Referral Traffic – How To Drive More Traffic To Your Website

Referral traffic comes from backlinks, or links to your website from other websites. When you get the right links, they can be continual traffic sources back to your website. Some backlinks can even generate more links on their own. This happens when someone shares your blog post to Facebook, and then his or her followers share it with their social circles afterward. Backlinks also come from forum links, ebooks, webinars, email, and so on.

Benefits of Referral Traffic

Here are just a few of the benefits of referral traffic:

  • Improve SEO as backlinks are part of Google’s ranking algorithm
  • Boosting brand recognition, reputation, and exposure
  • Developing networking opportunities and generating future leads
  • Help you tap into a new, diverse audience base you wouldn’t have otherwise had access to

Referral Traffic Strategies

Comment on Relevant Blogs

Blog commenting can be a huge source of referral traffic. Most sites ask you to fill out form fields prior to writing a comment. One of those fields is for placing a link to your website. Meaningful comments – and this is key – will intrigue readers to click the links and drive traffic.

Keep in mind that this tactic has been heavily exploited by spammers. That’s why you need to be sure to follow these ideas for commenting on relevant blogs:

  • Make an observation and reference a related post on your own blog, so you can link to the post within your comment.
  • Ask thoughtful questions about the post or give your professional opinion.
  • Create a list of the top 10 blogs in your niche, and comment on their posts regularly.
  • Sign up for a Disqus account so you can easily comment on websites that use the Disqus commenting platform
Get Social Media Buttons

According to a 2015 Search Engine Journal post, social media accounts for almost 30% of all referral traffic.

Let’s face it – social media is here to stay for now. If you want to boost your traffic, make your content easier to share. Share buttons are a must-have for making sharing more accessible. If you don’t have these on your website, talk to your website guru now.

social sharing - how to drive referral traffic

Guest Blog

Guest Blogs are usually published with an author bio that includes your name and a link back to your site. Depending on the site’s rules, you might also be able to link back to something actionable – like a top blog post or ebook you’ve created.

If you’re a massage therapist looking for blogs in your niche that accept guest posts, try a Google Search for something like “massage therapy “become a contributor”” or “massage therapy “write for us””. Quotation marks are for exact search, meaning Google will only return results containing that exact phrase word-for-word.

  • “become a contributor”
  • “write for us”
  • “contribute an article”
  • “submit your post”
  • “accepting guest posts”
  • “guest post guidelines”
  • “submission guidelines”

guest post guidelines example

Once you’ve identified guest blog posting opportunities, read the guidelines, and apply to be a guest post contributor. With calls to action, external links, and author bios, guest posting is a good way to gain referral traffic.

Participate in Local Events

It goes without saying that nothing beats an in-person speaking event. By participating in local events, you can also get website referral traffic because you will be publicized on a website and if you’re lucky, local reporters may even cover the event.

Contribute to Q&A Sites

The strategy behind submitting to social question and answer websites is similar to blog commenting. You need to make sure that your contributions are relevant and valuable. One of the best strategies for answering questions is to showcase your expertise on the subject matter and link back to a related post on your blog.

Quora is a good place to start.

Final Thoughts

By adding these referral traffic building tactics to your tool kit, you’re planting seeds that will help your internet marketing garden grow.

Does your company need an explainer video?

Just in case you haven’t been introduced to it: An explainer video is a short online marketing video used to explain a product or service so that it’s easier to grasp.

The concept behind an explainer video is communicating an idea behind a company to its target audience in a quick and informative way. That is why explainer videos work very well for companies that offer niche or one-of-a-kind product or service like Pinterest or SnapChat, which offer a service that may be difficult to understand otherwise.

Contrary to the popular belief that every company needs an explainer video, some types of companies will be better off spending their resources on things like awareness campaigns or social media advertising. Creating an explainer video is NOT always costly, but explainer video production process can take weeks.

What factors should you consider to know whether your company can get the most out of an explainer video? Let’s dive right in.

What Industry Are You In?

