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…

New Bonus: Get access to my 11 favorite SEO hacks that will show you how to get more targeted traffic (fast!).

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 2017 (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 151,749 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.

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? ๐Ÿ™‚ )

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.

Next Step: Access the Bonus

I recently put together a bonus for this post:

11 Advanced SEO hacks for generating more targeted traffic in record time.

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  1. OK, I will.
    My problem is that the majority of the really popular blogs in my niche spend their time bemoaning how feminism, increased use of social media and smartphones are hindering their efforts to meet quality women. Fundamentally they are “rage” posts, designed to rile men up because Western women are fatter, more self entitled etc etc.
    I’m not having this experience. Nothing much has changed for me over the last 10 years. Instead I focus on practical, useful content that a guy can cogitate on and use to make themselves more appealing to attractive young women.
    Problem is, it doesn’t seem to be as popular as the rage posts.
    I have no intention of changing what I write (because it’s what I believe in) (i) because I know that my approach is more effective and I do much better with women than these guys do and (ii) I think it is all a bit depressing and silly.
    The traffic I do get converts well, by and large…There is just not enough of it.
    So , difficult problem, I think!

    Cheers

    Steve

    1. Steve, it sounds like with your approach, you could actually appeal to mainstream dating blogs. People love someone that takes a stand. So simply saying,
      “you know what, my approach treats women with respect, and I’m not ashamed to say it. Here’s how I do it…” could appeal to certain influencers in the dating space.

  2. Brian, I have been enjoying your newsletter and implementing some of your strategies. Here are my answers:
    Influencers: Hot rod shop owners, racers
    Topics: Project cars, parts they use, racing events/successes

    1. Glad to hear that, Jack.

      These are perfect. Gearhead car blogs may also be one to add to the list. There are hundreds of them ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Hi Brian,
    Thanks for a this timely article. If I understand it correctly, are you saying that we would better be off looking at market data in our niche and make an article of that for influencers to share rather than actionable tips that the target clients would be interested in? Shouldn’t there be a double strategy – articles for the influencers to share and articles for the users to enjoy?
    Thanks, Joss

    1. You’re welcome, Joss.

      GREAT question. Here’s the deal: in most cases you can create content that appeals to influencers and potential clients. But if that’s not possible, you need to put the influencer’s first.

        1. Robbin, simply because they’re the only people that can share and link to your content. Without their backing your content will be invisible to your target audience.

          1. Thanks Brian. I’ve had a “a-ha” moment thanks to you! Great advice. I knew that backlinks would improve the organic SEO rankings to our client-targeted landing pages but I never knew it was through getting influencers to backlink blogs. I always just assumed it was great content that users wanted to share with others. It was driving me mad why people love my content but never share enough. Now I know!

  4. Hi Brian,
    Thank you for these ideas for getting your articles, and therefore your name, put out into the wider world. I need to come up with better ideas and ways to turn feature points into infographics – a real weak point in my efforts at the moment. I’m glad to have discovered this source of valuable information.
    Regards,
    Steven Lucas

  5. Influencers: Blogging blogs, SEO blogs, online marketers, social media experts.

    Topics: WordPress, social media, online marketing, and seo tips.

    Thanks for the great content Brian. Just finishing up my first post, and this article helped me a lot!

    Keep up the good work

    1. Rock on Marshall. It’s clear you know your niche well. As long as you cover those topics and add your in-depth knowledge, you’ll be good to go.

  6. Great content Brian!
    I am from Brazil, and my niche is internet marketing.
    Topics: anyone can works with internet marketing; internet marketing it’s not an easy job; there is no easy money in internet marketing.

    Thanks for sharing your tips and ideas!

    1. Thanks Thiago.

      I like that angle. Most people (ie. shady people) say making money with IM is easy. You’re saying the opposite.

  7. Great info, as always, Brian.
    Influencers: creative entrepreneurs, authors, musicians, photographers
    Topics: productivity hacks, making money from creative work, marketing

  8. Hi Brian,
    Love your material. Some of THE BEST…
    I have no problem creating great content for my key niche. But as a single, busy dad, my challenge is “time” to do all the promotion/amplification tasks after it is created. I’d love to find someone, or a team, to outsource things to. Do you have any recommendations?
    Thanks for everything,
    Joey

    1. Thanks Joey.

      The secret to outsourcing ANYTHING (including content promo) is to have insanely detailed step-by-step guides that you can hand to them. You still
      need good people. But in my experience, those detailed processes make or break outsourcing.

  9. Oh my word Brian. It sounds like I am staring off in the exact same spot you were many years ago.

    I am a qualified dietitian who has two years clinical experience and have started a nutrition weight lose site โ€“ slimandtrimmeals.com.

    So influences would be; nutrition and food blogs, even influential dietitians or nutritionists and doctors.

    Topics, the low carb high fat debate, vegan, vegetarian or gluten free diets are hot at the moment as well has the whole, is fat bad for you, debate.

    But wow am I finding it hard to get backlinks from other sites.

    1. Wow, that is really similar Rosemary…especially because you’re an RD.

      Those are great topics and the influencers are definitely spot on. When in doubt, I go with the hot topic. So gluten free seems like a great topic to start
      with.

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