10 Tips From @RandFish On Upping Your Organic Traffic Game


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When we think marketing, often we think “spend” or “budget” or “where can we put our ads next?”

Digital ads are important, and social media advertising is increasingly proving results. But to depend on paid digital advertising as your main marketing channel is short sighted. It is often a small piece of the pie.

Rand Fishkin, CEO of SEOmoz, spoke on this topic last week at Ad Club San Diego’s Interactive Day conference.

The Case Against Paid Traffic

Rand pointed out two big problems with banking of digital paid options: click distribution and cost of acquisition.

When Rand speaks about click distribution he is basically referencing how online paid ads get a very small portion of the clicks on every platform.

  • Only 18% of clicks on Google search results go to paid results
  • Less than 1% of clicks on Twitter.com go to paid results
  • The best Facebook ads get less than 10% CTR (in fact the average is .05%)
  • Etc, etc, etc.

We also spend a lot more on paid digital vs organic digital results. The pie chart below, based on a few data sources from Forrester and others, shows the bid gap between these budgets.

Organic digital traffic (search, blog, links, etc) counts for 90% or more, with $5 billion of investment. While paid (affiliate, ppc, display, etc) sends the remaining 10% of traffic but gets 800% more budget at $45 billion.

Paid is also, wait for it, more expensive. Meaning, if you pay $500 per customer through paid traffic, you might be paying $100 per customer for organic (inbound) traffic. We all want to pay less for new customers because it allows us to spend that extra money on more customers or on improving the product.

During the presentation, Rand focused on 10 tips for upping our investments in organic or “inbound marketing” for a better return on our marketing dollars.

1. Create A Content Strategy Not A Blog

To develop a content strategy, make sure you have great answers to these questions:

  1. Are you going to be able to attract the right people?
  2. Why will they care about you?
  3. What are you doing to earn their interest?
  4. Why are thy going to share?
  5. Will they like and trust you more?

These answers will give you your strategy and that strategy will guide all of your tactics.

2. Be Willing To Fail

Other countries that study the success of the entrepreneurial culture in the United States commonly site the fact that the American culture actively allows for failure. We fail, we try again, rince and repeat.

Rand showed an example of his wife’s travel blog, The Everywhereist. Her traffic growth was low for 1-2 years.

She stuck with it, saw some traffic bumps, and then ultimately saw huge traffic growth and now her blog is a business.

Or as Winston Churchill said “Never, never, never, never give up.”

3. Be Willing To Get Creative

Expand your personal concept of what content is.

A blog should be more than just blog posts. Content is a big category. Create tools (like Website Grader). Build infographics and reports. Use video. Create a community. Build an API. Etcetera.

4. Put All Your Content On One Domain

Put everyone on the same website with the same branding. This allows you to use domain power, passing along the power of your main domain to new content, tools, features, etc.

5. Experiment With Lots of Potential Channels and Networks

Test new channels for inbound traffic and content distribution and kill what is not thriving.

6. Combine Keyword Research and Sexy Headlines

Your content titles are the biggest reason things get shared. Write contextual headlines that make sense, but include your keywords and make them sexy. It is a hard combination, but when it works it is gold.

7. Build Influencer Relationships With These Three Tools

  1. Search for keywords in Google reader to see subscriber numbers and find influential blogs
  2. Use Follower Wonk to find Twitter influencers
  3. Use Find People On Plus to find G+ influenser

8. Time Things Right

There are several tools that can help with figuring out when to publish and distribute content to best reach the most people in your audience. One such site that Rand suggested was Tweriod.com for finding out when your Twitter followers are most active.

Some other resources:

9. Use Rel=Author So Your Photo Will Show Up In Search

social media agency list

When you use the Rel-Author feature with Google+, your photo shows up next to the articles you write within Google search. And because of that your link will get noticed more and clicked on more.

10. Don’t Ignore Ads

Social ads, retargeting, and PPC all get more successful the bigger your inbound brand grows.

11. BONUS: Combine All These Step

combine to win

Implementing all 10 steps will create an inbound traffic ecosystem.

They work best together. Focus on just one of the ten and you fail.


Check out Rand’s full slide deck here.



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