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SEO Isn't The Only Way To Get More Traffic - Here Are 6 Alternative Strategies
We marketers invest a lot of time and energy in search engine optimization (SEO).
If you consider that over 66,000 search queries are carried out on Google every second, you would be stupid if you didn't invest so much time in SEO.
In the end, however, Google and other search engines are not the only ways to drive traffic to your website; it always depends on your target audience and the competition, because in some cases Google may not be the best source of traffic .
The Upworthy website is a good example of this.
The site is known for its viral videos that make viewers happy and comfortable, so 43% of their traffic comes from social media and only 19% from search.
Different user segments use the Internet differently.
Some users look for interesting content from their friends or well-known influencers on social media.
Other users rely on newsletters to find out which articles they should read next.
Still other users use a completely different search engine, for example YouTube or Facebook.
To prove to you that you don't google needIn order to gain traffic for your website, I am now introducing you to six alternative strategies to increase the number of your website visitors.
1. Set up a YouTube channel
YouTube has 1.5 billion monthly active users, making it the world's second largest social platform.
Over 30 million of these users log into the platform every day and consume around 5 billion hours of video material per day.
These are really impressive numbers.
Even so, the platform can't keep up with Google as the search engine has to process 3.5 billion search queries every day.
So how can it be that some of the traffic that you would get with Google could be obtained from YouTube instead?
Well, the great thing about YouTube is that you can be on the platform Videos can share.
Videos are also displayed in the search results on Google (after all, YouTube belongs to the large Google corporation), but the results are not the same.
In order to appeal to video lovers and win them over to you, you have to produce videos for YouTube.
And because YouTube reaches more 18-49 year olds than any cable network, you can't do without this platform if you want to address a young target group.
Gen Z (also called Zoomer) loves YouTube.
50% of all zoomers told AdWeek in a survey that they couldn't live without the platform.
You even gave a reason for it.
For Gen Z, YouTube is much more than a platform to share videos. Here is a list of what they use YouTube for:
If Gen Z's love for YouTube continues, they'll soon be letting the platform influence their buying decisions, and that would be a game changer for marketing.
The videos on YouTube give you the opportunity to address customers who use the platform as a search engine and with a few well-placed links you can then send these users to your website.
So let's take a look at the GoPro YouTube channel.
GoPro is one of the most popular YouTube channels on the platform because the company produces high quality videos and thus shows what their product can do.
However, videos alone do not generate sales, which is why the company directs users to a product page with a link.
An interested customer can easily switch from the YouTube channel to a product page.
Here is a user's video. It was shot with the GoPro HERO6.
The link to the GoPro HERO6 product page was strategically placed in a visible place in the video description.
Interested customers can watch the video to find out what the camera can do and then click the link to go to the product page with detailed specifications or to make a purchase.
But that's not the only strategy that GoPro uses to send traffic to its website.
In the cover picture of the YouTube channel you will find links that refer to the company's website and other social platforms.
This gives interested YouTube users the opportunity to quickly switch to the company's website if they are interested.
You can even link to your website directly in the video.
YouTube has a feature that allows users to create interactive video ads.
The function allows you to show a call-to-action directly in the video or at the end of the video.
The graphic below shows how the call-to-action and the credits can be used to send traffic to a website.
Here is the clickable overlay of a video from HubSpot:
The animated call-to-action can be placed in the middle of the video, as the user has already gained an understanding of the topic of inbound marketing and the HubSpot company at this point and is therefore more likely to click on the link.
Now let's look at the credits for comparison.
Here are the credits for the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon:
Various options are made available to the viewer here. For example, he could search the NBC website or download the show's app.
When using an interactive feature, it is always very important to give the user clear and direct instructions.
In addition, you should definitely not overload the video with too many links and additional information.
Only provide the user with one or two additional elements that underline the content of your video.
2. Start a discussion on social media
If you use this strategy skillfully, it is an ideal alternative source of traffic to Google search.
According to Sprout Social, 48% of all millennials follow at least one brand on social media (the graphic is from Q1 2017).
