Let’s be clear – there’s no such thing as “free” traffic.
Whether you’re spending time or money, all digital marketing will require some level of effort.
But we assume you’re searching for traffic sources for your affiliate links that require no money.
So that’s what we’ll cover in this post.
A quick list of our favorite free affiliate marketing traffic sources.
- Facebook, Pinterest, TikTok, LinkedIn, and Twitter (Best Social Media Traffic Sources)
- Reddit, Quora, and Niche Forums (Best Forum Traffic Source)
- Guest Posts and Comment Sections (Best Referral Traffic Source)
- SEO (Best Organic Traffic Source)
Now, we’ll cover a little bit about each traffic source, and a guide on how to pick the right one for you.
Best Free Traffic Sources
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
SEO is likely the most powerful free traffic source on this list. While nearly every search engine you can perform SEO on, we’re speaking about Google Search and their competitors.
By understanding the algorithms of search engines, bloggers can passively steer people toward their own website and content. Like most methods on this list, spending money on SEO campaigns can help (especially backlinks), but are by no means required. The only requirement is high-quality content.
What’s great about SEO is that it’s much more predictable than a lot of the other traffic sources we’ll discuss later in the article. For each of your target keywords, you can estimate the expected search volume using keyword research tools.
For example, using Ahrefs we can estimate that the keyword “Free Website Traffic”, is expected to get around 4600 searches a month. According to this study, the first position on Google gets 33% of clicks, so we can assume that if we ranked for this keyword, the post would receive at least 1518 clicks per month, just for this one variation of the keyword.
There’s a lot more to SEO than we explained above, but we wanted to list it as the #1 traffic source on this list just due to the massive potential for traffic it has, compared to other methods on the list.
Pinterest is my favorite of the social media platforms for passive traffic, and takes the #2 spot on this list. Similar to a blog post ranking on Google, once a pin ranks, you reap the rewards for life. A blog of mine hasn’t ran any new pins in a year, and this is the amount of traffic Pinterest has sent my way from Jan 1 to October 1. Not bad!
Learning the Pinterest platform will take some time, and creating the content and images to post will take some time as well. There are tools that help with Pinterest posting like Tailwind, or image creation like Canva. If you’d like to learn more about Pinterest affiliate marketing, check out our guide.
Facebook Ads can also be great if done correctly – but this traffic is not free. Facebook groups on the other hand are an excellent way for communities of like minded people to gather and speak about a given topic. Unless you’ve specifically catered your Facebook friends list to people in your industry, we’re going to be talking about Facebook groups in this post.
If you expect to join a group and start posting links the next day, well… good luck with that. We want to emphasize how important being a part of the community is to get the most out of Facebook and it’s potential traffic. Whether it’s a private group or a public one, the most important thing is to join, introduce yourself, befriend moderators, and provide value.
If done correctly, you can start to post links inside your own posts, or value add comments. It can be difficult to predict the output of Facebook traffic, but if done correctly, a lot of traffic can come your way.
TikTok is a relatively new platform with it being released in 2017, but it’s home to 700 million users. So it’s safe to say this social media network cannot be ignored. While it’s difficult to direct people off of the platform, it’s one of the best places for content to go viral.
Links on the platform are limited to bio links, which require people to be on your bio/personal page. That being said, even if people aren’t clicking the link directly, they may end up searching for more information after seeing something on Google or another social network.
TikTok can take a while to pick up and understand, but once you’ve understood the algorithm, it’s one of the more powerful platforms on this list.
Twitter is another top platform for free traffic. However, it’s not as simple as signing up and posting links right away.
You need to build a following first.
Links in platform are pretty native to the social network, and users are a lot more likely to click off the platform, unlike somewhere like Instagram or TikTok.
We definitely recommend the use of the Pinned Tweet on your profile. Pinned Tweets are not for some random tweet that went viral or got a lot of traction.
They are for promotional purposes.
Out of any one of your tweets, this slot will receive the most amount of impressions, and therefore the most clicks along with your bio link, so make sure to use it wisely.
