Should introduce Quora tagging
11 tried and tested ways to get traffic to your website
This article does not list every conceivable strategy to generate traffic.
Instead, he lists tactics we use at Ahrefs. They are tactics that have helped us increase our earnings by + 65% year on year.
In other words, they are proven to be successful.
Let's get down to business.
1. Topics with search traffic potential
The Ahrefs blog receives over ~ 230,000 organic visitors per month:
Aside from word of mouth, this is our second best marketing channel, bringing us hundreds of new users every month.
Without a doubt, search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the best ways to get consistent, long-term results. As long as you have a high ranking on Google, you can generate passive organic traffic on your website.
To do this, you need to write about topics that people are looking for. In other words: topics with search traffic potential.
Here are two quick ways to get started.
A. Find keywords with high volume and low competition
Enter one (or some) relevant word or phrase into the Ahrefs Keywords Explorer, then select one of the Keyword Idea reports to see hundreds or thousands of ideas.
Filter this list by two metrics:
- Search volume - the total search demand for this keyword or how often in a certain country each month this keyeord is searched for in Google;
- Keyword Difficulty (Keyword Difficulty) - the difficulty level of a keyword, represented as a numerical value between zero and one hundred.
This gives you a manageable list of topics with a low level of competition and reasonable search volume.
For more ideas, play around with the filters until you get a list that you're happy with.
IMPORTANT. Filtering by Keyword Difficulty (KD) only gives a rough idea of the difficulty. You should always analyze search results manually to assess the actual difficulty and search intent before choosing a keyword.
But that's not all. Prioritize your list of topics by focusing on the topics of high business value (i.e. the topics where your product or service is critical to solving a particular problem).
Ultimately, traffic is a vanity metric. There is no point in driving a lot of traffic to your website unless that traffic is somehow converted into revenue.
This is the simple scale we at Ahrefs use to determine the business case for topics:
- 3: Our product is an irreplaceable solution to the problem;
- 2: our product helps a lot, but it is not absolutely necessary to solve the problem;
- 1: our product can only be briefly mentioned;
- 0: there is absolutely no way to mention our product.
The very best topics find a balance between high traffic potential, low competition and high business benefit.
B. Use the Content Explorer 'Hack'.
The Content Explorer is a searchable database with over a billion web pages.
To find ideas for simple content with high ranking potential, look for a broad topic and apply two filters:
- Referring domains < 5
- Organic traffic filter > 1.000
This will give you a list of relevant pages that are getting a lot of organic traffic but have few or no backlinks.
Flip through these pages looking for high business value topics worth exploring.
For example, if we were Beardbrand, we could easily create content on “gray beard styles” and “how to shape and care for a square beard”.
Learn more about creating content in our step-by-step guide to the Writing a blog post that ranks well.
Guest blogging is a tactic of blogging for other blogs. In return, the publisher / site owner usually allows you to set a link back to your site.
The advantages are:
- More referral traffic;
- More backlinks (which correlate with rankings);
- Increased brand awareness
Here is an example of a guest post I recently wrote for SmartBlogger:
The biggest challenge in guest blogging is finding blogs that are ready to accept your guest posts.
To get around this problem, most SEOs use the Google search operators to find websites with “Write for Us” or “Become a Contributor”.
The problem? This is tedious and time consuming. And when everyone follows the same process, everyone finds the same opportunities. As a result, the editors of these websites often get more pitches than they can handle and therefore ignore many of them.
How can you solve this problem? Don't limit yourself to just websites with a “Write for Us” page. Most sites are willing to accept guest posts even if they don't advertise it.
After all, who doesn't want free content ?!
If you can find websites that have written on a particular topic before, then they are likely interested in guest posting on a similar topic.
The easiest way to do this is with the Content Explorer.
Enter any word or phrase, then toggle the "one article per domain" switch to make sure you don't contact the same websites twice.
Voilà! Over 26,000 Potential Guest Blogging Opportunities!
Too many? Use the domain rating filter to focus on the range of websites you enjoy writing for.
To learn more about guest blogging, check out our guide to guest blogging at scale.
Most people write guest posts solely to get links. They often don't care if the topic of the post is relevant to their blog or if the links they are building are likely to send traffic in their direction.
