If you get my email newsletter, then you may recall in my last update that I mentioned using Facebook for traffic to niche sites.
In fact, I point to two places where I was talking about it being an amazing source of traffic for me…in 2022.
I even hinted at what I was testing in 2021.
Now, it seems like everyone and their brother… and mother, and nan, and dog are promoting it as the salvation that niche site owners hit by HCU need.
The reality, like all things that get popular in SEO and niche sites, is that once everyone is talking about it, you’ve already missed the gold rush.
And you know what that means? The shovel sellers are the real winners.
Can you still get some good traffic from Facebook to your sites? Sure.
But you could’ve got more, for a lot less ad spend, if you’d jumped in sooner.
Those Pesky Facebook Algorithm Changes
If you’ve been in this industry a while, then you likely remember the old days when sites like Viral Nova were absolutely crushing it with Facebook traffic.
Not too long after that, the Facebook algo changed, as it often does, and people who wanted to cash in on that traffic were fucked.
Businesses who had gone all in on Facebook and relied on that traffic were shuttered.
I don’t recall there ever being a time for Facebook traffic like that since.
But 2020 through early 2023 was close. (It maybe have resurged before 2020, but that was when it came to my attention again – Thanks, Steve!)
Those Facebook algo changes are finicky bastards, much like the Google ones, but it all seems to move in a cycle.
And the same rule for site owners applies – you can’t rely on Facebook traffic because they can (and do) turn it off on a whim.
If I Were Starting Now
I’m not here to rain on anyone’s parade, but I do want to keep things realistic for you.
You can get traffic doing this, but it can drastically drop at anytime – know that in advance.
Also know, that starting early in 2023, existing pages seemed to seriously get their reach limited but new pages don’t seem to be really affected all that much (so far).
So, if I already had an existing page, then I wouldn’t use it for this. Instead, I’d start a new one.
For example, if I had a page that was up before that time period for a site called Cats are Awesome then I would not use it and would instead create a new page maybe called Proof Cats Awesome and use it for this traffic generating method.
Yes, the method of running a very simple (example: If you like gardening, then you’ll LOVE this page!) campaign for page likes and then using something like Buffer to schedule regular blasts to that Facebook page so your new “fans” will hopefully click through to your site still works.
It has always worked better (at least for me) to get clicks through to informational posts than affiliate posts.
And you gotta give the people who are scrolling through their Facebook feed something that jolts them out of that scrolling to actually click through to your site.
It’s essentially clickbait – but I’m not talking about that really slimy type of clickbait.
For a gardening page, I’d probably create content like “7 Things Even Experienced Gardeners Get Wrong About Growing Vegetables.”
One thing that you have to master is creating headlines for social clicks is completely different from creating headlines for Google clicks.
Content for Sites vs Content for Social
One thing that I’m noticing is there are a lot of people who are thinking that they have to create completely different content for social and then completely different content for Google.
I’ve even seem some people talking about noindexing the content for Facebook.
I cannot imagine spending time and money on something to only use it for one audience….and that it may or may not work for that purpose.
There is zero reason you cannot use content like “7 Things Even Experienced Gardeners Get Wrong About Growing Vegetables” for both social traffic and organic search traffic.
Remember, you can customize the slug of the article AND give it a different title than the H1. (you should always be doing this)
And here’s the thing – the sites I’ve seen that didn’t get decimated by HCU were doing things like this.
In fact, here’s the exact advice I gave to a pets site owner back in November:
What I’ve seen working with the type of content I mentioned is essentially finding some related info that makes it stand out. So, for ‘can dogs eat granola’ maybe they can (I have no idea) but there’s one ingredient to watch out for so you update the title to something like ” Feeding Your Dog Granola? The One Ingredient to Watch Out For” then rework the article to be something like
- Granola and Your Dog
- What Ingredients To Avoid and Why
- Recommended Granolas for Dogs
So, you end up with maybe a H3 in that first section targeting the original keyword but overall you got more substance and a better title for CTR. The ideal way to approach updating your content is looking at each title/keyword and think – what extra detail/info in this title would compel me to click it immediately because it would be so damn essential for me to know.
