Before you get to the meat of this post, I have to preface it with the confession that every single one of these tactics are obvious as shit (or at least they should be to the experienced online marketer!!) The problem with these traffic building techniques, and the reason they are often overlooked, is that many of them are more long-term outreach & brand building tactics, all moreso than they are instant traffic wins or link building tactics.
The real return, though, comes from your ability to target these sources correctly. A great example of this is Matthew Woodward, who built his SEO blog solely with organic outreach, completely ignoring outright/planned link building. Because he was able to target his demographic so effectively and build content that struck a chord with people and made them crave more, he was able to build a solid community of followers practically within weeks of starting his blog, WITHOUT link building!
Here are some tactics he (and many others) have used to generate awesome traffic without pissing Matt Cutts off (not that I give a pig’s chin hair about that)… That you need to learn and religiously implement for any businesses you want to be successful online, too.
- Blog Commenting (DUH!)
Blog commenting has been a tried and tested source of both backlinks and relevant traffic since the beginning of
time the internetblogging. Seriously. This doesn’t mean you should go blast comment spam using tools, though, unless that’s what you want to do.. But that’s not what we’re talking about here. I’m talking about genuinely helpful input and feedback on topics truly related to your niche, or at least within a niche that your demographic overlaps with.
There are tons of ways you can find the best blogs for your niche to comment on, including search modifiers and tools (one of which I will touch on at the end of this post), but those are tips for another day. For now, just get out there and contribute to the conversations! Backlinks are just the cherry on top.
*Protip: the first people to comment on an article usually get the most traffic as they are seen first & most often!
- Yahoo Answers
Yahoo Answers can be a valuable traffic source if used right. You can build naked brand mentions, as well as links once you reach a Level 2 account, which only takes a few days. Think about how many times you’ve seen a Yahoo Answer come up for something you were actually searching for in the SERPs. If your answer was helpful and chosen as the best answer, it’s likely that you can receive a lot of future traffic from answering super simple questions if they end up ranking, not to mention gain a likely repeat visitor (the asker!) if you select the best questions to answer from the get go. Although you won’t receive a ton of traffic right away from this, it’s more of a long term traffic + link strategy that shouldn’t be overlooked!
The main things you want to focus on here are a) not getting banned by only answering questions with your site as a resource (aka spamming) and b) leveling up to be able to include actual links in your answers.
- Forum Posts
Another old-school traffic source, forums hold tons of value when leveraged effectively! You can gain repeat visitors with every helpful post you make, and as long as you stay in good standing with the forum, you usually get a profile link to your website as well.
DO: Find RELEVANT forums, engage regularly, begin super helpful threads that can be supplemented with links to your site, include your site in your bio.
DON’T: Spam with irrelevant or off-topic replies, only post things about your website, lack engagement in threads by others.
- Facebook Groups
If your niche or topic is one that plenty of people are interested in, there’s probably a Group, or a bunch of Groups, on Facebook that you can get involved in! I recently joined some blogging-related groups thinking that I would be sharing my posts, and instead ended up helping a bunch of people with their blogging questions, which helped to build my authority and gain relevant traffic.
If there aren’t any groups out there, START one! You can pull it off by making it center around your niche, making a group about your niche that is “sponsored” by your actual website/company, or making a group that centers around a demographic of people who would also be interested in your niche (this is ideal if your actual niche isn’t big enough or is embarrassing, etc.)
*Protip: The same exact concept applies to Google+ Communities!!
- Traditional Social Networks
Yet another obvious answer/tip, but I have to cover this becausethere may be some actionable steps that can increase your referral traffic that you’re totally missing.
Pinterest: Create pinnable images for every single post on your blog/website, and pin them! They don’t even have to be ON your post.. You can literally just create a linkbait pin image, upload it, and change the link to the correct post. Gain a Pinterest following by pinning other useful shit and badaboom! It can take time to build up good referral traffic from Pinterest but if you get the right followers, categorize your boards correctly, and create compelling images, you shouldn’t be hearing crickets! (Cough… There are automation tools for this, too.. maybe that’ll be covered later!)
Twitter: As soon as I created TriggerIM, I began tweeting and following people in my niche (social media 101.) because my domain was in my bio, I immediately started gaining referral traffic, just because people wanted to see who I was! This works best if your site is full of quality and your twitter feed is interesting, otherwise they’ll bounce right away. But every little step counts, so don’t skimp on this one!
Facebook: Create a page and post content EVERY DAY. (Do as I say, not as I do! Also engage AS your page on other page’s posts. A handy trick here is to like the comments of others on pages similar to yours who are in your demographic. Contribute to comment on relevant posts and shabam – people will start paying attention, going to your page, following you, and visiting your site!
If you are struggling to build your brand and get more referral traffic to your site and you’re not making an effort to do ALL of these, then you have no space to complain. The biggest struggle with this type of organic outreach, though, is time. I understand that it’s hard to track down the best blogs and forums for your niche, find the best conversations and groups to get involved with, and on top of that contribute something meaningful to each.
Thankfully, there’s an amazing tool that AUTOMATES this for you so you can work smarter, not harder, and just jump into the conversation whenever you see fit. That tool is called Buzzbundle, by Link-Assistant, and is worth it’s price in pounds of gold it’s so useful. Seriously. If you value your time, you have to check it out. I’ll be writing a full review and tutorial for it soon but for now, you can download the trial, which is still very useful!
If you have no budget right now for tools, or if you have all the time in the world on your hands, nothing beats Google Docs for organic outreach organization. (Did I just coin a new acronyn? OOO? Ok.. no.) Use search modifiers both on social networks and Google to find forums and blogs for your niche. Isoosi can help with this, too. The rest is pretty self explanatory. Keep track of your target sites in spreadsheets (and groups and social networks/logins) and use seo tools for excel to evaluate the worth. Don’t just base it on that, though – check out the sites and levels of engagement in each of the communities to decide where you should get involved, then see where it goes!
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