularly share guest blogs written by well-known digital industry names or include quotes in our content from much-admired industry experts. Not only does the name recognition boost clockwork Talent’s authority and traffic, but when we promote this content on social media, we’re able to create a buzz around each of the featured experts encouraging them to share our content to their own audience as well.

People appreciate being asked to guest blog, and they’re usually likely to ask for the favor back in return. If you ensure they include a link, you’ve opened up a whole new audience for your website!

Andrew Nicoletta

Account Manager - Grow & Convert

Promote your content on established communities
Community-driven content promotion! Feel free to pull anything from this detailed post on the subject.

Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré

B2B SaaS Consultant

Promote your content across various communities
1. Share content on communities: Zest.is, GrowthHackers.com, ProductHunt.com (Product Hunt accepts e-books), Facebook groups such as SaaS Growth Hacks and Startup Product Launches
2. Use distribution tools – Quuu.co (paid)
3. Share content on social media – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn
4. Answer Quora questions with backlinks
5. Run workshops, webinars, podcasts, etc.
6. Ask startup friends to share your content on their social media profiles via your personal Slack group
7. Include content in Sunday Brunch (my newsletter)
8. Promote content in other newsletters (paid)

Josh Barney

Director of Content - Einstein Marketer

The Zest of Success
My favorite one varies depending on the day of the week, but currently, it has to be Zest.

Zest is a Google Chrome Extension that plugs into your browser and becomes your new homepage. It’s packed full of really valuable marketing and business articles, and they don’t accept everything that’s submitted, only the most well-researched and relevant blogs.

Because they place so much emphasis on the quality of their content stream, it creates a high-quality audience.

Although we do not receive the majority of our traffic from this source, all of it is good. Visitors from Zest regularly raise the average levels of our behavior KPI’s, and this is why it’s my favorite (today).

Email Marketing

Eugen Oprea

Email Marketing Passionate

Email Is Not Dead
Email marketing is my favorite way of driving traffic because it’s the most predictable way of generating traffic to a website.

You can definitely use creative ways of driving one-time visitors to a website, but email marketing helps convert them into repeat visitors, customers, and loyal fans.

A great way of turning visitors into email contacts/subscribers is to offer them access to a free email course because that will:

– get them on your email list
– offer them value and position you as an expert
– educate them to read and click through the emails they receive from you
– engage them as soon as they join the email list

Lifehacks

Jill Quick

Co-Founder - The Coloring in Department

Google search hack
If I have found a website that has worked really well for links or guest blog posts, and I would like to have more like it, a shortcut to researching (especially when you don’t have the funds for expensive tools) is to use this Google search hack. Type in related:www.typethewebsiteaddress.com and Google will return results to websites that are similar.

Lisa Sicard

Social Media Consultant

Take advantage of SMM promotional tools
I use Triberr as it generates shares from other bloggers on LinkedIn and Twitter. It’s a great way to connect with other bloggers in your niche. I answer questions on Quora on a regular basis. It took 6 months before I started to see traffic from it, but now it’s one of my top traffic sources. The last but not lease method is to comment on other blogs often.

Michael Bonfils

CEO - SEM International

Use Content Gap Analysis
For our clients, we analyze the missed opportunities in content made further down the customer journey. Many companies focus on awareness but they don’t focus on the decision. Adding to this, we specialize in multilingual/global campaigns, and as you would expect, many markets are entirely ignored when it comes to very tactical content creation used for more qualified traffic.

Marie Page

Co-Founder/ Facebook Marketing Expert - The Digiterati

Find your audience problems as early as possible
Inbound is essential to us. We create content on topical issues as early in the game as possible. We’ll also try to create graphics that would satisfy a search term and get indexed. This is an example of the Instagram algorithm shortly after news of official reports were published on what is included (which were generally accompanied by dreadful images).

And similarly, this approach on Facebook’s News Feed algorithm (which we called NFO – geddit?).

We create original research on topics of relevance to our audience. So as people that train and consult in Facebook marketing, this research and resultant post on whether it is best to boost a post, create an ad or promote a post got a lot of traction.

We also like to court controversy. When Facebook changed its recommendations on Group cover photo size, we argued for a different approach to the one Facebook was recommending. Our blog post and resultant downloadable template (gated content of course) were picked up by Mari Smith, and Facebook’s own staff started recommending it.

Omi Sido

Senior Technical SEO specialist - Canon

Focus on headlines
Everything you do online has to start with creating something epic.
With that in mind, it takes more than good content or great design to attract people to your website. The most important part of writing an article is the headline.
So how do you get people to read what you write? Write catchy headlines.
Take your time and write headlines that will grab people’s attention the most but also make sure that your headlines describe your content in a truthful, but attractive, way.

Gil Gildner

Take advantage of direct outreach
Direct outreach is the way I approach to boost referral traffic: developing relationships with journalists or writers, and continually offering quotes, interviews, data, or case studies in order to provide them value. It’s a lot of manual work but pays off over time.

