All websites rely on one thing, their visitors, but how did they find your content? Modern analytical tools have evolved to not only tell your visitor behavior but what links and sources led them to your website.
Most content creators will be quick to say that keywords and search engines (organic traffic). While they are not wrong, that only makes up 51% of the visitors you receive, the other 49% come from a myriad of places.
I am going to cover the most common ways visitors find your content and how you can capitalize on them.
Why Does It Matter Where Visitors Come From?
You might think that creating good content is enough to bring in the masses. And while that’s true to a certain extent, it’s not always enough to bring in visitors. Instead, you typically have to pursue multiple marketing strategies.
These campaigns can be very distinct from one another and typically happen at the same time. As a result, it can be hard to tell which campaign is working and which isn’t.
Thus, knowing how the visitors are finding your content is important.
If it’s from a marketing campaign, it might justify you spending more money to expand that campaign. If it’s from something else entirely, you may want to change your plans around that method. It also helps identify strategies that are not working.
This is especially important if you are spending money on those platforms.
The 7 Most Common Ways Visitors Find Your Content
1. Keywords & Search Engines
A keyword is a phrase or word that reflects the subject material of a post or page. Search engines use these keywords to help visitors find the content that is closest to their search.
There are also secondary keywords that are typically related to the main keywords.
Choosing the right keywords is essential for any website. In fact, it might even be more important than the content itself. If the keyword doesn’t reflect what you are writing about, you have no hope of getting visitors through a search engine result.
Luckily there are a variety of tools you can use to help improve.
For instance, you can use the Google Search Console to get a ridiculous amount of information for any keyword or phrase. And there is no limit to the number of keywords you can research.
If Search Console is not to your liking, there are about a hundred other tools you can try.
2. Social Media
Social media might just be the most surprising entry on this list. I know what your thinking; social media is huge, there’s no way it isn’t bringing in a ton of traffic. However, the truth of the matter is it isn’t, or at least not the numbers we expect.
On average, the typical website will only get around 6 to 10% of their traffic from social media platforms.
Re-read that sentence for a moment, did you notice that I said “platforms?” It takes Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other networks combined to give that percentage.
While there are certainly exceptions to this rule, social media isn’t having the impact most thought.
That said, 6 to 10% is nothing to sneeze at. It is still incredibly important, and identifying which platforms are having the biggest impact is essential. Social sites are still the best options to engage your audience off of your website.
Backlinks are a type of link on a website that links to a different website. For example, these words are linking to Google, now they just received a backlink from us. Not that the biggest search engine in the world needs validation from other websites.
And backlinks are almost as important as keywords to search engines.
Search engines factor in the number of backlinks your website receives. To them, it’s like your website received a “like,” and the more likes you receive, the higher you rank.
However, not all backlinks are equal.
Getting a backlink from a larger website can, in some cases, multiply the amount of traffic you receive as a smaller website.
In other cases, it can be a steady stream of traffic or a trickle. It really depends on where the backlink comes from. Many websites might even attempt collaborations to ensure they have backlinks on each other’s websites.
Take the time to reach out to improve results.
Email marketing is not dead and it isn’t going anywhere in the future. It is the most accessible form of communication and over 4 billion people use it on a daily basis. For websites, this is a marketing opportunity that cannot be ignored.
That said, eCommerce stores typically has the best results when it comes to this form of marketing.
Did you know that 49% of people would like to receive weekly promotional emails from their favorite stores? Showcasing your latest products and deals is a great way to get customers shopping.
That said, it’s important to keep one thing in mind…frequency.
While many customers are eager to receive the latest information, there is such a thing as too much. The emails you send out need to have content worth their time and not come off as annoying.
Sending out daily emails is a surefire way to end up in the spam folder.
5. Paid Advertising
It’s no secret that companies can spend thousands or even millions when it comes to advertising. And that’s because it gets results.
According to a BrightEdge report, on average, paid advertisement accounts for 15% of a website’s traffic. Thus, if your not buying ad space, you should really consider doing so.
This number comes from all types of advertising like Google Adsense or Facebook Ads. Just about every major platform has some type of dedicated advertisement program that allows you to purchase ad space.
Yet, each is unique.