I have also made this mistake in the past:
While trying to promote a SaaS customer loyalty solution, I wrote a post on Reddit Marketing that drew on a post on Instagram. No business use
Fortunately, Tim showed me that in order to get traffic from your guest posts, you have to write about relevant topics and present your product or service in the posts.
You don't have to sell directly. Just mention your product or service where it's relevant. In my experience, most website owners allow this as long as it's not too intrusive.
Here is an example from the SmartBlogger guest post:
3. Promote content in relevant online communities
Relevant online communities are places where your target audience hangs out on the web.
You can find these communities everywhere:
Recently we introduced Content Explorer 2.0, which is built from the ground up with a ton of new features.
As part of the introduction, I made some videos for SEO-related Facebook groups explaining how to take advantage of these new features.
Judging from the comments it was received, it was pretty well received.
Sounds easy right?
That's it. Just don't find a few Facebook groups and don't start spamming them. There is no faster or better way to get kicked out and banished.
What is missing in this example is the effort required to be active in the group, build trust in the community, and maintain the relationship with the group administrator.
If you do, they will be more inclined to say “yes” when you occasionally ask for permission to self-promote.
Nathan Collier, the admin of the Facebook group Content Marketing Lounge, says this is the reason why he turned the other cheek when I posted something to promote himself to his group:
4. Answer questions on Quora
Quora is a question and answer website where anyone can ask or answer questions.
This means that you can answer existing questions in your niche, establish your authority and in this way generate some traffic for your website.
I have been active on Quora since July 2018 and answer at least 5 questions a week on topics related to Ahrefs, SEO and digital marketing. Since then we have collected hundreds of thousands of views.
But the Quora views are a vanity metric. The real question is, is Quora sending traffic and sales to your website?
Short answer: yes.
We receive regular logins through Quora every month (from people who have said they know us from Quora):
How do you market on Quora now?
The success formula consists of two parts:
- Find the right questions;
- Answer questions well.
A. Find the right questions
Finding good questions is essential. That's because Quora is a user-driven website, which means that thousands (if not millions) of people ask questions every day.
The Pareto Principle states that only ~ 20% of these questions will actually send you traffic.
To find these questions easily, enter quora.com in Site Explorer and navigate to the Top Sites report.
This report shows you the pages on Quora that are receiving the most search traffic.
That means: every answer you write here will also be shown on Google, which means you get more referral traffic!
Enter a relevant word or phrase in the Include field to find suitable questions to answer.
Another strategy you can use is that Quora Ads 'Hack'.
If you set up an ad account, select “Specific Questions”, and then enter a relevant keyword, Quora will suggest questions for you to answer and display the number of weekly views.
B. Answer questions well
Writing good answers to Quora is not difficult.
Good answers = good copywriting.
If you want someone to read your answer, stick to the story, and then click "upvote" or "share", you need to create convincing text.
Fortunately, there are formulas that make writing texts easier. One of them is the AIDA formula.
A.ttention! Capture attention with something catchy or relevant.
I.Interest: Tell interesting facts, applications, examples, or stories.
D.esire: Get readers to accept the product / service / etc. to desire.
A.ction: get them to act.
This is how I used it:
Here is a guide that explains more about the AIDA formula.
Some more tips for a good Quora answer:
- Establish a value. The Quora moderators won't hesitate to remove your reply (or ban you) if they think you're only there to siphon off the traffic for your website. However, they are happy if you set a link to another page, as long as you really create value.
- Insert pictures. Images help grab users' attention as they scroll through their Quora feed.
- Tell a story. Most of the Quora answers are boring and very factual. Storytelling helps keep the reader involved.
Another way that your answers will be seen by many is to network with the owners of "Spaces". Spaces are Quora's answer to Facebook groups. They enable the quorums to form communities and curate content.
For example, JD Prater published one of my responses in his “Digital Marketing News and Trends” section. The result was that I received hundreds of "upvotes" and thousands of views:
5. Appear in podcasts
44% of the US population have listened to a podcast.
Because of this, podcasts have become one of the hottest marketing channels. Brands like Drift are flocking to the podcast game and creating their own versions.
But creating a podcast is a tedious job. You'll need equipment, editing skills, guests, and so on. And if you have limited resources, it doesn't seem like a good idea to jump into creating your own podcast right away.
Look at it from a different perspective.