The type of industry you are operating in is a fundamental factor to decide whether or not you should make an explainer video.

Let’s use the clothing industry as an example.

Do you think your target audience needs an explainer video for a leather jacket or a waterproof parka? You surely wouldn’t think so.

You would be better off spending time and resources on targeted social media ads to reach the right target audience for your clothing line.

However, if your company sells – let’s say a wearable tech in the form of a jacket, you’d be able to get the most out of an an explainer video to tell people what your products can be used for and why it would benefit them.

What is Your Main Marketing Channel?

Explainer videos are a form of digital content. They are most useful when you use them on online platforms such as website or social media.

If your company is a slow adopter when it comes to technology, you may want to hold off creating an explainer video. Invest your budget in building the best website and creating social media accounts for your brand.

If your company already has a updated website and social media presence, you definitely should invest in an explainer video. Explainer videos are a powerful marketing tool to hook your audience and engage them online. The best part is: you can use and reuse an explainer video in virtually any popular online marketing platforms these days.

You want to share your explainer to Facebook?
You got it.

Sure can, so long as it’s under 60 seconds.

Do you even need to ask?

There are many other factors that you should consider before deciding to make an explainer video for your company. This infographic contains everything you need to know about whether or not your company really needs an explainer video.

Does your company really need an explainer video?

What is a Google featured snippet?

When you use Google to search for something, sometimes Google displays what they call a featured snippet. According to Google, “this featured snippet block includes a summary of the answer, extracted from a webpage, plus a link to the page, the page title and URL.” A featured snippet looks like this:

10 most common native tree species in the U.S.

As you can see from this, Google’s featured snippet isn’t perfect. My question pertained just to the North East and only asked for the three most common trees. However, the point of the Google’s featured snippets is to provide the best answer to a user’s questions. Google will display what they believe to be the best answer to the question, and they will feature this in a section above the ads and above the organic search results. Sometimes this will be a paragraph, or a list, or a table.

These snippets provide enormous opportunities for marketers. Businesses with a featured snippet:

  • Increase brand visibilty
  • Increase website traffic
  • Increase the click-through-rate of the web page that answers the posed question
  • Increases and reinforces authority and credibility
  • Improves exposure on mobile devices – this is what appears in voice-activities inquiries


Why Every Business Needs A Lead Magnet

If you want to generate leads online your business must have a lead magnet. A lead magnet is essentially a bribe to nudge your target audience into your marketing or sales funnel. You ‘bribe’ a prospect with with a specific piece of value in exchange for their contact information that you can use to create a relationship that hopefully eventually leads to a sale.

lead magnet (a.k.a. “opt-in bribe”) is an incentive that marketers offer to potential buyers in exchange for their email address, or other contact information. –

Even if they like you, people aren’t going to part with their email address unless you can give them something special in exchange.

As an example of the lead magnet in action, suppose you have a blog post titled the top 10 ways you can improve your customer service. At the end of the post, you ask readers to join your email list for “updates”.

Or, suppose you ask readers to join your email list and get a free, downloadable PDF case study, detailing a real-life example of one business that used these 10 strategies to improve their customer service.

The second example is a much more powerful lead magnet because the offer is clear and specific.

The value offer of lead magnets are often pieces such as:

  • Case studies
  • e-books
  • White papers
  • Exclusive videos

However lead magnets can also be:

  • Free shipping
  • Free trials
  • Discounts
  • Tickets to an event
  • Tools

Make Your Lead Magnet Irresistible

Super Specific – the lead magnet should not be general. The more specific you are about the benefit of the lead magnet, the better job it will do in terms of generating leads.

Solves a Real Problem – the lead magnet must solve a real world problem. If it doesn’t help your prospective client, it’s not a good lead magnet.

Easy Win – the lead magnet should be quick, simple, and straight-forward and allow your prospect to achieve an easy win.

Quick Read – you don’t want to overwhelm your prospect. Something quick and easy to read and consume is best. PDF lists work really well.

