Traffic is important. The more traffic your website generates, the greater your chances of getting visitors interested, driving user actions, and generating sales.
So it’s no wonder that regardless of the type of website you run, traffic remains the top priority. As mentioned in a recent Forbes article, anything from specific search engine optimization (SEO) strategies to contextual content can help drive traffic and increase key metrics, while more technical traffic like reducing delays in loading Pages and mobile user experience can be improved. Devices can also improve the performance of your website.
The possible downside? These traffic-enhancing tactics are not quick fixes. They take time and effort to produce consistent results – and they are not guaranteed.
Websites for exchanging website traffic offer a supposedly quick fix to deliver more impressions and help your click-throughs climb the charts. However, as noted by Google, they also come with a significant risk “as they can result in invalid clicks or impressions and lead to your account being disabled. “
Here’s what you need to know about website traffic exchanging websites, how they work – and the red flags that make them a no-starter for sustained traffic over time.
What is a Website Traffic Exchange?
The idea behind a website traffic exchange is simple: In return – you do something and get something in return.
When this happens, you visit other business owners’ websites and they visit yours in return. The theory is that with enough visits, your website will begin to improve relevant search rankings and eventually bring more organic traffic on your way.
At first glance, this doesn’t seem like a bad idea: Since website owners all want the same thing – traffic – why not join forces and harness the power of the entire web for collective gain?
Problems arise, however, when traffic trends deviate from the organic views and user interactions that search engines are now realizing. Since you are visiting websites as quickly as possible in order to generate their traffic and get them in return, your website impressions are feather light and fleeting. There is no discussion of the content and no context for the visit.
As search engines get more sophisticated, they can spot this lack of legitimacy – and penalize your website for it.
Understanding Website Traffic Exchange Sites
The most common form factor for these data exchange options are data exchange websites. If you do a quick Google search, it’ll come up with dozen, all of which offer high volume, low risk services.
These websites are simply groups of website owners who all agree to visit the other websites on the list in exchange for visiting their own websites. Some are free to join and have hundreds or thousands of websites listed. Others are paid and may support millions of websites worldwide.
While smaller websites tend to operate on a one-to-one model – you visit a website and get a visit for it – larger operations can create a site-to-view ratio, especially if your website is just starting up. For example, if your ratio is 0.5, you need to visit two websites before receiving a visit.
To help smaller businesses improve their profile faster, many of these sites are now offering paid site sharing options that promise to deliver a certain number of digital visitors in a given time period. They can also run contests or promotions that group members can participate in (for free or for a fee), which will increase their traffic multiplier and supposedly move them closer to the top of relevant front page searches.
Red Flags: Why You Shouldn’t Use Traffic Exchange Services
So far, these traffic exchange sites don’t sound like a terrible idea: they get traffic for free or for a fee, and they serve traffic to other sites.
Here’s the problem though: As noted by Google, the AdSense program specifically prohibits artificial means of generating impressions or clicks. If your website is found to be using these methods, your AdSense profile may be banned and your search ranking will drop. While website traffic exchange sites use a slightly different model of delivering click-throughs and visitor impressions, they can generate similar red flags for popular search engines and crash your website’s search rankings.
There is also the bigger problem of organic and contextual traffic. Their ultimate goal is to attract visitors with relevant website content that drives certain actions – for example, signing up for a newsletter, filling out a contact form, or making a purchase. It takes two things to achieve this goal: organic searches that will return your website as a top result, and contextual, value-driven content that drives consumer engagement
Data-sharing sites make up the first part of this equation because group members may be assigned certain keywords to input that will return your site and improve search rankings. In the second half, however, they lag behind as these aren’t actual visitors, but other group members clicking through and then ricocheting while waiting for you to return the favor. This creates a problem for intelligent search engine algorithms, which detect that your traffic is increasing – and correspondingly little engagement, which in turn marks your website in red and potentially damages your search ranking.
Green light options to increase website traffic
What Can Website Owners Do To Increase Traffic, Generate More Leads, And Get ROI If Website Traffic Exchange Services Are Not A Beginner?
Some of the most effective options are:
- Create relevant content
- Buy targeted ads
- Write guest posts
- Capture better backlinks
- Reuse old assets
Curated, context-sensitive content is important to improve traffic metrics. This means that you create website layouts and resources that are relevant to your target audience and provide actionable information about your products, your unique market position or your prices.
Free press is great, but not always easy to find. Hence, it pays to do your research and buy targeted ad space on the social platforms that are preferred by your buyer personalities. For example, if you find a significant number of Facebook groups engaged in discussions about products or services in your industry, you might want to consider some targeted advertising spend to pique a specific user interest.
Many website owners are experts in their fields, which makes them ideal for guest posting on more popular blogs or websites. First, contact site administrators to write a guest post with the restriction that they contain a link to your site. This way, you can take advantage of larger pools of traffic without having to pay for traffic exchange websites.
Speaking of backlinks, it’s worth trying to generate as many great backlinks as possible. Start with a quick search for your brand, product, and service names. If these are mentioned in search results but not linked, contact the author and request a backlink. It is also worth checking out the most searched for terms in your market industry. If you can capture those searches with local content, you can secure backlinks to popular best-of articles and lists.
You have content that you no longer use, but that doesn’t mean it’s useless. While simple reposting doesn’t generate any new traffic, you can convert popular resources into something else. For example, a powerful blog post could be turned into a video or used as a starting point for discussion, while a white paper could see new life as an infographic with updated statistics.
The final result? More traffic means better search rankings and improved user interaction on your website.
But not all traffic is created equal. While traffic exchange websites promise high volume and speed, the value of this tactic comes with a risk – and cannot be compared to a value-driven, user-driven traffic build that will steadily increase your search rankings and help keep curiosity up Turn the first page into a functional sales conversion.