Want to Increase Website Traffic? Follow These 4 Steps…

In this post I’m going to show you how to get more traffic to your website using a simple 4-step formula.

You’ll also see real life examples of how I used this formula to take Backlinko to 119k unique visitors per month.

Let’s dive right in…

The #1 Struggle Online Business Owners Face Today…

When you sign up for the Backlinko newsletter for the first time, you get this email from me:

first email

As you can see, the first thing I ask is:

“What’s the #1 thing you’re struggling with?”

To date, I’ve asked over 57,000 new subscribers this question…

…and have received thousands of replies.

And I tend to get the same response again and again:

“How can I increase my website traffic?”

In fact, here’s a reply I got the other day from Christine:

email reply

Christine is absolutely right. Traffic is a common problem…

The Truth About Driving Traffic to Your Website in 2016 (and Beyond)

I probably don’t need to tell you that traffic is the lifeblood of any online business.

No traffic, no leads.

No leads, no sales.

No sales, no business.

Despite the fact that targeted traffic is so important, when most people log into Google Analytics, they see something like this:

flat traffic stats

Flat as a pancake.

Look familiar?

If so, I want you to know that you’re far from alone.

Today there are 164 million blogs online…

…71% get fewer than 5,000 visitors per month.

blog traffic stats

That’s less than 200 visits per day.

Unless you’re a conversion Jedi, it’s almost impossible to turn 200 daily visitors into a thriving online business.

Even if you already get “enough” traffic, I can guarantee you that you have the potential to boost your traffic by 2x, 3x, or even 10x from where it is today.

How?

Well that’s the 4-step process I’ll go over later in today’s post.

But first…

Why People Struggle to Generate Traffic…and Convert That Traffic Into Customers

Here’s the deal:

Backlinko may generate over 100,00 unique monthly visitors today, but this success came after I struggled for YEARS.

In fact, the first site that I launched in 2008 was in the nutrition space. And it failed.

On paper this site should have been a home run for me.

After all, I had a Masters Degree in nutrition from Tufts University and a solid year of clinical experience under my belt (here’s me at graduation with my Dad):

graduation

My credentials meant I could produce “great content” that cited research studies. I could also use real world examples from my time working in hospitals and clinics in Boston.

And that’s exactly what happened:

I published some of the best nutrition content online at the time.

I mean, who else was taking scientific research and translating it into bite-sized nutrition tips?

excerpt from nutrition site

There was only one problem:

No one cared.

Was I publishing “great content”? Sure.

Did I promote it? You bet.

Was my blog updated at least once per week? Like clockwork.

So:

What was the problem?

The fact that I didn’t publish the RIGHT CONTENT.

What is The Right Content, you ask?

The Right Content is:

Content that generates traffic, leads and (most importantly) sales.

Content that gets you traffic from Google.

Content that establishes YOU as an expert (and someone people want to buy from).

In other words, rock solid content that you can build a business on top of.

Because when you do that, everything changes…

How I Went From “Oh Crap!” to “Hell Yeah!”

Since I discovered how to create The Right Content, everything in my life and business changed.

Now, instead that sinking feeling in my stomach that I used to get when I logged into Google Analytics, I get butterflies.

Here are Backlinko’s traffic stats from last month:

backlinko google analytics

But keep this in mind:

These aren’t 93,277 tire kickers. A good chunk of these people are interested in my products and services.

In fact, even though enrollment for SEO That Works only open two or three times a year, I get emails like this every week:

email about stw

Because I attract people that want to invest in my training products, I’ve quickly turned Backlinko from a blank WordPress installation into a highly profitable business.

backlinko-annual-revenue

And that luxury gives me the opportunity to live my life on my own terms.

At the drop of a hat, I can go skiing in Canada or in Japan.

Or strap on a Speedo and sit on a beach in Thailand.

(I’m kidding about the Speedo…or am I? 🙂 )

In fact, a few months ago my girlfriend turned to me and said: “Honey, let’s go to Italy”.

So we packed our bags and took off. No arrangements. No phone calls with clients. We just went.

We saw the sights, ate lots of gluten…and I grew a beard:

brian in italy

Whether you own an ecommerce site, run a digital marketing agency, sell software, or are a full time blogger, you need content that brings in targeted traffic.

In other words, traffic that converts into leads and sales.

To do that, you need to rank for keywords that your customers search for every day.

Here’s the 4-step process to do just that…

Use This 4-Step Process to Get More Targeted Traffic, Leads and Sales From SEO

There’s no other way to say this:

Most content published today isn’t designed to maximize shares, traffic and customers.

And, yes, that even includes most “great content”.

