It’s no secret that Google pretty much rules the roost when it comes to search engines these days. Try as they might, Bing and Yahoo! just can’t come close to matching Google’s dominance in the search industry so, for now at least, it looks like Google’s still the one to impress.
Now, while we all know how important optimizing your site for Google’s super-efficient robots is, it’s fair to say that over the last 18 months or so, it’s become a heck of a lot harder to appear in a prominent position in the SERPs. Thanks to the algorithm updates like Penguin and Panda, old-school SEO techniques like article marketing and directory listings are very much a thing of the past – these days it’s all about relevant links, branded anchor text and… wait for it… quality content!
Although SEO hasn’t necessarily become more difficult over the last couple of years, it has become more complicated and complex so it’s easy to see why some SEOs and webmasters are pretty fed up of doing the Google dance and are now starting to look into alternative ways to drive traffic to their websites. Of course, it goes without saying that there’s no way to completely disregard Google when it comes to driving traffic to your website (nor would you want to), however to really maximise your potential on the web, it’s a good idea to invest in some other promotional/link building activities.
I. Guest Blogging
Just like this very blog, guest blogging is a great way to get your name out there to a brand new audience and thus start to make a name for yourself in your chosen industry. Now, I should probably put out that guest blogging is not as easy as it sounds! Nope, from finding the right blogs in your niche and convincing them to publish your blog to creating a 100% unique, informative, engaging article, guest blogging can be quite time consuming but the pay-off (particularly in the long run) can be huge. Interested in guest blogging? Places like Blogger Link Up and My Guest Blog are great places to start.
II. Email Marketing
Now, thanks to the take-over of SEO, traditional forms of online marketing have started to be overlooked, however there are some, such as email marketing, which are still worth investing in. Email marketing is a great way to promote new offers to dedicated customers or encourage first-time customers to re-visit your site for the latest product line. The beauty of email marketing is that your email goes directly into the inbox of your subscribers - in 99% of cases, they’ll have had to sign up for your email newsletter so they should already have an interest in your business and your products/services.
III. Social Media Presence
One of the most popular ways of driving new traffic to your website at the moment has to be social media. Although it can be great for brand promotion, social media is also imperative for driving traffic to your website and building up a direct list of followers/fans that may not be a fan of ‘intrusive’ email marketing. Facebook, Twitter and even new sites like Pinterest are all great platforms for promoting your business and advertising your latest offers – you could even encourage people to visit your site by offering an exclusive deal for your Twitter followers or Facebook fans!
IV. Start a Blog
Next up, it’s your very own blog. Yep, that part of your website which has just been sitting around collecting dust could actually help to drive major traffic to your website. Blogging is great way to become an authority in your industry and is a great way to show off your knowledge and expertise. If you publish quality, engaging content time and time again and actively promote it, in time you could accumulate a dedicated following who can’t wait for your next blog post. You never know, if your blog is that good, people might even sign up to your very own RSS feed! And remember, once someone’s on your blog, there’s a strong possibility they’ll take a look around your website so you could even see some ROI!
V. Use Display Advertising
Last but not least, display advertising might be a bit pricey, but it can be super-effective for promoting brand awareness and increasing your visibility online. From banner ads to feeds, there are lots of different types of display advertising options out there. The trick is to pick a site which is very much in your niche and has the same customer/audience base as your business – this way the traffic which will be driven to your site will be very much ‘on-target’ and much more likely to convert into customers. When it comes to display advertising, you can get some great deals if you’re willing to negotiate and/or commit to a longer term contract.
So there you have it, 5 simple ways to drive extra traffic to your website and become less dependent on dominant search engines like Google. What ways do you use to drive traffic to your site? Please share your thoughts in the comments area below.
Amy Edwards is an experienced blogger and online marketing professional who has years of experience working with both digital agencies and direct clients. She’s currently working as an SEO manager for Bubble Jobs.