Increase traffic… it’s a term that I hear over and over and over again. It’s not that I don’t believe in increasing traffic; it’s that often marketers are trying so hard to increase traffic that they forget to try to increase retention or conversions with the traffic they already have. Relevance is critical for every visitor to realize that their online session wasn’t hijacked with irrelevant clickbait.
What Is Clickbait?
Clickbait refers to shared headlines designed to attract attention and generate inbound links from other websites. The purpose of clickbait is to entice the search engine user, social media user, or other external users to click on the link and get to your site.
Clickbait can take many forms, such as an interesting article, a controversial opinion piece, a humorous video, or an infographic that provides valuable information. The critical element of clickbait is that it is shareable and likely to be linked by other websites and shared on social media platforms.
While clickbait can be an effective way to drive traffic and improve search engine rankings, it is vital to create high-quality content that provides value to your visitor. Attempting to trick or deceive readers into clicking on a link or sharing content can backfire and damage a website’s reputation. Sadly, we’ve seen a massive growth in negative and emotional headlines by the media for this reason (and, ultimately, advertising revenue).
Here are the top 25 relevant strategies that don’t incorporate irrelevant clickbait that we’ve deployed for our properties and for our customers to increase meaningful, relevant traffic… and to ensure that they’re getting results with it!
Ways to Increase Meaningful Traffic:
We deploy the following strategies to increase traffic to our clients’ sites as well as our own:
- Optimize site for search engines (SEO). Without a doubt, this is the easiest way to increase relevant traffic. Understand the keywords and topics that your target audience is using to research relevant to buying your products or services. Ranking well on these terms is an ideal way to gain traffic that converts.
- Use attention-grabbing, curious, or emotional headlines. Did you know people only click on 20% of the headlines they read? You can increase traffic significantly by focusing as much attention on your title as the content. In this article, for example, I am setting an expectation that there’s a list… and raising the curiosity of those who might read the headline to motivate them to click.
- Use compelling meta descriptions on your pages and blog posts. Meta descriptions can be the edge to getting higher click-through rates in search engine result pages; this has been a critical strategy to increase traffic with our clients. Think of the meta description as your opportunity to support the headline and motivate the user to click through.
- Check your spelling and grammar. Some folks get uptight about spelling and grammar, leaving a site as soon as they see a mistake. I’ve dramatically improved my writing over the years with far fewer mistakes by utilizing Grammarly.
- Develop a content library that focuses on providing value to the targeted visitor rather than irrelevant, frequent blog posts or articles that only promote the products and services offered. With this library in place, you should be able to resonate with your audience that you understand their problem(s) and are providing value towards solutions.
- Invest in design resources. A good design will attract, bad design will turn away customers. There are plenty of great sites out there with incredible content that simply isn’t attracting attention because they’re just plain ugly. Great designs don’t have to cost you thousands… there are plenty of theming sites that have amazing layouts and aesthetics for less than $20!
- Add your identity or your employees to your site. People don’t like to read marketing drivel, they want to feel like they’re reading a message from a real person. More people will be attracted to your site or blog and more people will return to your blog when they know they’re not dealing with an anonymous content writer.
- Add your physical address and phone number to your site. Again, someone who is hiding their identity may be deemed untrustworthy. Let people know how to find you… and you may be pleasantly surprised at the visits you get when they do! Not to mention that a physical address on your site can improve your chances of being found in local search results.
- Incorporate responsive design for a mobile-first audience. Smartphones have surpassed desktops in many industries so you must ensure your site looks fantastic on a small screen. Responsive design is essential nowadays… and is a must for ranking on mobile searches as well.
- Promote your social media presence. When someone likes or follows you, you’ve just added a relevant potential visitor to your network. Grow your network and you will grow the volume of traffic from your social network. Solicit your network to connect with you so that you can update them from time to time with your relevant content.