Because there’s a BIG difference between “great content” and The Right Content.

And once you know what that difference is, and how to leverage it, you’ll be ahead of 90% of your competitors.

With that, let’s jump into the 4-step process for creating The Right Content.

Step #1: Find Influential People In Your Niche

This traffic tip is HUGE.

Unless you describe your target customers as “influential bloggers and journalists”, your target audience isn’t going to share your content.

And if they don’t share your content, you’re not going to increase traffic to your website.

There’s a simple reason for that:

Your target customers don’t run websites in your niche!

For example:

The content on my old nutrition site was aimed at people looking to lose weight.

My target audience? They loved it.

Unfortunately, the influencers in my niche — like health and fitness bloggers — thought my content was way too basic and “rapid fire”.

These influential people share in-depth articles.

That’s one of the reasons Steve Kamb at NerdFitness succeeded where I failed.

His in-depth, 3,000-word blog posts…

….like his Beginner’s Guide to Intermittent Fasting)…

nerdfitness post

….attracts links from influential health and fitness bloggers with ease. Not to mention thousands of shares on social media.

referring domains ahrefs

Bottom line: Publishing content that appeals to your target customer isn’t enough. You need content that your influencers want to share with their audience.

But to create content that appeals to influencers, you need to find out who they are.

Once you’ve identified the influential people in your industry, it’s time for step #2…

Step #2: Find Out What Your Influencers Care About

After you know exactly who the influencers in your space are, it’s time to figure out what they care about.

Because once you understand which topics push their buttons, you can create content that appeals to them.

Example:

A few years ago I created an infographic for a client in the investing niche.

Even though that niche is far from “interesting”, our infographic went viral. We’re talking thousands of targeted visits in the first two days.

Here’s the infographic:

client infographic

Now there are dozens of reasons this infographic did so well, from the design to the content promotion campaign.

But a good chunk of its success was due to one simple thing:

It appealed to the influencers in the personal finance space.

I’ll explain.

I noticed that a lot of high-powered financial bloggers were up in arms about inflation:

inflation article

So I decided to create an infographic that highlighted the problem they cared so much about.

And it worked GREAT.

Bottom line: If you want influential people to share your content, you need to know what topics they care about most.

Step #3: Create Content On That Topic

Once you have a topic that your influencers care about, it’s time roll up your sleeves and create content around that topic.

Here’s an example from real life:

A few months ago I published a post called 21 SEO Techniques You Can Use Today to Get More Search Engine Traffic:

21 seo techniques

The post was a huge hit. To date its generated over 113,000 organic search engine visitors.

seo techniques post traffic analytics

(Not to mention and 2,136 new email subscribers)

Like the infographic I mentioned earlier, there was a lot that went into this post’s success (including the Share Triggers I’ll cover in a minute).

But the post did well largely because it covered topics influencers in my niche cared about.

For example, I couldn’t help but notice that more and more bloggers in the SEO space were talking about broken link building.

So I led off the post with a few advanced broken link building tips:

broken link building tip

Even though a good chunk of my target audience hadn’t ever heard of broken link building, my influencers had.

So I put that tip first.

Bottom line: When you create content, it needs to appeal to the influential people in your niche.

Once you’ve finished the first draft of your content, it’s time for the most important step….

Step #4: Finally, Add Share Triggers (This Is the Secret Sauce)

In my experience, content largely succeeds or fails based on one factor:

Whether or not the content has Share Triggers.

What are Share Triggers?

They’re scientifically-backed psychological principles that — when embedded in your content — encourage people to share and link.

Also, Share Triggers give your content that “WOW!” factor that turns cold traffic into leads and customers.

A lot of these principles were first discovered by behavioral scientists like Dr. Jonah Berger, Dr. Katherine Milkman and Jure Leskovec.

viral marketing research study

And they’ve proven in the lab what I discovered through trial-and-error:

When you include Share Triggers in your content, people are significantly more likely to link and share it.

For example:

One of the most powerful Share Triggers is Social Currency.

Social Currency is the idea that we share things that make us look good. And this Share Trigger is a large part of the reason that the Shrinking Dollar infographic did so well.

Yes, the infographic was on a topic was near and dear to hearts of personal finance bloggers (inflation).

But more important than that, the infographic confirmed what they were already saying: inflation is a big problem.

Specifically, my content backed up their rants with meaty data:

infographic data

Every time an influencer shared my infographic with their audience, it boosted their Social Currency.

So they shared it. Again and again.

It even got included in Google News thanks to a feature in The Christian Post.

shrinking dollar google news

All because I strategically added the Social Currency Share Trigger into my content.

