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14 Proven Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Website

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14 Proven Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Website

Feeling overwhelmed by the infinite options for driving traffic to your website? You’re not alone.

This article doesn’t list every traffic strategy under the sun. Instead, it lists the tactics we’ve used at Ahrefs. 

Let’s get to it.

1. Target topics people are searching for

The Ahrefs blog gets over 427,000 monthly organic visitors.

Amount of organic traffic the Ahrefs blog is receiving, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

No doubt, search engine optimization (SEO) can work. For as long as you rank high on Google, you’ll be able to generate consistent organic traffic to your site. 

To do this, you need to write about topics people are searching for. Here’s how to find them:

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  1. Enter one or a few relevant keywords into Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer
  2. Go to the Matching terms report
  3. Switch the tab to Questions
The Matching terms report, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

Here, you’ll see >46,000 potential topics you can target. That’s probably too many, so you’ll want to narrow the list down by looking for keywords that are:

  1. High in Traffic Potential (TP) – TP is the estimated amount of search traffic you can potentially gain if you rank #1 for that topic. We calculate it by estimating the amount of search traffic the #1 page currently gets.
  2. Low in Keyword Difficulty (KD)KD is how difficult it is to rank for the keyword in the top 10 organic search results. 

Use the filters to reduce the list down to something manageable.

Then pick out those keywords that are relevant to your site. 

Recommended reading: Keyword Research: The Beginner’s Guide by Ahrefs 

2. Fill “missing” content gaps

A piece of content can rank for thousands of keywords

Chart showing the average number of keywords the top 20 ranking pages also rank for

Most of them will be different ways of looking for the same thing, but some will be important subtopics you need to cover in your content. 

If you can cover these “content gaps”—subtopics you’re currently missing—you can potentially rank higher for your target keyword and get more search traffic.

Here’s how to find these “content gaps”:

  1. Enter your domain into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer
  2. Go to the Content Gap tool
  3. In the top section, enter a few competing pages
  4. In the bottom section, enter the URL of the page you want to fill content gaps for
  5. Hit Show keywords
The Content Gap tool

Eyeball the list and see if there are any subtopics you can cover on your page.

Results from the Content Gap tool

For example, if we wanted to update our post on evergreen content, we’d likely have to fill in two subtopics:

  • Evergreen ads
  • Evergreen content on social media

Guest blogging is where you write for other blogs. In return, the owner/editor will allow you to link back to your site. 

The benefits include:

Here’s an example of a guest post I wrote for SmartBlogger:

A guest post for SmartBlogger

How do you find relevant guest blogging opportunities? Here’s how:

  1. Enter a relevant keyword into Ahrefs’ Content Explorer (set it to In title)
  2. Filter for One page per domain, Exclude homepages, and Exclude subdomains
  3. Filter for Explicit results
  4. Add a Language filter for the language you write in
  5. Add a Domain Rating filter for 30–70 to weed out low-authority sites (and remove “ultra high authority” sites that you probably won’t be able to pitch to… for now)
  6. Add a Website traffic filter for 5000+ to weed out websites with little or no traffic
  7. Add a Published filter for the Last 90 days to weed out websites that haven’t published content recently
Results shown after applying a set of filters, via Ahrefs' Content Explorer

Look through the results to find relevant sites you can potentially guest blog for. 

Don’t worry if they don’t have a “write for us” page or are not advertising for guest posts. Most sites are willing to accept guest posts, even if they’re not explicit about it. After all, free content is free content—especially if it’s good.

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Recommended reading: Guest Blogging for SEO: How to Build High-Quality Links at Scale

4. Refresh “outdated” content

I recently updated my post on free SEO tools, and traffic shot up:

The spike in organic traffic for a blog post after it was refreshed

A major SEO mistake is thinking that SEO is a set-it-and-forget-it task. Even if you’re ranking high for your target keyword, that status is not permanent. Competitors may try and “steal” your spot, or Google may lower your rankings when your content becomes outdated. 

So you need to keep your content up to date to maintain your rankings. 

The easiest way to find out which content you should refresh is to install our free WordPress SEO plugin and run an audit. The audit will tell you which articles you should be updating. 

To find out exactly what aspects you need to refresh, look at the search results to see what the top-ranking posts have that you don’t. Often, ranking drops occur because certain parts of your content are outdated. For example:

  • Screenshots
  • Process
  • Stats
  • Links (broken, etc)
  • Year in the title

Depending on the target keyword, sometimes refreshing the outdated sections will suffice. In other cases, you may find that you need to do a full rewrite of the article. (Don’t worry, we do this often too!)

