Let me explain free website traffic vs paid traffic with an analaogy.
Let me explain free vs paid traffic with an analogy.
Let’s say you own a restaurant, and you want more customers. How do you get more customers to the restaurant?
Now, there are two ways of marketing to get people to the restaurant.
Free and paid.
- Having someone stand outside holding a sign.
- Advertise on your Facebook page you’re having a special.
- Encourage customers to leave a review on Yelp so you get good reviews and recommendations.
- Buying an ad on TV.
- Hiring a billboard to promote your deals.
- Paying a food blogger to post a review of your restaurant.
Can you see the difference between the two?
Free Website Traffic
There are a ton of different methods for getting “free” traffic, but I want to expand on the biggest ones that affiliates use.
1 Content Marketing
You attract people by creating awesome content. Examples are YouTube videos, Facebook Pages, and blog articles.
You become an expert in your niche, build up a big following, and then you can make money by recommending different products & services.
An example are all the fitness guys on YouTube.
They build an audience by creating workout videos and giving away great information. From there people trust their recommendations.
They can promote a supplement or workout plan, people will buy it, and the fitness guy will get a commission from everyone who purchases.
2 Search Engine Optimization aka “SEO”
SEO traffic refers to the organic results in search engines (also known as natural results).
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which refers to the process of optimizing your website so that it will rank higher in search engines.
There are a whole bunch of tactics people use to get their sites ranked higher in the search results.
This image shows a few of them:
You can’t pay Google to be #1 in their search results, you have to “earn” it.
I’ll explain “earning” the #1 position in a second. But first…
Did you know that when you’re searching in a search engine, you’re not searching the web?
You’re only searching their “index.” This means that you’re only searching that search engine’s database of websites.
Of course Google has the biggest index, which is why all the other search engines just copy them.
SEO is an attractive source because it’s “free.”
What could be better for BestBuy.com to be ranking #1 for “big screen tvs?” They’re receiving millions of visitors monthly for that keyword alone, and they’re not paying a dime for it.
Google has a complicated search algorithm which takes into account hundreds of variables to determine which site should rank for which keywords.
For example, a huge variable in getting ranked is to have lots of links pointing to your site links. Google determines that if your site has other popular, similar sites linking to it, then it’s an important site. Thus, your site will rank higher than others with less or lesser quality links.
Knowing this, SEO guys will try to get links in a variety of ways, which can include money of course. (Google highly frowns on this and actively monitors paid linking).
And that’s just one of the variables SEO must account for (although it’s arguably the most important variable).
Trying to optimize for this algorithm takes time, resources, and money.
Even after perfect optimization, it can take months to years to finally achieve rankings for your targeted keyword.
If you’ve ever heard of SEO guys talk about Penguin or Panda, then you know the dangers of 100% relying on SEO traffic as your primary source.
However, if you can figure out the SEO puzzle and get ranked on the first page for your keyword, then congratulations. You’ll be receiving tons of free, targeted traffic.
Here’s an example of how it looks on Google:
(The same strategy works on other search engines)
The yellow section are paid ads.
You can create a Google Adwords account and pay money to advertise there.
The green section are “natural” results.
They are there because Google thinks they deserve to be there.
There are ads everywhere on the web.
You can buy ad space to promote your affiliate offer.
The 3 main ways you pay:
- Cost Per Click (CPC) – You only pay when someone clicks on the ad. Example: You bid $.25 CPC. The most you’ll pay for each click is $.25
- Cost Per Mille (CPM) – You pay for every 1000 views you get. Example: $2 CPM. If you ad is shown 10,000 times, you pay $20.
- Flat rate – You pay a set amount regardless of clicks / views. Example: I’ll buy Ad Block B for one week for $500.
I know this sounds scary, but with paid traffic you have complete control over everything.
1. You can set the budget. If you can only afford $10 for the day, then it’ll only spend $10.
2. You can set the bids.
3. You can pause the campaign anytime. For example, if you wanted to spend $100 today on this campaign BUT after losing $50 you’re not that confident, you can pause it for now.
Why I Prefer Paid Traffic Over Free Traffic
You could launch a campaign today, and see if it’s profitable within hours.
Content marketing? It can take years to build a following from blogging or YouTube.
SEO? It can take 6 months before you see the fruits of your labor.
You’re not depending on one company.
I had a friend focus on SEO for years. He woke up one day and all his sites were destroyed by the latest Google update (Panda).
He couldn’t adapt.
What if my top 3 traffic sources died? I still have 100+ more I can profit from. That makes me sleep easier at night.
Traffic is how you get people to come to your website
There are types of traffic: free and paid.
No traffic source is “free.” Content marketing takes time.
I recommend you focus on paid traffic sources because they’re more scalable.