Robbie Richards

Marketing Director, Speaker, Blogger - Robbierichards.com

Liven up your audience
I’m going to break this out into both free and paid traffic channels. Nothing groundbreaking, but both complement each other really well.

Free: Send an email to my list the day I publish. Re-send the same email with a modified subject line 7 days later. I’ll also add my best content into a welcome drip series to ensure I maximize exposure to an engaged audience.

Paid: People receive 147 emails a day. Even with two email sends over a 7 day period you’re probably only going to hit 30-40% of your list.

This is where I like to use facebook retargeting to engage all the non-openers. Specifically, create a Website Custom audience that contains all your email addresses. Promote the post to this audience over a 2-3 day period.

Bonus: If you want to expand your reach to a warm audience, amplify new assets to all website visitors who have not downloaded your content upgrade (this is a critical thing I create before any content goes live).

Kelsey Jones

Mixing and matching content with paid social ads
A mixture of great content and paid social media ads have worked well for a lot of my clients and the launch of my live social media course. First, create a meaty piece of content, like an ebook. Ebooks don’t have to be 100 pages– even 15 or 20 pages can bring a lot of value. Then, as part of your marketing strategy to promote the ebook, consider running some paid social media ads that focus on your ideal audience for your ebook. This also helps you grow your social media audience, a win-win!

Andrew Dennis

Content Marketing Specialist - Page One Power

Keep competitors closer
My favorite technique for driving traffic to a website is through competitive analysis.

My process is pretty simple. Essentially, I use a tool like SEMrush or Ahrefs to identify top competitor pages (that are driving the most traffic to their site) and then research the keywords and themes associated with those pages.

Since these pages are popular in my niche, I know that creating something similar, but higher quality would give me the opportunity to rank my own page and drive similar traffic to my site. From there, it’s all about content execution and link building. This is a repeatable process you can apply to your own SEO strategy.

PPC

Jason Barnard

Search Marketing Consultant

Run Dynamic Search Ads
With a primary focus on SEO, my answer might surprise you: Google Ads. Google Ads has a great campaign type for SEO specialists like me. Dynamic Search Ads. Simply put, with a quality on-page SEO, DSA allows you to build profitable, VERY low-maintenance Google Ad campaigns. Google uses its organic search index to optimize most aspects of your campaign for you automatically— keyword choice, landing page choice, ad title, schedules, audiences… and a few more. Once the campaigns are set up, running and profitable, your principle work is then on-page optimization/UX. And that benefits your Google Ads, your SEO and all the other channels using those same landing pages. Here’s an article explaining how this works in detail.

Craig Campbell

Founder - Craig Campbell

Capture traffic via Facebook Ads
Other than SEO, Paid social traffic via Facebook is a good way; you can target people via Geo or Demographics, or you can use your Facebook pixel to target people who have visited your website. You also have things like paid Quora traffic. Guest blogs on popular sites, webinars and speaking events are also other good options to consider.

Akvile DeFazio

Founder - AKvertise

Getting tactical with social media ads
Using social media ads is not only my favorite way to drive website traffic, but it’s also incredibly effective in doing so. While there are a number of methods, a go-to tactic we often use is a traffic-focused campaign in Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads, then targeting cold audiences, particularly customer, lead, fans, website visitors, or other custom audience lookalikes. Reaching new and relevant audiences and sending them to your website to be tagged with the pixel for remarketing has been successful for our clients and us.

Social Media

Aleksej Heinze

Salford Business School

Promote your content across SMM channels
When it comes to traffic, the basic start for any new interesting content is through social media amplification— schedule updates and create tweets, LinkedIn post, Facebook and other channels available for an organization.

For larger, more intricate projects, when there is time to work with PR teams is a great way to get potential exposure and links from relevant news outlets.

Joanna Siara

Accuranker

Getting social with your audience
My favorite way to drive traffic to a website is through Social Media. It’s more important than ever as you can directly communicate with your customers and followers! There is no doubt that social referrals are a significant source of traffic for most websites. Paid campaigns, as well as organic posts, can definitely boost website traffic. It’s crucial to promote your blog content that drives traffic to your website — so much time and effort you put into writing a blog post or an article, right? What is the point of creating really great content if people won’t read it? Use your Social Media to share your newest piece or exciting news with your followers using interesting captions and visuals – be creative! Not sure where to start? You can start with preparing captions and scheduling your old blog posts (i.e. on Buffer) that your new followers might have missed. – Perform analysis of your target audience. – Pick the best time to post – check when your followers are most active. – Get the attention by outstanding visuals in the sharing links or simple images. – Share your content regularly – make it a habit. – Plan and create Social Media Calendar. – Make your content easily shareable – especially on mobile! – Think about how your blog posts, news or any other information you share related to your industry might be helpful or interesting for your followers. – Put yourself in the position of the reader – people want personalization and usefulness of sharing content that brings value. – Don’t ignore people – instead, engage with your audience. In this way, social media generates referral traffic to your website, because users are more likely to click, read and share.

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