Many webmasters will tell you that buying traffic will do nothing but harm your website in the long run. Others will insist that it’s perfectly fine, if you do it right, and point to their successful past as proof.
The reality is that buying traffic, like many marketing and web business techniques, varies from site to site and from person to person. It all depends on the quality of that traffic, the source of the traffic, and what was done to get that traffic. Even though this site sells traffic, I’m not going to blindly tell you to buy without explaining the situation. You should always investigate your options and your situation before you attempt any technique, whether it’s buying traffic, implementing keyword research, performing a link audit or anything else relating to your site and its well-being.
Before discussing particular sources of traffic, you should learn a little about traffic quality. See, it’s not enough to just assume that any visitor coming to your site is a visitor that wants to be on your site and is interested in what you have to sell. There’s good traffic and there’s bad traffic.
If you’ve been in the marketing game for a while, chances are you’ve made up a few profiles of the typical people you want visiting your site. These audience archetypes are representative of the ideal visitors. You can reasonably expect to follow what they do when they visit; which pages they click through to, what they do in their time on the site, whether or not they’ll convert and so forth.
What happens when the person who visits your site has nothing in common with those archetypes? One of two things can be the case. Either they’re a previously unknown archetype and they can be the foundation for a new marketing campaign, or they’re completely disinterested and just bounce away after the click.
Your business earns money through conversions, or in some cases, affiliate links. Very, very rarely does a business earn a successful living through impressions alone. Any visitor that visits your site and doesn’t convert, and has no interest in converting, is a wasted visit.
Now, when you’re buying bad traffic, you’re buying at best disinterested visitors. More often, you’re buying visitors that aren’t even real; the same person operating bots and software spoofs to direct traffic your way, traffic that doesn’t have a human behind it.
When you buy bad traffic, all it does is inflate the number of raw hits coming to your site. It doesn’t increase your engagement, it doesn’t increase your comments, it doesn’t increase your shares, unless you’re also paying for those things. It definitely doesn’t increase your conversions. You would have to pay more for the conversion than the conversion is worth to you, and that’s not a sane way to do business.
There’s one other way to buy bad traffic that can have a much more detrimental effect than inflating numbers in your analytics. That’s where you’re buying traffic in the form of links, and those links come from sites that aren’t trustworthy. When you have a high number of links coming from bad sources – spam sites, unrelated sites, low quality sites, penalized sites – those links can harm your SEO. Too many of them built in too short a time will earn you an immediate penalty.
The most common link-related penalty tends to be an offshoot of the Penguin algorithm and its periodic updates. You don’t want to end up with this penalty, because it can be a pain in the ass to fix.
Very often, people talk about buying links in a negative light, as if all links are the same. It’s true that buying links from bad sites can be harmful, but there are perfectly legitimate ways to buy links. What else would you call PPC? You’re paying for links on high-profile, legitimate sites like Google’s search results, the Google Display Network or Facebook. The only difference is that these links are designed to look like ads rather than pretend to be legitimate links on a site.
Links you get through PPC are perfectly legitimate ways to buy traffic, but they’re also temporary and they don’t pass PageRank. This means two things. One; they only build traffic so long as you keep paying for them. When you stop the cash flow, they stop existing. Two; they don’t help build traffic to your site in the long term, like legitimate links earned from quality sites. Your ranking doesn’t change based on PPC, unless of course you’re over-using PPC in a spam-like way.
There’s one more factor beyond the quality of the traffic or links you’re buying that you need to keep in mind, and that’s your own site. You can purchase 10,000 visitors who are incredibly interested in your product, but you won’t receive a single conversion if your site isn’t convincing. If your site looks low quality, or it comes across as lacking in some critical area, or it’s just not attractive, you’re going to be putting that traffic to waste.
Buying traffic, then, should be considered a tool to use when you’ve exhausted your other basic means of bringing in more traffic. Which is more valuable to you: investing in a bunch of incoming traffic that will disappear when you stop buying it, or investing in some split-tested calls to action which will increase your conversion rate from all the traffic you receive, paid or otherwise?
A large part of optimizing your site for a high conversion rate is in measurement and testing. To that end, you need to make sure you have a good analytics suite installed. It might be Google Analytics, it might be Raven Tools, it might be Crazy Egg or another platform of choice; the important part is that you have it and use it.
What you need to do is research buying traffic; how much would it cost for X number of visitors. Then figure out your conversion rate and estimate how much you would make from that investment in traffic. Perform similar calculations on other improvements on your site that increase organic traffic and conversion rate. Focus on the easiest and the cheapest optimizations first, and keep bought traffic in mind for when it can supplement your other fixes.
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