By Peter Ellington
When i started my first business - I knew I needed traffic, fast. It was all very well creating a great site with high-quality content - but I needed people to know about it if I wanted to start making money.
All the conventional wisdom at the time was that I needed to get my site ranked high on Google to start making a success of things. I had SEO companies trying to convince me that they were the right choice for me, and I must admit - I considered paying out 4 figure sums to get the job done.
But I slowly started to see that there might be another way. And I'd like to share what I did with you.
You see, after thinking about it long and hard - I started asking myself if there was another way. I knew Google was the biggest player in town - but was it the only player?
Here's how I stopped trying to get on the first page of Google and started thinking outside of the box...
Why my Google ranking efforts were failing, and how it made me look for a different option
I'd actually been trying to rank for some quite competitive keywords - and I was having difficulty. While I did manage to get on the first page of Google - results didn't last. I was at the whim of algorithm changes and lots of competition trying to beat me.
I actually managed to rank for a decent term and started getting some good traffic - but a few weeks later a competitor overtook me and I was bumped down to the second page. Research suggests that if you're not on the first page of Goggle, you might as well be nowhere.
And that was only for the terms that I did manage to rank for. For others, no amount of backlinking and marketing efforts could make a dent on the first page.
How could my business be so at risk of simple changes? It simply wasn't sustainable to build a successful brand on the back of something that could change so easily and have such a variable impact on my profits, so I started looking for an alternative.
How other search engines can still get you traffic
While Google is obviously massive - you'd be forgiven for thinking it's the only search engine. It's not.
77% is a big slice of the pie - but there's still some leftovers. I started looking at promoting my site on sites like Bing and Yahoo. While I obviously didn't get as much traffic as I could from Google, they were much easier to rank for as most SEO is based on the biggest search engine. I'm not sure my business could have been hugely successful with traffic that was only from Bing - but it was a good place to start and still gives me some decent traffic.
Social media could help you bypass search engines altogether
You don't only need to get traffic from search engines. There are actually other sources - especially social media. I was first starting to promote my business when social media was just starting to take off - so I jumped on the bandwagon at the right time. But social media is a hugely effective marketing tool for your business. It was for mine, and it can be for yours.
You see, people now want to be connected to brands and they're easier to market to than ever before. If you can get someone to follow you, they're not only opening up a two-way communication channel with you, but they're also promoting you to their friends and extended networks. If you can create sharable content, they'll do the marketing legwork for you.
Growing an active and effective social media presence could help drive loads of traffic to your main site, just like it did for me.
Creating great content is a cornerstone of a successful online business
You can't trick people to come to your site with poor quality content anymore. Even if you can to start with, they wont come back. The cornerstone of any successful business these days is great quality content. Not only does entertaining and informative content get shared for you on social media, it's also more easy to promote on other channels.
I actually struck up a few relationships with other authoritative sites in my niche on a content syndication basis. I only could have done this with great quality content, as they didn't accept everything.
Now - a lot of people do this sort of thing only for backlinks. While it is a great source of link juice - that's not all it's good for. I actually got plenty of direct hits from people who liked my articles on my syndication partner's sites. That completely bypassed the need for search engines altogether - and it was relevant, targeted traffic that was already interested in what I had to say.
Why I started taking my promotion efforts to the streets in an attempt to get more business
When I realised how much there was out there for my business if I stopped wasting time trying to get on Google, I couldn't stop coming up with other new ideas to promote my business. One area many online businesses ignore is promotion in their local area. I knew that online had global reach, but I also knew that local gave me a few advantages.
Firstly, people feel more loyal to a business they know is local, so I used that to my advantage. I also made sure I was as active and visible in my local area as possible. I handed out flyers in busy areas - I went door-to- door with leaflets, I attended local networking meetings and charity events. I made sure that I was the go-to local provider for my niche.
One great thing about promoting your business like this is you get to people who might never have heard of your business or solution or idea before. If you're in the internet marketing niche - a lot of the time, you'll be pitching your ideas at the same sort of people. People who have seen stuff like that before. If you can get external people to come in to your idea, you could be much more likely to make a sale.
Other traffic sources
The important thing to point out was that I mostly needed free traffic. My business simply couldn't afford to spend too much - so these tips really made sense. But if you want to spend money - there are even more options for promoting your site without ranking in Google. Paid traffic and advertising being two of the most popular. If you want to spend a little more to get ahead, you might want to look into the right advertising techniques.
These tips really worked for me - and they could for you. I know Google is important - and if you can rank successfully for your terms - great. But it's not the only source of traffic for your business and you can still be successful without it.
About the author:
Peter Ellington has years of experience writing about internet marketing and really
enjoys sharing his knowledge. He knows how important a business education can
be, that's why he also writes for https://smiletutor.sg.