All webmasters worth their salt understand the value of good, solid SEO to rocket their sites to the top of the SERPS (search engine results page), and we all know the value of attaining a coveted top spot for a valuable search term.
However, while most of us spend our days building backlinks, tweaking metadata, and creating keyword rich content to appease the gods of Google, the truly successful among us will always be looking for new and untapped sources of traffic beyond the search engines.
So how can you join them? How can you move beyond the bounds of SEO to attract visitors to your site using new, exciting, and productive methods? Well, here are just a few ideas to get you started.
Generating traffic through SEO is a fairly predictable process, with hits increasing steadily every time you rise towards the top of the SERPS for a target keyword. Outside the search engines, however, success becomes a little more difficult to predict. Traffic is generated by opinion makers, and the secret to spreading the word is to reach these influential few in the hopes that they’ll champion your cause.
When you meet people related to your industry who may benefit from the information you’re providing it’s always a good idea to leave them with something to remember you by. A cool, well designed business card carrying your URL can increase the chances that they’ll visit you and, if your content is good enough, talk you up within their own network.
On a similar theme, offline marketing of your website can be a great way to generate buzz. A creative marketing campaign designed to elicit curiosity can be a great technique to use in locations in which your target audience is concentrated. So, if you work in a field related to music you could blanket local venues with an eye-catching poster, or if your site appeals to young adults you could hand out stickers carrying your URL at the local college campus.
The trick with offline marketing is to come up with an intriguing hook that’s sure to catch the eye and encourage people to share. There are a million ways to do this (and none of them are all that easy), but if you have a spark of creativity and the ability to think outside the box you can go a long way with an offline campaign.
Participate in Tweetchats
As an online marketer it’s important to stay on top of the latest developments in social media, and one of the latest trends is the Tweetchat, a scheduled round table chat on a vast range of subjects between Twitter users from around the world. Some popular subjects can attract more than 500 participants, with countless thousands tuning in to follow the debate.
If your website is even tangentially connected to a subject people want to discuss you should be able to find a Tweetchat going on in the near future, and by taking part you can (subtly) promote your property and attract a whole host of new fans.
Promote a Cause
Internet users like nothing more than to spread the word about good causes (even if the majority don’t actually reach in their pocket to contribute), so promoting a worthy charity is always a great way to generate a little traffic. Not only is it a nice thing to do, but by aligning yourself with an undeniably good cause you’ll be able to piggyback on the goodwill generated by the charity.
Cynical? Well, maybe a little, but if you generate money for cancer research and, in return, give yourself a way to spread the word about your site it seems as if you’d come out on top, karma-wise. Al you have to do is publish the occasional post about the charity of your choice and distribute the link to Facebook, Twitter and any other social network you use. If the post tugs the heartstrings even a little you should see a nice bump in traffic soon after (and, hopefully, a few donations to a deserving charity).
ABC=Always Be Creative
Coming up with fresh new ideas for generating non-search engine traffic isn’t easy, but you should get in the habit of watching out for great ideas and thinking on your own. Many of your techniques will produce disappointing results, but given enough time you may hit on an idea that will pay off better than any number of hours of tireless SEO.