This means that you can easily reach your target group.
In addition, social media gives you the opportunity to exchange ideas with your target group and to entertain them, which is of course not possible in the search results of a search engine.
When the user scrolls through his news feed, he is looking for interesting content.
If you can now provide this user with a high-quality and interesting post, they will click on your link and land on your website.
However, the social environment seems to be changing, at least in terms of brands.
A study from 2017 shows that 3 years ago 25.6% of all website visitors accessed a website via social media.
However, the number of hits has fallen.
The same study found that social media traffic even exceeded search traffic from late 2013 to early 2017.
Due to the algorithm changes made by Facebook in 2016, there was unfortunately a very strong decline in organic reach.
Compared to the first half of 2017, Facebook recorded a 9% decrease in forwarding via the social platform in the second half of the year.
But the loss of one platform is the gain of another.
While Facebook saw a sharp decline in late 2017, both Pinterest and Instagram saw a sharp increase.
Regardless of the social network you choose, you always have to provide meaningful and helpful information to users.
Remember that most users use social networks to chat with their friends to exchange - not to buy products.
You have to find a way to interact with the users on the platform.
Buzzfeed's Tasty is an excellent example of this.
Tasty's Facebook post really has it all.
It contains a video to attract the user's attention and a friendly message to establish a personal connection with the user.
In addition, the post does not contain one, but two links that direct the user to the recipe for the video or a product page.
The whole thing is elegantly solved so that the user does not feel overwhelmed!
The strategy seems to be working great because Tasty's Facebook page already has over 98 million fans!
To use this strategy yourself, you need to create content that perfectly suits your target audience.
Of course, you could also use Twitter to get a discussion going.
Twitter is great for sharing tips, ideas and thoughts that you can combine to create a new viral sensation.
I'll show you now using an example from travel blogger Hey Ciara.
Here is the first post of a new thread from January 2018.
With this one post, Ciara has over 13,000 new Twitter followers, 6,000 new Instagram followers and Gained ten times more blog traffic.
Helpful topics and tips are particularly popular with fans.
Ciara shares her travel secrets and a link to her website, where interested users can find more information.
The link wasn't quite as successful as the first post, but it still generated a lot of new traffic.
Ciara had already gained the trust of her followers before, so her fans knew that she was sharing helpful information, which in turn would lead to more users clicking on the link.
Twitter is very easy to use and doesn't require a lot of work, just a little planning so you don't run out of posts.
Think in advance which strategy you would like to pursue so that you can prepare your images, videos and links accordingly.
3. Work with influencers
The internet is full of scammers, which is why many customers have become suspicious before buying.
If the customer has never heard of your company before, then they will certainly not want to trust you with their credit card information after an advertisement.
You need to gain the trust of potential customers before they make a purchase.
Unfortunately, gaining the trust of potential customers takes a lot of time.
Fortunately, you can speed up this process by working with influencers.
Almost nine out of ten people say they trust a recommendation from a well-known influencer on the Internet as much as they trust a personal recommendation from a good friend.
Influencer marketing is a kind of “seal of approval” and thus accelerates the process of gaining trust.
You have two options for working with an influencer.
The traditional form of collaboration is sponsored posts on social media.
Here is one such sponsored post from Emma Blackery.
The post was sponsored by the National Citizen Service (NCS). The National Citizen Service is a voluntary personal and social development program for 16-17 year olds in England and Northern Ireland.
Emma's contribution is intended to draw attention to the work of NCS and at the same time vouch for the project.
The post contains a link to the program's website and prompts users to visit the website.
Emma's post was liked 480 times, shared 38 times and commented on 24 times within 5 hours.
NCS posts get significantly fewer likes, so the collaboration with Emma was a complete success.
Placing advertisements gives the company more control over its own brand.
However, it is not always possible to place advertisements for small businesses or companies with a low budget.
But even if you don't have the money to invest in influencer marketing, you might be able to find an influencer who will advertise your product for free in exchange for one of your products or your content.
