Best Traffic Sources

Written by Tyler Day

Affiliate Marketing Traffic Solutions

If you want to see any success as a digital or affiliate marketer, there is one thing you need – a steady stream of relevant traffic. As online marketers, it is our job to get our offers in front of the right people and convince them to take action.

Experienced marketers know that successful marketing campaigns leverage a combination of both paid and organic traffic options; buying traffic is great, but free traffic is better.

However, for beginners, gaining a significant amount of traffic can often seem an impossible task.

Organic search marketing requires a diverse skill set and, more importantly, a significant time investment before you see any real results. Also, paid traffic can become costly, with many inexperienced marketers making net losses through their paid search campaigns.

So, if you’re new to affiliate or digital marketing and unsure of your options, keep reading, as, throughout the rest of this post, I will be breaking down the best traffic sources you should be using.

Free Traffic Sources

Free traffic is excellent and produces the best ROI in terms of monetary investment when compared to any other traffic source. Of course, free traffic isn’t strictly free, as there is a significant labor & time investment required – however, no money is required to build a steady stream of traffic through free sources.

To gain any meaningful level of free traffic, you will need to have an overview and level of skill in several key aspects of digital marketing, including SEO, keyword research, content creation & sales copy, trend analysis, and landing page/sales funnel production.

Depending on your chosen platform, and the offers you are running, you might need a full suite of skills or only a chosen few – as you gain more experience you will identify your strengths and recognize areas where you need to outsource.

For instance, – you may develop an excellent working knowledge of technical SEO; however, your on-page copy doesn’t drive conversions. Luckily, there are several freelance copy & content creation services available online such as Fiverr, and UpWork that you can use to correct this issue.

Organic Search

Organic search, search marketing, or simply SEO is the strategy you should be using if you are expecting prolonged project longevity. SEO is a popular strategy among affiliate marketers that leverage blogs as their primary marketing platform.

Organic search marketing relies on getting traffic from search engine results pages (SERPs) by appearing for searches made by your potential customer base. One of the most commonly employed tactics is to become an ‘authority’ within your chosen niche/industry to build trust and drive sales.

Building an authoritative site requires a working knowledge of SEO techniques and practices. First and foremost, you need to be adept at keyword research, which we have a detailed explanation of here.

Keyword research informs your entire content marketing strategy and lets you see how the competition is marketing themselves – exposing any gaps that you can capitalize on.

Once you are creating quality content for your affiliate site, the second thing you need is a quality, diverse backlink profile. Many links can be acquired organically; however, most will be curated through promotional strategies – known as link building.

We have an in-depth link building post available on our blog that explains what link building is, and covers several common strategies used by digital marketers.

Quality content & backlinks are the king and queen of organic search, and even if you struggle with any other aspect of on-page SEO, great content and links will take you a long way.

With that said, digital marketing is exceptionally competitive, with marketers putting quality content at the heart of their marketing strategies.

This is where a good knowledge of technical SEO can give you a leg up on the competition. If you have great content in place and are building a solid backlink profile – focusing on other ranking factors can help secure your place at the top of the SERPs.

Other ranking factors include site speed optimization, title tags & meta description copy, bounce rate (percentage of users that return to SERPs without exploring your site further,) dwell time (time spent on-page,) image alt text, site architecture, and many others.

While this can seem like a lot of technical jargon, some of these points are important ranking factors.

However, to avoid becoming overwhelmed, it is essential to remember that Google’s primary interest is in serving the user as effectively as they can.

What this means for us is that if we strive to satisfy the search intent of our intended user base and provide a pleasant on-site experience – we are likely going to do many of these things organically without thinking about them.

Social Traffic

Using social media platforms to drive traffic towards your affiliate offers is a great way to boost your authority and build trust with your audience. Social marketing, like most free traffic sources, is time-intensive, yet the returns are exponential.

Using platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, or Pinterest to build a significant following takes time, and a concentrated effort to provide value & boost engagement.

Not all social platforms are created equally for affiliate marketers; depending on the niche, some will perform better than others. With that said, one of our favorite social marketing platforms is Pinterest, which not only gives you access to a substantial number of users through group boards but allows you to insert your affiliate offers straight into your pinned content.

By doing this, not only can you build authority & boost traffic, but you can also drive sales directly from the platform. Using Pinterest alongside your other marketing efforts is one of the best ways to boost all your metrics.

Outbound Marketing

Outbound marketing is, in essence, the opposite of organic search, which is classified as inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is the act of placing yourself and your products where people expect to find them when actively looking.

Like someone finding a website that sells running shoes after searching for ‘running shoes’ on Google.

Outbound marketing is when we place products in front of people who may not necessarily be looking for them at the time. For affiliate marketers, this is often through email marketing campaigns, although display ads and native ads fall under the outbound marketing umbrella also.

Like other free traffic sources, email marketing takes an initial time investment to build an email subscriber list that you can market to. However, where email marketing differs is that your userbase is highly targeted & relevant to your niche.

Building a list of niche enthusiasts that you can market to directly is going to result in more sales, and higher conversion rates. In fact, we have an entire post dedicated to explaining why email marketing is important that you must read if you want to increase your affiliate sales.

We also use email marketing within our promotional strategy when building links, finding relevant link prospects, and promoting our content as a linkable asset for them to share with their audience.

Paid Traffic Sources

Many affiliate marketers choose to forego free traffic in favor of buying their traffic through paid search and social ads.

Some simply don’t have the time available to invest in creating a sustainable audience over time, and, for others, organic search doesn’t make sense for their niche or business models.

Using paid ads to send users to your landing pages or direct to your affiliate offer is nothing new, and below you will find the two most popular methods used by affiliate marketers in their paid ad campaigns.

Paid Search

Using PPC ads (Pay-per-click) to generate traffic is one of the oldest ways to drive traffic where you need it most. Still, to run an effective paid search campaign, keyword research is essential.

Most affiliate marketers that use paid search in their campaigns opt for Google Adwords – targeting relevant keyword queries and placing a maximum bid amount for each click.

Operating PPC campaigns effectively might require a generous budget initially, depending on how competitive the keywords you are targeting happen to be.

Budget isn’t the only consideration you need to take into account, as the top SERP position isn’t always held by the highest bidder. Ad quality is important and is assessed by Google as ‘Quality Score.’

The quality score is then levied against your maximum bid per click to determine your’ ad rank’ during the ad auction process.

Successful paid search relies heavily on A/B split testing to keep optimizing for conversions & CTR (click through ratio) to beat out the competition. A small budget should be set aside for testing purposes, with successful campaigns scaled to take advantage of their ROI.

Paid Social

Social ads are a form of outbound marketing, placing products and services in front of users who aren’t necessarily looking for them. Although, unlike native or display ads, social advertising is highly targeted, making use of the user’s previous search data to place ads correctly.

It is no secret that Facebook is our favorite platform for social media marketing campaigns. By targeting the correct keyword searches, audiences, retargeting, and following a rigorous split testing process, we have managed to scale affiliate offers to $10,000+.

Social advertising requires you to understand your target demographic and get into their headspace. By doing this, you can focus and optimize your copy to boost engagement, CTR, and conversions.


I hope you have found this brief overview of the best traffic sources you should be using helpful. The type of traffic that you see the most success with will depend on many factors, but you should always branch out and try them all – you may find some sources surprise you.

As always, don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or topics that you would like to see covered in the future, and we will do our best to include them in future blog posts.