One of the challenges in running a website is hitting what I refer to as the “saturation point” of its traffic. The saturation point, as I define it, is when traffic has plateaued and shows no signs of growth — despite your efforts.
If you believe your traffic is at saturation point then you may need to make a decision:
- Devote more resources to marketing in pursuit of increasing it.
- Shift your focus onto new objectives or projects.
Traffic Saturation Explained
Website traffic growth depends on a number of key factors, such as:
- The quality (and SEO-friendliness) of your content
- The size of the industry (how competitive it is)
- How your content or product compares to its competition
- How well established your site is.
When you launch a new website you’ll usually struggle to compete with already-popular sites. That’s normal. In fact, Google is known to favour established domains in their search rankings.
Over time, as you publish new content — as well as apply various other marketing efforts — you will inevitably see some growth in your traffic (although it’s not absolutely guaranteed).
Most of my sites have followed a similar trend: slow but steady growth in traffic, followed by a ‘ceiling’. In other words, the traffic stopped increasing.
If your average traffic over a long period of time (e.g. three months) remains steady — despite various marketing efforts — then you might conclude that you’re at saturation point. Here’s an example from one of my sites:
How Big Is My Niche?
If your site is performing well in Google page rankings for the most relevant keyword searches, then you’re most probably already one of the most successful “high authority” sites in your niche.
But if you still feel unsatisfied with the amount of traffic referred from search engines then ask yourself this: how big is the niche I’m in?
If your niche is highly specialised, you might not ever receive enormous volumes of search engine traffic — even if you’re showing up on page 1 for all the right keywords. Truth is, achieving a top page ranking for rarely-searched keywords is pretty straightforward. But ultimately if nobody searches those terms, it’ll have no impact on your traffic.
I recommend using Google Trends to measure and compare the popularity of different search terms; it really helps to gain some perspective on your niche.
The best advice I can give to websites operating within a small, high-specialised niche is to explore other, more popular topics/keywords that relate to your product or service. Broaden your subject matter up a little bit, and explore different avenues.
The “Google Gods”
At times it feels as though the “Google Gods” decide the fate of websites. It can feel somewhat out of our control.
I admit, in the past I’ve assumed that a website’s fate had been sealed, and that its traffic couldn’t possibly grow any further — only for it to double, triple, and then quadruple later on down the line. It took a lot of work, but the site reached new heights that I couldn’t have ever envisaged.
The moral here is to keep on pushing. There’s so many different avenues that’ll help to increase your visitors from search engines and other sources.
So what exactly can you do to boost traffic when there’s no signs of growth?
How To Drive More Traffic
Google is like a giant tap. It can drip — or completely flood — your site with traffic.
The good news is, you can always drive more traffic to your site and increase your page hits through other means. And provided you carefully monitor the costs, you’ll reap the rewards.
Here’s what I suggest doing to increase your visitors…
1. Increase Advertising Spend
Many businesses increase their advertising spend to raise additional awareness, and keep their name out there. They reach out to new audiences — even generations — in the process.
Take Coca-Cola as an example. They always run their famous Christmas campaigns every year, despite the fact everyone already recognises the brand immediately. So why do they do it, and how is it effective?
- Is it a gentle reminder to choose their soft drinks over Pepsi during the festive period?
- Or is aimed at making Coca-Cola synonymous with Christmas in the minds of Children?
Perhaps both. And in addition, the Coca-Cola Christmas campaign is timed to perfection — targeted at people that’re set to consume copious amounts of unhealthy food. So drinking liquidated sugar is neither here nor there. The adverts do wonders for the brand and its publicity.
This underlines the importance of targeting.
Pay Per Click advertising is your go-to option for raising traffic. To learn more, check out my articles:
2. Increase Outreach
Contact other sites with a similar or overlapping audience to yours.
A site owner may allow you to pay for advertising space, or grant you the opportunity to guest post on their site. The aim is to engage with an existing audience and increase exposure to your own website or business in the process.
This is particularly powerful if you’re able to obtain a “high authority” link (to your site) at the same time is also great. Provided the external site is reputable, Google will value your site higher, and often rank it better, because of its association to a ‘reliable’ source. So focus on your “way in” to one of those sites.