Posts like this one from Comm100 show how to address multiple influencers at the same time.
In this way, you not only get free advertising, you also build a long-lasting relationship with the influencer, which may lead to a good partnership in the future.
However, you have to have realistic ideas.
You can't expect every influencer mentioned to share your post, especially if they already have a very, very large fan base.
Nevertheless, after your contribution has been published, you can personally contact each of the influencers mentioned and maybe gain a few shares and more traffic in this way.
For example, you could share a quote from the article.
In this Twitter post by Jitesh Patil, Robbie Richards is quoted and tagged.
This is how Robbie became aware of the post and then shared it with his Twitter followers.
The influencer can easily share the post with their target audience with a single click.
You could also send him a direct message. This strategy is preferred by Gary Vaynerchuk, for example.
Gary says, "To be successful, you must first add value and THEN ASK a favor."
The key to success for working with influencers is building a long-lasting business relationship.
4. Use the email subscribers to your advantage
People have been arguing about this topic for years. Some say email marketing is a thing of the past; others disagree.
Many marketers prefer social media or mobile apps over email marketing.
A 2017 Adobe consumer survey shows that 61% of consumers prefer contact via email.
Email is the only contact method that actually improved from 2016 to 2017.
However, it is not just user preferences that speak in favor of using e-mail marketing.
The average click rate of an email is significantly higher compared to other marketing methods.
The average click rate of an email is 3.42%.
This may not seem like a lot to you now, but the click rate of an ad on Facebook is only 0.90%.
So, you have a better chance of getting traffic from email than from social media advertising.
Here, too, the focus is on personalization.
Here is an example of personalizing content on LinkedIn:
LinkedIn uses the location, job title and qualifications of its users to show them suitable job offers.
This strategy is of course much more sophisticated than addressing the e-mail recipient personally. For the best results, you also need to tailor the content of your email to the specific recipient.
Research has shown that email personalization can have a dramatic effect on open and click rates.
The opening rate of a personalized email is almost 7% higher and the click rate also increases by 1.3%.
In order to achieve an even better click rate, you should address the recipient by name.
Here's some interesting stats from HubSpot:
The message with a personal address “Maggie Georgieva, HubSpot” achieved a 0.50% higher open rate and a 0.25% higher click rate than the email without personalization - “HubSpot”.
HubSpot has achieved 292 more clicks thanks to personalization.
You can achieve even better results if you optimize your emails for mobile use.
The aforementioned study by Adobe shows that the vast majority of users read their personal emails directly on their mobile phones.
You have to make it as easy as possible for your email subscribers to visit your website, no matter what device they use to access their email.
The use of buttons compared to text links and particularly short messages is therefore recommended.
Provide the user with enough information to pique their interest, then redirect them to your website.
5. Take an active part in forums and answer users' questions
Users like to ask questions and are often looking for answers.
But they don't just use Google to search for answers.
Many users ask their questions in forums and on specialized websites.
You can expand your target group by actively participating in forums such as Reddit or Quora and answering users' questions there.
The Reddit forum is the fourth most visited website in the US with over 330 million users.
While websites like Google, YouTube and Facebook are more popular, users spend a lot more time on Reddit.
You can use Reddit to promote your website, but you have to be careful and strategic as most subreddits have strict rules about what content and comments are allowed.
Each subreddit has a moderator. If you share prohibited content, your post will be deleted and your account may even be blocked.
People access Reddit because they need help, so they're not interested in a sales pitch.
Of course, that doesn't mean that you can't use the platform to attract new traffic to your website.
An “Ask Me Anything” session on Reddit is ideal for this.
Here is an example of such an action from Student Loan Hero:
Although the company is also advertised in this post, it is primarily about answering users' questions regarding the repayment of student loans.
By answering questions, Student Loan Hero wins the trust of Reddit users and arouses interest in the company.
The strategic linking of information and tools enables the company to forward users directly from the content to its own website.
Student Loan Hero does not only use the platform to advertise its own products.