- Add a newsletter! Many visitors won’t find what they need… but if the site or blog is relevant, they’ll follow you on social media or even subscribe to your newsletter. When you link back to your site, your newsletter will increase traffic immediately. Email marketing has an incredible return on investment… and an even better return on traffic! I’d appreciate if you subscribed to Martech Zone:
- Add links to your email signatures. You never know how you’re going to capture someone’s attention… and obviously, you already have a relationship with the person you’re emailing.
- Use effective navigation menus. Effective navigation makes your site easy to use and will keep traffic returning. Prominent placement of navigation elements will also let search engines know what the key elements are on your site.
- Provide interactive tools like calculators, surveys, and demonstrations. People don’t read as much as you think… many are simply looking for the right tool to get the information they need. A great calculator on a site will keep people returning over and over.
- Utilize imagery, video, charts, and infographics. Imagery and charts not only help people to comprehend and remember the information, but strategies like infographics also make it easy to share that information and pass it on. Social shares also incorporate your featured images. And don’t forget that images show up in image searches, and videos show up on the second largest search engine in the world… YouTube!
- Promote other industry leaders and their blogs. Mentioning your peers is a great way to capture their attention. If your content is worthy, they’ll share it with their audience. Many of those leaders have incredibly large audiences. Often, when a colleague mentions me, I’m compelled to both comment on their site and share the link socially with my audience. If the content is incredible, I’ll probably even share a post about it. That’s going to generate links back from my site to theirs, a new tributary for traffic to flow through.
- Add social sharing buttons for visitors on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other platforms to enable word of mouth. This allows your audience to promote you… for free.. to their audience! It typically means much more when someone in your network recommends content. Focusing on social sharing has produced the largest increase in traffic that our site has ever seen aside from search.
- Pay for promotion. If you’ve put effort into a fantastic post, why wouldn’t you pay to promote it? It doesn’t require a huge budget to attract relevant traffic via pay-per-click to your site.
- Spruce up old content. Just because your content is old, doesn’t mean that it’s out of date. Avoid using dates in URl construction and posting on articles – you want to make sure your audience thinks you’re active and your content is still relevant. Once a month, check out the content that is ranking well using a tool like Semrush and re-optimize the page titles, content, and metadata for the keywords it’s ranking on.
- Drive large volumes of traffic with contests, coupons, discounts, promotions, and rewards. These tactics don’t always produce the most relevant visitors, but because they generate buzz and promotion, you will retain some of the new traffic.
- Do not underestimate the power of traditional media, especially if you are not working in the technology sector. Mentions in industry and magazines, trade presentations, sales collateral, business cards, and even invoices… providing people with a link to your company website, blog, and social sites will increase traffic. Public relations people have relationships with industries and they have the time and talent to pitch your story… you don’t. Some of our best traffic has been through traditional journalists in major media companies that wrote about us or interviewed us.
- Distribute your content to industry groups on LinkedIn and forums. Some people SPAM the heck out of some groups, but others are very active – and when people see that you are helpful and know your stuff, they’ll eventually come back to your site. They may also find your discussions through searches.
- Just as industry groups help increase traffic, so do answering relevant questions Question and Answer sites. Some of them even allow you to reference a link in your responses. Q&A sites were exploding in popularity but seem to have slowed a bit. However, that’s where folks are looking for answers – and if you have a link to your content on a great question, they’ll make it back to your site.
- Search and social monitoring for keywords mentioned in discussions that your site or blog could help with. Do you have alerts set up for competitor names, product names, and industry keywords? Reviewing these on a regular basis will expose you to a larger audience of potential visitors. It will also build your personal network and authority when you’re providing valuable information.
- Utilized effectively, clickbait is still an effective means of increasing traffic, just be sure it’s relevant to the target audience and the content they’re going to be presented with. According to Search Engine Journal, 5 types of articles seem to generate a lot of backlinks and a lot of viral activity. They are News (news-jacking), Contrary, Attack, Resource, and Humor. This blog post, as an example, is a resource post.