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Every day, people conduct millions of searches using the major search engines & those visitors end up somewhere. The raw numbers indicate that in just about EVERY market, somebody must be making money from that traffic, & as you'll see below, it's often only 3 or 4 sites that get most of it... So, how do you break off a piece for yourself? The key to increasing your website traffic lies in using a combination of techniques. But, developing quality inbound links is a critical aspect in that mix. And once you fully comprehend how powerful links are in the "free traffic game," you'll be well on your way to generating THOUSANDS of extra visitors that are currently headed to your competition... I. 181 Million A Day. First, let's back out some numbers to show you the amount of free traffic that goes up for grabs every day... According to the stats (copy & paste: "searchenginewatch.com/2156461" in your browser), there were roughly 213,000,000 searches conducted a DAY in 2006. And, I'd bet that traffic levels have increased since then: More people now seem to be comfortable using search engines to find information vs. traditional offline information sources. If you estimate that only 15% of searches result in a click of a PPC ad...then, how much "free" search engine traffic is there...? Let's do the math: 213,000,000 X 85% = 181,050,000 in daily natural (non-PPC) search engine traffic. So, where are those 181 million visitors going & why aren't you getting your fair share? In most markets, the answer lies in cracking the "traffic monopoly".... II. The Unfair Advantage. "What monopoly?" you ask... This one:

Take 60 seconds & open "Compete.com" in a new window. Now, look at your top ranked competitors' traffic levels. What do you see?


You'll see that in most markets, 3 or 4 sites are probably getting 80% or more of the traffic. These 3 or 4 sites often appear to have a formed a sort of "traffic monopoly"... Pretty shocking, isn't it? If only a handful of sites get most of the visitors, this leaves the other 99% of webmasters to fight for the leftovers... III. What About PPC? Pay Per Click can be a very effective means of driving traffic & it should be part of your overall marketing strategy. One of the big benefits of PPC is that it's FAST. If you've got the money, you can generate thousands of visitors in less than 24 hours using PPC. This is in contrast to natural search engine traffic which can often take 6 months to really develop... However, it's also VERY easy to lose money in PPC. In fact, in some markets (Satellite TV comes to mind), single companies are rumored to spend more than $250,000 a MONTH on PPC! Yikes...That's some pretty serious competition... Since PPC is a MASSIVE topic all to its own & is far beyond the scope of this article, let's stick to discussing free traffic techniques... IV. A Search Engine Optimization Primer. In just about every market online, there are people trying to get their sites ranked higher in the search engines. This is called "search engine optimization" (A.K.A." SEO"). Search engine optimization was developed during the 1990s & there is a TON of information about it online (to learn more, visit seochat.com & seobook.com - 2 of the biggest SEO sites currently). Professional search engine optimization companies can charge $5,000.00 - $10,000.00 for a optimization...But, for a lot of businesses, the return on SEO can be huge. For example, if your average account size is $50,000 & an optimization brings in just new 3 customers a year...that's $150,000 in revenues from a $10,000 investment. Compared to most other advertising (which SEO can almost be considered), SEO can be a pretty good deal... Some of the major SEO techniques are:

In Depth Keyword Research. Search Engine 'Bot' Friendly HTML. Title & Header (H1, H2, H3) Tags Optimization. Meta Tags Optimization. Internal Linking Structure Optimization. Monthly SEO Maintenance & Adjustment... And many more...As you might imagine, the interplay of just these 6 factors alone can get very confusing & it really does take an experienced SEO to optimize a site correctly. V. A "2 For 1" Deal.


Besides the "on page" factors mentioned above, search engines also heavily value inbound links in order to rank sites... The theory is that a site with 40 or 50 inbound links containing specific anchor text should rank higher than a site with only 25 similar inbound links...This is fairly common knowledge...But inbound links from related sites really have a DOUBLE "traffic benefit." In other words, links from the right sites are often a "2 for 1" deal & here's why... VI. Cashing In Twice On Free Traffic. Building quality inbound links from sites with similar content is critical to increasing your site's traffic because besides helping your site rank higher in the search engines, quality inbound links also send traffic by themselves too...Extra "link traffic" that is completely independent of search engines... After all, most web surfers spend most of their time clicking from site to site by means of the connecting links...not from repeatedly searching... Thus, links have a "double traffic" benefit:

From the increased search engine rankings that they produce. From the visitors coming from the links themselves. The right links will send a consistent stream of visitors 24 hours a day like clockwork & the traffic just keeps coming, even if search engines didn't exist. Furthermore, depending on the site, this independent link traffic can be very lucrative too... VII. Links Mean Money. To give you an example, I currently own a site that maintains a #3 ranking for a specific keyword phrase in one of the top 3 search engines. The site has high quality original content & many other sites link to it because they are happy to "recommend it," in the form of link, to THEIR site visitors. Every week, that #3 position alone generates HUNDREDS of visitors. But, one of the independent sites linking in sends it a consistent stream of 7 visitors day too... Those extra 7 visitors would cost real CASH to get through PPC...at 45cents a click, that's the equivalent of saving $3.15 a DAY, which is $1,149.75 annually. And that's just from a single link! 10 more links of that quality would be $11,497.50 in annual savings...Furthermore, while it's difficult to estimate the contribution, that link is surely ALSO partially responsible for my #3 search engine position & the traffic that ranking generates day after day...This is almost a PERFECT example of the "2:1" effect described above. I think you are getting the picture of how powerful the right links can be... VIII. The Critical Takeaway. The critical takeaway here is this:


Besides "on page" factors, having the right mixture of quality targeted inbound links can increase a site's traffic in several ways. They'll boost search engine rankings SKY HIGH & sometimes produce a steady stream of independent traffic too... Strive to develop a solid foundation of anchor text-rich inbound links from sites with similar content. Sites that already have high volumes of targeted traffic are optimal... Getting the right amount of quality links will help you chip away at the "traffic monopoly" in ANY market... Now that you've got the info, all you've got to do is go break off a piece of that traffic for yourself. Good luck...

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