Remember that many websites succeed because of networking and creating new opportunities — not just because of their content.
3. Produce More Content
Publishing regular content reminds search engines that you’re still there. New content helps to re-engage your current audience, and connects you to first-time visitors. That’s good news for your traffic.
Also consider distributing your existing content in different formats — such as a YouTube Vlog or a podcast series. It’s not all about SEO and Social media campaigns. Spreading a wide net with your content helps to reach as many people as possible.
The following articles may be helpful:
- Distributing Content Via Social Media
- Reusable vs Disposable Content
- What Makes A Good Podcast or YouTube Channel?
What ways can you diversify your business? Think about what products, services and content you might add to your repertoire in order to reach more people and drive new traffic to your website.
I’ve had to diversify several times. I once diversified my sports blog from purely horse racing content into the larger market of football. It was a simple, but highly effective strategy which doubles my traffic at a point where my daily visits had stagnated.
But I hit another saturation point later on down the line. And to make that next leap I decided to start writing about even more general aspects of online sports betting — such as e-wallets and how to make withdrawals. Recently I’ve written more on the psychology of gambling, and what makes a “winning mentality”. I’ve covered a lot more on the industry than I’d originally envisaged.
You may need to realign your content or products several times, as I have.
When To Settle On Traffic
The suggestion of “settling” on current levels of traffic might sound unambitious. But there are cases where it could be the smartest option for you. Hear me out on this one.
1. Increased Advertising Spend Isn’t Viable
Let’s suppose you’ve applied as many organic SEO strategies as possible, and you decide to drive more traffic to your website through paid advertising. You’ll need to take a close look at the numbers: is it viable?
If you calculate that your sales conversion rates — both short and long-term — can’t justify the advertising spend, or that your margins simply aren’t big enough to cover the expense… then it isn’t worth doing it. If you sell low ticket items (e.g. mobile phone cases) then you may find yourself in this predicament.
So while increased advertising spend makes it more likely for you to generate sales, that doesn’t mean it’ll be profitable for your business.
2. Everyone Already Knows About Your Product
This leads on from the previous point. Is advertising worth it if your product is already very popular, or a market leader?
Perhaps it is. For example, you might want to:
- Re-assert yourself in the market to fend off new competitors.
- Advertise a new update to your product.
- Reach out to new generations.
Yet in many cases it’s not beneficial to advertise to people that already own your product, or are aware of it. Essentially, your own popularity might make it difficult for you to achieve the next “big leap” in traffic.
Suppose you set up PPC advertising on Google Ads, but found your organic results were showing up on the same page as the adverts you’ve paid for. In this case the advertising spend is ineffective: you’re advertising where you’re showing for free. You’re a victim of your own SEO success!
So if you’re already well positioned to find new customers, you might want to focus on customer retention, or explore new products and niches.
3. Better Opportunities Elsewhere
If it takes increasingly more effort and ingenuity to leap past your “saturation point”, then your time, energy and other resources could be better spent on tasks with a greater return; other areas of the business, or new projects, for example.
I find that as a writer and affiliate marketer I need to be increasingly innovative and original to achieve a long-term upturn in traffic. So when I’m out of fresh ideas, I’ll make it a priority to seek lower hanging fruit elsewhere; whatever I feel has the most upside.
Ideally I could fully maximise all projects so that it need not be a choice of prioritising one thing over the other. But if you’re like me, you’ll have to manage what resources you have.
Recap On Traffic Saturation
No niche site will continue to grow exponentially, forever. So once you’ve explored several marketing avenues for your product/service, ask yourself:
- What more can I do to improve traffic?
- How much more traffic can I realistically drive?
- Is it cost-effective to devote additional time, effort or money on marketing, or am I better off focusing my efforts elsewhere?
Keep in mind that you can’t be entirely sure how Google will rank your website both now and in the future. You might get back-links from very credible sources, causing your search rankings to shoot up. You could go viral on social media, and your website becomes an enormous hit…
…Or, on the other hand you could drop off the face of the earth.
Make the most of SEO opportunities. Hedge your bets by diversifying your content/services and exploring different marketing channels. And all the while, prey that the “Google Gods” eventually turn on that big old tap for you.