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SEO Advertising: Only Two Ways to Get Traffic to Your Blog

Search Engine OptimizationWhen I find an advertising, self-promoting idiot comment spam that I just know people are falling for, it makes me crazy. Here is a new one:

Actually there’s really only two ways to get traffic and that’s by:

Getting other people’s traffic or advertising offline

Buying traffic or getting it from search engines or social bookmarking and stuff is all getting traffic from other sites. You “buy” other people’s traffic, you get search engine traffic but that’s because Google and Yahoo advertise offline to get people to go to their site, etc.

Please, tell me you don’t believe this claim. I’ll sleep better if you do.

I’d love to tell you all the reasons this is so wrong, but this time, if you’ve been reading my blog long enough, you know the truth, you tell me.

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, the author of Blogging Tips, What Bloggers Won't Tell You About Blogging.


  1. Posted February 6, 2008 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    I haven’t been with your blog very long at all. And so *blushing* I don’t know the answer to your challenge. But let me tell you one thing…I can barely even make sense of that comment!
    Looking forward to comment for others.

  2. Posted February 7, 2008 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    “…only two ways to get traffic” is a simple-minded statement. If it was just two ways, a lot of adsense hungry website owners would be jumping on their feet and use that. He/She is probably getting it coined from the term that has been loosely used in these times, “Other People’s [_whatever_]”. Imagine if he’s your SEO consultant… “I’ll bring you traffic with only two ways”

    Now go back to your sleep and count your sheep…

  3. Posted February 7, 2008 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    (Approximately) nobody goes onto the web looking for you; they are looking for a solution to a problem. And the search engines foster competition between the people offering solutions. So, in a sense, you are always taking your competitors’ traffic.

    It’s not a belief, it is a mental model. 99% of people are directed to their final destination by either a search engine, or an offline ad, right?

  4. Posted February 7, 2008 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    @ Chris Marshall | Martial Development:

    Good point, but I’d correct you and say that a majority (what percentage, I couldn’t estimate but let’s say very high) of people are directed to a site by either a search engine or word of mouth, not advertising. Very few are directed by advertising, which is the point here. Word of mouth includes someone writing about your blog on theirs and site submission and bookmarking resources. Where someone says “Hey, check this out” and people do.

    The rest of the methods are barely measurable comparatively. If you don’t have the words people are searching for, nor content worth talking about, you lose.

  5. Posted February 7, 2008 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    I actually think the comment is true, but not entirely correct. Think about it this way – I could say “There’s only one way to get traffic. People navigate to your site with their computer” and it would be true. But helpful? Not in the least. Of course the only way to get traffic is when people come to your site.

    Now, apply that to the comment above, and it’s true, people get to your site by seeing a link on someone else’s site, or by paid advertising. If you wanted to, you could say that links from another side are a form of word of mouth – which, of course, is advertising (just not paid) – so you could abstract the comment to say, truthfully, that the only way to get anyone to come to your site is to advertise. The same holds true for everything. Nobody will email you unless you tell people your email address (unless you count random spam that just happens to hit your box because a computer guessed your address, but that’s neither here nor there)

    That said, I wholly understand what you’re talking about. There are SO many ways to get traffic to your site if you want to get detailed in talking about them.

    Blog comments
    Blog posts about your site
    Forum posts
    Forum signatures
    Google Base
    EzineArticles (and the billions of other article directories)
    Person to person emails
    Email newsletters
    Word of mouth
    Actual conversations with people (gasp! heh)
    Google, Yahoo, et al.
    Facebook, MySpace, et al.
    I could go on… and on… and on…

    And, of course, pretty much all of the above can be achieved for free, or paid for, depending on how fast you want it done. (and in some cases, how well)

    I’m quite sure I know your frustration first hand. I’ve been marketing my products and services online for years now, and I’ve seen it all (though, I do still get surprised more often than I’d like) – the spam, the pseudo-spam, the “innocent” spam by people just starting out, etc. It’s all elegantly crafted to suck people in to perpetuate the system (read: the pyramid) and not actually teach anyone much of anything.

