It’s always nice to get traffic to your blog or website. Watching the point on the graph slowly edge towards the top right of the screen is one of the favorite pasttimes of content strategists (I can testify to that).
Unfortunately, more than often you don’t really hold the key to making that happen. Someone else is in the driver’s seat, and that someone is Google. It is not uncommon for the bulk of a blog’s main traffic to be organic – and 99% of that originating usually originates from Google, too.
Are you tired of Google holding on to your keys? There’s a solution – or, more accurately, there are 4 ways you can generate traffic without relying on Google’s search engine.
1. Guest Blogging
Guest blogging is a fantastic way to bypass all the other nonsense and generate highly targeted traffic. When you submit an article to a popular blog, you effectively leverage on their existing (and much greater) volume of traffic. Not only that, but the long-term benefit of doing this is that you will also establish yourself as a subject-matter authority in the topic of your choice.
Matt Cutts recently wrote an article on “The Decay and Fall of Guest Blogging for SEO”. Despite the ominous tone of the article, he ends off with this qualifier:
In general I wouldn’t recommend accepting a guest blog post unless you are willing to vouch for someone personally or know them well. Likewise, I wouldn’t recommend relying on guest posting, guest blogging sites, or guest blogging SEO as a linkbuilding strategy.
So yes, guest blogging is fine as a traffic generation strategy, as long as – to quote Gini Dietrich – it is “about writing for humans”.
One fast and effortless way to get started on this is to use Derek Halpern’s drafting technique. All you need to do is scour popular blogs on which you would like to get featured on to see if any of your competitors have gotten an article there. Once you’ve found them (and you should be able to), go ahead and send a request to the manager of the blog referencing that article, and pitch them a guest post idea that is similar in nature. Chances are that they’ll be happy to take it!
Here’s a sample email that Gregory Ciotti uses to when doing guest blogging or syndication outreach:
I noticed that you guys published syndicated content from time to time, which is really helpful since I would have never discovered [link to a good article] if it wasn’t for you, so thanks!
I wanted to ask, since I believe we’ve also published a few posts that are a perfect fit for your audience, if you’re interested in potentially re-publishing some works from our site? We have quite a few pieces that touch on topics that regularly do well with your readers, most of which have a fresh perspective that I think they’ll enjoy.
Here are a few examples that I think would be well recieved:
1. Article 1
2. Article 2
3. Article 3
Let me know if those are a fit and if you think this partnership might be a win-win for us, and if not, no sweat!
Have a great week,
2. Community Outreach
Every team needs its fair share of groupies or fans to keep going. Blogs are not exception – without a bunch of avid readers to support you through the ups and the downs, you will never be able to reach your fullest potential. Your community will be your constant catalyst for creating much-needed momentum for your content.
There is a cornucopia of social media literature available online that can help you to jumpstart your community outreach efforts, but as a start, I’d say it is critical that you know where your potential community members are before you start – know where they hang out, what topics interest them, and go and find them there.
3. Influencer References
Have you ever read an article and saw a quote that made you go Wow, this person is really smart! Chances are that you went ahead to do some research on that particular expert (since he or she made such a clever remark on this article, he/she must be an expert), and now that person has one more fan – happy days!
In the same way, by referencing influencers in your content, you are inadvertently helping them by giving them more exposure and highlighting them as a subject-matter expert. And who doesn’t like being identified as an expert?
The possibility is extremely high that the influencer being mentioned will take notice and share your content to their own respective communities, thereby increasing the amount of traffic to your content manifold. Reciprocity, after all, is a core human characteristic.
How can you find relevant content from influencers in your niche? The first step is to find the best content within your niche first, and see who are the top contributors. My weapon of choice in this instance is BuzzSumo, which allows you to search for highly shared content across major social media networks related to the keywords of your choice.
4. Smart Commenting
Another way that you can leverage existing traffic on other popular blogs is to leave comments on their related articles. Don’t just leave any random comment, though – spammy comments are a huge no-no. Instead, make sure that you read the article, and respond thoughtfully. Ryan Hanley has a very useful 7-step checklist that you should take note of when doing this – check it out here.
Much like guest blogging, leaving smart comments on other blogs allows you to gain exposure as a subject-matter expert. Additionally, by adding a link to a related article from your own blog, you can gain targetted traffic too. Again, ensure that the article linked is related to a large extent to your comment and the article as well.
What are your opinions? Feel free to share your ideas how to generate traffic without Google in comments!