With Google constantly changing their algorithms, it’s hard for many webmasters to keep up with each new update unleashed. More and more webmasters are questioning if it’s even worth the hassle, while others fear penalties for falling behind on an update. As a result, many are turning from Google and choosing to try more organic approaches to maintain their website traffic due to the horror stories of dropped ranking, decreased traffic, and Google penalties.
As Victor Pan, Organic Search Manger, says, “The other side of the story that isn’t being told is that there are businesses that flourish after an algorithm update.”
When utilized correctly, Google is a proven means to generate website traffic. Yes, it takes extra work to keep up with algorithm updates, but it’s effective nonetheless. For those who are choosing to stray from Google, you need be aware that you have a steep, but not impossible, hill ahead of you. You can maintain your website traffic without Google, but it takes some work.
If you’re ready to take on the task of Google-proofing your website, here are 10 ways you can maintain your website’s traffic without Google:
1. Google+ Communities
You can’t fully turn your back on Google– Google’s simply too big. But, if you’re trying to avoid being involved with Google on an SEO level, then you’ll need to take advantage of the Google+ Communities. Google+ isn’t going away, and you need to be involved as it drives large amounts of traffic to websites. By finding relevant communities, you’ll reach your targeted audience relating to your website, allowing you to directly engage and connect with users who will want to visit your website.
You don’t just want to post your website link in the communities, however. You want to actively participate and engage with the members to become a recognized and trusted source. You can also use this method with Facebook Groups.
2. YouTube Marketing
YouTube is a force to be recognized and shouldn’t be underestimated as it processes more than 3 billion searches per month. YouTube is bigger than Ask, Bing, Yahoo, and AOL combined! Whether you’re straying from Google or not, you need to utilize YouTube by creating niche videos, which are proven to drive traffic. As the top video sharing website and the second largest search engine, you’ll drive traffic to your website with quality videos that encourage people to like, comment, and share. The use of optimized titles, descriptions, and tags will further increase the amount your video is viewed.
3. Email Marketing
When done correctly, email marketing can produce a conversion rate of over 3 percent, which is higher than the general conversion rates for social media and search results. However, many people avoid email marketing due to the misconception that it’s difficult and time consuming. With email services, such a MailChimp, email marketing has become easier. The trick is to create a subject line that encourages the email to be opened.
4. Forums and Groups
Forum and group commenting is a viable option for maintaining website traffic; however, you need to pay attention to the forum/group rules to avoid being labeled a spammer or you’ll be booted from the group. Jump into conversations to add value to the discussions, and when relevant, drop the link to your website. The key is to become a real member of the community and avoid obvious self-promotion. Prove to the forum that you’re able to provide valuable information on a topic so others will look for you online. You can also use this technique for commenting on blogs.
Blogging is a great tool for generating website traffic as you’re able to express topics and ideas related to your website’s niche. As a result, it will keep users coming back to your website as you become a trusted source for information. Each post needs to be informative and engaging, not just self-promotional. Take the time to utilize the title, meta descriptions, and tags sections.
6. Social Bookmarking Sites
Very few fully take advantage of social bookmarking sites, such as Reddit and StumbleUpon. The bookmarking sites are great for link building and for generating traffic by allowing “do follow” links. The key is to have a well established website that holds authority. You want to post information that’s high-quality and helpful, like your blog posts.
7. Guest Blog Posting
Although Google’s Matt Cutts says that guest blog posting is essentially turning into taboo and announced, “It you’re using guest blogging as a way to gain links, you should probably stop,” guest posting isn’t dead. Just be careful that the purpose of your post isn’t solely to drop links. You can leverage your traffic by creating guest content that establishes you as an authority, not a spammer.
8. Generate a Buzz
One of the best ways to generate website traffic is to create a buzz by interviewing influential people, running a contest or sweepstakes, or featuring controversial topics. No matter the method you use, you want to get the pot stirred to drive people to your site. As a result, they will share your website with others; thus, increasing your traffic even more.
9. Social Media Marketing
Nowadays, you can’t live without social media as it’s one of the single most important factors for driving website traffic, especially if you’re avoiding Google. Depending on your niche audience, there are a number of social media sites you’ll want to utilize. Again, you can’t make it all about self-promotion. To have healthy social media conversion rates, develop loyalty among your followers as they look to you as a trusted source for information– they don’t want to be viewed as a dollar sign. If you stop trying so hard to sell your product or service, have a great plan, and instead focus on what your followers want, you’ll drive more traffic to your website and boost your sales.
10. Pay-Per-Click Advertising
Pay-per-click advertising is a great option for driving traffic to your website. The most commonly used option is Google AdWords. But, if you’re avoiding Google, you can always use Bing. Pay-per-click advertising can offer a short term and a long term fix for driving traffic to your website and conversions rates vary. It can also get very tricky, so research it well before you spend a ton of money.
When it is all said and done, you may want to be involved with Google in one way or another.
“Customer expect businesses to be listed on Google– not being found online is a digital death sentence,” says Pan. “Transparency is the new norm.”
If you aren’t happy with the algorithm changes and fear penalties, you have to face reality– Google is king and here to stay. Make sure you are using an SEO company that practices white-hat SEO and focuses on quality content.