Free Traffic: The Good the Bad and the Ugly

You see it all over the Internet Marketing niche. Free traffic, get free search engine traffic, learn how to get tons of FREE traffic. If you have been in this business for longer than a week it is likely you have seen those kinds of claims.

Seriously if you can get thousands of visitors to your website without paying a penny how can that be a bad thing? Most people would not see anything wrong with that statement at all. Most experienced marketers would also agree that this is a good thing.

Well I am not going to sit here and tell you it is altogether bad. I use a lot of methods that are considered FREE and they can be very effective. However like the title say’s we will look at the good, the bad and the sometimes ugly aspects of free traffic today.

Before we look at those lets define free traffic. For most people free traffic is search engine traffic. We get this search engine traffic by doing SEO or search engine optimization work. The two sides to SEO are onsite and off site SEO. The two names give a good idea of how they work. Onsite is everything we do on our website and offsite is basically everything else.

THE GOOD:

The good thing about free SEO traffic is it converts extremely well. There are not many better ways to get actual buyers to come to your website. If you have the right buying keywords targeted. If you can rank well in the search engine results for those keywords then you have 70 to 80 percent of the work done.

Getting a flow of traffic coming to your website that has already made the decision to purchase the product or service you are selling will greatly increase you sales. The selling is already done, this traffic has already decided to buy the product. All you need to do is make it as easy as possible for them to buy and you are set.

Millions of dollars are made by marketers with this kind of traffic each and every day. Anyone can learn how to take advantage of this kind of traffic. Anyone can make a large sum of money once they harness this traffic. If you ask me that’s a great deal, provided you can do it.

THE BAD:

Nothing is ever free. Everything costs something. There really is no such things as completely free traffic. There is traffic you do not need to spend money to get, but it will cost you something. That something is usually TIME. As the old saying goes “time is money” I would say that misses the mark completely. Time is much more valuable than any kind of money.

Time is the one thing that once spent it is gone forever. Money comes and goes, you spend one dollar here you get another dollar there. If you really want to generate traffic to your website and you do not want to spend any money be ready to spend time. Doing all the work that getting the free traffic requires will either cost you money to pay someone else or time to do it yourself.

Now I have done both. I have spent money to get traffic and I have spent time to get traffic. Sometimes you just have more time than money other times you have more money than time. But make no mistake free traffic will cost you something.

So we have looked at the good, this is some of the very best traffic available today. We have looked at the bad, free traffic isn’t really free if you add the cost of your time to the mix. Now all we have left is…..

THE UGLY:

So first off we will revisit our definition, Free traffic is search engine traffic. Today when we talk about search engines we mainly talk about Google. Google is the most popular search engine around today. It pretty much outperforms all the other search engines put together as far as web searches processed each month.

If you want to do well and get the most free traffic you can. You must do well in Google’s search results. That’s really all their is to say about that. So from now on when I say search engine I pretty much mean Google. I wish that was not the case but it is what it is.

Since Google is the major search engine if you want good search engine traffic you need to keep Google happy with your site. This is where we get to the really ugly part. As long as you are not a major force in your market and a very large company. Completely pleasing Google is nearly impossible.

Even if you do exactly what they say, there is no guarantee it will work. Firstly Google never give you specific information. Everything Google say’s or will say is very general information. Even when Google does get a little more specific you have no way of knowing if they will change their mind tomorrow.

Over the last 18 months to 2 years Google has released many updates that have drastically effected many if not most internet marketers. Many times you will hear “well it’s only effecting the ones that were cheating anyway”. Sadly that is not true. Each time a change was released it not only effected the intended targets but also many unintended sites as well.

If you look at the 3 major changes that started in 2011up to today. The Panda, the Penguin and the Exact Match Domain (EMD) you will see. Panda was about the content of a website. Google has long said they want high quality results and Panda was aimed at bringing those. Penguin was aimed at offsite links pointing to websites. Google has long said they wanted “natural” links being built. Penguin was Google’s way to address that issue. these two changes at least make sense. While they may not have been perfect. They may have penalized sites that theoretically should not have been touched. These updates were at least aimed directly at issues Google has been pretty clear about all along.

The third change the EMD really makes the least sense of the bunch. How Google can believe having a domain name that exactly matches the sites content or targeted product is a bad thing is just beyond me.

If for example you have a site that sells Blue Widgets and you name that site www.bluewidgets.com or even www.buybluewidgets.com. Anyone seeing the name of the site would know exactly what that site was all about. It actually goes a long way in helping people know before they even visit the site pretty much what to expect.

Now if a site was named www.bluewidgets.com and was all about red hinges that would be confusing. But that is not an exact match domain and Google is already well able to know if the topic of the site and the name of the site match. Also the EMD update does nothing for this kind of issue in the first place.

CONCLUSION:

Well anyway the real point is much less what these changes do and is much more about the fact there were changes at all in the first place. The really ugly thing about this is the fact no one knows what changes are already planned or will be planned. Also no one knows when these types of changes will be rolled out.

The true bottom line is that while “free” traffic is the best possible traffic to get. Free traffic is neither free nor dependable. As many people have found over the last two years or so. Depending strictly on Google and search engine traffic can be rather risky these days.

No one can possible know just what Google, or any other search engine for that matter, will do in the future. If you are currently in the IM business and these last changes did not harm you. I would first say congratulations and second I hope the next change is not the one that gets you.

If you have already experienced a loss in ranking or traffic and income due to these changes. I think you would agree that this “free” traffic method really is a case of the good the bad and the ugly all wrapped together.

Please check back later and see my next installment of this “traffic series” where I will talk about paid traffic. Find out how it is almost as much work as the free traffic with the added bonus of paying for it and why it is still worth looking into.