The two types of internet traffic

The two types of internet traffic

In this article we are going to look at internet traffic!

There are two types of internet traffic.  Some might say there are more but when you boil it down, it comes down to two:

  1. Internet traffic you control
  2. Internet traffic you don’t control

Let’s take a quick look at both.

Type 1: Internet traffic you control

You can control some of the traffic you get by paying for it – aka paid traffic from online advertising.  This could be through Google Adwords, Twitter ads, advertising directly on a website or (my favorite) Facebook ads.  The limits are your budget and your imagination – I recommend starting small and consider each campaign a test to see what works and what doesn’t.  When something works, run with it!

Paid traffic used to be a lot pricier than it is now because targeting was much broader a few years back.  Now, with the amount of data people provide via social media, targeting can be extremely specific.  The better you know your prospect, the lower your paid traffic costs can be.  For example, with Facebook, you can be as specific as advertising to all men between 31 and 37 who live in Montana and like The Lion King (it’s less than 1000 people, in case you were wondering).

That kind of specificity is a gamechanger – and way beyond a traditional advertisement in a newspaper or magazine, where you have an idea of the demographics but have NO idea whether anyone will see your ad or not.  When you know exactly who you want to reach, you can reduce your costs significantly.

Now let’s look at the other kind of traffic:

Type 2: Internet traffic you don’t control

If someone comes to your website without clicking on a link you paid for, that’s traffic you don’t control.  This could mean traffic from

  • organic search – people searching on Google/Bing and finding you
  • referral traffic – people who find a link to your site from another website or
  • direct traffic – people who type in your url, have it bookmarked, or are coming from your newsletters and social media

That’s a wide range of possible traffic that you can – at best – influence but not control.  Methods of influencing this traffic include:

  • White Hat SEO – optimizing your content based on the best practices recommended by Google & Bing
  • Black Hat SEO – optimizing content, websites, links based on aggressive techniques that do no follow guidelines recommended by Google & Bing (often used by someone claiming they “can get you to #1 on Google” for stupid sums of money)
  • Backlinks – creating links that point back to your website (this could be either white hat or black hat)
  • Growing your newsletter subscriber base – you can pay for this via advertising but you can’t control whether they visit your site or not

So what’s the best approach – focus on what you can control and ignore the rest?

Partially – focus on what you can control but don’t ignore what you can’t.  But let’s be clear – improving uncontrollable traffic is a long-term strategy.  Paid traffic is still the best approach for ramping up fast.

Just keep organic search and referral traffic in mind when you consider your content and marketing strategies because they can become powerful sources of traffic.  When you create content, make sure that you have specific search keywords in mind, and optimize the content for it (more on that coming in a future post)