Bottom Line: Including Share Triggers in your content significantly boosts the odds that it will generate shares, backlinks and traffic.

You Can Totally Do This!

Right now, I want you to do one thing:

Get started with this process.

Specifically, I want you to leave a comment that describes the influencers in your niche…and the topics they tend to talk about and share.

As you just learned, this is the first step to increasing traffic.

For example:

If you sell supplements for athletes, your comment might look like:

Influencers: Fitness blogs and journalists that cover nutrition research.

So leave a comment and let me know what you think.

  1. Great read Brian. Love the idea on Share Triggers. I’ll definitely be trying to implement this strategy in the new authority site that I’m building. I’ll be keeping an eye out for the new training material you’ll be releasing. Looking forward to it!

    1. Thanks Tom. Sounds good. Adding Share Triggers is one of those competitive advantages that can get a new site like yours off on the right foot.

  2. Influencers: garden bloggers, authors and speakers

    topics; GMO-seeds vs. heirloom, gardening hacks, new plant varieties

    Brian, your site is the definitive level for excellence in SEO, love your work!

    1. Sounds good, Dave. You may also want to throw in health-focused bloggers to. They’re all about growing your own veggies 🙂

  3. Hey Brian! Great article. It’s timely for us as we are currently building our marketing strategy. My question to you is, what if there are not a lot of influencers in your niche? Also, what’s your process for finding influencers in your niche?

    1. Thanks Jon.

      GREAT question. In that case you’d want to tap into a closely-related niche that does have influential people. For example, let’s say you ran an ecommerce site that sold ladders. Obviously, there’s no big names in the “ladder niche”(LOL!). But there are plenty of influential people in the closely-related DIY and home improvement space. Make sense?

    1. Debayan, that’s true: niche selection is important. If you choose a niche where there isn’t any money to be made, this approach won’t work nearly as well.

  4. Thank you Brian. I am following your posts for some time and every time i get great tips. I will try to follow your advice and hope it will work. Thank you, again, By the way, How was Italy ? 🙂

  5. Great post Brian – couldn’t agree with you more about not just creating great content, but creating the “right” content.

    This is inline with a shift I plan to make this year with my content creation efforts for various projects.

    To answer your question about influencers in my niche, one project I am in the middle of revolves around social media automation tools, such as Buffer.

    So I think the influencers in my niche would be identifying social media influencers who use some sort of social media automation who are interested in streamlining their efforts.

    1. Thanks Chris.

      That’s a good start. But you may not need to drill down that specifically. Just “social media bloggers” is enough to get started with. From there, you can figure out what they’re interested in…and tailor your content around that.

  6. Influencers: Tech blogs and journalists that cover new tech news. More specifically such as tech security firms talking about new online threats or ways to protect yourself online.

    Topics: Do it yourself training blogs, keeping your computer virus free tips, and great software to help optimize and keep your computer free of malicious infections.

    I have no idea what it would cost but I’m very interested in your course SEO That Works.

    I’m trying to build my business from the ground up with just SEO. Currently getting about 150 phone calls a month but need more!

    1. Brandon, that’s an excellent start. Perfect, actually. Definitely more than enough to get started with step #3.

      You may also want to throw “tech bloggers” into the Influencers category. They tend to be a little more open to sharing than linking because
      they don’t get bombarded with pitches all day long like journalists do.

      1. I thought trying to use the skyscraper technique would be a good idea to create good content in my field since I am NY no means a great writer. I started using some of your tools that you mention to find quality content that is already out there and being viewed and shared a lot.

        Do you think it would be appropriate for me to write a few articles using those methods and then contacting bloggers from places like TechCrunch or Gizmodo and asking them to share my content? What do you recommend in terms of promoting the content you create in the early stages like myself?

        1. Brandon, The Skyscraper Technique is a great way to find content. But it’s just one technique.

          I wouldn’t sweat the promotion just yet. I’d first study those journalists and bloggers and get to know what topics they talk about and care about.

          1. Hey Brian,

            In response to your last reply/recommendation I studied what some of the bloggers and journalist have been talking about and found out something relevant and new in that field of study. So i created this article:

            http://www.techgenius.guru/blog/outlook-for-ios-and-android-are-flagged-for-corporate-level-security-flaws.html

            I also sent it to John Biggs of TechCrunch who in the past has written articles in regards to security. I’m not sure if im going in the right direction at the moment or not. I feel like a noob at all of this. Just trying to follow your guidance. Any help would be appreciated!

          2. Brandon, you did a great job finding something that your influencers care about.

            Another important element is the content itself. That’s something I’m going to cover in the next 2-weeks.

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