For instance, Facebook Ads allows you to reach customers that are more likely to be interested in your website or business. They have a lot of information to go off of to make sure the people that see your ads are interested.
In truth, you should buy ads on multiple platforms.
6. Referral Traffic
You might consider referral traffic as a form of paid advertisement or as backlinking, but I believe it is its own entity altogether. Just about every single major business participates in what is known as a referral program.
These programs encourage users to share a referral link with friends and family. If those links are used and various conditions are met, the user could receive some form of reward.
Many smaller websites also take advantage of these programs to gain rewards. It essentially turns your user base into an army of sales reps and marketing staff.
A healthy referral program can help provide a steady stream of new visitors to your website. In some cases, you could even see explosive growth if larger influencers decide to cash in on the program.
Thus, making sure the program is rewarding can really go a long way.
7. Affiliate Program
Last, but certainly not least, is the affiliate program. The main difference between a referral and an affiliate program is the target. Referral programs target existing users, whereas affiliate programs target influencers, marketers, and other businesses to advertise for you.
An affiliate program is simple. The affiliate signs up for the program and you provide affiliate links for specific products or services your website offers. If those links end up generating a sale, they get a small commission.
In some cases, affiliate programs help smaller websites pay the bills, so they’re happy to advertise for you. And since they don’t get a penny unless they make a sale, you’re only paying for results.
Obviously, an affiliate program only works for an e-commerce website, so it’s not going to help blogs get traffic, but it is something they can take advantage of. It’s a win-win situation.
How to Use Keyword Analytics to Your Advantage
Keywords and organic traffic is the most important factor your website should focus on. After all, it makes up 51% of traffic, and that’s a majority. And there are a variety of tips and optimizations you can use to capitalize on those search result.
However, the reality of the situation is not easy to see. It requires a lot of tracking and research to make the most of it. This is a big part of what SEO teams do, thus there’s a lot of information on the topic.
Here are a few reasons you should track and research present and future keywords:
It’s very difficult to properly predict how successful a post will be. Even if you do the proper research, it’s still possible to not rank highly for the intended keyword. However, that doesn’t mean it is a failure.
Many posts end up ranking for several keywords or phrases and sometimes they are not even aware of it. For instance, beginners might make a post and notice it’s really popular and think the keyword they focused on was it.
Yet in reality, they might be getting those results from a different phrase. Using something like Search Console will show you exactly what people are using to find your content.
Doing the proper amount of research can ensure that you are creating new content around the right phrases. Thus, getting the best results possible.
Analyze Search Habits
You need to put yourself in the shoes of the person doing the search. For instance, imagine you want to create a post about the best running shoes. What is an individual going to type into Google?
What are the best running shoes?
Best running shoes 2021?
The top running shoes of 2021?
And about 50 other variations, not to mention the different types of products, like off-road (trail) running shoes. It’s next to impossible to actually figure out what they will type.
Yet, you have to try.
You should also include the types of readership your website has. For instance, what a child will type into Google is very different than what an adult does.
The bottom line is that you need to try and incorporate and as many possible phrases of potential searches when you are creating interesting content for your website.
Relevance is King
The most important factor that every search engine looks for is relevance. Or, what content means. Could you imagine if the top link on Google for the best chicken recipes of 2021 was a link to the top open-world video games because they ranked for cooking chicken?
If search engines don’t provide useful results, people won’t use them. That’s why they prioritize relevance.
Thus, if you thought it was smart to rank for keywords that have nothing to do with your content, I have some bad news for you. It’s not, in fact, it’s detrimental to your website.
Search engines don’t want to look bad when they generate results, so don’t make them.
In some cases, Google might even permanently remove your domain from their index. This is essentially a death sentence for websites, so avoid it at all costs.
Keywords Are Key (Pun Intended)
While there are many avenues for you to receive traffic, none can match or even come close to organic results. And that all begins with the keywords you rank for.
That said, it is absolutely worth examining the other methods on this list. Social media, backlinks, email marketing, paid advertisement, referral, and affiliate programs can help your website grow tremendously.
They’re basically the other half of the equation. So, make sure to take the initiative and improve the odds of your website getting traffic.
However, don’t forget the most important rule; you still need to create an interesting article to read. Otherwise, all of the effort will be wasted.