Search isn’t the only way to get people to your website. There are many other channels that you can use, and it’s important to diversify your traffic sources. You don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket. Especially if you’re trying to rank for competitive keywords, it may take a long time before you’re on the first page of the search results. It’s also risky to rely on Google as your sole source of traffic as they frequently update their algorithms.
Let’s consider the broad core algorithm update released on August 1, 2018. This update was commonly referred to as the Medic Update because it initially targeted a significant number of medical websites.
This update resulted in many website’s organic searches dropping rapidly. For example, Peachy’s, website lost 18% of its organic search traffic overnight.
It took many websites a long time to recover from this update. Therefore, it’s essential to have a strong—and broad—foundation of traffic sources.
This article offers 8 alternative sources of traffic aside from Google. But before we dive into these alternatives, let’s get the basics out of the way.
Types of Web Traffic
If you log into your Google Analytics account and head to the “Acquisition’ section, you’ll see that your website traffic is organized into 5 main channels.
For many companies, the bulk of their traffic comes from organic search. But there are other channels people can use to access your website. If you only focus on search engine optimization, you’ll miss out on getting a significant boost from those channels.
Let’s review the channels:
Organic traffic comes from search engines and it’s not paid for—it’s earned. In other words, this type of traffic results when your web page (e.g., a blog post) ranks for keywords that online users are typing into the search engines such as Google, Bing, DuckDuckgo, and search results are visited.
Organic traffic doesn’t include visits from paid search ads.
When another website links to your website, that’s referral traffic. For example, if your company is featured in a news article or blog post, they’ll often link to your company’s website.
Paid refers to traffic that comes to your website from any type of online ad. This includes Facebook Ads, Google Ads, and ads from other social media channels.
As the name implies, direct refers to visitors that come directly to your website. When they type your URL into their browser or click on a saved bookmark, the traffic is considered direct.
When a person is using a social media platform like Instagram and follows a link in your profile to your website, it is considered social traffic. Or they may click on a link that they see in their Twitter feed.
The main platforms include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, and LinkedIn. But don’t forget to explore niche and up-and-coming social media networks. Depending on your target audience, there may be unique platforms that they use.
Last but not least, we have email traffic. This is also fairly straightforward. When a person clicks on a link within an email that’s been properly tagged, that website visit is categorized as email traffic.
Now that you understand the differences between these channels, let’s explore how you can use them to drive more traffic to your medical website. Below are 8 alternative traffic sources that can help you increase the number of visitors to your website.
1. Create a YouTube Channel with High-quality Videos
Did you know that YouTube is considered the world’s second-largest search engine?
Every day, countless people head to YouTube to be entertained, search for information, or be inspired. Because YouTube has such a wide range of users, you can’t ignore it as a traffic source. Although Google owns YouTube, a Google algorithm update will not affect the YouTube traffic your website receives.
You can drive considerable traffic to your medical website by creating high-quality, informative video content. The value of a 1-minute video is worth 1.8 million words, according to Buffer’s analysis. The possibilities are endless with video, you can record interviews, product reveals, testimonials, demonstrations, etc.
Explainer videos are very popular with both hospitals and private doctors because they help them educate and engage their patients. For example, a plastic surgeon could create explainer videos to walk patients through a procedure and answer frequently asked questions.
While YouTube can be a terrific traffic source on its own, you also want to consider adding those videos to your website. When you add videos to your website, you’ll see an increase in organic traffic. That’s because Google’s algorithms are designed to favor certain types of content:
- Videos are considered more informative and higher quality than text. Because Google aims to deliver the best search results, it will rank video content higher.
- Search results containing videos have a CTR greater than 41% when compared to search results without videos.
- When a visitor stays longer on your site, Google assumes your content is informative and relevant. Videos make visitors stay longer on your page, which subsequently increases your page rank.
- A website with videos has domain links 3X more powerful than pages without video elements.
Videos can help your business reach a larger audience and generate more traffic.
2. Promote Your Videos Through Press Releases
We’re not done with video yet. There’s another way you can use your videos to reach a broader audience.
Press releases aren’t new, but many have forgotten about their usefulness in the digital era. Many consider them a has-been approach that isn’t worth the effort. But press releases are a great way to generate referral traffic. When you embed interactive media into the release, they can deliver incredible results. Take a look at this example; a hotel included high-quality videos in the press release to highlight Japanese culture and show things you can do while visiting Tokyo.
Press releases are a viable method for promoting video content which will, in turn, drive traffic to your site.
There are several press release websites you can use. Some are free while others are paid. You should focus on news release sites that somewhat align with your industry or topic.
3. Leverage Social Media
Creating engaging and informative content is a great way to attract organic traffic, but you can do more with it than just post it to your website. You need to share your content using social media platforms. This will amplify your content reach through different channels.
When developing your social media strategy, think about your target audience and where they spend their time. If you’re trying to educate HR professionals on your B2B service, LinkedIn might be the best place to share your content.
But if you’re an urgent care center, it might be better to share information about trending health topics on Facebook.