Recommended reading: Republishing Content: How to Update Old Blog Posts for SEO

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From new-ish podcasts to a top 100 business podcast, our chief marketing officer, Tim Soulo, has appeared on them all. 

Tim Soulo's appearance on Pat Flynn's Smart Passive Income podcast

There are currently 850,000 active podcasts. And many podcasts need guests. So why not pitch to be one of them? Share your knowledge and, in return, you get brand exposure, referral traffic, links, and more. 

The simplest way to find podcast opportunities is to search for “top [your niche] podcasts” in Google

The SERP for the query "top marketing podcasts"

However, some of them may be out of your reach (for now). So here’s how to find podcasts that are likely within your wheelhouse:

  1. Find someone in your industry who has been a guest on many podcasts
  2. Enter their domain into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer
  3. Go to the Backlinks report
  4. Set the search to Referring page title and search for their name
The Backlinks report showing referring pages that contain "Laura Roeder" in their title, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Look through the results and pick out those that are relevant podcast opportunities. Then find the host’s email and pitch yourself as a guest. 

6. Collaborate with other brands to tap into their audience

For most businesses, there are plenty of non-competing brands with the same or similar target audience. So why not work together to cross-promote to each other’s audience?

That’s what we did with Buffer, a social media scheduling tool. 

We arranged a joint webinar titled “How to Build Your Website Traffic With Evergreen Content and Social Media.” Then both brands heavily promoted the webinar on social media leading up to day zero. 

Post-webinar, Buffer created a blog post summarizing the presentation, while we posted the recording on YouTube and uploaded the presentation slides on SlideShare.

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Takeaway: look for opportunities to partner with brands that solve different problems for a similar audience. That way, you can each gain access to an entirely new user base.

7. Share barebones posts on Reddit

With over 330 million monthly active users, it seems a no-brainer to promote on Reddit. 

With one exception: Reddit hates marketing. 

If Redditors catch even a whiff of self-promotion, they will not hesitate to downvote your post, delete it, or even ban you from the subreddit. They may even blacklist your domain.

Yet, Tim managed to successfully “promote” his link building post:

Tim Soulo's post on the subreddit, r/bigSEO

Reddit enjoys helpful and valuable content. Its users are only antagonistic to spammers. So to promote on Reddit, you can replicate what Tim did:

Take one of your blog posts, strip away all internal and external links, format it in markdown, and share it on a relevant subreddit. Only at the end do you leave a link back to your original blog post.

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Notice that even though it was a “tl;dr,” it was still meaty with tons of helpful information for Redditors. The post was valuable on its own, whether or not people clicked through the link. That’s what you should be aiming for. 

Sidenote.

Don’t promote every new post you publish on Reddit. That makes you a spammer. Choose only the ones you’re truly proud of. 

Recommended reading: Reddit Marketing: How to Self Promote on Reddit and Get More Traffic

People usually have tons of related questions when researching a topic. While you should strive to answer most of them, sometimes it’s just impossible to weave them naturally into your content.

You can solve this by adding an FAQ section at the end of your article. That can potentially help your content rank for more long-tail keywords and get more search traffic. 

The FAQ section in an Ahrefs blog post on H1 tags

The easiest way to find these questions is to Google your target keyword and look for the People Also Ask (PAA) questions that appear. 

People Also Ask questions for the query "improve gut health"

You can also look at the Questions report in Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer.

The Questions report, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

9. Create Twitter threads

Threads get a lot of engagement on Twitter. Take, for example, this thread from our head of content, Joshua Hardwick: 

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He hardly even tweets!

You don’t have to do this from scratch. Just take one of your existing blog posts and repurpose it. Paste your content into a tool like Typefully and edit from there.

An example of a Twitter thread on Typefully

Then add a link back to your blog post at the end of the thread.

Recommended reading: How to Write a Tweetstorm 

10. Post regularly on LinkedIn

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Our posts on LinkedIn generate a ton of engagement and clicks. 

A post on Ahrefs' LinkedIn page

Yes, LinkedIn may not be the sexiest social media platform. But don’t sleep on it. More and more people are rediscovering LinkedIn’s ability to send tons of traffic.

The good news is that you don’t have to create content from scratch. Simply repurpose your existing content, which is what we do.

Even better: repost what you’re already posting on Twitter. It works really well.

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11. Reach out to amplifiers

Amplifiers are people with a large audience on email, social, and more. Most importantly, they have the ability to share your content with their audience and send tons of traffic to your site. 