    The sad part is that this can be combatted with common sense and a very small bit of research, but people are looking so hard for a “magic pill” that they’ll try anything that dangles dollar signs in front of them. And I do use the word “try” lightly, because when simultaneously spamming 1 million blogs with a comment about the latest pyramid scheme doesn’t work, they jump ship and try the next “next best thing.”

    For the past 3 years, I’ve been trying to find some way to help people who easily fall into that trap, and I’ve found that most of them don’t want to be helped, unfortunately. There are those who do, but the vast majority are looking for push button profits, and that just doesn’t exist.

    Sorry for the long winded comment, Lorelle, you hit a pressure point for me on this one 🙂 heh – Great conversation starter!

  6. Posted February 8, 2008 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    In reply to Jason DeVelvis:

    You bring up a lot of great points. But I personally think the optimal way of helping people to learn good marketing techniques is to preach from a humor standpoint. For example, “the best ways to advertise your site” looks serious at first glance, especially if you just look at the title. But at least they’re trying to list out good methods in a funny way, making it more likely for people to listen.

    After all, the best way to get across to someone who doesn’t want to listen is to make them laugh about it. Over time, humor can change people’s perceptions. (I won’t go into the jester/king analogy, but I think you get the idea.)

  7. Posted February 9, 2008 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    I agree, humor is a great way to get your point across, but you have to watch how you do it – too much humor tends to make the point you’re trying to make bounce off the reader.


  8. Posted February 11, 2008 at 1:32 am | Permalink

    So, I can’t spend all of my hard-earned paycheck on website traffic. Aww, shucks! :p

    In all seriousness, though, I think a lot of the naivete about gaining traffic comes from inexperience and impatience. It’s the age-old issue of people wanting everything without doing anything.

  9. Posted February 13, 2008 at 3:16 am | Permalink

    hey i am a blogger and i blog on 2 blogs and also provide seo services. i would like to share few ways (not easy) of doing your seo: commenting on other peoples blog post just like i did now (lol). and also by sending out messages on social networking sites. i have also blogged on how to get your seo done.

  10. Posted February 18, 2008 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    No, I can’t believe it. I’m brand new to blogging, this kind anyway, at this stage I have all of 43 visitors! In these last ten days I’ve come across so many obvious scams to ‘get traffic’ and ‘earn money, more and more’, usually at some stage Buy MY One and Only how to book for $97. I’ve fallen for a few and I’m glad my very limited pocket book has kept me for giving in to more (do I share this quiet sense of panic and frustration with all beginners?). I haven’t yet seen enough of your work to know your reasons for why you think it’s so wrong, though I’m catching up fast, time reading your work here may be turning out one of the best investments yet.

    I’m a writer and have been a journalist though and have never found any other way to get people to pay for my stuff (or read it at all) that wasn’t good content (and yes, humour is an excellent condiment!)


  11. Posted February 18, 2008 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Well if the above is true, than I have a serious missconception about SEO in my head! 🙂


  12. Posted February 19, 2008 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    😀 Ivan – You and SEO are probably right: There isn’t much point in “Go tell it on a mountain!” if there is no one there to listen, no matter how good the content (telling on mountains has some good precedents and the Biblical ones seem to have their audiences assured, we probably need to go and fetch them). I had in mind that being ‘useful and or interesting’ could help getting searchers coming back or staying on with their RSS feeds and subscriptions. I may be missing the point, and Lorelle’s as well.

  13. Posted March 15, 2008 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Lorelle, I am very new to blogging and your blog. I must say I know I have a lot to learn. However, having said that, I have to point out that the topic we are discussing here is a pitch, a sales pitch. Salesmen generally say half-truths to make their sale and move on. Then when your money is in their pocket, they may hint you the other half. Other people’s traffic is simply saying that if you are not an ISP, people only get to your site from another site. This “another site” could be a search engine, an ad or a blog entry. The second part of advertising offline is simple: talk, print, suggest, business card, at a speech, etc. The SEO “guru” that dropped the “only two ways” line above simply is guarding his “trade secret”. If everyone knows SEO then he believes he will be out of business. I like your blog and I will be here everyday, but first let me zoom off to the list given by Jason. I need help myself! Thanks for this.

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