Now let’s say there’s nothing sensational we can use – instead, I would do a title like “Dog’s Can’t Eat Granola, But Here’s 13 Other Healthy Snacks For Pups”. You essentially have to reframe the way you think about creating content around these types of keywords. You’ll also discover that the new titles get you better clicks from Pinterest and Facebook.
For most niche site owners, I think this way of thinking about content is a bit strange since for years you only had to focus on ‘can dogs eat granola’ and wait for the internet monies to roll on in.
And the reality is that some people just aren’t wired to easily think about it in this way. But with practice, you can retrain your brain to do it.
The Unexpected Benefit
For many years I have been an advocate of diversifying traffic streams (and monetization!) to build a moat, but I feel like it’s fallen on deaf ears for the most part.
Why? Because it takes more work.
It’s just always been so damn easy, for the most part, to bang out those shitty ‘can dogs eat granola’ type of articles, so why do any extra work?
But hey, HCU comes along and now everyone is all about brand building and social traffic.
Whatever it takes, eh? I’m just glad you’ve hopped on this train.
It will make you a better site builder and content creator.
Once you reframe the way that you look at content creation, you end up accidentally creating content for your site that people remember. Content that makes people want to actually return to your site.
(Unless you being a fool and noindexing that shit.)
Congrats, you just became a better marketer!
This means that it’s easier for you to really put in the time on growing something so damn awesome that you likely have no idea what you are on the cusp of here.
I’m talking about expanding to other social channels (not just Pinterest, cause they also have algos that can fuck ya), YouTube, and proper email marketing.
I’m talking about selling to your audience and seeing awesome conversions because you did an awesome job finding the right audience.
None of this lazyass ‘get my posts by email’ shit either (yeah, I know, I know, I’m guilty of that on here…for now)
I think if you really stick with it and expand beyond 100% focus on Facebook, you’re really in for something amazing.
Of course, that’s assuming you’ve built a good site and not a site full of ‘can my dog eat…’ type of content.
On Not Missing The Next Gold Rush
While you have missed out on the latest Facebook traffic gold rush period, you didn’t have to.
While I was mentioning it here and there, I only started doing that AFTER someone started a mega thread on it in the Fat Stacks forum (in Dec 2021) detailing pretty much the exact thing I was doing.
The thing is, the popular mouth pieces of this industry (or any industry, really), usually aren’t on the cutting edge of what’s working. That’s because they tend to make most of their money by being a popular mouth piece, not by doing.
It’s the people in the shadows hiding behind anonymous forum user names and Twitter profiles who are usually uncovering these gems.
Take that guy on the Fat Stacks forum. His username is ‘jamespenn’ but that may not even be his name. Hell, my username on there is not my name.
And there is little chance he is one of the popular gurus. He’s just someone who wanted to share what was working for him.
And he shared it in a private forum.
I was fortunate that a fellow SEO named Steve enlightened me on it. We were sharing other stuff when he dropped this bombshell.
So, make friends with other SEOs who are not gurus.
Join private forums and obscure forums where people are talking about things that aren’t being talked about elsewhere.
And pay attention when people like me mention something that no one else is talking about. Then, do some research or testing of your own.
And when you find something that works that is not being widely talked about, be careful who you share it with privately.
Because they just might package it as their own discovery months later and pivot that into making some affiliate monies off their audience.
This industry remains a cesspool of some of the worst people.
I truly hope that you’re really on the train with me to building a real honest to goodness valuable asset with your site now.
I would hate to think that you’ve gone all in on Facebook traffic (or Pinterest, or any other single thing).
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got shitty sites focused too much on one single traffic source…but they’re not my most profitable sites. (I’m just bleeding them dry until they die.)
With that in mind, you’ll start to notice a content shift here in the coming months. (I’m also slowly working on a site redesign, but not sure when that will go live)
I’ve tested the waters before and not gotten many bites, but I think you’re finally ready for things other than one-dimensional niche site building resources.
To give you a preview of some of what I’ve been doing, I’ve got a site doing loads of monthly traffic with multiple traffic streams where I’m prepping to add an ecommerce component and podcast to this brand.
I am incredibly excited about it. And I look forward to talking more about it later in the year.
Hey, I’m Shawna. I make a living working from my laptop in places like London, Sydney, Dubai, Rome, Oslo, Bangkok, Las Vegas, Barcelona, and Amsterdam. I share how I do some of that on this website.