Reddit and Other Forums
Reddit is one of my favorite platforms for passive traffic. It can be a bit difficult to find the right sub reddit for your niche, but once you do, the first order of business is becoming a part of the community. You’d be surprised just how much traffic some sub Reddits can direct. When I was in my younger teens, I had a video game clip receive over 100,000 views alone from one Reddit posting.
Nobody wants to see self promotion from a brand new account that just joined the subreddit a few days ago.
Instead, participate in the comments of trending posts.
Befriend the moderators of the subreddit.
Once that’s done, you have an engaged community of people that love a topic at your finger tips.
Quora is most similar to reddit, is an online discussion board for every single topic under the sun. On the platform, people ask a question, and the best responses naturally rise via an upvote feature.
In order to direct traffic on Quora, you’ll need to make sure you’re not too promotional. Find a question where you’re qualified to answer it, and post a link or two in the response, where it makes sense.
Besides Reddits, most niches will have their own sort of forums where people that love the topic hang out and chat. Depending on what niche you’re in, the forum will vary. But in any niche there will be several forums where hobbyists gravitate toward.
While I was running some of my niche sites in the Bitcoin and scuba diving niches, there were several large forums. Examples of these in my case were the scubaboard.com forms and the bitcointalk.org forums.
I created such high value content on these sites, where my sites were naturally mentioned in forum discussions.
Plenty of traffic followed.
While it may take a while to get to the point where your content is mentioned naturally, you can still participate and self promote on these forums where it makes sense to do so.
Another underrated method for sending traffic your way is via blog commenting.
Most blogs will have some sort of comment section at the end of their posts. If the blog is high enough traffic, then the comment section of that post could be a decent way to send some of that blogs readers your way. We don’t recommend posting links of your own in the comment section unless its to provide value, and you’ve participated in other discussions.
Youtube comments can also work, but you’re not really allowed to post links there. Instead, you’ll want to comment about what people could find on your Youtube channel, which we’ll cover next.
Youtube can take some time to get used to, but once you’re comfortable producing in video, it can direct a lot of traffic. To start, we recommend creating simple tutorials of common questions in your niche.
The production quality doesn’t need to be amazing, and don’t let that hold you back from posting. Youtube videos can get traction much sooner than blog posts can, so if instant results are your thing, maybe give this method a shot.
Check out the first video Afflytics has put out, it wasn’t great production quality but is still performing well!
Guest posts are a great way to get yourself out there and feature on some big sites. Most guest posts aren’t meant to be overly promotional but if done correctly they can send a lot of traffic your way.
The earlier on in the guest post you can place your link, the better. As the post goes on, less and less people will see it.
Email marketing is a tricky one – but we wanted to include this on the list. Assuming you’ve managed to build a curated list of email subscribers, you have a powerful traffic source of your target audience at the click of a button.
Want to promote a new offer or send an announcement?
Just blast your email list.
The traffic ROI of email marketing is directly proportional to the size of your email list. As you send a bunch of emails out, you’ll eventually be able to come up with different conversion rates for different tasks.
LinkedIn has the potential to send lots of traffic your way if done correctly. The type of content you’ll find on LinkedIn is much more serious and work related, compared to social medias like TikTok and Snapchat, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You’ll just need to pick the right network for your niche.
How to Choose a Traffic Source
In order to pick one or several traffic generation sources, you’ll want to first identify which platforms you’ll enjoy creating content for.
Do you like creating videos?
Then Youtube is probably your best bet.
Or if you like content marketing and writing, then SEO might be the best for you.
The best content (and therefore traffic source) will be the one you enjoy creating the most.
But in terms of pure traffic potential, here’s our tier list:
- Tier 1: Google SEO, Pinterest, Reddit, Email Marketing
- Tier 2: Youtube, Niche Forums, Quora
- Tier 3: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, TikTok
- Tier 4: Guest Posts and Blog Commenting
And there you have it!
A complete list of all the best places for getting free traffic toward your affiliate offers.
As we said above, there is really no such thing as free anything in this world, especially free traffic. But if you’re willing to invest some time, all of these traffic sources will drive traffic your way.
In order to maximize the results of your referral traffic, create specialized landing pages for certain intents, allowing users to get the most custom experience.
While you’re a beginner, we can understand that you want to use free traffic sources, but once you’ve made some money online, it may be time to shell out some cash, and see a return down the line.