On the web and mobile, traffic matters a lot. The more traffic something generates, the greater the chances it has in capturing visitors' interest and actions, which in turn will give them more chances in making sales and income
While the web and mobile have grown so much since their early days, but that fact remains and still applies.
This is why giant entities like Google and Facebook, and other popular websites and apps can be successful. The more the traffic, the more the user, the more they can turn them into revenue based on their business model.
So it’s no surprise that traffic remains a top priority no matter what kind of service people and companies run on the web and mobile.
But knowing that getting traffic is never an easy task, there is something that is referred to as a 'traffic exchange.'
These are programs that can be designed in many ways, with different functions and settings. But simply put, they are there to allow users to exchange traffic.
The basic idea is to view other users' websites or social media accounts, and in exchange, different users will view yours.
But does it work?
Traffic exchange services offer website submissions, as well as social media accounts from users that join their networks.
When joining the service, you have to submit your website and/or your social media accounts, and browse other users' websites or social media accounts, to then complete certain tasks, like viewing them for a number of seconds of minutes, follow others social media accounts, comment on them and so forth, in order to earn the service's currency, or credit.
It's through that credit that you can have other users of the service to do the same to you.
Traffic exchanges enforce a certain credit ratio, which illustrates the number of tasks you should do to receive one hit through the program.
Most traffic exchanges are free to use, meaning that you can use them to earn traffic. Those exchanges earn money from users who wish to upgrade their membership to earn more credit or better ratio.
In practice, traffic exchange programs are generally used by small business owners or marketers who either want free advertising or use the exchange programs to help with their low-budget advertisement campaigns.
Why It Works
Traffic exchange services will send you the traffic you want.
Using credits that everyone is after, traffic exchanges encourage their users to browse and browse, and browse some more, and even more. To earn even more credits, they may have to follow tons of people, comment on comment boxes, Liking posts, subscribing to channels, and so forth.
The more credits you have, the more you can have others do the same to you.
You can spend your credits on others viewing your site, and following your social media accounts, and so forth.
What's more, many traffic exchanges offer "autosurf" that requires no human intervention, and can be used to inflate the total of number of visits your site can earn.
If traffic is your goal, traffic exchanges do work.
The more the credit you have, the more traffic you can "buy."
But if you're looking for leads, sales, or ad clicks, then answer is: no.
Why It Hurts
While you can certainly get a significant amount of traffic (depending on your goal or niche), there are tons of drawbacks.
First, In order to earn credit, you need to visit others' website and/or social media accounts. This is where it should be noted that most if not all users of traffic exchanges use traffic exchanges to benefit their own.
It's safe to say that more than 95% of all traffic exchange users pay no attention to the sites they are viewing, no matter how great their web design and their contents are. They are focuses on the clicking to get credits, one after the other with the least regard to what is on the page before them.
What this means, almost no traffic exchange users care in browsing others' website for information, or follow some users social media accounts because they like them.
They are there only for the credits.
In other words, you can only earn a very least amount of high-quality traffic from traffic exchanges.
Tis is the fact that leads to the second reason: traffic exchanges may skew the results of website popularity.
People's main reason behind joining a traffic exchanges is to promote products and services to like-minded marketers. But the people that visit their site, are not targeted.
This can result in a high bounce rate, as visitors don't care about what's in the page, and may never care about engaging with that call-to-action button.
This is why websites that use traffic exchange extensively, can have their experience a drop in their search engine ranking.
Third, Google disallows using AdSense on websites running on traffic exchanges.
Users who wish to advertise their websites on a traffic exchange but also have AdSense-powered ads, should create separate pages. If Google knows that a site is receiving traffic from traffic exchanges on pages that have AdSense on them, Google considers ad impression as not legitimate. Because of this, Google won't count the ads' impression, and may even ban the webmasters' AdSense account.
"While traffic exchange services may help bring traffic to your site, we don't recommend using them. This is because they may lead to invalid clicks or impressions and result in your account being disabled," said Google on its AdSense Help page.
The Traffic That Counts, The People That Matter
In theory, the more the traffic you earn from traffic exchanges, can influence search engines into thinking that your site is popular, which can eventually lead to better SEO campaign, and more organic traffic in the future.
Upfront, traffic exchange does help, and is not a bad idea.
All website wants traffic, and traffic exchanges can deliver that.
But the thing about traffic is that, only high-quality ones that matter.
Using traffic exchanges, you're earning low-quality traffic. And the more low-quality traffic you earn, you are simply shifting the trends away from the organic views and user engagements that search engines are built to detect.
As a result, your website will only see traffic, but no engagement with content for the visit.
And as Google and other search engines become more powerful, smarter and more sophisticated, they are getting better in detecting this lack of legitimacy.
So instead of giving your site the higher rank you hope it will get, search engines will penalize your site, or lower its rank.
Although traffic exchanges are also getting better, with their different models in delivering click-throughs and visitor impressions, dropping referrals and so forth, Google and other search engines are way beyond that.
Traffic exchanges work using the same pattern, and together, they may create similar red flags that can be easily detected by search engines.
More traffic means better search rankings and improved user engagement on your website.
But not all traffic is created equal.
If you're looking for a quick boost in traffic for your small site, yes, traffic exchanges do work. But if you're looking for a high-quality traffic that can be turned into sales, traffic exchanges may not deliver them, because what they can give you, is only limited to artificial hits and no real benefits.
And if you're site is already an established one with tons of followers, or if your social media account is already high in follower count and engagement, traffic exchanges may mean nothing.
Traffic exchange websites promise high volume and velocity. But the value of this method comes with its own risk.
You should never compare traffic from traffic exchanges with value-driven, user-focused traffic building that steadily boosts your search ranking and followers/engagement.
These traffic-boosting tactics are quick in their deliveries, but are not quick fixes. They require time and effort to generate ongoing results — and they’re not guaranteed.
So instead of spending your time (and money) on traffic exchanges to long-term benefit, a wiser decision would be spending your resources in creating engaging contents that can drive in real traffic.