The amount of podcasts means these guests need. Apply to be one of these guests!
Tim, our Chief Marketing Officer, has appeared on numerous podcasts this year. From a relatively new podcast to a top 100 business podcast, he's done it all.
And that has helped us attract hundreds of customers:
How can you find podcast opportunities?
The easiest way is of course to use Google. Search for "Top [your niche] Podcasts," and you'll get a ton of curated lists:
You can also use the Site Explorer. First, identify the name of someone in your industry who has featured on many podcasts.
For example, Laura Roeder is known for distributing MeetEdgar via podcast appearances.
Go to Site Explorer> enter the person's website> backlinks> search for the person's name in the title of the referring page (e.g. "Laura Roeder")
This will find the podcasts that the person appeared on.
Find the host and introduce yourself as a guest!
Do you want to do this on a large scale? Here is Tim's article on how he turned podcast appearances into a repeatable, scalable process.
6. Working with other brands to reach their audiences
For most businesses, there are a variety of non-competing brands with the same or similar target audience.
So why not work together to reach each other's audiences?
That's exactly what we did recently.
We hosted a joint webinar with Buffer, a social media planning tool. The topic: How you can build your website traffic with evergreen content and social media.
We both advertised heavily on social media in the run-up to the webinar. After the webinar, Buffer created a blog post that summarized the presentation.
On our site, we have stopped recording on YouTube and uploaded the presentation slides to Slideshare.
Since then, the recording has generated over 4,500 additional views:
Result: Finding ways to work with brands that offer different solutions for a similar audience.
In this way, everyone can gain access to a completely new user base (without stealing each other's customers!)
7. Tendril videos on YouTube
Check out these rave reviews for Sam Oh, our YouTube god:
His ardor has helped grow the Ahrefs YouTube channel to nearly 60,000 subscribers and nearly 3 million views.
In addition, he managed to rank our videos on YouTube for some of the most sought-after search terms.
Even though we have a smaller audience compared to our top competitors.
Google search can be pretty competitive when it comes to specific search terms. But with YouTube SEO everyone has an equal chance to entertain, engage, and get ranked.
While keywords and search intent are important, the key component of YouTube is SEO high engagement.
I'm talking about metrics like I like / I don't like, clickthrough rate (CTR), average search time, etc.
YouTube wants viewers to stay on the platform as long as possible. That helps them earn more advertising money.
And to reward you, they give you visibility.
Here's a simplified process for creating videos that will rank well:
- Do keyword research. If you don't target topics with search volume, then you won't get any search traffic. To get these numbers, you can use our YouTube Keyword Tool (part of the Keyword Explorer) or combine YouTube Suggest with Google Trends to gauge popularity.
- Identify the search intent. Search intent is the reason someone searches for a search query. To find out what search intent is, enter your target keword on YouTube and see what the top 3–5 results are talking about.
- Create a high engagement video that meets search intent. If you're not GaryVee, you'll need to script your videos. Plan the stories you will tell, the hook you will use, and the content you will present.Then strategically crop your videos so they're fun and engaging (note: this is why movies are so good at grabbing your attention; it's all about the editing!)
- On-page video optimization. YouTube On-Page SEO = Title, Description, Tags and Thumbnail View. To do this, insert your target keyword and make the thumbnail an eye catcher.
- Publish and promote. The first 24-48 hours after publication is the critical time. Ideally, you should publish at the "best time" (check your YouTube analysis), respond to any comments, and promote the publication intensely (send a newsletter, post it on social media, add video embeds, etc.).
Read our complete guide to YouTube SEO to learn more about how you can achieve this.
8. Update “out of date” content
We recently updated our article on hiring outside writers and it moved from "none" to # 1 for the target keyword.
We also updated our post on the anchor text which revealed there was a massive surge in traffic to this post:
This is now a core element of our strategy here at Ahrefs.
We find articles that are no longer “evergreen” (in the eyes of Google) and we update and republish the content.
As you can see, SEO is not a "do it and forget it" task. Even if you already have a good ranking for your target keyword, competitors can try to “steal” you the top spot. Google can also "downgrade" your rankings if your content is out of date.
So, you need to keep your content fresh and up to date in order to keep your rankings.
To find the pages with decreasing traffic, check your Google Analytics. Alternatively, paste each of your pages into Ahrefs' Site Explorer and look at the organic traffic diagram in the overview report.
