In terms of inbound marketing for your site, we tend to talk about traffic in two major ways: either as organic traffic, or referral traffic.
Broadly speaking, organic traffic is best categorized as the clicks that come from users who find your site directly from a Google or Bing search. Referral traffic, then, refers to the visitors who come to your page through any site other than a major search engine.
For your site to truly generate value and help your brand achieve its strategic goals, it’s important to have campaigns in place to drive in both organic and referral traffic. Unfortunately, we see many too many people who tend to focus on the former at the expense of the latter, not realizing that SEO and referrals are deeply interconnected.
Referral traffic is, indeed, a key part of “off-page SEO:” The more trustworthy sites that link to your pages or content, the more the search engines value your content. The more that Google and its ilk trust and recognize your content, the higher they prioritize it on search engine ranking pages (SERPs). Consistent, steady referral traffic, then, will also net you more organic traffic down the line.
And in the meantime, that referral traffic is doing steady, important work of its own by encouraging warm leads to visit your site, and increasing your brand’s reputation in the eyes of consumers. It’s the online version of “word of mouth:” A visitor referred to your site from a source that they trust will be more likely to approach you with an open mind, ready to spend.
So, how do you get in front of those eager eyes? With our thanks to the gurus at Leap Clixx for some inspiration, here are five proven channels that will help generate referral traffic for your content:
1.) Social Media
Social media is a key strategic element to digital marketing because it’s a third party source for referral traffic – that you control. You get to set what links you share, when you send them, and what platforms you’re using to reach out to followers. Every piece of content you share is a new opportunity for referral traffic, and the link between a robust social presence and improved search rankings has been shown time and again.
Just as important as sharing your own content, however, is interacting with others. The more relationships you build on social media, the more "friends" and "fans" you have, willing and ready to share your content with their audiences. Let your brand participate in the conversation! Like, comment, and share away – and if you have a page or a piece of media that’s relevant, don’t be afraid to link to it in your interactions!
2.) Review Websites
Review websites are key for referral traffic because the visitors they’ll drive in are already very far along on their buyer’s journey, and are thus pretty hot leads. A user on a review site – like the BBB, Angie’s List, Yelp, Google Local, or any other industry-specific channel – is comparison shopping, and likely ready to pull the trigger sooner rather than later. Get in front of these eager eyes by registering your business with these review sites, and encouraging your previous customers to rank you fairly and honestly.
3.) Online Directories
Like review sites, web directories are excellent for getting your brand in front of searchers who are looking by service or location, rather than by name. For instance, imagine you just moved to the Pacific Northwest and you were looking for a contractor for renovations on your new home. Your first instinct wouldn’t be to Google for one name or company, but for “Best Roofers Seattle,” or “Roofing companies near me.” These searches often lead to directories like the Yellow Pages or other, industry or city-specific guides.
Want to get started listing your business’ information for greater exposure? The local marketing experts over at Moz have a great resource for finding citation opportunities by industry and location. Give them a look!
4.) Professional Groups and Forums
LinkedIn is the number one source for B2B lead generation for a reason: Professionals like to talk to each other directly. It’s why word of mouth and direct networking will never go out of fashion.
Think of professional forums and groups online as the digital equivalent of a morning meetup. Comment on interesting posts, share ideas and copy of your own, curate threads, and be sure to include a call-to-action on your personal page or signature. A little bit of shop talk can go a long way toward driving in future lookers.
5.) Guest Posts
A lot has been made of our “influencer economy.” Companies shell out huge bucks to Instagram stars and celebrities to endorse and interact with their brands online. Some say it’s the most effective marketing tactic around, some say it’s a waste of money.
But the idea of “influencers” comes down to solid business practices that have worked in our economy for as long as we’ve had an economy: Foster connections, build trust, engage the community, and people will take notice. Perhaps more importantly, guest blog posts that you write for others have plenty of practical means for driving up referral numbers through back-linking, whether it’s in body copy, bios, or calls-to-action. What about letting a guest contribute to your blog? Same effect, as the writer or brand shares and promotes their work, all of that traffic comes straight to you. It’s a win-win!
Have any more questions about driving up traffic? Looking to start fleshing out your brand’s reputation online? Geek is here to help! Drop us a line today to keep the conversation going.