Why Buying Website Traffic Might Replace SEO
Years ago it was pretty simple to understand what keywords received the most traffic. You could log into Google Analytics, see where all of your visitors came from, and then you could "target" keywords in your blog posts and guest post articles. That's getting more and more difficult to do, and Google is giving you a heads up to exit stage left on traditional SEO.
Keyword Research Doesn't Really Work Anymore
Keyword research is getting to be a nightmare. Yes, you can still go to Google's free keyword tool. That tool, however, only tells you competition for Adwords ads and approximate search volume for the keyword. It doesn't tell you how hard it would be to rank for the given keyword. Even the keyword data isn't all that precise and could give you an incomplete picture of the potential for your keywords.
Rand Fishkin explains this phenomenon on his site, SEOMoz. It's nice to believe that, like Fishkin, you would get more traffic than what Google is showing you, but you could just as easily get less. A lot less. Some webmasters complain openly in forums that Google's numbers are almost never in sync with raw data logs and Google's traffic doesn't always square with competing services like Wordtracker.
The End of Referrer Data
It's no secret that Google is putting an end to referrer data. Notprovidedcount.com tracks the number of "referrer not provided" visits that are appearing in Google's analytics program. The site uses live analytics data from Google piped through 60 different sites, monitors the traffic flowing through these sites, and then measures the trend of "not provided" referral data. As of this writing, blank referrer data is running at about 28 percent and growing.
The site estimates that blank referrer data will reach 100 percent by October 13th, 2019 at the current rate of growth. That sounds like a long ways off but, remember, the data will become increasingly sparse between now and then. At 50 percent blank referrer data, you're going to have a really tough time trying to figure out where your traffic is coming from and where you rank for many keywords.
If you don't know where you rank, how are you supposed to perform SEO? Answer: you're not. This is pretty much in-line with what Google has been telling webmasters for a while. In at least one interview, Matt Cutts has said outright that webmasters shouldn't worry about offsite SEO - that people should just worry about providing a good user experience and Google will handle the rest.
Why Buying Website Traffic Works
Years ago, a semi-famous Internet marketer (John Reese) challenged anyone in his seminar to beat him in the search engines. He queried the audience as to how people might rank number one, and then said he could outrank anyone with one swift move: he'd just buy the number one spot (i.e. place ads on the #1 spot's website or make an offer to buy the site from the webmaster).
It was said a bit tongue-in-cheek, but the message was clear: buying traffic is really a fool-proof way to "rank" in the search engines and get traffic. Doing media buys, pay-per-click, CPM, CPV, or buying plain old banner and text ads are all proven methods of getting website traffic. You don't need to be an SEO expert. You just need to be good at marketing yourself and negotiation - basically, you need to be good at skills that are universally necessary in any civilized society. Does buying banner or text ads work? It sure does. A-list bloggers like John Chow wouldn't be able to make a living from ad revenue if it didn't. His hosts text ads as well as banner ads - and they're not the usual suspects like Google Adsense. Advertisers wouldn't pay to be on his blog if he didn't consistently send traffic to their sites.
Ways To Buy Website Traffic
One of the more popular ways to buy website traffic is pay-per-click. However, it's also one of the most expensive ways. CPM and CPV doesn't get much love, mostly because there are a lot of shady companies out there selling bot traffic. But the Cost-per-thousand and cost-per-view models are actually a good way to drive visitors to your site if you're getting good redirect traffic, you're part of a blog network that's referring traffic to you via banner ads, or you're hooked up with a reputable traffic broker. It's going to be cheaper than pay-per-click and you have more control over the ad copy.