High Value – this is really important. The lead magnet must actually deliver high value. To make it irresistible, it has to appear like a really good deal.

Instant Gratification – people love instant gratification. Create a lead magnet they can see and use immediately.

Demonstrates Credibility/Value – the lead magnet should reinforce what you do.

Content Marketing Lead Generation Tactics

Content marketing is one of the most important SEO factors in 2017. This should be no surprise to anyone. Google has long rewarded websites with relevant, quality content. What this means however, is that if small businesses want to compete with big businesses, they need to effectively use content marketing to generate a steady flow of leads. And if done correctly, content marketing will also create awareness, build trust, convert leads, serve existing customers, and help you generate referrals too.

The good news is that you don’t need as much content as you might think. Focus on quality over quantity. Consider writing just one or two blog posts a month, but make sure you adhere to the following system for using content marketing to generate a steady flow of leads.

Content Marketing Lead Generation

  1. Build a list of 6 of the most useful content ideas for your ideal customer
  2. Create a lead generating content upgrade for each of these 6 ideas
  3. Start promoting each idea in social media and advertising

Step 1 – What content should you produce?

The key factor here is to remember who your ideal customer is and remember that effective, lead-generating content is going to be content for that ideal customer. Using your knowledge about your business and your customers, and tools like the Google Keyword Tool, Spyfu, or Semrush, develop a list of core content topics and assign one or two to each month for the next twelve months.

Each theme should be a significant topic related to your business or industry and represent an important search term. Think about it as if it were a book. Each month is a chapter in what could be a book at the end of the year.

Step 2 – What exactly are content upgrades and how do I create them?

The idea of driving someone to your website or landing page and enticing them to give you their email address in exchange for something they are looking for is standard marketing procedure these days. However, the idea of bait for lead capture has evolved. The basic idea behind a content upgrade is this:

Write a great blog post and then when people show up to read it offer them an “upgrade” to the content (check list, video, case study) relevant to the topic in exchange for contact information.

If you can do this correctly, you can effectively convert visiting traffic to a lead funnel. The benefits of content upgrades are:

Creating Content Upgrades

One of the best ways to create a content upgrade is to look at your Google Analytics data and find the most popular content and then consider way to personalize a content upgrade for these posts. Hubspot has a great post from 2016 with 20 example of lead generating content – 20 Types of Lead Generating Content to Put Behind Your Landing Pages.

You don’t have to overthink this. Most people just want a snack – they aren’t looking for a manual. Here are some ideas for good content upgrades:

  • a checklist based on a how to post.
  • take a longer list type of post and then expand on the first 10 in more detail.
  • create a list of tools related to a particular type of advice.
  • create and offer a screencast showing readers exactly how you do something.
  • share a template.

Step 3 – Start promoting each article using advertising and social media

The Field of Dreams mantra just isn’t applicable anymore. If you build it, people won’t really come and they probably won’t find you online. You have to promote your content on social media. Here’s some advice from one of my favorite marketing blogs – Kissmetrics: 17 advanced methods for promoting your new piece of content.



How Can Content Marketing Benefit My Business?

Before I dive into the details, some of you might be wondering:

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is the use of content – emails, tweets, landing pages, product descriptions, blog posts – to help meet a marketing goal for your organization or business. That marketing goal could be acquisition of potential customers, retention of existing customers, increasing brand awareness, increasing or improving product recognition, or nearly anything else.

How can content marketing benefit my business?

Some companies are reluctant to focus on content marketing because it can be difficult to understand the benefits of content marketing. In truth, however, there are many benefits of content marketing. After all, content is king, and there are both tangible and intangible benefits to content marketing.

The Intangible Benefits of Content Marketing

Strong brand awareness

Creating content gives your audience something to talk about. When they’re talking about your organization or company, they’re teaching each other about you or your company, passing referrals and recommendations and links around in the process. This is intangible marketing gold.