The easiest way to find amplifiers in your niche is to use SparkToro. The free version allows you to run up to five searches a month, which should be enough to get started.

An example of a query on the tool, SparkToro

From there, you can look at who these amplifiers are following—and pursue the trail to find more amplifiers. 

However, it’s not as simple as sending them an email and asking them to promote your website. Not only are they not obliged to do so, but they also get no benefits. 

This means you need to give them a reason. 

There are two ways to do this. 

One, show them something new and valuable. If you have something that’s truly unique (e.g., original data), then they may appreciate a heads-up. For example, Rand Fishkin tweeted about our Google Search Console study (even though we didn’t ask him to!).

Compare that to his response a few years ago, when Tim asked Rand to check out his blog post that was, in hindsight, not unique:

Rand Fishkin's reply to Tim's pitch in 2015

How do you create something unique? Here are some ideas:

  1. Do you have personal experience with something? If not, can you test or experience it yourself?
  2. Do you have access to data? Alternatively, you can find someone who has and work with them. Then analyze the data and present your findings. 
  3. Can you interview experts? You can talk to thought leaders in your field and share their expertise and knowledge. 

Two, feature them. If your content featured one of their quotes, articles, or even themselves, then it’s a legit reason to tell them. 

A Twitter DM conversation

They’ll be delighted to know they’ve been featured. 

One final tip: Don’t expect that they’ll share your content with their following. If they do, it’s cool. If they don’t, it’s cool too.

Focus on building the relationship. It may eventually lead to something more: a link, a partnership, or even a future business collaboration. 

Recommended reading: Who Will Amplify This? And Why?

At Ahrefs, we offer plenty of free SEO tools.

Ahrefs' Free SEO Tools page

Combined, they generate almost 400,000 monthly search visits.

The amount of organic traffic Ahrefs' free SEO tools get in total

Don’t write this off as a tactic only for software businesses. Other businesses can do it too. For example, Crunch provides accounting services and offers a free “take home pay” calculator.

Crunch's free take-home-pay calculator

However, don’t simply go and create any tool. If you’re going to invest time, effort, and money into this endeavor, you want it to do well. So you should create tools that actually have demand.

Here’s how to find such opportunities:

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  1. Enter a relevant keyword into Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer
  2. Go to the Matching terms report
  3. In the Include box, search for terms like tool, tools, calculator, checker, template, report, etc (choose Any word)
The results after filtering for words like calculator, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

Look through the list to find the most relevant free tool you can create that will send you traffic and business. 

13. Rank videos on Google

Meet Sam Oh, our YouTube master. Not only did he help build our YouTube channel to 330,000 subscribers, but he also managed to drive traffic to our videos from Google.

The amount of views Ahrefs' YouTube channel is receiving from Google search

How did he do that?

Simple: YouTube videos rank on Google too. 

The Video SERP results for the query "how to make kefir at home"

To rank your videos on Google, you need to find topics that people prefer to watch videos about. Here’s how to find them:

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Content Explorer
  2. Run this search: site:youtube.com inurl:watch title:topic
  3. Sort the results by Page traffic
Results in Ahrefs' Content Explorer

This will give you a list of YouTube videos that currently get search traffic from Google. Look through the list to find relevant topics you can cover.

Follow our resource below to create a video that’ll rank for these topics:

If you have the budget and are willing to invest, don’t forget that you can always buy paid traffic from platforms like Google and Facebook. 

In fact, that’s what we do at Ahrefs.

An example of a Facebook Ad from Ahrefs

However, you’re not only limited to just Google and Facebook. Given how popular they are—and therefore expensive—you can always consider running ads on other social platforms like Pinterest, Quora, YouTube, or even TikTok. 

For example, we run search ads on YouTube, and they only cost us $0.01/min.

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We also run ads on Quora and are getting relatively cheap(er) clicks.

Examples of Quora ads from Ahrefs

Expand your view, consider other platforms, and you’ll realize that online advertising may not be as expensive as you thought.

Final thoughts

Experiment with the above traffic strategies and start generating traffic to your website.

Did I miss out on any cool tactics? Let me know on Twitter



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B2B PPC Experts Give Their Take On Google Search On Announcements

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B2B PPC Experts Give Their Take On Google Search On Announcements

Google hosted its 3rd annual Search On event on September 28th.