Social media posts can be optimized like blog posts using specific keywords. When you optimize your social media content with relevant keywords and hashtags, you can increase your content’s reach and subsequently drive more clicks and visits to your website.
4. Write Meaningful Comments on High-traffic Websites
Another source of referral traffic is from blog comments on high-traffic sites within your niche. Leaving relevant comments can increase traffic back to your site. Many people head to the comment section to get more information and to see what others have to say.
If you leave meaningful and helpful comments, people may click on your link to learn more about you. With this technique, you want to be deliberate with the websites that you leave comments on. Think about who you’re trying to reach and comment on websites that they frequently visit for information. This will help you establish credibility and connect with that audience.
Make sure that you’re adding value and continuing the conversation. Website moderators often review comments before they are posted. If you’re spammy, they’ll likely decide to delete your comment.
For example, do not leave generic comments like this:
“Hey, thanks for writing this; I enjoyed it. Learn more by checking out my website: www.my-unrelated-website.com”
In previous years, leaving links through blog comments was rampant among SEO professionals. But a lot has changed in recent times and blog comment links do not build link authority anymore. You should consider these comments as a way to establish your credibility with an audience and generate referral traffic.
5. Create Podcasts, Radio Shows, and Audio Content
Studies show that the use of podcasts, radio shows, or audio content increases traffic to websites. If you want to attract an engaged audience, then you should create podcasts and audio content.
According to RAIN News, 81% of podcast listeners have taken action after listening to audio ads during a podcast session.
Podcasts are fun, informative, and engaging. Podcasts and radio shows bring businesses closer to their customers.
A case study of a company using a podcast to drive traffic to its website is Social Media Examiner — The Social Media Examiner Show:
Here are a few of the benefits of creating podcasts, audio content, and radio shows:
- Podcasts can generate high-quality traffic to your website. Unlike blogging, the competition in the podcasting space is low.
- Podcasts are engaging and easy for listeners to consume and understand.
- Podcasts are mobile-friendly, which is good for generating mobile traffic.
- The popularity of podcasts keeps increasing.
- Studies show that a podcast audience is one of the most loyal audiences online.
- Podcasts are interactive: therefore, customers can express themselves, bringing business and customers closer.
6. Forum Discussions
Like leaving comments on blog posts, engaging in forum discussions can also help you direct traffic to your website. You want to focus on forums or communities that your target customer frequents. And your comments should be legitimate and not spammy. Spamming forums is bad, makes you look unprofessional, and can hurt your reputation. However, linking to your website legitimately can help you build brand awareness, establish your expertise with a target audience, and generate referral traffic for your website.
But, how can you do it correctly? You can generate traffic by adding your links to forums using:
- Branded anchor text,
- Naked URLs, and natural,
- Non-keyword-targeted anchors,
- Effective participation in relevant discussions.
Here is an example where a paramedic answers a question on Reddit. If he wanted to, he could have easily included a link to a webpage that lists the services his urgent care clinic provides.
However, keep in mind that you could be banned for spamming a forum. So, avoid randomly dropping links and be sure to follow forum rules and adhere to proper forum etiquette. Always aim to be helpful.
7. Encourage User-generated Content to Get Referral Traffic and Boost SEO
We’ve mentioned two user-generated content forms earlier in this article:
- Forum discussion
- Blog comments
Taking full advantage of any form of user-generated content is imperative, as this will drive traffic to your website, and increase your chances of getting found in the search engines.
More importantly, 73% of marketing professionals agree that user-generated content makes marketing more authentic and effective.
Another type of user-generated content is the review. Many different review sites exist, but here are some of the most common reviews sites that you should consider:
- Google My Business
- BBB (Better Business Bureau)
You can increase your website’s reputation by getting customer reviews on the aforementioned sites. You’ll also drive referral traffic when someone visits a review site and clicks on a link to your website.
Encouraging user-generated content (e.g., reviews) will also improve your search engine rankings. Google relies on signals like reviews to determine the quality of your content using the EAT (expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness) guidelines. So, in addition to getting referral traffic from these sites, you are also improving your SEO.
8. Build a Targeted Email List
Another good source of traffic is your email list. Sending out content to your email list is a good way to drive traffic to your website. And it’s one that is completely within your control.
There are many ways you can capture email addresses on your website. You can use a dedicated sign-up page or include a form at the bottom of your website. Apps like Opt-in Monster can be integrated into your site and you can build pop-up call-to-actions to capture email addresses
This is a good foundation to take advantage of. It’s one of the easiest ways to increase or generate traffic for your website. If anything goes wrong with Google, you’ll still be able to generate traffic to your website by sending content to your email list.
Google algorithm updates have wreaked havoc on many websites and have been a rude awakening for many marketers. Now, more than ever, marketers know they need to diversify their traffic sources.
I hope that this article gave you a few ideas on how you can reach new audiences and drive more traffic to your website.
If you’re looking to drive more organic traffic to your website or you want to discuss how to develop a social ad campaign, contact Atlantic Digital Marketing today!