Respect and industry admiration

You’ll need to establish trust first, but once you have proven your knowledge, you can become the reliable source of information in your niche where your audience or prospects can turn to for clear advice or resources. The authority you gain then transfers to your products and services and makes it more likely that customers will choose you over your competition.

Indirect customer conversations

If you create content that targets potential customers or clients, you’re bridging the gap between those people and your products or services, making it more likely they will buy from you or hire you in the future.

The Tangible Benefits of Content Marketing

Site traffic

If you create great content, more people will come to your site, where they will hopefully also find information about your company and your products/services.

Improved SEO

Great content attracts editorial links which tell Google that you are important and authoritative. Google will also crawl your site more frequently and have a better idea of what you are about and what products and services you provide.

Direct customer conversions

Occasionally, great content actually yields a direct customer conversion.


How to Use Long Tail Keywords in Headlines

According to Worldometers, every day we are inundated with more than 2 million blog posts and 200 billion emails. No matter what you are writing – blog posts, emails, online ads, or anything else – the headline is a crucial element. How do you get people to stop and read what you write when there’s so much competing content? If you get the headline right, you will probably be positioned at the top of the search results pages. A truly great headline might even prompt people to respond and share your article. Keyword-rich headlines will improve your website rankings and increase engagement with your audience. Your target audience is looking for blog posts that will solve their problems and address the keywords they typed into Google’s search box.

Follow this 3-Step Process for Using Long Tail Keywords in Your Headlines

First Step: Research and choose long-tail search terms.

Let’s stay with Google AdWords Keywords Planner for our example.

On the dashboard, type in your main keyword phrase (e.g., start small business) and click the “Get Ideas” button.

You can see the long-tail keywords that we’ll integrate into our blog post headlines:

starting a small business checklist
best small business to start
steps to starting a small business
help starting a small business

Second step: Model popular and viral headlines.

You can’t just pick long-tail key phrases. You also have to identify viral content specific to your industry, learn from it, and then improve upon it.

When you find headlines that have been shared thousands of times on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., it means that you can get great results, too. All you have to do is study them and incorporate the underlying strategies into your own content.

How do you find these viral blog post headlines?

Visit BuzzSumo, input your main keyword (i.e., start small business), and click the “search” button.

The two viral headlines are:

5 Simple Ways to Start a Small Business ~ 102,658 Facebook shares
6 Things I Wish Somebody Had Told Me When I Started My Small Business

Third step: Create your headlines using the viral headlines as a model:

Original Headline: 5 Simple Ways to Start a Small Business

Keyword phrase to integrate: steps to starting a small business

Unique and keyword-rich blog post headline based on the model:

7 Steps to Starting a Small Business and Growing It
3 Simple Steps to Start a Small Business That You’ll Love

When I find a headline that makes me click, I’ll copy it, study it, and create a unique and better one.

What is Reddit and Why Should You Care About It?

Every once in a while, a new internet site or technology becomes all the rage.

It’s like striking gold. Initially, it’s kept a secret and supported by the local community, but as soon as it becomes known, everyone wants a piece of it.

Reddit has become the latest internet marketing gold mine.

Marketers are trying to leverage the massive platform to build brand awareness and drive traffic to their websites. For example, Ryan Luedecke was able to use Reddit to make $2,200 in revenue for his new beef jerky company. But for every Ryan, there are many more who don’t understand how to harness the power of Reddit.

What Reddit is and why you should care about it is a website that was started in June of 2005. Despite the fact that it’s just 10 years old, it is one of the biggest sites on the internet. It’s global Alexa rank is 24. This means that it gets the 24th most traffic of all the millions of websites. To give you some perspective, Google, Facebook, and YouTube take the first three spots. Amazon is 7th. Amazon China is 73rd. The New York Times is 99th place.

Reddit is an aggregator site. Users submit links to other websites, which can then be voted and commented on. Reddit has almost 20 million unique visitors and about 150 million page views per month.

The most interesting part of Reddit is that it’s different from the majority of large sites. Most other sites are strictly controlled by a team of moderators or editors. Reddit, on the other hand, is controlled by its users.