The event announced numerous Search updates revolving around these key areas:

  • Visualization
  • Personalization
  • Sustainability

After the event, Google’s Ad Liason, Ginny Marvin, hosted a roundtable of PPC experts specifically in the B2B industry to give their thoughts on the announcements, as well as how they may affect B2B. I was able to participate in the roundtable and gained valuable feedback from the industry.

The roundtable of experts comprised of Brad Geddes, Melissa Mackey, Michelle Morgan, Greg Finn, Steph Bin, Michael Henderson, Andrea Cruz Lopez, and myself (Brooke Osmundson).

The Struggle With Images

Some of the updates in Search include browsable search results, larger image assets, and business messages for conversational search.

Brad Geddes, Co-Founder of Adalysis, mentioned “Desktop was never mentioned once.” Others echoed the same sentiment, that many of their B2B clients rely on desktop searches and traffic. With images showing mainly on mobile devices, their B2B clients won’t benefit as much.

Another great point came up about the context of images. While images are great for a user experience, the question reiterated by multiple roundtable members:

  • How is a B2B product or B2B service supposed to portray what they do in an image?

Images in search are certainly valuable for verticals such as apparel, automotive, and general eCommerce businesses. But for B2B, they may be left at a disadvantage.

More Uses Cases, Please

Ginny asked the group what they’d like to change or add to an event like Search On.

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The overall consensus: both Search On and Google Marketing Live (GML) have become more consumer-focused.

Greg Finn said that the Search On event was about what he expected, but Google Marketing Live feels too broad now and that Google isn’t speaking to advertisers anymore.

Marvin acknowledged and then revealed that Google received feedback that after this year’s GML, the vision felt like it was geared towards a high-level investor.

The group gave a few potential solutions to help fill the current gap of what was announced, and then later how advertisers can take action.

  • 30-minute follow-up session on how these relate to advertisers
  • Focus less on verticals
  • Provide more use cases

Michelle Morgan and Melissa Mackey said that “even just screenshots of a B2B SaaS example” would help them immensely. Providing tangible action items on how to bring this information to clients is key.

Google Product Managers Weigh In

The second half of the roundtable included input from multiple Google Search Product Managers. I started off with a more broad question to Google:

  • It seems that Google is becoming a one-stop shop for a user to gather information and make purchases. How should advertisers prepare for this? Will we expect to see lower traffic, higher CPCs to compete for that coveted space?

Cecilia Wong, Global Product Lead of Search Formats, Google, mentioned that while they can’t comment directly on the overall direction, they do focus on Search. Their recommendation:

  • Manage assets and images and optimize for best user experience
  • For B2B, align your images as a sneak peek of what users can expect on the landing page

However, image assets have tight restrictions on what’s allowed. I followed up by asking if they would be loosening asset restrictions for B2B to use creativity in its image assets.

Google could not comment directly but acknowledged that looser restrictions on image content is a need for B2B advertisers.

Is Value-Based Bidding Worth The Hassle?

The topic of value-based bidding came up after Carlo Buchmann, Product Manager of Smart Bidding, said that they want advertisers to embrace and move towards value-based bidding. While the feedback seemed grim, it opened up for candid conversation.

Melissa Mackey said that while she’s talked to her clients about values-based bidding, none of her clients want to pull the trigger. For B2B, it’s difficult to assess the value on different conversion points.

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Further, she stated that clients become fixated on their pipeline information and can end up making it too complicated. To sum up, they’re struggling to translate the value number input to what a sale is actually worth.

Geddes mentioned that some of his more sophisticated clients have moved back to manual bidding because Google doesn’t take all the values and signals to pass back and forth.

Finn closed the conversation with his experience. He emphasized that Google has not brought forth anything about best practices for value-based bidding. By having only one value, it seems like CPA bidding. And when a client has multiple value inputs, Google tends to optimize towards the lower-value conversions – ultimately affecting lead quality.

The Google Search Product Managers closed by providing additional resources to dig into overall best practices to leverage search in the world of automation.

Closing Thoughts

Google made it clear that the future of search is visual. For B2B companies, it may require extra creativity to succeed and compete with the visualization updates.

However, the PPC roundtable experts weighed in that if Google wants advertisers to adopt these features, they need to support advertisers more – especially B2B marketers. With limited time and resources, advertisers big and small are trying to do more with less.

Marketers are relying on Google to make these Search updates relevant to not only the user but the advertisers. Having clearer guides, use cases, and conversations is a great step to bringing back the Google and advertiser collaboration.

A special thank you to Ginny Marvin of Google for making space to hear B2B advertiser feedback, as well as all the PPC experts for weighing in.

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Featured image: Shutterstock/T-K-M

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