By Holly Reisem Hanna
For the past four years Facebook has been a major force in driving traffic to my website. But over the past few months my Facebook traffic has drastically decreased, even though my Facebook audience has increased to well over 7,000+ fans.
I’m not the only one who has noticed this dramatic decrease in traffic from Facebook. In fact bloggers, marketers, and companies alike are concerned that their Facebook Pages are no longer as valuable as they once were for driving traffic, creating brand awareness, and overall engagement.
The reason for this major drop in traffic is due to Facebook’s new algorithm, called EdgeRank, which determines which updates are seen and how high on an individual’s news feed. According to Jon Loomer, a Social Media Consultant, it is currently estimated that only 16% of your audience is seeing your posts.
While there are many different hypothesis for why Facebook came out with EdgeRank, I’m going to guess it that it has something to do with their new sponsored post option. This new option allows Page Owners to pay a predetermined amount, so that their update gets seen by a larger audience. For example, you can shell out $50.00 and your update will be seen by 7,000 – 14,000 individuals.
While I’m not personally thrilled about EdgeRank and what it has done for my traffic, I have learned that just like everything else online, that you need to remain flexible and never ever rely on one single source for your traffic strategy.
So what you can do? Here are four ways to get your Facebook traffic back…
Educate Your Facebook Fans:
Let your fans know about EdgeRank and how it’s affecting what they see in their news feed. There are three different solutions for this, from telling your audience how to get email notifications from your page, to having fans create a special interest group for your page, to simply checking “Show in News Feed”.
By hovering over the Liked Button on any page an individual likes, they will see the options for above mentioned scenarios. Have fans click on the various options that they would like to utilize.
While I’m not certain if these methods will actually produce 100% of your subscribers actually receiving 100% your updates, it is a good start. Another method to use along with educating your fans, is having a strong call to action on your updates. For example, “Click like on this post if you want to work at home”. The more likes and shares that an update receives, the better is fairs in Facebook’s new algorithm and the more exposure you’ll receive.
Create Text Only Updates:
I first read abut this technique on Business Among Moms, and surprisingly it works. I’m not sure why, but when you post a text only update (no photo, no video, and no link) it does much better in Facebook’s new algorithm and it is seen by a greater percentage of your audience. So here’s how it works. If you want to post a blog article, write a short text update, along with a comment telling individuals that the link to the article is in the first comment underneath the original update. Then put the link to the blog post in the first comment area. As you can see in the example below, when I posted the update with the link, it only received 277 views, but when I used the other method, where I posted the link in the first comment, I received 1,205 views.
Connect in Other Places:
Remember when MySpace was all the rage? Things are constantly changing on the Internet and to keep ahead of the pack, you need to diversify and be flexible. Be available on more than one social network and keep up with the trends. Probably the biggest lesson to be learned from Facebook’s EdgeRank, is that you can never rely solely on one source for your traffic, marketing and/or sales. So if you’re not doing it already, start building an email list. Many email marketing providers offer free services up to 100 contacts, with affordable pricing plans from there on up. Remember to always follow anti-spam rules and laws, and never sign someone up without their permission.
Focus on SEO:
While Facebook has been a major source of traffic for me, my number one source has always been Google. If you’re not familiar with Search Engine Optimization (SEO), now is the time to learn. Basically, when an individual searches for an item (keyword or keyword phrase) on the Internet, search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing search for sites that offer content that is relevant and authoritative in nature. They do this by analyzing a website’s overall content, keywords within the content, and through incoming links from other sites.
So how do you go about incorporating SEO in your website? Start by having high quality copy on your site that incorporates the specific keywords that you’re targeting. Since Google is always looking for fresh new content, having a blog that is updated on a regular basis is a another way to build your site’s credibility and content. Always make sure to focus on quality rather than quantity, and never overuse your keywords just to ensure ranking. Lastly, build reputable back links to your site through guest blogging, interview features, and offering to be a source for other online publications. Like anything else, SEO takes time.
While Facebook traffic across the board has fallen, businesses, bloggers, and marketers don’t have to throw up their hands in defeat. By expanding your horizons through experimentation, alternative marketing methods, and continued education, you can easily replace and even surpass the results that Facebook once brought you.