How does Reddit Work?

The first time you visit Reddit, you’ll probably have no clue what’s going on. It looks complicated, ugly, and chaotic, but its functionality is great.

I’m going to break down some of the most important concepts that you’ll need to know to successfully market your business on Reddit.

Concept 1: Karma

Everything on Reddit is driven by “karma,” which is the individual positive and negative points (called upvotes and downvotes) given and received by each member of the site.


Everyone can vote on every link or discussion posted on the site. Everyone’s vote counts for the same amount, so it’s essentially a democratic process. An upvote means that you believe it’s a good post, while a downvote means the opposite.

Submissions with the highest score (upvotes minus downvotes) rise to the top. However, there’s one more factor that controls the flow of submissions: timing. Newer posts don’t need as high of a score as older posts to rise up in the rankings. This keeps the content from growing stale. 

Concept 2: Subreddits

The way Reddit works is that it’s divided into thousands of different categories called subreddits.

The URL structure looks like this: 

           “[subreddit name]”

For example, if you were interested in nutrition, you would go to:


In the worldnews subreddit, you will see submissions only about worldnews.

As a user, you have two main options. You can either visit each subreddit you’re interested in individually, or you can subscribe and unsubscribe from subreddits that you are and aren’t interested in.

Concept 3: Groupthink

Strange things happen when you pool many similar people together. There is a very distinct average type of Reddit user:

  • 20-30 years old
  • Male
  • Liberal
  • Likes technology/gaming
  • Values intelligence (hates seeing “old news” on Facebook/Tumblr, etc.)

Upvotes and downvotes are supposed to identify good and bad posts. However, they are often used to express opinions. For example, someone who is politically liberal might downvote a submission that is pro Fox news.

Since the content is entirely controlled by users, they shape Reddit by their opinions and beliefs. This naturally attracts more like-minded people and fewer that are different.e. 

Why does this matter to you? When a large number of people get together, groupthink is inevitable. The same topics are discussed over and over again with little else because people don’t want to go against the grain. If you do, you get downvoted.

Concept 4: Reddit for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Reddit can be useful for link building, but building links should not be your primary goal.

First off, Reddit is a highly authoritative site. It’s has over 702 million backlinks. Another good thing about Reddit is that it’s set up to prevent spammers, which is good for marketers like me and you, who actually try to create valuable content. 

To prevent people from just mass-posting links across the site, not all links on Reddit are made dofollow. All links are automatically nofollow on Reddit until they get a certain number of upvotes.

Since spam posts will either get downvoted or won’t get any upvotes, they never become dofollow and therefore have zero or very little value. 

Submissions to most subreddits can be either a text submission (html) or a direct link to a page. The same rules apply to both text submissions and links. If the overall submission receives a few upvotes, all the links in the text will also become dofollow. 

Now you understand quite a bit about how Reddit has the potential to drive massive amounts of traffic to your website and how it works. 

The trick to Reddit is that there is no trick. You have to genuinely contribute and become a member if you want any results from your time.

Don’t Blog Unless You Use These Five Blogging Tools

Are you having a hard time coming up with ideas to blog about? I did at first and still do on occasion. Now there are all kinds of free tools to help you brainstorm about ideas and also see which topics are trending. Obviously it makes more sense for you to blog about trending topics in your niche since you want eyeballs – and lots of them – reading your blog. Don’t even think about blogging unless you use these five blogging tools.

Blogging Tool #1: Quick Sprout

To start, simply enter your URL or your competitor’s URL here. You’ll see a report that looks like this:

Quick Sprout Site Analysis Tool

When you click on the “social media tab,” you’ll see a table that shows all the pages on any given domain and sorts them by social shares. This is useful because if you want to see what blog posts are working well for your competition, just put in their URLs into the tool. The table will show you their popular posts.

By analyzing your competition with the Quick Sprout tool, you’ll gain insights into what is working for your competitors and the type of content you should be producing on your blog.