But on the contrary. The company provides helpful information and specifically addresses every user question.
If you try to force a product on Reddit users, you are immediately exposed.
You can still use the platform successfully by providing users with clear added value.
Jeff Callahan, creator of the most successful Reddit post of all time, says the key to success on the platform lies in a well-chosen title.
His contribution is very personal and that is why many users can identify with him. He is honest and that way wins the trust of the readers.
He follows a common thread in order to get his thoughts across and shares helpful tips as well as his own experiences.
Reddit is great for generating traffic if you know how to use it properly.
Quora is an alternative. Quora has 200 million monthly active users who search the platform for answers to their questions.
Here is one of my answers to a question on Quora:
As with Reddit, you can exchange ideas with users and answer their questions. If your answer was helpful, the user may visit your website afterwards.
This way you will gain more traffic.
Kevin Lee, Founder of Product Manager HQ, largely credits Quora for his company's initial growth.
In a post on the platform, Kevin shares how Quora changed his life and explains how he used Quora to attract thousands of new subscribers to his blog.
He says that thanks to his post on Quora, he is even recognized by strangers on the street.
If you work in a smaller industry or niche, you could of course also use other platforms and forums to your advantage.
The Inbound.org platform is ideal for marketers. I would recommend the Avvo platform to lawyers.
6. Writing guest posts
Writing guest posts for other websites is a great way to drive traffic.
Over 57% of professional bloggers use this method as an integral part of their content strategy.
Some now well-known brands have even used guest post writing to promote their brand.
Thanks to this strategy, Buffer was able to send 100,000 visitors to its website in just nine months.
If you want to write guest posts, you should look specifically for websites in your industry or niche that do not belong to your direct competitors.
Writing an article for another blog or website enables you to address a new target group and thus generate leads for your own website.
The following guest post was published on Entrepreneur:
Dan Dowling, the guest author, posted a link on his Facebook page, Twitter account and website.
Writing guest posts for other websites is not the only strategy for generating more traffic.
For example, you could post guest posts by other authors on your own blog.
In this way, not only will you have more content available, but the guest author will also be happy to share his contribution on social media and thus attract new readers to your blog.
Here is an article that was published on ProBlogger:
ProBlogger benefits from this blog post because the author Larry Alton would of course like to share it with his readers afterwards.
Every time Larry shares a link to the article on ProBlogger, the blog attracts new visitors.
Blogging is not the only option available to you, however.
For example, you could appear as an expert on a podcast or attend a webinar.
Here is SEMrush's Search Marketing Scoop podcast with guest star David Bain:
In episode 6 of the podcast, Barry Schwartz, editor at Search Engine Land, and Richard Fergie, consultant at E-Analytica, talk about paid advertising and organic search traffic.
Of course, building such professional business relationships takes a little time, but the investment is worth it. In the meantime, you can use programs like Ubersuggest to look for interesting ways to post guest posts.
Open the Ubersuggest website, enter a topic or keyword, then click "Search".
Then click on “Content Ideas” in the left side menu.
Now you have a list of hundreds of websites that have published high quality articles and blog posts on the subject of "content marketing".
In addition, the tool provides further helpful information, including the number of backlinks and social shares, which allows you to get a first impression of the interaction rate of the users of the respective page.
Now all you have to do is record suitable websites in a separate list and then contact the respective website or blog. The more inquiries you send, the more responses you will receive and you will soon have found numerous new opportunities for guest contributions. In this way you will gain more traffic for your website and build new backlinks.
You need Not Google to drive traffic to your website.
Of course, Google is helpful, but it shouldn't be your only traffic source.
It makes more sense to get your traffic from different sources.
Using the six strategies I introduced to you in this article will allow you to diversify your traffic generation.
Always pay attention to your customers and the reactions of the target group.
If a strategy is not working, then you shouldn't waste your time on that strategy any further.
By satisfying the needs of the users and addressing them specifically on the platforms they are already using, you are able to send more traffic to your own website.
Which alternative traffic sources to SEO did you use to get the best results?
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