The Dark Side Of Free Traffic.

Like most of the guys out there, I have been driving traffic to my websites by using SEO for years.

Organic search engine traffic is considered free traffic. But is it really free?

Many of us forget to factor in the most valuable variable in the equation: our TIME.

Ever waited months to get ranked and get a couple hundreds or thousands of visitors per month?

Imagine how much time you have lost just by doing that.

Like any newbie marketer, you want to promote your products and services without spending money.


For example, you think that search engine traffic is free.

If you’re a quick learner or had the right information, you create content regularly, do some videos, and spread your links all over the net.

After a month or two, your website gets ranked and attracted a couple of thousands of visitors per month.

However, you have never thought about the time you have wasted. 

In this article, I will highlight the downside of popular free traffic methods.


Many digital marketers, especially those owning small and medium businesses, do not have the advertising and marketing budget that big companies have. For that reasons they’re seduced by the Search Engine Optimization  (SEO) approach thinking it is free and fast.

If you think that SEO is free and easy, then I should tell to think again.

First, Search Engine Optimization should never be regarded as an exact science due to the constant changes of search engines algorithms. You have no control over how much and what type of traffic you will be getting from your SEO efforts. While some digital marketing gurus suggest several tactics to avoid the sudden change in your website ranking, no one really knows the ins and outs of search engines algorithms.

Building a website, making content on it, and spreading your links all over the web is only a small piece of the puzzle. You need to have a strong presence in the search engine which requires a lot of effort. Further, the biggest downside of this method of promotion is its slow time -frame that may take weeks, months, or even a year to reap the fruits of your efforts.

Traffic Exchange.

If you need a lot of visitors to come to your website for free, then traffic exchange is exactly what’s your looking for. A traffic exchange is a simple method and it’s exactly what it sounds like.

It is a software that provides traffic in an exchange with other traffic for free. However, most traffic exchange services are useless that can waste your valuable time for several reasons.

Most people who join these programs don’t really care about your website or content. They’re just coming to get credits so they can get higher traffic to their website. It’s true you can generate traffic from it, but they are not targeted that won’t pay attention to your content, products, or sign to your newsletter. Also, the conversion rate is so low, and you need a lot of testing to get the best results.

As Google Adsense is one of the best methods to make money online, they have clearly mentioned in their policies that Google ads shouldn’t be placed on pages receiving traffic from third party sources, which traffic exchange is one of them.  Attracting this type of traffic might generate invalid clicks, which will cost money to the advertiser.

Free Ads.

Classified advertising is a free way to small and medium-sized businesses to reach potential customers. This type of advertising has been used by people who can’t spend money on advertising. Classified ads have been around for decades that everyone is familiar with and still effective today.

Craigslist, Letgo, Package, and Gumtree are the most popular classified websites. Millions of people visit these websites to buy and sell products and services in different categories.

The main problem that I noticed using classified ads is they expire quickly and any advertiser should keep an eye on the ads and replaced when it is necessary. Ads need to be re-posted regularly to see any decent amount of traffic and reap the benefits.

In competitive niches like dating, business, and finance you need to post your ads on daily basis in their categories to drive targeted traffic to your website. While millions of people visit these websites, it takes long time and huge effort to get noticed and develop a reputation so people know your products and services.

In addition, classified ad websites offer a limited space and a lot of constraints for free users, so you find yourself forced to spend money on advertising. As dozens of ads are posted each day, your ads will drop lower and quickly until it disappears.

Social Media.

No one can refute that social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have become the buzz topic of the 21st century for many businesses that want to engage potential customers.

An abundance of experts, consultants, and digital marketing gurus that emerge every single day are praising social media and it enables them to reach their business goals.

It’s true that several digital marketers made a killing and still do today with Facebook and Twitter, however, every business is different and its audience responds differently. The ability of social media to deliver business growth doesn’t work for every business.

To make this type of marketing works for you have to be in an industry that use social media to communicate and share information.

Also, it turns your focus on the wrong metrics. Instead of targeting reach, leads, and sales, you become a fan and followers chaser.

Another disadvantage of social media marketing is the amount of time necessary to learn and use. For example, Facebook is changing its algorithms and policies which make it harder for marketers to build their presence. As you may know, time is business isn’t free. Many marketers have become aware of this problem and passing off social media.

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