Advice from Sift Media about building website traffic

Have you heard of Sift Media? They’re the company who bought UK from Ozzy back in 2007. They also run They’re a leading media company in the UK who claim to publish some of the UK’s most active B2B communities.

I’m signed up to receive their emails so I can keep in touch with the latest news in the industry. They sent me one today linking to their web page about 13 ways to drive traffic to your site for free. Of course I’m interested, this is right up my street! Let’s see what they have to say.

By the way, I can only quote their content in accordance with copyright law and with fair use. So after the first quote, the rest of the ‘advice’ is all paraphrased. You can read the full article here.

The introductory paragraph says this:

Every website owner wants to drive as much free traffic to their website as possible.

This has got the article off to a bad start as far as I’m concerned. As I pointed out in an article earlier this week, the wrong sort of traffic is of no use at all. And it may even be damaging for the site. Oh well, let’s get on with the 13 ways to build traffic.

1. Choose your keywords well and don’t do keyword stuffing.

Blimey. Is that an earth-shattering revelation or what?

2. Write a lot of new stuff for your own site to get high rankings in the search engines. Article Marketing and bum marketing don’t work as well as they used to.

Many people these days consider free website traffic more as a bonus rather than being the dog’s wotsits for its own sake. Personally, I’d be more keen to build traffic from links rather than trying to get more links to impress the search engines. And talk about stating the bleedin’ obvious as far as article marketing is concerned.

3. Start link building by asking companies for reciprocal links. Don’t use link farms.

Ask companies to swap links? How 1990s is that? Reciprocal link building hasn’t worked well for years. How can a respected publisher of business advice possibly be recommending anything so old hat? “Don’t use link farms” is good enough advice, but who the hell didn’t already know that?

4. Get your site listed for your local area in the search engines.

Sounds fine if you have a local business.

5. Always use your keywords in the anchor text of your links.

Clearly, this author has never heard of Penguin. By the way, there’s a lot of good info about Penguin here.

6. Use social sites such as Tumblr and StumbleUpon to build your traffic.

Yes, you can do that, but what use is SU traffic? They click—look—click away. What’s the point of spending time to attract that sort of traffic?

7. Create a good Facebook page.

Yes, that probably works. I haven’t tried it yet.

8. Create a LinkedIn account to raise awareness.

Again, that’s not a bad idea as long as you don’t spend too much time doing it, and annoying people by sending them self-promotional messages frequently.

9. Make social sharing easy.

Another reasonably good idea, if your audience is the type who like to share – and not all demographics do.

10. Use Twitter and tweet a load of crap at people.

OK, they didn’t really advise that. They said not to overdo it and make your posts useful. It’s just that I’m not much of a Twitter fan.

11. Start a blog for the company because the search engines like blogs.

Here we go again – more time to spend chasing SE traffic.

12. Do some guest blogging.

Yep. Guest blogging can be a good way to build relationships and traffic. You can also comment on other people’s blogs but the Sift Media article didn’t mention that.

13. Join forums and make posts. Use your forum signature to increase your backlinks and to raise your profile.

Well, as someone who spends a lot of time running forums (as an owner, admin, and mod on various places), I can tell you that it’s not a good idea at all to join a forum for the sole purpose of self-promotion. You might get away with it on some lesser forums, but any that are well-run are likely to at least delete your posts and maybe even ban you if they suspect you of “signature dropping”. Be very careful before trying to use forums as a means of building traffic. And yet again we’re urged to chase free search engine traffic.

Right, so that’s their list. I realise that some content needs to be targeted towards newbies to help them get started. I write some of those kind of articles too. But in my opinion it’s wrong to misinform people, especially the unwary, with bland and out-of-date information. I would have expected a prominent digital media company to do a bit better than post an article with a lot of blurb advising people to ask for reciprocal links, chase after non-productive traffic from places like StumbleUpon, and make the whole exercise of traffic building seem like a strategy of building backlinks to impress the search engines.

Not so much sifting, as dredging up.


2 Responses to “Advice from Sift Media about building website traffic”

  1. Dan Martin

    Hello Kay,

    Many thanks for blogging about the post on It’s always good to hear from members.

    The post you refer to was written by one of your fellow members; not by me or another Sift Media journalist. Our site has a blog section which allows any registered user to post. We spotted that post and thought it would be of interest to others so included it in our newsletter.

    Apologies if you were offended by the post but a key part of what we do is allowing users to post their own content, something that not all websites in our sector do. There is a comment facility on all content and you are welcome to reply. I’m sure the author of the blog post will get back to you.

    Dan Martin

  2. Kay

    Hello Dan

    Thanks for taking the time to visit my new blog and make a comment. I’m not in the least offended by the post, it’s just that I didn’t think it was very useful – not even for newbies.

    I understand now that this was user generated content. Thanks for your explanation. However, unless your email newsletter is also UGC rather than from you and/or your staff, then maybe you could have exercised a wee bit more editorial control before sending it out as a newsletter from the company you represent.

    Your newsletter is usually very good. That’s why I read it regularly, unlike several others which I just delete or only read occasionally. And, yes, you’re right – the subject of building traffic is very much of interest to your readers. It’s just a pity that the article looked as though it had been written by someone who didn’t know very much about the subject.

    Best wishes



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