Looks like it's time for us to update this post!
To find out why your rankings have dropped, take a look at the search results to see what the top-ranked posts have that you don't. Often times, ranking drops because certain parts of your content are out of date. For example:
- Links (broken etc.)
- Year in title.
Depending on the target keyword, an update of the outdated sections is sometimes sufficient. In other cases, you may have to rewrite the article from scratch (which we do the most here at Ahrefs!).
Check out our guide to evergreen content to learn more about how to keep your content “evergreen”.
9. Merge similar posts.
There's some meta here.
This post you are reading was originally two other posts with these urls:
Both had backlinks.
The problem? Neither of them got a lot of search traffic.
That's why we decided to put them together in one post.
We call this the Cocktail technique.
By merging and consolidating the two posts into one delicious cocktail, one page is likely to do a lot better in the SERPs.
This is exactly what happened when we merged two articles about the skyscraper technique on our blog:
Why does it work
For two reasons:
- Consolidation of "authority". 301 redirects no longer lose PageRank. By redirecting one article to the other, we were able to merge the "authority" of both sides into one.
- Better content. The merged items were fine (not great). And they were getting out of date. By bundling the content into one post, we've created much better content that deserves more traffic.
Do you want to learn how to use the cocktail technique? Then read our guide to 301 redirects.
10. Reuse of content on other channels
Here is our contribution to conducting a content audit. And here is our video on the same topic:
By converting our article into a video and uploading it to YouTube, we received over 10,000 additional views.
But that's just an example. Here is another one:
We also published our article on podcast advertising on Medium. On that day, the contribution landed at number 2 on Medium's “Most Popular” list.
We also turned some of our lovely infographics into tweets:
The vast majority of Google searches are very specific and unpopular (i.e., long-tail).
A whopping 92.42% of them get ten searches per month or fewer! pic.twitter.com/ICQDN5Ij0E
- Ahrefs (@ahrefs) December 22, 2018
800+ likes and 500+ retweets. Pretty successful I would say!
Think about it: If you've put a lot of time and effort into creating content, don't neglect it right after it's published.
Extend its "shelf life". Convert it to different formats. After all, people consume content differently: some prefer video, others audio, and still others, like me, prefer to read.
A good mental model for this is the content pyramid used by Gary Vaynerchuk.
Here is the presentation that explains its process.
11. Create “thought leader” content on Medium
At Ahrefs we have a general "rule":
Only write about topics with addictive traffic and business potential.
The reason: We want every article to generate steady traffic for years after publication, and we want to convert that traffic into paying customers.
We want to avoid the "zero line" - where we have to keep posting just to keep traffic to our blog going.
The declining results of posting blog posts that have no search traffic potential
But this reckless prioritization has a disadvantage. We sometimes throw away great content ideas because they have no search potential.
Mostly these are statements or content about how we at Ahrefs do (differently).
Medium is a user-powered website that prefers great content. The beauty of Medium is the recommendation engine, which suggests articles based on their users' reading habits.
This algorithm enables topics without search potential to be found by their readers. Plus, Medium's editors spend a lot of time selecting great content for recommendation.
Translated: Medium is a place where we can write about these discarded ideas and still generate traffic.
Since the beginning of this year, Tim has published a number of articles on Medium.
Here are his dates:
Those are some fantastic numbers!
Here is our current strategy:
- Publish posts with search traffic potential on the Ahrefs blog;
- Publish articles on topics without search potential on Medium.
You can read more about Tim's thoughts on Medium here.
In this post, I've only included tactics that are free or that require limited resources. Of course, if you have the budget and are ready to spend, don't forget that you can always buy paid traffic from platforms like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Quora, etc.
To be transparent: We do the same at Ahrefs.
For every blog post we publish, we commit to investing at least $ 100 to $ 200 in Facebook advertising to promote the article. And where it makes sense, we are happy to double the amount and add even more budget.
At ~ $ 0.30 per click, this strategy makes perfect sense to us.
Maybe not for you. So feel free to experiment with some of the “free” traffic strategies mentioned above and add paid marketing to the mix whenever your budget allows.
To ask? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter.
Translated by sehrausch.de: Search engine & conversion optimization, online marketing & paid advertising. A perfect fit from a single source.
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