Blogging Tool #2: Buzzsumo

It isn’t easy to come up with topics to write about. Luckily, Buzzsumo helps with the task.

All you have to do is visit Buzzsumo and type in a keyword related to your industry. For this example, let’s use the phrase “content marketing.”


Buzzsumo crawls the web for blog posts and indexes them all like Google. Buzzsumo then sorts the results by social shares and shows the posts with the highest share count at the top.

You will see what type of content has done well in the past. You can then come up with article ideas based on the list.

For example, one of the most shared titles was “An Internet Marketing Education in 16 Ebooks and 20 Emails. No Charge.” You could easily use this to write a blog post of your own and change the title to “Get Your MBA in Internet Marketing with these 16 Ebooks and 20 Emails.”

Blogging Tool #3: Open Site Explorer

Do you want more search traffic?

Open Site Explorer

Open Site Explorer is a useful tool because it sorts all the URLs within a domain by backlinks. And as you know, the more backlinks a website has, the more search traffic it will typically receive.

This helps you understand which of your blog posts are delivering the most backlinks. You should be writing more posts like those.

The tool also shows you the-most-linked-to posts on your competitors’ blogs. See what is working for them, and try to replicate that on your blog. When you do this, don’t copy your competitor. The goal is to one up them and create a better blog post. This way, you can email all the people that link to your competitor and ask them to also link to your post.

Blogging Tool #4: Emails

The best traffic source for practically any blog is email. You want to make sure you have all types of opt-ins on your blog to make it easy for people to add themselves to your mailing list.

Once you have a list, you can then email your subscribers through a service provider such as MailChimp, Aweber or Constant Contact.

As a general rule of thumb, you will want to notify your list of each blog post you release. But if you release more than three posts a week, you should consider a weekly blast to avoid flooding people’s inboxes and angering them.

Blogging Tool #5: Simply Measured

Simply Measured is a social media analytics platform and I like them because they have a handful of really cool, free social media analytics tools.

You can put in your social media handle in one of them, and the tool will tell you the best times for you to send a tweet or share a post on Facebook.


Their reports will break down data such as:

  • Words and phrases your users want to see in social media posts.
  • Time of day they use these social media platforms. This way you know when to post.
  • Top users that follow you and the times when they log in.

The reason you want to use these tools is because you don’t want to tweet at 8 a.m. when all of your followers are on Twitter at 4 p.m.


Blogging doesn’t have to be hard. There are a ton of free blogging tools out there that can help you generate ideas and increase your readership.

Content Marketing: Don’t forget the marketing side of content marketing

Everyone is doing content marketing. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 94% of all small businesses, 93% of B2Bs, and 77% of B2Cs use content marketing. That’s basically everyone.

However, not everyone is doing content marketing the right way. One of the quickest ways to kill your content is to do nothing after you take the time to write it.

Some people think that content marketing is all about merely creating content and waiting, a la field of dreams, for people to come and find it. This is the wrong way to approach content marketing and a good way to waste your time.

Creating content is only one half of the process of content marketing. The other half is the marketing part – getting out the word, spreading your message, and sharing your content.

Let’s break apart content marketing into its two main components parts:

  1. Create content.
  2. Promote content.

Which of those two are you doing or not doing? If you do a lot of promoting, but just a little of creating, then you are probably more successful than a company who does a lot of creating, but very little promoting.

Content promotion is just as important as content creation.

How do you promote your content? Here are a few easy ways to promote a single blog post:

  1. Email newsletter
  2. Marketing email to a landing page
  3. Tweets. Be sure to tweet it several times and ask for retweets
  4. Google+ posting
  5. Facebook posting
  6. Sharing in LinkedIn
  7. Find influencers in your industry who can also share your content
  8. Pitch site owners and other bloggers to see if they will share your content
  9. Mention your content while commenting on other sites

If you aren’t doing any promotion, I recommend adjusting the amount of time you spend on content creation and allocating half that time to promoting your content.